Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Socializing Employees: Then and Now

JSTOR is an online database of scholarly articles.  They now have a daily blog, essentially summarizing an article. 

This post is on the ways in which companies try to socialize employees:
" Littmann writes that many company executives were convinced that foreign-born workers, whose numbers were growing, lacked American thrift, honestly, and industriousness. They responded by introducing measures designed not just to encourage employee loyalty but to transform workers’ values. These “welfare capitalism” measures ranged from toilets and new drinking water wells to profit sharing plans and education programs. By 1926, Littman writes, nearly two thirds of large industrial firms had recreational facilities for employees
That sounds familiar: in the Triple Cities of southern NY we had IBM, which ran the IBM country club and Endicott-Johnson Shoes, the reason for two of the three cities (Endicott and Johnson City) with the En-Joie golf course.  Neither were unionized; EJ had foreign-born employees (East Europeans).

I wonder though, how will a future historian deal with all the benefits which Silicon Valley employees get from their employers.  I assume the benefits also encourage loyalty and discourage unions.  The open space buildings, like Facebook's new headquarters, definitely encourages certain behaviors in their employees, certain transformations of workers' values. 90 years from now will the historian view such designs with some suspicion?

No comments: