Productivity and patriotism: The management narrative of New South Wales Rail Chief Commissioner James Fraser, 1917-1929

Mark Hearn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The management narrative of James Fraser, the Chief Commissioner of the NSW Railways and Tramway Department, 1917-1929, provided the defining values of the Department's organizational discourse and reflected the aims of transformational leadership, inspiring managers and staff to share the values he advocated. Fraser sought to impose a regime of disciplined productivity upon rail and tram workers based on scientific management techniques, and linked appeals to increased productivity with patriotism to manage the stresses imposed on the Department during World War I. Fraser's narrative reflected the values of liberal governmentality in shaping the conduct and culture of the workforce. It is argued that the narrative turn may establish a more fruitful analytical relationship between business history and organization studies by uncovering the discursive codes and values embedded in organizational culture and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-39
Number of pages14
JournalBusiness History
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

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