chapter  3
19 Pages

TECHNOLOGICAL CULTURES

In The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business, Alfred Chandler (1977) identifies a unique moment in the development of modern industrial capitalism. From the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, a many-tiered, hierarchically ordered managerial “class” arose to govern complex, multiunit businesses through “scientific” control of all the stages of production and distribution. This class dramatically altered both the nature of businesses and the markets in which they operate, ushering in a period of Fordism predicated on systems of mass production, mass consumption, and scientific management. Building on this work, I assert that the post-Fordist era of flexible accumulation is being accompanied by an analogous rise of a managerial group of information technology (IT) specialists.1 While my data are drawn from a service-oriented organization in the public sector, I expect that similar developments are occurring in nongovernmental organizations and service, manufacturing, and other industries in the private sector as well.