Catalogue


Servants of the state : managing diversity & democracy in the federal workforce, 1933-1953 /
Margaret C. Rung.
imprint
Athens : University of Georgia Press, c2002.
description
xiv, 271 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0820323624 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Athens : University of Georgia Press, c2002.
isbn
0820323624 (hardcover : alk. paper)
catalogue key
4719177
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-256) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Margaret C. Rung is an associate professor of history at Roosevelt University.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-02-01:
Rung (Roosevelt Univ.) traces the difficult change of a pluralistic attitude in hiring, promotion, and employee practices within the federal government. The book provides a good historical view of the development of the federal civil service merit system and the barriers to and advancement of women and African American workers in the government workforce. Rung discusses private versus public sector workforce and labor relations and chronicles a clear picture of attitudes and discrimination against women and African American employees prior to the Civil Rights Act. She makes excellent use of actual examples of policies, practices, and actions by federal managers to illustrate early discrimination and to show how the social and political movements of the 1950s and 1960s transformed federal employment practices. Particularly informative are chapters on building the civil service under the New Deal, managing human relations during the wartime and Cold War civil service, and the role of unions in federal labor policy. The book is well researched and soundly documented, but since it covers a specialized area of employment history, it is sometimes encumbered by historical facts and detail. Recommended for academic collections, upper-division undergraduates through researchers and faculty. S. F. Clark Lebanon Valley College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An interesting study that traces the slow rise of pluralistic attitude in hiring and promotion procedures with the United States federal government . . . By focusing on the concept of individual merit versus group rights in the public-sector workplace, the author underlines an important movement in the United States public sector workplace."--International Review of Administrative Sciences
"[A] well-research study . . . A valuable contribution to the growing number of studies on how individuals negotiate with and within the federal government to create change in society."-- Law and History Review
"[A] well-research study . . . A valuable contribution to the growing number of studies on how individuals negotiate with and within the federal government to create change in society."--Law and History Review
"Exhaustively researched. Margaret Rung proves that the records of federal agencies are rich with fascinating stories of the people who worked in them. She does an excellent job of mixing the ideas and policies of managers with the voices of workers."--Cindy S. Aron, University of Virginia
"Prodigiously researched . . . By weaving together managerial philosophies and labor practices, union politics, and worker's actions, Rung has produced a well-crafted tapestry of federal employment."-- American Historical Review
"Prodigiously researched . . . By weaving together managerial philosophies and labor practices, union politics, and worker's actions, Rung has produced a well-crafted tapestry of federal employment."--American Historical Review
"The book provides a good historical view of the development of the federal civil service merit system and the barriers to and advancement of African American workers in the government workforce."-- Choice
"The book provides a good historical view of the development of the federal civil service merit system and the barriers to and advancement of African American workers in the government workforce."--Choice
"An interesting study that traces the slow rise of pluralistic attitude in hiring and promotion procedures with the United States federal government . . . By focusing on the concept of individual merit versus group rights in the public-sector workplace, the author underlines an important movement in the United States public sector workplace."-- International Review of Administrative Sciences
"An important and highly original study of an insufficiently known issue."--Desmond King, St. John's College, Oxford University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Servants of the Statetraces the halting rise of a pluralistic attitude in hiring and promotion procedures within the federal government. Ranging from the Great Depression to World War II to the early days of both the civil rights movement and the Cold War, Margaret Rung reveals how circumstances in each of these eras shaped how federal managers conceptualized merit for female and African American workers. At the same time, Rung shows how labor relations, as practiced by the nation's most prominent employer, reflected and fostered broader social and cultural debates concerning American identity in a diverse and democratic society.Rung draws on an impressive array of sources, including previously unexamined archival materials, oral histories, and personnel manuals, as she tells how federal administrators and employees destabilized earlier patterns of discrimination based on white male privilege--only to confront new challenges engendered by personnel trends grounded in sociology and psychology. In the end, a renewed commitment to democracy and social justice in the 1930s and 1940s did not entail a complete restructuring of government labor relations policy or the merit system. By midcentury, labor segmentation based on race and gender within the federal civil service still existed, as did the tension between managers' desire to support individual initiative and their desire to remedy categorical discrimination against blacks and women.Questions of individual merit versus group rights remain central to our discussions about the relationship between equality and pluralism.Servants of the Statehighlights the fluid meaning of merit by focusing on this critical concept in the public-sector workplace. By covering an area frequently ignored by historians, it adds an important historical dimension to current affirmative action debates and other issues that touch on pluralism and individual opportunity.
Main Description
Servants of the State traces the halting rise of a pluralistic attitude in hiring and promotion procedures within the federal government. Ranging from the Great Depression to World War II to the early days of both the civil rights movement and the Cold War, Margaret Rung reveals how circumstances in each of these eras shaped how federal managers conceptualized merit for female and African American workers. At the same time, Rung shows how labor relations, as practiced by the nation's most prominent employer, reflected and fostered broader social and cultural debates concerning American identity in a diverse and democratic society. Rung draws on an impressive array of sources, including previously unexamined archival materials, oral histories, and personnel manuals, as she tells how federal administrators and employees destabilized earlier patterns of discrimination based on white male privilege--only to confront new challenges engendered by personnel trends grounded in sociology and psychology. In the end, a renewed commitment to democracy and social justice in the 1930s and 1940s did not entail a complete restructuring of government labor relations policy or the merit system. By midcentury, labor segmentation based on race and gender within the federal civil service still existed, as did the tension between managers' desire to support individual initiative and their desire to remedy categorical discrimination against blacks and women. Questions of individual merit versus group rights remain central to our discussions about the relationship between equality and pluralism. Servants of the State highlights the fluid meaning of merit by focusing on this critical concept in the public-sector workplace. By covering an area frequently ignored by historians, it adds an important historical dimension to current affirmative action debates and other issues that touch on pluralism and individual opportunity.
Table of Contents
A Note on Terminologyp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Scientific Administration of the Civil Service Prior to the New Dealp. 23
Building the New Deal Civil Servicep. 49
Managing Human Relations in the Wartime and Cold War Civil Servicep. 76
Unions and Federal Labor Policyp. 105
Gender and the Civil Servicep. 137
Race and Meritp. 157
Conclusionp. 184
Notesp. 199
Bibliographyp. 245
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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