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Exporting the "Gospel of Productivity" United States tecnical assistance and British industry 1945-1960.

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the United States devoted great attention to furthering European recovery. Much of the continent lay in ruins. Surviving industrial capacity was often antiquated or inefficient. Moreover, many Americans feared that impoverished populations in the European countries might turn to the Communists. The immediate need was for finance and resources, which led to the creation of the Marshall aid program. However, American officials recognized that money was not enough. Longer-term economic prosperity and political stability required that Europeans modernize their industries and internalize the kind of productivity consciousness that was normal in America. This strategy also promised benefits for the United States itself. After all, American manufacturers needed well-off Europeans to buy their dollar exports. The upshot was a second component of U.S. policy, a government organized technical assistance program, worth over $300 million in the fifteen years to 1960, equivalent to only about 1.5 per cent of total Marshall Plan funds but still a substantial sum to risk on an almost untried form of foreign aid.(1)

In the long boom that followed "the Marshall Plan days," the technical assistance aspect of American policy was almost forgotten. However, in recent years, this situation has changed and there is now a large literature on the subject, including much about the "politics of productivity" which ultimately shaped developments.(2) Nevertheless, gaps in the story remain. Much of the discussion focuses on the late 1940s, even though technical assistance continued, albeit in gradually diminishing form, until about 1960. Moreover, the American side of events has received emphasis and there is relatively little on the reaction of recipient countries to this kind of aid. Finally, many accounts deal only with how the program operated at government level, ignoring that it also involved a wide range of organized business and labor organizations on both sides of the Atlantic.(3) Scholars have concentrated on the political and macroeconomic aspects of the U.S. program, paying less attention to what it actually achieved in particular countries and circumstances. The following article explores one detailed case - the American technical assistance program as it affected British manufacturing industry in the fifteen years after 1945.

The Recognition of U.S. Productivity Superiority

In the inter-war years, the claim that American business was more efficient than its British counterpart was controversial.(4) United States subsidiary companies and business consultants operated across the Atlantic in increasing numbers and provided practical illustrations of their country's superior techniques.(5) Moreover, almost all new knowledge about the world of production now originated in America. Britain had no equivalent of Taylor or the Hawthorne experiments. On the other hand, many British manufacturers remained unconvinced that they were falling behind. American methods, they argued, might be suitable in American conditions, but they would not work elsewhere, especially not in a country like Britain, with its very particular industrial relations traditions and market structures.(6) British manufacturing, they argued, had successfully adapted over a long period to the circumstances within which it operated.

The Second Word War did much to puncture British self-confidence. Fighting as allies brought the two countries together but also amplified American criticism of Britain's backwardness. Appalled at what they identified as British restrictionism, some Washington politicians pressured their government to open talks with the London administration aimed at curtailing the power of cartels.(7) American military personnel visited British factories, studied their operations and then talked freely on both sides of the Atlantic about where Britain was going wrong.(8) Most importantly, it appeared that hard evidence existed to prove the productivity gap.

In 1943, Dr. Leon Rostas of the British National Institute for Economic and Social Research published a pioneering statistical comparison of industrial efficiency in several advanced industrial countries. Rostas's figures showed, amongst other things, that during the 1930s Britain's workers were somewhere between one and a half and two and a half times less productive than their U.S. counterparts.(9) During the next two years, more detailed studies reached similar conclusions. In 1944, Sir Francis Platt's Cotton Textile Mission returned from a study tour of America with the news that British production per man-hour was less than the U.S. equivalent "by approximately 18 to 49 per cent in spinning . . . and . . . 56 to 67 per cent in weaving."(10) Delegations from the coal and shoe industries published equally damning figures.(11) Finally, right at the end of the war, British rayon firms admitted that they, too, had fallen well behind the American standard. As the Economist noted, this was perhaps the most significant report of all, since the rayon industry was new and "generally held to be one of the most efficient" in Britain, while two of the leading U.S. producers were "daughters" of British firms.(12)

Though in the years immediately after 1945, Anglo-American relations developed through a number of dramatic new phases - the ending of the lend-lease, the negotiation of the loan to Britain, the inception of Marshall aid - the productivity issue, and in particular the British lag, received continued discussion on both sides of the Atlantic. The Labour Party had come to power in London determined to embark upon a program of industrial modernization to remedy Britain's balance of payments problems.(13) Impressed with the efficiency of American capitalism, key ministers, like Stafford Cripps at the Board of Trade, knew that Britain had already successfully imported several U.S. techniques (for example, motion study and Training Within Industry(14)) as part of wartime programs. Consequently, when Labour launched its productivity drive, American practice explicitly influenced at least some of the components. Meanwhile, a few voices from within British business were also beginning to argue publicly that the nation could learn much from across the Atlantic. The United States, several returning visitors observed, might be behind Britain on labor relations, but was far in advance when it came to virtually every facet of technical organization and method.(15)

Americans had mixed opinions about Britain's problems. Many felt that the British were basically beyond redemption. One journalist living in New England told a London magazine: "The popular impression [here] is that a Tory class holds, largely through inheritance, the bulk of British industry and that as a consequence British industry suffers from absentee ownership, generally incompetent management, and uninspired labor forces."(16) In the same vein, when Chicago's Machinery and Allied Products Institute produced an influential report on "technological stagnation in Great Britain," the aim was to expose British folly and thus illustrate the pitfalls that America needed to avoid as it matured.(17) Nevertheless, others felt that Britain should and could be helped, for reasons which ranged from enlightened self-interest (the need for a strong trading partner and political ally) to liberal idealism. By late 1947, this latter group had gained the ascendancy in Washington. The upshot occurred the following year, when the United States set in motion what became a long-running series of initiatives aimed at raising British standards.

Technical Assistance Programs: Size and Character

American technical assistance to Britain developed through two broad stages.(18) At first, providing information and know-how, preferably in as direct a way as was possible, received emphasis. Washington officials believed that American methods were obviously and demonstrably superior. If the British could see U.S. techniques in action, it was asserted, they would be galvanized into modernizing their old-fashioned plants. Subsequently, from the beginning of the 1950s this approach changed in line with shifting U.S. priorities at home and abroad. For the rest of the decade, the effort concentrated on reforming wider aspects of Britain's business environment and culture, in the belief that technical knowledge alone was irrelevant if those in industry remained unable or unwilling to use it.

The first main technical assistance initiative was the Anglo-American Council on Productivity (AACP), launched in late 1948. The origins of the body lay on both sides of the Atlantic.(19) Though no productivity strings were attached to Marshall funds for Britain, there existed a growing feeling in Congress that Britain ought to be more active on this issue. A new and more thorough work by Rostas again suggested that American manufacturing was two or three times more efficient than its British counterpart.(20) James Silberman, from the U.S. Department of Labor, further heightened American concerns when visiting Britain in the summer of 1948, when he formed "a devastatingly adverse view of British productivity which compared even worse with America than he had been led to expect." However, Washington found itself in part pushing at an open door, since Britain's Labour Government remained convinced that the productivity issue was crucial and continued with its own program to encourage reform. Thus, when Cripps, now Chancellor of the Exchequer, met Paul Hoffman, the Director of the Economic Co-Operation Administration (ECA), in the wake of Silberman's visit, they quickly agreed that a rolling program of visits by British employers and trade unionists to American plants would be highly desirable. A specially created body, the AACP, was responsible for administering this program.

Over the next four years, the AACP sponsored 66 joint employer-trade union teams to visit the United States and investigate specific sectors or particular business practices (for example, production engineering and control). Altogether the effort involved 956 British participants at a cost of $3 million, 70 per cent of which came from the U.S. Government. Teams were encouraged to do as much as they could to publicize their findings once they returned to Britain, amplifying the results. Each was expected to produce a full report and a popular version, and some 650,000 copies of these documents were eventually distributed throughout industry. Teams also addressed members of their particular trades, visiting firms and trade associations. By the mid-1950s, more than 3,000 such meetings had been held.(21)

While the AACP was still operating, the London Mission of the ECA decided to launch its own program of visits to the United States. It made contact with a variety of British Ministries and educational establishments to recruit suitable candidates. In all, the Mission sent 29 teams with 67 members to the U.S. and brought four teams of American advisers to Britain. The focus here tended to be on specific techniques such as work study and marketing. To complement this activity, the Mission also paid for a number of British managers to study in America, using schedules which combined placement with firms and enrollment in university courses. By the early 1950s, the Mission had sponsored 18 such educational projects, involving 311 students, at a cost of $1.3 million.(22)

The second phase of U.S. technical assistance began during 1952-3. By now, American productivity programs were running in several other European countries, and Washington officials could assess what was successful and what had failed. Most concluded that a "broad brush" approach to the productivity problem, based simply on demonstrating the superiority of American methods, would only achieve limited results. Real and lasting gains meant turning productivity into something of a moral crusade. Wide sections in each society, from both sides of industry, must take part and if possible assume responsibility for their own programs. Moreover, the question of what issues needed to be tackled in which countries required more thought. Participation and involvement would only grow in so far as initiatives addressed local conditions and problems.(23)

Various results flowed from this reassessment. In administrative terms, American policy now became directed towards creating national productivity centers, which would be linked by a joint U.S. Organisation for European Economic Co-Operation (OEEC) body, the European Productivity Agency (EPA).(24) More specifically, the London Mission also began to reconsider its own priorities. Officials agreed that so far they had not changed a wide enough spectrum of opinion. One recorded his impressions in August 1952:

During the past two years I have talked with more than 200 British businessmen . . . [and] officers of the Board of Trade, the Monopolies Commission, AACP, officers of Trade Associations and other industrialists. No one has uttered the words so dear to the heart of an Evangelist, "What can I do to be saved?"(25)

In fact, they thought British business and, to a lesser extent, British trade unions remained wedded to restrictionism and collusion. Given these problems, future policy should aim at two specific targets. First, the program should generate pressure to weaken restrictive practices of all kinds. This might mean, for example, setting up university-led enquiries into the subject or encouraging the British Government to extend its current anti-monopoly legislation. Second, the question of management needed more attention. Managers occupied a crucial position in the production system, the Americans believed, since they could both initiate innovation and encourage labor flexibility. It was, therefore, vital to ensure that they were adequately trained and competent, both in technical subjects and in the newly emergent discipline of "human relations." Britain might well need to follow the American example and develop a thoroughgoing system of business education.(26)

This evolving situation had one final twist. In 1952, Senators Benton and Moody successfully sponsored two amendments to the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948, which effectively formed the basis for all technical assistance programs in Europe. In future, American aid should aim, amongst other things, to discourage "cartel and monopolistic practices." Moreover, Congress appropriated $100 million specifically to promote these objectives.(27) In effect, just as the London Mission was reaching new conclusions about the direction of future work, it found its hand greatly strengthened by the legislators in Washington.

Technical assistance to Britain in the remaining years of the 1950s, therefore, tended to flow down twin tracks. At one level, the country was fully bound into the EPA's developing network. This produced significant activity, since by 1956 the EPA was employing 100 permanent staff and as many consultants. Under EPA auspices, British managers and trade unionists took part in numerous courses and contributed to a large number of publications on subjects ranging from standardization to training. Meanwhile, the Benton-Moody amendments also led to developments. The British Government, advised by the London Mission, eventually received $9 million to support 163 projects involving 81 recipient organizations. Money went to, among other things, the creation of advisory services ($1.5 million), education and training ($1.5 million), social and economic research ($1.1 million) and publicity ([pounds]0.6 million). Grants tended to be "of a pump priming nature," aimed at stimulating interest and thus hopefully leading to "the more permanent establishment of services and facilities benefitting smaller and less efficient members of industry and commerce." Some of the projects stretched into the early 1960s, after the ending of formal technical assistance and the closure of the EPA at the turn of the decade.(28)

Taken together these initiatives represented a formidable attempt to change British methods and attitudes. In the first phase, the Americans had provided an enormous amount of basic know-how about best practice in a wide cross-section of industries. This covered the different phases of manufacturing - from design, through production engineering, production planning, and production control to the details of actually making the product, and finally marketing and distribution. In the second phase, the program gradually shifted towards reforming business practice, with a particularly strong emphasis on management. In total, between 1948 and 1958, the U.S. provided some $15 million worth of direct technical assistance to the United Kingdom, less than it gave to France ($45 million), Germany ($33 million) or Italy ($21 million), but nevertheless a considerable sum.(29) To what extent did American money actually provoke change?

Assessing the Impact

Assessing impact poses many difficulties. The American initiatives ran alongside British government policies to boost productivity for part of the period, which obviously makes it difficult to distinguish effects. Complicating matters further, the U.S. official programs were not the only conduit spreading American ideas in Britain at this time. Some British companies had made their own arrangements for keeping up with U.S. practice and had access to a wide range of information from across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, American private investment increased by a factor of four and a half between 1950 and 1962, and no doubt encouraged emulation.(30) Finally, American officials in charge of particular programs were usually keen to encourage follow-up studies measuring impact, but the British rarely co-operated, citing the cost or the danger of breaching commercial confidences. As a result, contemporaries completed very little systematic work on outcomes.(31)

However, accepting these various caveats, certain evidence still deserves consideration. Most British and U.S. government assessments of technical aid were generally positive. A thorough British enquiry of 1951, based upon detailed investigations by several different ministries, reached typical conclusions. It urged evaluation of technical assistance from two viewpoints - "direct and indirect effects on the U.K. economy" and "broader social and political implications as a contribution towards European co-operation and good relations with the U.S." Existing initiatives had produced varied results. The AACP seemed to have had considerable value. It was "a most effective instrument for collecting and disseminating information about American industrial practice, and for stimulating thought on productivity problems at all levels in U.K. industry." On the other hand, the activities of U.S. consultants in Britain had only been "of very slight importance." As a whole, however, the exercise had proved beneficial. The enquiry concluded:

Technical assistance proper as furnished direct to the U.K has played a useful part in relation to productivity problems. It is not possible to assess its contribution quantitatively, but it has certainly played its part in the rise of productivity in the U.K over the past eighteen months. Its cost has not been heavy either in public money or in manpower.(32)

Though British attitudes occasionally disheartened American Mission staff in London, they also felt that the programs had been generally worthwhile. A senior U.S. official reported in 1949 that they were "achieving results in England" with the "intangible and psychological influences" being probably "even more important than the many tangible contributions in technique and methods."(33) Seven years later, an authoritative survey by the Mission, reviewing the entire history of post-war productivity policy in Britain, reiterated that the various interventions had brought considerable gain: "The cumulative effect . . . has been the stimulation of wider interest in improved managerial methods and better techniques and the development of a fresh outlook on the industrial problems facing the country." Moreover, it was concluded, much of this had occurred directly because of the American government's efforts:

the employment of . . . U.S. aid was necessary to strengthen the hands of those few [British] government officials and . . . officers of trade and research associations, and educational establishments who recognized the urgency of the need for greater efficiency and improved management but who lacked adequate moral support or financial resources to put into effect schemes that would help overcome deficiencies.(34)

Such opinions ought to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, they are far from easy to substantiate. Indeed, some official assessments may have overestimated the American influence, perhaps quite significantly. The AACP generally received a good press in Britain and was usually credited with an impressive impact. Some more critical investigations by journalists and technical specialists suggest that this reputation was merited.(35) On the other hand, when successor organizations came to study how various industries had digested the AACP reports, they recorded very few convincing endorsements. A verdict on the bronze and brass castings sector, published in 1955, was typical:

From a cross-section of the industry made in connection with this review, it would seem that the adoption of new techniques has not greatly extended in the last two years, although many more firms have come to realise their value. While the more enlightened firms have continued a policy of purchasing new plants or reconsidering their production programs, others have been content to look on with an 'it costs too much' attitude or have ignored the recommendations entirely.(36)

Similarly, the EPA's real influence is open to question. It undoubtedly obtained some tangible results. The Agency's payment for an I.C.I. cost accountant to be seconded to the hosiery industry created both savings for the firms involved and a new understanding about the relevance of financial techniques.(37) In addition, indirect effects were valuable. For example, British academics who met at EPA courses in the late 1950s subsequently took part in creating the Association of Teachers of Management, a body that played a significant role in business education throughout the following decade.(38) However, most fair-minded contemporaries thought the EPA's record unremarkable. The Economist called the EPA "a little known child of the OEEC" which was doing good work but on a small scale.(39) In 1959, the Cabinet Mutual Aid Committee came to even more unflattering conclusions, judging that the organization's achievements, when balanced against cost, "could not be regarded as outstanding."(40) Nor is it easy to see how this could have been anything but the case, given patchy British participation in EPA projects.(41)

Were the various techniques and methods that were at the heart of the American productivity gospel widely adopted in Britain at this time? Such an enquiry hardly supports the idea of burgeoning American influence. The Americans urged the professionalization of management, yet there is very little evidence to suggest that many in Britain agreed. Internal management development schemes remained a rarity. One informed estimate in 1960 calculated that "only 400 of 11,000 public and 310,000 private companies had some kind of management training."(42) Moreover, no great surge of interest in external courses occurred. A number of educational institutions offered management or business training, but syllabuses were not integrated and standards tended to be low. Anyway, companies were unenthusiastic about using these facilities. A National Economic Development Council enquiry in 1965 examined 70 firms and found that only 14 per cent of their managers had attended an external course of any kind over the preceding few years.(43) The 1960s saw some institutional developments - notably the establishment of the London and Manchester Business Schools - but no great departure from longstanding prejudices. The Taylor, Nelson Group surveyed leading executives in 325 major British companies during mid-1969 and concluded: "in large areas of industry, attitudes toward any form of graduate . . . are ambivalent, while those towards business graduates range from blank incomprehension ('I don't really know what they are') to open hostility ('business schools are over-rated')."(44)

A similar pattern appears in relation to "human relations." Managements themselves rarely operated on "human relations" principles. Selection procedures were still generally unstructured, while there was little sign of any move to team working. On the contrary, most firms were fairly rigid hierarchies, bound together with "command and control" authority systems. Charismatic leaders continued to dominate in many cases. Tom Burns and G. M. Stalker's investigation into the electrical industry at the beginning of the 1960s reported that "the one constant element" in their sample firms was the "extraordinary importance ascribed to the personal qualities of the managing director or general manager of the plant."(45) Nor was "human relations" dogma any more prominent on the shopfloor. Joint consultation mechanisms spread fairly widely in the 1940s, partly as a result of government encouragement, but were much less in evidence thereafter.(46) Symptomatically, too, most firms remained unwilling to share financial information with their employees. A survey at the end of the 1950s discovered that business considered providing such data a "novelty," and only one fifth of the companies questioned did so.(47) A candid commentator in the Director observed: "Army leaders in the last war knew that even the humblest private would fight better if he has some idea of the overall strategy. Industry, it seems, has yet to learn the same lesson."(48) Indeed, in the absence of any real effort to communicate with workers, attitudes on the shopfloor tended to remain antagonistic or apathetic, polarized against an uncaring "them." Some firms had begun appointing personnel managers to tackle this problem, but they were only a small minority.(49)

There is little sign here, therefore, of any mass conversion to American ideas. Were the British more enthusiastic about the myriad of specific production and business techniques that were on offer in the U.S. programs? Some evidence suggests a substantial amount of take-up. An authoritative survey of the pressed metal industry, for example, found that the AACP team report had provoked new interest in mechanical handling. It noted: "Palletization, with movement effected by fork-lift trucks, has been gradually developed and is now a feature of the majority of large and medium-sized firms. Automatic transfer mechanisms . . . have been widely introduced."(50) However, there is little reason to suppose that such emulation was typical. For instance, the U.S. emphasis on packaging produced little response in Britain. One expert, writing in 1959, remarked that substantial publicity about best practice had not proved fruitful: "the average British package 'remained' ugly, ill-conceived and more costly to produce that it should be."(51) Nor did American quality control techniques impress. The AACP team that reported on the subject caused some interest amongst specialists but little real gain. By 1955, some were arguing that the gap between the two countries in terms of applications was actually widening. An investigation in the Times Review of Industry concluded: "Whereas in the United States statistical quality control methods have continued so to expand that every type of industry now uses them . . ., there has been a falling off in the use of these simple methods in the United Kingdom."(52) Overall, in fact, it is the lack of progress in applying American ideas to these kinds of question that appears most striking. As critics often observed at the beginning of the 1960s, many British industrialists remained suspicious of both specialists and specialisms.(53)

It would appear reasonable to conclude, therefore, that U.S., technical assistance programs had a relatively modest impact on British industry. They no doubt helped make productivity a public issue in the 1940s and 1950s, but the gap between such debate and what actually happened on the ground remained considerable. If real change occurred, it usually involved a small "head" of already forward looking firms, with a much larger "tail" almost entirely unaffected.

The Transmission Mechanism: Obstacles and Difficulties

Technical assistance was, in essence, a social process. It required experts, on one side, to convince target audiences, on the other, that their prescriptions were both correct and worth acting upon. The first priority for the Americans, therefore, was to deliver guidance with clarity and correct emphasis. This was not always easy to achieve.

Those on the American side had much in their favor. The U.S. economy was unarguably the most powerful and vibrant in the world, giving an obvious prestige to its methods and techniques. At a personal level, Americans also had advantages. The British certainly had doubts about some aspects of life across the Atlantic but American friendliness and openness tended to impress them. Washington's emissaries could, therefore, usually count on being liked, an important first step in establishing effective communication. Finally, the whole American effort was, of course, underpinned by an impressive array of organizational and material resources. A large ECA Mission consisting of over 180 officials in the peak year of 1951 supported those experts operating in Britain.(54) They could, furthermore, call upon almost unlimited supplies of paper and hospitality products like cigarettes and whiskey, important in a country where rationing was still extensive. Meanwhile, the lavish meals and hotels provided by their hosts frequently impressed British teams that visited America.

On the other hand, problems of execution marred U.S. initiatives. Firstly, there were ambiguities in American policy itself. European Missions did not always welcome strategic decisions arrived at in Washington. Conflicts could easily break out within technical assistance agencies, particularly since each normally included personnel on secondment from the worlds of both business and organized labor. Officials from American trade union backgrounds were furious when Washington encouraged the EPA to organize a conference on "human relations" in 1956. They argued that "experience in the U.S. demonstrated that so-called human relations activities were only a device employed by capitalists to undermine trade union activities and to weaken the bargaining position of unions."(55) Conversely, American business groups were sometimes unhappy with allowing European labor representatives or industrial competitors into their plants and lobbied hard to curtail such visits.(56)

Implementation produced other difficulties. The U.S. effort emphasized visits by consultants or experts, conferences and team visits. The theory was that the Europeans should listen and learn. However, in practice, the interchange did not always work. American managers hired to explain new techniques sometimes patronized their audiences or showed amazing ignorance about local European conditions. One was described as having created "active resistance" because of his overbearing and insensitive manner.(57) Conferences, too, could prove unsatisfactory. Audiences frequently came from very different backgrounds - the boardroom, the shopfloor and the drawing office - and did not necessarily share any common or even basic understanding of technical subjects. As a result, the proceedings occasionally verged on the banal. An American report of one conference noted that it had been "amorphous," with few of the papers stimulating "really useful discussion." The U.S. experts present had failed to establish much contact with the delegates and resorted to "dogmatic utterance" when asked for specific opinions.(58) Finally, team visits, so important in the first phase of U.S. policy, had their own particular problems. The selection of participants sometimes caused controversy, occasionally for political reasons but more often because American officials had little knowledge of the constituencies they were dealing with and so did not necessarily end up with the best possible candidates.(59) Once in America, the teams usually saw several different plants, often in a variety of cities, and many complained that they were being rushed.(60) Unsurprisingly, the experience of being thrown together in a foreign country did not necessarily produce harmony amongst the visitors. The AACP-sponsored team sent to investigate management education in America proved particularly unsatisfactory, since members had not only bickered amongst themselves but also took time off from official engagements to do private business. A confidential report on the group concluded: "They have acted as a bunch of individualists, not as a team, have frequently pursued their own interests and not followed the team program, have been discourteous to their hosts and cynical of many of the things they have seen."(61)

The creation of the EPA magnified the potential for these kinds of difficulties. The new body operated independently but received funds from both the U.S. and the OEEC, which was itself an obvious source of tension, as American policy prescriptions often collided with simmering intra-European rivalries.(62) The EPA's failure to build appropriate administrative foundations despite its rapid growth after its founding exacerbated matters. A later report described the resulting chaos:

At the end of the 1953-54 financial year, that is after six months of effective activity, 86 projects had been adopted. In many cases they were in no way connected with one another and the importance of the problems involved varied considerably; finally in many cases it was by no means certain that the results expected would have any practical effect.(63)

The EPA never recovered from this period, and spent much of the later 1950s juggling organizational reform. Operational activities certainly suffered. An internal review of the EPA's Productivity Committee in 1961 was characteristically self-critical, arguing dryly that too much of this body's work had been "based on oral exchange of views whose length was not always matched by an equal degree of precision."(64)

The American message of technical assistance was, to some extent, dissipated in the telling. The transmission of information and experience proceeded using various mediums, but none was perfect, and a range of problems interposed themselves between the parties involved. Nevertheless, even with this qualification, it is clear that an enormous amount of knowledge was offered. Why did the British react so negatively?

Explanations (i) The Economic Context

The literature about Britain's business environment and institutional arrangements during these years provides a starting point for answering such a question. Alfred Chandler has argued that family dynasties still dominated many British companies after 1945, and that these firms were orientated towards providing a steady stream of cash for their owners rather than long-term profit and growth.(65) Stephen Broadberry and Nick Crafts, influenced by Mancur Olson, identify a rather different set of pathologies. They suggest that a cozy system of restrictive labor practices and encompassing cartels, formed during the 1930s, continued unaltered long into the post-war period. Though perhaps good for political stability, it was certainly not beneficial for economic innovation. Hedged in by trade unions and feather-bedded by collusive agreements in a sellers' market, British business simply lacked the will or outside stimulant to become dynamic.(66) Do these arguments help in understanding the reactions to technical assistance?

Chandler's strictures on the family concern are of some relevance, particularly in relation to Britain's considerable small firm sector.(67) For example, companies without elaborated management hierarchies rarely employed technical specialists and so were at a disadvantage in handling new information about methods and processes.(68) Moreover, they could not always afford borrowing or imitating techniques. An article on the pottery industry in 1948 noted:

A shortcoming on the part of management which sounds almost incredible is that they find the costing of individual articles to be impracticable because no sufficiently inexpensive system has been devised for allocating accurately to individual items the cost of losses in production, which averages 20-25 per cent of total cost.(69)

Finally, there is no doubt that some owner-managers were particularly intent upon protecting their own status and power. One civil servant charged with extending the employment of personnel managers in the Birmingham area noted that many firms had extremely unsophisticated industrial relations practices. Several employers told him: "I am the Boss, and they [the workers] have to do what they are told."(70)

On the other hand, the argument should not be pushed too far. American agencies, and later the EPA, were well aware of the problems experienced by small firms and did their best to tailor programs appropriately. For example, the EPA published special technical digests for the sector, summarizing the key points from over 1,000 periodicals - more than even the biggest firms would have been able to monitor.(71) In addition, it is important to stress that many of the techniques being recommended were not expensive. Indeed, one advantage of technical assistance was the relatively uncomplicated measures which could often be adopted incrementally. Again, there was no real barrier for small firms. Lastly, reviewing the albeit imperfect data on applications, it is difficult to find any evidence that concerns with professional managements incorporated new techniques better than those without. In fact, a number of well-publicized examples demonstrated that individual entrepreneurs were quite capable of using what was on offer in highly creative ways. The journal Business, for example, focused on an owner-manager in the brass and copper industry who had completely transformed his firm's operations after taking part in an AACP team visit.(72) Thus, while the Chandlerian perspective is useful in this context, it cannot provide anything like the whole explanation.

The Broadberry and Crafts thesis also has its limitations. The part of their argument relating to trade unions and restrictive labor practices has little resonance in relation to the technical assistance programs. Indeed, the reaction of unions and their members to U.S. initiatives both in rhetoric and in reality suggests an almost opposite conclusion.

Few signs of negativity existed at a formal level. Most unions had enthusiastically backed Labour's "battle for production," with its various associated productivity initiatives, and they tended to see American assistance as a continuation of that effort. Indeed, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) sent its own team to investigate U.S. methods. The result was a report which confirmed the relevance of several American techniques without being simply uncritical. It advised unions to co-operate with the introduction of "scientific management" systems, since these would boost productivity, but also warned them to remain vigilant for any "abuses" that might occur in the process.(73)

This degree of compliance at first astonished some American officials, particularly since unions in other parts of Europe tended to be more antagonistic. A briefing paper on attitudes to productivity in Britain, produced for the London Mission in 1951, observed with surprise: "It is unusual to find a strong trade union movement voluntarily advocating . . . measures for the good of the country while knowing full well the inconvenience they will cause to individual union members."(74) Detailed discussions with the TUC productivity team revealed that some union leaders and executives were less committed to the introduction of new methods than others. Moreover, it was clear that rank and file members of British trade unions sometimes had quite complex opinions about American-inspired reforms. Typically, many liked effort-saving machines and gadgets but were less sure about suggested organizational changes, seeing them as emblematic of what they believed to be an American trade union surrender to management. Nevertheless, most trade unions in Britain remained at least sympathetic to what was being attempted.(75)

Events on the shopfloor produce a similar impression. Labor's restrictive practices handicapped managers in a few sectors - printing and shipbuilding for instance. However, this was far from typical. For, as a whole number of detailed enquiries throughout this period ascertained, most industries had few such problems. Ordinary British workers may not have exactly welcomed this type of change, but they did not actively oppose it.(76)

The second component of the Broadberry and Crafts thesis concerns the alleged lack of competition in the post-war years. British firms, they suggest, faced "soft" markets in many areas because of Germany and Japan's recent devastation. Furthermore, industry had developed a widespread taste for collusion, based around agreements maintained by trade associations. Does the evidence sustain these observations?

Though something of a sellers' market existed after 1945, it lacked as profound an impact and longevity as Broadberry and Crafts imply. Many British companies successfully exported in the immediate post-war years but by no means all established strong overseas roots. Trade and business journals constantly warned that British firms would be vulnerable when competition returned unless they made greater efforts to satisfy foreign customers on price and quality. As early as April 1946, the Times Review of Trade and Engineering editorialized:

Among old-established firms which have helped to build up Britain's well deserved reputation abroad for giving the best possible value for money there is a feeling of uneasiness because of reports first that prices of export goods are being raised unduly high and, secondly, that their quality is not being maintained.(77)

In fact, the honeymoon period ended more quickly than almost anyone had predicted. During 1949, the Engineering Advisory Council visited the Board of Trade to complain about growing German competition, and thereafter this theme became a commonplace in industry-state discussions.(78) By 1952, the Iron and Coal Trades Review was arguing that a watershed had been reached:

Every year since the war we have been warned by one Minister after another about the growing threat to our overseas markets from Germany and Japan. And almost every year has seen production rising in Britain, Germany, and Japan, while a sellers' market was maintained throughout the world. British exporters have been feeling competition from these ex-enemy countries for some years, but so far the markets have been able to absorb the growing output from all of them. There are now signs that the whole picture is changing. In one trade after another the sellers' market has gone, or is about to go. This year may well see the first head-on clashes between the world's large exporting nations.(79)

Other commentators, surveying a variety of sectors, made similar observations.(80) Two or three years later, reports indicated that Britain was actually losing some overseas markets.(81)

What about the charge of collusion? Evidence unearthed by the official Monopolies Commission shows that restrictive agreements bound some industrialists.(82) Nevertheless, the argument should not, once again, be exaggerated. Some industries were oligopolies, but as Mercer has recently emphasized, this does not mean that they were necessarily uncompetitive.(83) In fact, contemporary studies showed that high levels of concentration and intense competition often occurred together, particularly when foreign owned companies were present.(84) Nor were trade associations as influential in this period as imagined. The number of such bodies certainly grew after the war, but it is clear that in many cases they aimed chiefly to represent their trade's interests to government.(85) One research institution exhaustively investigated these organizations in the mid-1950s and found that "So far as the prevalence of price agreements is concerned . . . available evidence . . . [suggests] that rather less than a quarter of the total number of manufacturers' associations are engaged in this activity to a greater or lesser extent."(86) Collusion was not as extensive as Broadberry and Crafts imply.(87)

Explanations (ii) Applicability

In general terms, therefore, neither structural nor contextual factors of an economic nature fully explain why the British were so reluctant to emulate U.S. techniques. Were Britain's managers wary of adopting American solutions simply because they judged them largely inappropriate? During the early phases of the technical assistance programs, many British participants accepted uncritically and passively what was on offer. The AACP teams, for example, were often enthusiastic about almost every aspect of American life, ignoring any evidence of economic or social difficulty.(88) However, by the early 1950s, more realistic and discerning attitudes had begun to dominate. Some argued that the gap in technique between Britain and the U.S. was not overwhelming: the comparison of the worst practice at home with best practice across the Atlantic often exaggerated it. Others observed drawbacks as well as advantages in the U.S. system. For example, American employers quite obviously had less concern about safety than their British counterparts.(89) Nevertheless, few took these criticisms to extremes. Indeed, visitors with technical backgrounds continued to stress that, disregarding the hyperbole, U.S. manufacturing encompassed much to admire.(90) The measured assessment produced by a mixed team of managers who studied business administration at the University of Cincinnati and toured local plants during 1952-3 was fairly typical. The group recognized that "the varying efficiencies of . . . industrial concerns in Great Britain" meant that the scope for improvement differed "widely." However, they also agreed that much of what they had seen should not be ignored. The "beneficial" techniques ranged from "a different method of performing a clerical operation to a radical change in top management policy with regard to budgetary control."(91)

Of course, one or two elements in the U.S. package were genuinely controversial. The most animated debate occurred over the American advocacy of the "3 Ss" - standardization, simplification and specialization. Critics argued that the promotion of these was far too dogmatic. The United States had an enormous domestic population which demanded cheap goods, encouraging mass production to the greatest degree possible. Britain's position was very different. It depended on supplying numerous, fairly small home and export markets with ranges of specialized products. Like all those in business, British manufacturers inevitably worried about cost and price, but they also had to offer variety and quality. Accordingly, encouraging blind pursuit of the "3 Ss" was both harmful and foolish, threatening rather than boosting commercial prospects.(92) Do these points reflect real expertise or mere expediency?

Current opinions on the issue are mixed,(93) but our view is that contemporary anxieties were exaggerated. Labour's productivity campaign in the late 1940s first raised the potential benefits of standardization. After some reflection, key ministers like Cripps and Herbert Morrison decided that standardization of product was both possible and desirable and encouraged a number of investigations on how to accomplish it. These revealed a situation of some complexity. Overseas customers' stipulations definitely prevented several sectors from pursuing changes. The British Internal Combustion Engine Manufacturers Association, for example, reported that its members sent 92 per cent of their output abroad, but stressed that each had "to meet the varying needs of users." Foreign buyers held "very definite preferences" and would not accept standard models.(94) However, it was also clear that this kind of constraint was rather less prevalent than some were prone to claim. First, ministers knew from other enquiries that many exporting companies had little understanding of their product markets and succeeded only because they faced temporarily restricted competition.(95) Moreover, surveys of overseas buyers' preferences revealed that most chose British goods on the basis of factors like price, quality and delivery time, while variety of range interested only a few.(96) In fact, there is little doubt that conservatism and lethargy really prevented action: manufacturers were used to working in one particular way and did not want to worry about innovation. Typically, few exporters had even thought about encouraging their customers to accept narrower ranges by offering them lower prices on such goods.(97)

This left the government in a difficult position. As a special correspondent of the Economist remarked, the case for reducing "the variety of products of the average British factory" was "unchallengeable."(98) Nevertheless, actually achieving satisfactory change would not be easy. Successful implementation of the "3 Ss" required detailed cost and marketing data. Some firms had this kind of information already but many did not and would require time to become fluent in techniques for its collection. Moreover, as ministers were well aware, most of industry was very hostile to the idea of forcing the pace of change. Some government advisors recommended using the semi-official British Standards Institution (BSI) as a focus for reform, but engineering employers opposed this, arguing:

Standardisation to be effective must be carried out voluntarily and as a result of the co-operation between manufacturers and users . . . No support can thus be given to any idea of Government enforcement of standards. The suggestion that the BSI should take a more active part in initiating standards and producing draft specifications is not agreed . . . The knowledge as to when and where a standard could usefully be prepared must reside within industry, amongst those regularly so employed.(99)

In this situation, the government had no choice but to move with caution. Progress with introducing the "3 Ss" would have to be gradual and orchestrated through negotiated agreements involving trade associations.

The AACP team reports of the early 1950s refocused attention on the standardization issue. Some 24 of the first 58 teams felt that the "simplification and standardization of products" helped explain high U.S. productivity, and many recommended that British manufacturers adopt similar measures. The Metalworking Machine Tools team, for example, argued for "a ruthless and realistic application" of the "3 Ss," "not only to each individual firm but the industry as a whole," and promised that this would be "of tremendous benefit" to all concerned.(100) Nevertheless, most of the teams also stressed that standardization could not be pursued on its own but had to be part of a broader strategy to improve consumer satisfaction. The Drop Forging team made a fairly typical observation on the theme:

Co-operation exists between the user and the manufacturer . . . in the United States. This often results in modifications in design which in turn permit reasonable prices to be charged for articles that might otherwise be expensive. It is strongly recommended that British Drop Forgers and their customers should co-operate to design forgings which will be cheap and easy to produce.(101)

The specialist Simplification team made the same point. New product strategies, it emphasized, required a genuine integration of sales and production functions. The need, above all, was for better costings techniques that allowed managers to make sensible judgements about their options.(102) The team was not asking for a slavish copy of American mass production methods, but merely a more efficient approach to what was already being done.(103)

In many ways, this set the tone for discussion of the "3 Ss" during the rest of the 1950s. Trade journals regularly commented on the desirability of further standardization. An editorial in Engineering during 1956 noted:

A distressingly high proportion of British engineering concerns find the way to high production efficiency barred by an astonishing variety of designs, accumulated over years, sometimes over more than half a century. They embody the ideas of designers who have improved on this, or added that, or created something new. They embody the wishes of customers from all types of industries in countless markets. It is notoriously easier to sell what the customer wants rather than what the company makes. Investigation often reveals that thousands of part numbers are used where hundreds would suffice . . . Each part number has a drawing, which has to be filed and a bin in the stores, and tools in the tool store . . . Catalogues are crowded . . . The indigestion is so chronic that modern patent industrial medicines cannot cure it.(104)

On the other hand, reforming institutions repeated the need for care in introducing change. Though impressed by the degree of standardization it found, the OEEC Technical Assistance Mission which visited the United States vehicle industry in 1953 emphasised that the Americans applied standards in voluntary and flexible ways so as not to harm commercial opportunities. "No support," the group recorded, was "given to the establishment of any standard that would restrict design," as it was felt that this "would kill competition and block progress."(105) A few years later, one of Britain's own productivity organizations remarked on the need "to cut out wasteful variety, not to eliminate variety altogether," since that would lead to "the narrowing of consumer choice" and the deterioration of "skill in design and inventiveness."(106)

Criticism of the American emphasis on the "3 Ss," therefore, often seems to have been wide of the mark. Some companies did service highly specialized markets and needed to address product modification carefully. On the other hand, proliferation was often the outward manifestation of an inward malady in the business process. Policy makers and those involved in spreading expertise generally (though not universally(107)) understood this distinction and tried to tailor their prescriptions as a consequence. The "3 Ss" were not to be applied mechanically and did not represent ends in themselves. In this sense, the "3 Ss," like most of the other techniques being promoted, were not inappropriate to the production set-up in Britain.

Explanations (iii) Management Culture and Employer Politics

Economic calculations alone cannot explain British business's indifference to technical assistance. In fact, culture and politics were often the crucial barriers to implementation. Employers and managers reacted against the American programs not for financial reasons but because they compromised entrenched beliefs about how industry should be organized and run.

To begin with, there is no doubt that many British executives disliked the U.S. initiatives simply because they were American. British attitudes to the United States were complex and sometimes contradictory, but negative evaluations always remained near the surface.(108) In the early 1950s, U.K. students who studied on Mutual Security Agency schemes offended their hosts by reporting, amongst other things, that "'the Americans worship the dollar'" and "'the American undergraduates spend most of their time taking their girl friends to gin parties.'"(109) Nearly fifteen years later, a columnist in the Director regretted: "Hardly a month appears to go by without its outburst of anti-Americanism somewhere on the British business front."(110)

Several interlinked perceptions fueled these attitudes. At a personal level, Britons considered Americans "open" and "friendly" but also over-materialistic and prone to "boastfulness, bumptiousness and baloney."(111) More generally, they were uneasy about America's ultimate international objectives. Washington, some believed, was intent on destroying Britain's political power, opening the way for the colonization of the country by U.S. corporations. Anyway, it was asserted, America was hardly a suitable model for Britain: William Whyte's The Organisation Man was only one of a number of signs that democracy was rapidly being extinguished across the Atlantic.(112) Finally, there was the not insignificant question of corporate style. British executives aspired to be relaxed but patrician, capable of enjoying other refined pursuits. They judged Americans over-committed to their companies and ultimately rather vulgar in matters of taste.(113) Cartoonists in the London business press still featured the stereotypical U.S. businessman, complete with stetson and big cigar.

British managers had other potent reasons not to like U.S. prescriptions.(114) British managers rarely spent much time ruminating about management during this period, but they did share an intuitive grasp of what their calling demanded. Managers must, above all, be leaders, akin to military generals. Accordingly, they needed to be "characters," able to inspire subordinates in the firm. Additionally, they had to possess sound judgement - a "good brain" as it was usually described - and a capacity to act decisively. Prevarication was not admirable, even if quick thinking caused problems.

Technical competence received little emphasis compared to leadership. Although junior managers might need to know about specific processes or functions, at the apex of the firm, most believed, no such proficiency was necessary. Indeed, the ascent of the management ladder was popularly viewed as a movement away from the mundane world of specialist skills. As one correspondent told readers of the British Management Review: "The higher we go in the management hierarchy, the more we should look for educational breadth, the less perhaps for technical depth. For the higher the level the greater the artistry required, the greater the culture."(115)

Given this pattern of understanding, it is not difficult to see why British managers were relatively unsympathetic to some fundamental aspects of the U.S. aid package. The Americans stressed that managers needed to be professionals, schooled in their subject. The British, on the other hand, opined that this was anathema. Management was not really a coherent discipline. Some principles were involved, the journal Business allowed, but these were "so obvious and so elastic in practice" that they "hardly . . . [made] up a complete body of learning."(116) Accordingly, there was very little call for a formal system of management education. As Lyndal Urwick, the prominent management consultant, explained, most insisted that the only way to become a manager was by experience - "by entering a particular business undertaking and by forcing your way upwards through the ranks by sheer drive and personality, picking up what knowledge of the art you can as you go, by . . . trial and error."(117) A similar difference of opinion existed about consultation. The American position here was that managers needed to work together and consult as widely as possible. The British, on the other hand, with their emphasis on the lone leader, disagreed. Specialists like scientists and engineers could doubtless provide detailed information but they could not view issues strategically and so should be kept subordinate. Labor had even less claim to a voice. Typically, one British manager told a visiting American academic that if a trade union representative came to see him about their firm's balance sheet, "he would kick him out of the office."(118)

British employers had other reasons for resisting the American programs. The Attlee Governments' nationalization measures had scared them deeply, and even in the 1950s they remained anxious and defensive about any measure of state involvement in the economy.(119) The U.S. initiatives were not, of course, comparable to Labour's onslaught, but they did nevertheless contain several unwelcome components. Most British employers resented the American government's pressure against monopoly and restrictionism.(120) There was general unease, too, about the U.S. emphasis on management. Managers, it was believed should be the servants of the firm - no more and no less. Little would be gained by giving them "ideas above their station."(121) Third, most were critical of the U.S. preference for including trade unions in discussions about productivity. Management could reward labor if output grew, but unions did not have a right to consultation about the issue. Management, it was asserted, must retain its traditional prerogatives.(122) Finally, there was the difficult matter of confidentiality. The Americans encouraged openness about data on performance and indeed advocated techniques like inter-firm comparison (an early form of benchmarking) which depended upon the free exchange of information. However, few in Britain responded with enthusiasm. Most British firms had always been very secretive about their operations and commercial prospects. Moreover, there was now apparently a danger, given the existence of organizations like the EPA, that valuable information might go to the country's European competitors. In the situation, some concluded that the American emphasis on openness had ulterior motives.(123)

In response to these anxieties, British employers' associations campaigned against what were seen as the excesses of the American position. The Federation of British Industries (FBI) - the main representative organization - had a "minimalist and defensive" attitude to the AACP and this set the tone for responses long into the 1950s.(124) The tactics varied according to the occasion. Employers' representatives often attended EPA conferences and educational programs to present their own "line" and counter any American-inspired "over-enthusiasm." The organizations operated behind the scenes, too, lobbying Whitehall. Thus, when the Board of Trade canvassed business opinion about the future of the EPA in 1959, the FBI urged that it be wound up. The Federation's spokesman advised: "No doubt [the EPA's work] . . . was of some benefit but he did not think it by any means commensurate with the cost. If the Agency were to stop now, after six months it would not be missed."(125) Finally, business used international networks and contacts to exert influence. The FBI had been instrumental in creating the Council of European Industrial Federations (CEIF) during 1949, and over the following few years this body became a conduit for making British and European views known in the U.S. It formed links with American manufacturers and, through them, the American government. Typically, the FBI exerted pressure through the CEIF on those Washington officials concerned with the EPA, in the hope that they would then "channel its activities in constructive lines."(126) Of course, not all of this activity proved effective. Nevertheless, the U.S. Mission in London was aware of opposition, and often complained about the "indifference, verging on antipathy" of British business organizations and the negative behavior that this encouraged.(127)

Explanations (iv) British Government Attitudes

American officials were aware that, given the depth of business antipathy to their plans, attitudes in Whitehall might well prove vital. Vigorous support from politicians and senior civil servants would possibly make the difference in eventually winning over recalcitrant industrialists. However, persuading the British government to take a positive approach proved difficult.

The Labour administration that negotiated the AACP was, of course, well disposed to the idea of U.S. technical assistance. It had good relations with Washington and was committed to improving British productivity. Moreover, Labour had no problem about intervening in the economy: it was quite ready to use official agencies to modernize private enterprise. In the three years to 1951, therefore, U.S. missionaries and the British government largely worked in harmony, agreeing about ends and means.

The election of the Conservatives in 1951 changed the nature of this relationship. Conservative politicians were not keen on state-sponsored modernization, for financial as well as ideological reasons. Moreover, they were less convinced than Labour about Britain's productivity problems. If the administration created the right framework for private enterprise to flourish, they argued, lags would quickly disappear. On the other hand, the Tories certainly believed in "the special relationship" and were sensitive about offending a country which they saw as Britain's major ally. At a venal level, too, co-operation with the U.S. obviously made sense The government would be foolish to pass up the chance of obtaining funds for projects it might otherwise have to finance itself.

In this situation, actual policy in the 1950s tended to follow no fixed pattern beyond expediency or a balance of interest. An early episode, concerning the creation of the British Productivity Council (BPC), provides a telling example. When the AACP program was completed in 1952, the British Government had to decide how to continue its work. American policy favored national productivity centers, as has been noted, and so the Conservatives created the BPC to keep the momentum going. On the surface, therefore, they had honored their ally's wishes. However, the reality was official indifference. An American assessment of 1953 claimed:

Among the evidence adduced to support the contention that the U.K. Government was not sufficiently concerned are the following points: limited financial support for the BPC; the fact that Chancellor Butler was the only senior Government official present at the recent BPC meeting and he left immediately after delivering his address; the weakness of the BPC both in its personnel make-up and its financial resources; the limited amount of personnel available in the Board of Trade for productivity operations; [and] the lack of co-operation of the Treasury in making funds available for desirable productivity projects . . . (128)

On the other hand, the British Government was quite capable of taking a more active stance if it felt this to be advantageous. Some of the projects suggested for spending Benton-Moody money astonished American officials. British civil servants were trying to include schemes that had little to do with productivity and might otherwise have required domestic financing. During the negotiations, a Mission staffer recorded the following laconic exchange about a suggested grant to the food industry:

I said that it was difficult to relate the "hygienic implications arising from the introduction of new machinery and layout" to the objectives of the Benton Amendment. Miss Stevens [a British civil servant] advised that the relation lay in the fact that the food industry was an important export trade. I pointed out the names of manufacturers subscribing to the Food and Manufacturing Association [which] indicated very substantial financial interests who I suggested were able to provide all the funds necessary to carry on this particular type of service.(129)

A second indicative occasion concerned the question of business collusion and anti-competitive behavior. Americans considered collusive agreements were rife in Britain, with very damaging consequences for productivity. Labour had passed the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act in 1948, but Americans judged this an ineffective piece of legislation. One U.S. official saw it as "little more than window dressing meant to silence those zealots who from time to time say that the government is not doing an effective job in coping with restrictive practices." To U.S. eyes, the new investigating organization - the Monopolies Commission - seemed both understaffed and uncertain in orientation, charged with examining each case on its own merits rather than acting on the presumption that monopoly was damaging per se.(130) The Mission, therefore, wanted to persuade the British to take further action to promote competition.

However, the Conservative Government was not prepared to heed such appeals, disliking both the ideological overtones of the American position and being told what to do on such a delicate issue by a foreign power. Thus, when the Americans raised the question of using Benton-Moody funds for anti-monopoly purposes, they met considerable resistance. The Conservatives were prepared to include one or two research projects on monopoly in their bid for funds, but underlined that this would be a fairly minor part of a much broader program. Outlining the proposals to the Cabinet, the Chancellor declared that "it was not possible for [the Government] . . . to go any further towards fulfilling the [Benton-Moody] anti-monopoly conditions because of the accepted policy of the empirical approach." A few months later, when Senator Benton visited the country, the government again warned the Americans not to pursue the matter: using dollars to change attitudes towards monopoly would merely cause "a tremendous rumpus." After these experiences, the London Mission decided that any further pressure would be futile.(131)

Some Conclusions

The American technical assistance programs to Britain during the early post-war years had only modest impact on British industry. Economic or financial factors cannot adequately explain British intransigence. Instead, we emphasize the cultural and political. In doing so, we are certainly not echoing the recent vogue for relating Britain's economic decline to its supposed long-standing social character. We have little sympathy for the idea that the British were fundamentally anti-industrial and antediluvian, nor do we accept that parliamentary democracy and industrial efficiency are inherently incompatible. The outcomes we identify were related to particular interactions - between managers, employers and governments - in determinate circumstances.

As a final point, did the "failure" we have discussed actually matter? In other words, did Britain suffer because of its resistance to American know-how? No definitive answer to this question is, of course, possible, but it appears at least likely that there was a price to pay. Detailed empirical investigation of British manufacturing pathologies began in earnest in the mid-1960s. Much of the literature identifies low investment levels as a key problem but it also emphasizes poor technique. In many cases, it was demonstrated, firms were struggling because they had not kept abreast of fairly simple innovations, including those promoted in the early post-war years.

In 1970, N. A. Dudley of Birmingham University published the results of an enquiry into the comparative productivity of 24 companies in the West Midlands' engineering and metalworking industries. He found very low average levels of machine utilization (from 30 to 46 per cent) and concluded: "If industry effectively used all the resources at its disposal it might result in productivity increases of 100 per cent. This could be achieved with increased plant utilization, low cost automation, improved labor control, improved analytical techniques . . . and new systems of productivity measurement."(132) Six years later, government research into the more specific question of materials handling and manufacturing management found similar scope for the adoption of well-proven American techniques. It concluded:

As far as materials handling labor is concerned, comparison with a comparable study of 125 plants in the U.S.A. suggests that the United Kingdom uses 60 per cent more labor on materials handling . . . For the purposes of the survey an estimate of potential savings was made. The conclusion was that savings of the order of between 1 and 2 per cent of turnover could be made by over half of the companies in our sample. On a national basis this means that the potential saving for the whole of the engineering and allied industries is estimated at [pounds]90M per annum.(133)

At about the same time, the National Economic Development Office commissioned a review of standards and specifications in the engineering industry which again harked back to the earlier period. Britain still had "a proliferation of purchasing specifications for similar engineering components, material and products" which "in some areas" was "greater than in other comparable industrial countries." Excessive variety meant short production runs, uneconomic use of labor and escalating costs in "many other areas."(134) Finally, reference can be made to a University of Bradford Management Centre survey of work study in British industry, published during 1983:

Perhaps the most disturbing finding . . . is the overall low usage of all the techniques of work study, particularly in the small to medium size firms, when compared to the knowledge which is available. A high proportion of production operations managers have learned about work study and have proceeded to ignore it.(135)

The period under review was a wasted opportunity. British industry was offered the chance to modernize, but largely failed to respond. Some (though not, of course, all) of the country's subsequent manufacturing ills are traceable to this moment.

1 This estimate appears in James M. Silberman, "The History of the Technical Assistance Programs of the Marshall Plan and Successor Agencies 1948-1961" (Draft Report to the Industry Development Division of the World Bank, Nov. 1992), 5. The authors are grateful to Tony Hubert for drawing their attention to this document.

2 See, e.g., Michael J. Hogan, The Marshall Plan. America, Britain and the Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1947-1952 (New York, 1987); Charles S. Maier, "The Politics of Productivity: Foundations of American International Economic Policy after World War II," International Organisation 31 (Autumn 1977): 607-33; and Immanuel Wexler, The Marshall Plan Revisited: the European Recovery Program in Economic Perspective (Westport, Conn., 1983).

3 However, there is also a developing literature which does not conform to these strictures. See inter alia Anthony Carew, Labour under the Marshall Plan: The Politics of Productivity and the Marketing of Management Science (Manchester, 1987); Richard F. Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley, Calif., 1993); Werner Link, "Building Coalitions: Non-governmental German and American Linkages," in The Marshall Plan and Germany, ed. Charles S. Maier with the assistance of Gunter Bischof (New York, 1991), 282-330; Jacqueline MeGlade, The Illusion of Consensus: American Business, Cold War Aid and the Recovery of Western Europe, 1948-1958 (Ph.D. diss., The George Washington University, 1994) and Jacqueline McGlade, "U.S. Technical Assistance and the Education of European Managers, 1948-1958," paper presented to conference on "The Development of Business Schools in Europe," Bertinoro, Italy, June 1995.

4 The pattern of Anglo-American business relationships and perceptions can be traced in John H. Dunning, American Investment in British Manufacturing Industry (London, 1958); P. A. Clark, Anglo-American Innovation (Berlin, 1987); Wayne Lewchuk, American Technology and the British Vehicle Industry (Cambridge, 1987); and Mauro F. Guillen, Models of Management (Chicago, Ill., 1994).

5 J. Tann, "Diffusion of Management Thought and Practice, 1880-1970," in The Transfer of International Technology: Europe, Japan and the U.S.A. in the Twentieth Century, ed. David J. Jeremy (Aldershot, U.K., 1992), 193-220.

6 Wayne Lewchuk, "Fordist Technology and Britain: The Diffusion of Labour Speedup," in ibid, 7-32.

7 Tony Fryer, Regulating Big Business: Antitrust in Great Britain and America, 1880-1990 (Cambridge, 1992), 196-268.

8 R. Lewis and A. Maude, The English Middle Classes (London, 1949), 137.

9 L. Rostas, "Industrial Production, Productivity and Distribution in Britain, Germany and the United States," Economic Journal 53 (April 1943): 39-54; and Economist, 19 Aug. 1944.

10 Quoted in Economist, 28 July 1944.

11 L. Rostas, Comparative Productivity in British and American Industry (Cambridge, 1948), 189-92 and 231-2.

12 Economist, 28 July 1945.

13 Nick Tiratsoo and Jim Tomlinson, Industrial Efficiency and State Intervention: Labour 1939-51 (New York, 1993).

14 "A Contributor," "Training Within Industry - A National Issue," Industry Illustrated 13 (Dec. 1945): 14-15; G. R. Creyke, "Motion Study," Industry Illustrated 16 (Feb. 1948): 26-8.

15 A. G. Irvine, "The American Business Scene Today," Industry Illustrated 15 (Jan. 1947): 27-8.

16 Economist, 3 Feb. 1945.

17 Machinery and Allied Products Institute, Technological Stagnation in Great Britain (Chicago, Ill., 1948).

18 McGlade, "Illusion of Consensus," passim.

19 The following paragraph is based on material in Tiratsoo and Tomlinson, Industrial Efficiency, 132-40.

20 L. Rostas, Comparative Productivity.

21 Francis E. Rogers, "Report of the United Kingdom Technical Exchange and Section 115-K Program," 6 Sept. 1956, 1-8, box 5, file on "U.K. Productivity - General (Directors' Files) 1955-7," Subject Files of the Director 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C. [hereafter Rogers]; and EPA Information Bulletin, No. 6-7 (Dec. 1954-Jan. 1955): 10.

22 Rogers, 9-22.

23 See, e.g., James A. Hynes and Carl R. Taylor, "Comments on the Productivity Drive," 15 April 1950, box 25, Technical Assistance Country Files 1949-52, Office of the Director, ECA Productivity and Technical Assistance Division, Record Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; and Anon., "U.K. Mission - Production Assistance Program Report. Summary and Conclusions," 9 July 1951, box 13, file on "Lennen. U.K. Policy," Records Relating to Productivity Program Policy, 1949-55, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

24 Jean Fourastie, "Towards Higher Labour Productivity in the Countries of Western Europe," International Labour Review 67 (April 1953): 340-355; and "European Productivity Agency. Results Obtained and Future Prospects," EPA (57) 11, 3 Sept. 1957, 9-13, box 1, file of "EPA - General through 1957," Records Relating to EPA 1953-7, Record Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

25 Francis E. Rogers to William L. Batt, 5 Aug. 1952, box 6, file on "U.K. Productivity. 115K Agreement . . .," Subject Files of the Director 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

26 Anon., "U.K. Mission," 1-12, box 13, file on "Lennen. U.K. Policy," National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Arnold Rivkin - Lincoln Gordon, 24 April 1953, box 6, file on "U.K. Productivity Section 115 (K) - Productivity Attitudes . . .," Subject Files of the Director, 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; and W. John Kenney, "Marshall Aid and British Management," Manager 18 (June 1950): 264-5.

27 Rogers, 23.

28 Higher Productivity Through European Co-operation (Paris, 1956), 3; EPA, Activities and Achievements (Paris, 1958), 35; Rogers, 23-41.

29 Silberman, "History," 34.

30 See. e.g., "The Heavy Electrical Engineering Industry," R. 269/March 1953, Labour Party archive, Manchester, U.K.; "The American Stake in London," Director (July 1964): 39.

31 See. e.g., Minutes of Meeting of Anglo-American Consultative Group, AACG (55) 3rd Meeting, 29 Nov. 1955, item 2, box 1, file on "United Kingdom - Anglo-American Consultative Group," Subject Fries of the Director 1955-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Rogers, 7 and 52.

32 Cabinet European Co-operation Committee, "Survey of Technical Assistance and Similar Schemes. Note by the Chairman . . .," E.R. (L) (51) 12, 13 Feb. 1951, 8, BT 195/57, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

33 W. A. Kimbel - W. J. Hoff, 19 Oct. 1949, 4, BT 195/53, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

34 Rogers, 49.

35 See, e.g., editorial comment, Manager 20 (May 1952): 271-2; Anon., "The Productivity Reports," Future 6 (June-July 1951): 59-71; Iron and Coal Trades Review, 19 Oct. 1951; and L. H. C. Tippett, Productivity in the Cotton Industry - Achievements and Prospects (Manchester, 1954).

36 British Productivity Council, A Review of Productivity in the Bronze and Brass Casting Industry (London, 1955), 7.

37 "Visit to Manchester. Conversation with Mr. Alan Kershaw," 27 Sept. 1955, box 2, file on "United Kingdom - Economic Research July 1954-August 1956," Subject Files, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

38 A. Henderson, "Private Network," Management Education and Development 3 (1972): 117-27.

39 Economist, 4 Aug. 1956.

40 Cabinet Mutual Aid Committee Minutes, MAC (59) 4th Meeting, 6 April 1959, CAB 134/2203, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

41 See, e.g., EPA, Annual Report. Part One (Paris, 1954), Annex 3.

42 T. M. Mosson, Management Education in Five European Countries (London, 1965), 156.

43 National Economic Development Council, Management Recruitment and Development (London, 1965), 6.

44 H. Stuart Taylor, "How Business Uses Graduates," Management Today (May 1969): 87-9.

45 T. Burns and G. M. Stalker, The Management of Innovation (London, 1961), 211.

46 New Society, 16 June 1966.

47 P. F. Dyer, "Presenting Financial Information to Employees," Manager 25 (1957): 101-8.

48 D. Wilson, "The Baton not the Rod," Director 7 (Oct. 1955): 124-5.

49 L. Urwick, Personnel Management in Perspective (London, 1959).

50 British Productivity Council, A Review of Productivity in the Pressed Metal Industry (London, 1954), 7.

51 James W. McLean, "What Goes Wrong with British Packaging," Director 12 (Oct. 1959): 122-3.

52 F. Nixon, "Spending to Save. Product Quality and Reliability," Times Review of Industry and Trade 2 (Feb. 1964): 18-19.

53 G. Simpson, "The Specialist Barrier," Scientific Business 1 (1963): 143-8.

54 Anon., "Summary of United States Assistance Programs to the United Kingdom . . .," Sept. 1955, 1, box 5, file on "U.K. Productivity - General (Director's File) 1955-7," Subject Files of the Director 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

55 Francis E. Rogers -Martin M. Tank, 9 Jan. 1956, box 6, file on "U.K. Productivity - EPA 1952-7, Directors' File," Subject Files of the Director 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; and more generally, William Gomberg, "Labor's Participation in the European Productivity Program. A Study in Frustration," Political Science Quarterly 74 (June 1959): 240-5.

56 McGlade, "U.K. Technical Assistance," 22.

57 S. L. Behoteguy -M. S. Belcher, 19 July 1956, box 11, file on EPA Project 349, EPA Project Files 1950-7, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

58 Francis E. Rogers -Martin M. Tank, 4 Feb. 1956, box 6, file on "U.K. Productivity EPA 1952-7, Directors' File," Subject Files of the Director 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

59 E.g., Katherine F. Allen - Scott L. Behoteguy, 29 July 1957, box 10, file on EPA Project 329, EPA Project Files 1950-7, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

60 "Technical Assistance. Facts and Figures on Mission Organisation," EPA/CS/376, 25 May 1956, 9-10, box 3, file on EPA Project 180, EPA Project Files 1950-7, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

61 S. A. Holme - N. Kipling, I June 1951, MSS 200/F/3/D3/7/29, Confederation of British Industry papers, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, U.K.

62 Bent Boel, "The European Productivity Agency and the Development of Management Education in Western Europe in the 1950s," paper presented to conference on "The Development of Business Schools in Europe," Bertinoro, Italy, June 1995.

63 "European Productivity Agency. Results Obtained and Future Prospects," EPA (57)11, 3 Sept. 1957, 24, box 1, files on "EPA - General Through 1957," Records Relating to EPA 1953-7, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

64 Productivity Committee Minutes, EPA/D/9097, 7-8 March 1961, MSS 200/F/3/S2/48/2, Confederation of British Industry papers, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, U.K.

65 Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (Cambridge, Mass., 1990), 389-92.

66 Stephen Broadberry, "Employment and Unemployment" in The Economic History of Britain since 1700. Volume 3: 1939-1992, ed. Roderick Floud and Donald McCloskey (Cambridge, 1994), 212; N. F. R. Crafts, "The Assessment: British Economic Growth over the Long-Run," Oxford Review of Economic Policy No. 4 (1988), x; and N. F. R. Crafts, "'You've never had it so good?': British economic policy and performance, 1945-60," in Europe's Post-War Recovery, ed. B. Eichengreen (Cambridge, 1995), 246-70.

67 In 1949, Britain had 55,129 manufacturing establishments employing more than ten workers, but only 25 percent of these employed over 100: see Ministry of Labour Gazette 58 (June 1950): 189-90.

68 See, e.g., H. D. Willcock, "The Dissemination of Technical Information in Industry. A Pilot Inquiry," 1952, RG 23/170, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

69 Anon., "Progress report on Pottery," Business 78 (Oct. 1948): 41.

70 W. H. Temple, "Personnel Management in the Small Firm," 12 Oct. 1951, 2, LAB 10/1020, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

71 Engineering, 30 Sept. 1955.

72 G. Macrea, "New Ideas Enliven an Old Industry," Business 85 (1955): 107-111.

73 Trades Union Congress, Trades Unions and Productivity (London, 1950), 58-61.

74 F. M. Paride, "Briefing Paper on Productivity," May 1951, 6, box 6, file on "Productivity," Glenn Atkinson Papers, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

75 Harry L. Turtledove - John Hutchison, 5 Dec. 1951, enc. "Survey of United Kingdom Productivity Team Follow-Up Activities," box 5, file 10, Subject Files of Glenn Atkinson 1950-2, Labour Division, Office of Economic Policy and Planning, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; and James Stein, "The United Kingdom Industrial Productivity Program," [n.d.], 19, box 6, file on "Productivity," Glenn Atkinson Papers, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

76 N. Tiratsoo and J. Tomlinson, "Restrictive Practices on the Shopfloor in Britain, 1945-1960: Myth and Reality," Business History 36 (April 1994): 65-82.

77 Editorial comment, The Times Review of Trade and Engineering (April 1946): 2.

78 Editorial comment, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' Progress Report (March 1949): 4.

79 Iron and Coal Trades Review, 9 May 1952.

80 See, e.g., anon., "Japanese Competition," Chamber of Commerce Journal 134 (Sept. 1953): 12.

81 See, e.g., Iron and Coal Trades Review, 14 Aug, 1953 and anon., "What's Wrong with the Motor Industry," Director 9 (Oct. 1956): 94-5.

82 Freyer, Regulating Big Business, 285-98.

83 H. Mercer, Constructing a Competitive Order: The Hidden History of British Antitrust Policies (Cambridge, 1995), 3 and 31-4.

84 D. C. Hague, The Economics of Man-Made Fibres (London, 1957); A. G. Donnithorne, British Rubber Manufacturing (London, 1958); and T. Barna, Investment and Growth Policies in British Industrial Firms (Cambridge, 1962).

85 Mercer, Constructing a Competitive Order, passim.

86 Political and Economic Planning, Industrial Trade Associations. Activities and Organisation (London, 1957), 164.

87 C. F. Carter and B. R. Williams, Industry and Technical Progress (London, 1957), 154-42 and 163-6; and D. Burn, "Retrospect," in The Structure of British Industry, Volume 2, ed. D. Burn (Cambridge, 1958), 429-54.

88 W. Campbell Balfour, "Productivity and the Worker," British Journal of Sociology, 4 (Sept. 1953): 257-65.

89 See various reports from MSA sponsored British visitors to the States, MSS 200/F/3/T3/29/4-6, Confederation of British Industry papers, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, U.K.; and AACP Team Report, Freight Handling (London, 1951), 51.

90 G. B. Blaker, "Note for Record," 21 July 1950, BT 195/52, Public Record Office, London, U.K.; and T. G. Elliott, A Survey of Production and Industrial Engineering Organisation and Practice in the U.S.A. and Canada (London, 1952).

91 "Interim Report to the Mutual Security Agency by the British Industrial Management Group, College of Business Administration, University of Cincinnati," 12 May 1953, 18, MSS 200/F/3/T3/29/4, Confederation of British Industry papers, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, U.K.

92 See, e.g., Board of Trade, Working Party Reports. Cotton (London, 1946), 242-9; John Jewkes, Ordeal by Planning (London, 1948), 222; editorial comment, Manager 20 (1952): 271-2; and editorial comment in the Engineer, 2 Jan. 1953.

93 See. e.g., the differing assessments in Tiratsoo and Tomlinson, Industrial Efficiency, 144-52 and Jonathan Zeitlin, "Americanization and its Limits: Theory and Practice in the Reconstruction of Britain's Engineering Industries, 1945-55", Business and Economic History 24 (Fall 1995): 277-86.

94 "Industry Comment 7. Internal Combustion Engines," [n.d.], 1, SUPP 14/141, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

95 Nick Tiratsoo, "Standard Motors 1945-55 and the Post-war Malaise of British Management," in Management and Business in Britain and France: The Age of the Corporate Economy, ed. Youssef Cassis, Francois Crouzet and Terry Gourvish (Oxford, 1995), 99.

96 H. D. Willcock, "Overseas Buyers' Experience of British Goods," (Aug. 1953), 45, RG 23/185, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

97 Economist, 29 Dec. 1951 and 5 Jan. 1952.

98 Economist, 29 Dec. 1951.

99 "Report of the Lemon Committee for Standardisation of Engineering Products - Comments by the Employer Members on the Engineering Advisory Council," [n.d.], 1, SUPP 14/141, Public Records Office, London, U.K.

100 AACP Team Report, Metalworking Machine Tools (London, 1953), 48.

101 AACP Team Report, Drop Forging (London, 1950), 9.

102 AACP Team Report, Simplification in British Industry (London, 1950), 5-6.

103 Manchester Guardian, 29 Nov. 1949.

104 Engineering, 8 June 1956.

105 Some Aspects of the Motor Vehicle Industry in the U.S.A. (Technical Assistance Mission No. 92, Paris, 1953), 21.

106 British Productivity Council, Better Ways. Nineteen Paths to Higher Productivity (London, 1957), 34.

107 Advocacy of the "3 Ss" could be sometimes rather crudely made in popular propaganda material as opposed to technical publications: see, e.g., G. Hutton, We Too Can Prosper (London, 1953), 89-118.

108 Harry Hopkins, The New Look (London, 1964), 109-110.

109 G. Withers to Mr. White, 10 Oct. 1952, MSS 200/F/3/T3/29/2, Confederation of British Industry papers, University of Warwick, U.K.

110 "Gulliver," "Across the Board," Director (Jan. 1966): 45.

111 H. D. Willcock, "Public Opinion: Attitudes Towards America and Russia," Political Quarterly 19 (Jan.-March 1948): 61-2.

112 Anon., "Anglo-American Economic Co-operation," Manager 13 (Jan. 1945): 31-2; William Clark, Less Than Kin. A Study of Anglo-American Relations (London, 1957), 146-59; and R. Lowenthal, "The American 'Model,'" Twentieth Century 163 (April 1958): 361-71.

113 R. Lewis and R. Stewart, The Boss. The Life and Times of the British Business Man (London, 1958), 175-95.

114 The following two paragraphs are based upon material in Tiratsoo, "Standard Motors."

115 J. L. Orr, "Providing the Conditions of Efficiency," British Management Review 9 (Oct. 1950): 41.

116 Editorial comment, Business 84 (Nov. 1954): 65.

117 L. Urwick, "The American Challenge in Industrial Management," British Management Review 12 (April 1954): 166.

118 D. Granick, The European Executive (New York, 1962), 234.

119 Tiratsoo and Tomlinson, Industrial Efficiency, passim; Tiratsoo, "Standard Motors."

120 Mercer, Constructing a Competitive Order, passim.

121 R. Appley, "Management and Work," British Management Review 10 (March 1952): 20-3.

122 See, e.g., G. Pollock - F. E. Rogers, enc. "European Productivity Agency. . . ." [n.d.], 1, box 5, Subject Fries of the Director, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

123 H. Ingham, "Inter-firm Comparison for Management," Manager 27 (1959): 313-16; J. Shinn, "The Sealed Lips of British Business," Director (Jan. 1963): 96-7.

124 Tiratsoo and Tomlinson, Industrial Efficiency, 141.

125 Minutes of Board of Trade Committee on E.P.A. Matters, BT/EPA (59)M, 5 Oct. 1959, 2, MSS 200/B/3/3/944.1 Pt. 9, Confederation of British Industry papers, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, U.K.

126 "Notes of Sir Harry Pilkington's speech . . . on 21 April 1955," 7, MSS 200/F/3/P3/11/1, Confederation of British Industry papers, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, U.K.

127 Airgram from L. Gordon to FOA, 23 Feb. 1955, box 1, file on 'EPA . . .,' Records Relating to EPA 1955-7, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

128 Rivkin - Gordon, 24 April 1953, box 3, file on "U.K. Productivity. . .," Subject Files, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

129 "Memorandum of Conversation with Mr. Hill, Board of Trade, November 16, 1954," box 5, file on "U.K. Productivity - General 1954," Subject Files of the Director 1953-7, Office of the Director, Mission to the U.K., Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

130 ECA London - Washington, 14 Oct. 1949, 4 and 7, box 21, ECA Subject Files, Records Group 469, National Archives, Washington, D.C. On the weakness of the Monopolies Commission, see Mercer, Constructing a Competitive Order, chaps. 5 and 6.

131 "Notes of a Conversation with MSA reps.," 13 Oct. 1953, T 235/134, and Cabinet Minutes, 11 Sept. 1952, CAB 128/25, Public Record Office, London, U.K.

132 N. A. Dudley, "Comparative Productivity Analysis - Study in the United Kingdom West Midlands Engineering and Metalworking Industries," International Journal of Production Research 8 (1970): 400.

133 J. M. Williams, "Materials Handling and Manufacturing Management" in Department of Industry Industrial Technologies Secretariat, Manufacturing Management and Industrial Technologies: Symposium Papers (London, 1976), 26-37.

134 Sir F. Warner, Standards and Specifications in the Engineering Industries (London, 1977), 11.

135 Keith G. Loekyer, John S. Oakland and Clive H. Duprey, "Work Study Techniques in U.K. Manufacturing Industry," Omega 11 (1983): 301-2.

The authors are grateful to the British Academy and Brunel and Warwick Universities for financial support to visit archives cited in this article, especially the National Archives at Washington, D.C. They would also like to thank Terry Gourvish, Tony Hubert, Helen Mercer, David Pfeiffer, Victoria Washington, Jonathan Zeitlin, and three anonymous referees for advice, help, and comments on the theme addressed.

Business History Review 71 (Spring 1997): 41-81. (c) 1997 by The President and Fellows of Harvard College.

NICK TIRATSOO is senior research fellow in the Department of History at the University of Luton and visiting research fellow at the Business History Unit, L.S.E.

Nick Tiratsoo is senior research fellow in the Department of History at the University of Luton and visiting research fellow at the Business History Unit, The London School of Economics and Political Science. He has written, contributed to, or edited a number of books on the history of the Labour Party. Currently he is writing a history of British management after 1945 and collaborating with Jim Tomlinson on a study of British productivity policy 1951-64 (The Thirteen Wasted Years).

JIM TOMLINSON is reader in British politics and head of the Department of Government at Brunel University, West London, and visiting research fellow at the Business History Unit, L.S.E.

Jim Tomlinson is reader in British politics and head of the Department of Government at Burnel University, West London, and visiting research fellow at the Business History Unit, The London School of Economics and Political Science. As well as collaborating with Nick Tiratsoo on various studies of postwar British policy on industrial efficiency and productivity, he has published a range of books and articles on twentieth century British economic history, most recently Democratic Socialism and Economic Policy: the Attlee Years (1997).
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