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Title:Lillian Moller Gilbreth's Extensions of Scientific Management Into Women's Work, 1924-1935
Author(s):Graham, Laurel Diane
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pickering, A.,
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Women's Studies
Psychology, Industrial
Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972) was a pioneer of scientific management who applied her expertise to women working as department store employees, homemakers, and consumers. Through her efforts between 1924 and 1935, techniques of motion study and industrial psychology which were originally designed for factories were adapted for the less-disciplinary spaces occupied by middle-class women.
Lillian Gilbreth and her husband, Frank Bunker Gilbreth (1868-1924), ran a management consulting firm in their New Jersey home before his death in 1924. There they developed the "Gilbreth System" of scientific management as a more scientific and humane alternative to Frederick W. Taylor's famous management system. Lillian earned a Ph.D. in psychology and used this knowledge to enrich their system with a unique commitment to the human element in work.
Her career continued for about fifty years after Frank's death as she found new applications for her skills in the places where women worked. She became a national expert on women and employment and a kind of celebrity for her management of eleven children on top of a career. Historians have paid little attention to her contributions during these years and to how scientific management in general spread out from the factory and became embedded in new work sites. The extensive but unexplored Gilbreth Collection at Purdue University permits examination of: (1) Gilbreth's efforts to alter women's motions and minds at Macy's Department Store in the late 1920s, (2) her books and model kitchens which encouraged women to rearrange their kitchens and think about their time and motion in a new way, and (3) her projects to study women as consumers and to teach them how to shop more intelligently. Gilbreth adjusted women and businesses to meet the needs of one another. I examine these adjustments through a Foucaultian perspective and conclude that Gilbreth was engaged in relatively new kind of discipline which operates partly through the subjectivity of human beings, bringing minds into coherence with rationalized bodies, physical spaces, and material objects.
Issue Date:1992
Description:191 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9305539
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1992

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