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The Revolt of the Engineers

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1 The Revolt of the Engineers
Summary by David E. Goldberg University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, IL 61801

2 Text Layton, Jr., E. T. (1986). The revolt of the engineers: Social responsibility and the American engineering profession. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

3 Topics Engineer and business. Evolution of a profession.
Ideology of engineering. Revolt of the civil engineers. Scientific management and reform. Morris Cooke Return to Normalcy Depression and New Deal

4 Engineer: Scientist & Businessman
Veblen: Assumed conflict would force engineers to become social revolutionaries! 1816: 30 engineers 1850: 2000 engineers : 7000 to 136,000 engineers

5 Key Conflict Bureaucratic loyalty vs. Independence of professionalism.
Professional values: Autonomy Colleagual control of professional work Social responsibility Professionalism vs. egalitarianism.

6 Business Influence on Engineering
Educationally: Board of Trustees, curriculum. Hierarchically: in Companies; price of advancement. Rise results in loss of ID as engineers. Censorship of engineering publication. Companies supporting travel to engineering society meetings.

7 Evolution of a Profession
Professionally oriented: Single society represents all. Industry oriented: Societies that serve needs of specific industries. Scientifically oriented: Require individuals with creative ability to do original work.

8 Origins Follow Scientific Society
1829: Franklin Institute. 1839: First effort to form engineering society on top of Franklin Institute. 1848: Boston Society of Civil Engineers 1852: American Society of Civil Engineers. Two early majors: AIME and ASCE (biz vs. professionalism)

9 ASCE Elitist tendencies alienate
Local engineers Engineers in industry Young engineers Maintain autonomy rather than expand influence

10 AIME American Institute of Mining Engineers
Those “practically engaged in mining, metallurgy, or metallurgical engineering.” One-man band: Rossiter W. Raymond. Engineer as a kind of businessman. Resisted code of ethics.

11 ASME 3 Founders Sweet: artisan Holly: businessman Thurston: educator Inclusive membership, but elite governance of the society.

12 AIEE Formed to compete with British society.
First president was president of Western Union. But scientific advance in electricity brought rapid professionalism of AIEE.

13 Proliferation of Societies
Unhappiness with business v. professionalism calibration. Business toward proliferation, professionalism toward unification.

14 Ideology Engineers not philosophers. No coherent metaphysical system.
Many assumptions about the world taken as self-evident. System Materialistic: physics and material surroundings. Idealistic: Ethical imperatives and moralism. Biz v. Science again!!

15 Herbert Spencer Social darwinism. Laissez faire.
Highly influential in late 1800s. Spencer an engineer. Could not reconcile with idealism.

16 Engineers: Priests of Social Good
ASCE’s Morrison: “We are the priests of material development, of the work which enables other men to enjoy the fruits of the great sources of power in Nature, and of the power of mind over matter. We are priests of the new epoch, without superstitions.”

17 Self Image Important social role. Logical thinkers.
Concerned over status of engineers. Seek scientific solutions to all things. Similarity with reformers Middle ground between labor and capital. Nostalgia for individualism of the frontier. Not the same faith in democracy.

18 Struggle for Status AIEE took lead. Code of Ethics: 1906-1912.
Public policy forays: largely unsuccessful. Local vs. Center: Locals were fairly strong rule limits local power. New grade of member: allowed businessmen in. Shift from professionalism to biz: mid teens to 20s.

19 Revolt of the Civils Overproduction of Civil degrees.
Complancy of ASCE. No interest in unification. Newell Reclamation Service head, Orwellian designs. Committee on Engineering Cooperation. American Association of Engineers: Grew to 20,000 in just under 2 years.

20 Engineering Council Answer to AAE, 1917. Served government.
Didn’t unify engineers, but neither did AAE.

21 Frederick Taylor Scientific management.
Early engineers approach to management. Time and motion study of industrial engineering. All task, no relationship. Threatened both labor and management. Efficiency methods used in education!! Morris Cooke: efficiency and democracy.

22 Herbert Hoover Engineering method personified.
Progressive but not radical. Efficiency will eliminate waste. Engineering write large. But had constrained view of what engineers could do. President of Federated American Engineering Societies 1920.

23 Planning vs. the Individual
Scientific management and technocracy led to planning at the center. Other engineers emphasized the individual and enterprise. Depression look inward: ECPD 1932: licensure as way of controlling supply. Unions

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