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Dissertation Information for Margaret L. Hedstrom

- Margaret L. Hedstrom
- (Alias) Margaret Hedstrom
- (Alias) Margaret Lucille Hedstrom

- Ph.D.

- History

- University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA) (1988)

- Thomas J. McCormick

- None

MPACT Status: Incomplete - Inspected

Title: Automating the office: Technology and skill in women's clerical work, 1940-1970

Abstract: """Automating the Office"" examines the impact of rationalization and technological change on the nature of office jobs and the composition of the clerical work force. Using management literature, trade journals, and secretarial magazines, this dissertation analyzes changes in office work methods and technology in insurance and other paperwork-intensive companies after World War II. It explores office managers' goals in introducing computers during the 1950s and 1960s, the impact of automation on the number of jobs and skill in clerical work, and the response of office workers to these changes.

Chapter One assesses attempts to apply scientific management methods and mechanize office work in the 1910s and 1920s. Chapter Two examines changes in management methods that accompanied the shift from an abundant labor supply during the Depression to chronic shortages during and after World War II. Chapter Three shows how office managers, responding to chronic labor shortages, ineffective work methods and outmoded technology in the 1950s, hoped that computers would drastically reduce the demand for clerical labor. Examining early uses of computers, Chapter Four demonstrates why automation failed to curb the size of the office work force or create new skilled jobs for women clerical workers. Chapter Five explores the effects of rationalization on the jobs of clerks, typists, stenographers, and secretaries. Chapter Six analyzes the movement of older, married, and minority women into office work after World War Two. An epilogue considers how the current wave of automation may affect levels of employment, skills, and the gender division of labor in office work.

""Automating the Office"" argues that managers' efforts to use computers to cut office costs and curb the growth of the office work force in the 1950s and 1960s often failed because managers understated the complexity of office work and overlooked the skills of clerical workers. This dissertation challenges assumptions that clerical jobs were routine and reaffirms the importance of skill and judgment in handling paperwork. It demonstrates why women were excluded from managerial and technical positions and denied recognition for their contributions of office work, in spite of their efforts to maintain pride and dignity in their work."

MPACT Scores for Margaret L. Hedstrom

A = 4
C = 3
A+C = 7
T = 6
G = 2
W = 4
TD = 5
TA = 1
calculated 2010-09-06 21:55:44

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Students under Margaret L. Hedstrom

- Elizabeth Yakel - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1997)
- Ann S. Zimmerman - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2003)
- Christopher A. Lee - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2005)
- Jinfang Niu - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2009)

- Wendy Duff - University of Pittsburgh (1996)
- Bradley Leland Taylor - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2001)
- Ji-Hyun Kim - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2008)