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Systems, Experts, and ComputersThe Systems Approach in Management and Engineering, World War II and After$
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Agatha C. Hughes and Thomas P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780262082853

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262082853.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 24 October 2019

Engineers or Managers? The Systems Analysis of Electronic Data Processing in the Federal Bureaucracy

Engineers or Managers? The Systems Analysis of Electronic Data Processing in the Federal Bureaucracy

Chapter:
(p.191) 7 Engineers or Managers? The Systems Analysis of Electronic Data Processing in the Federal Bureaucracy
Source:
Systems, Experts, and Computers
Author(s):

Atsushi Akera

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262082853.003.0008

This chapter aims to address the question of who controlled the introduction of electronic data processing (EDP) systems into the federal bureaucracy. Here the technicians were clearly treading upon managerial terrain, employing their knowledge of computers to justify the study of government bureaucracy. While data processing may sound like a mundane topic requiring little research or technical expertise, early computers had to be reengineered to meet the needs of administrators as opposed to scientists. Moreover, bureaucrats welcomed the input of technicians. Amid a climate of government reform, EDP systems offered a technological solution to the mounting scale of federal paperwork and the associated politics of accountability. What remained to be worked out was the relationship between experts of technical and managerial inclinations. The chapter begins by presenting Thorstein Veblen’s The Engineers and the Price System, in which he called upon engineers to bring about a social revolution by ending the exploitations of the corporate elite.

Keywords:   electronic data processing, EDP, federal bureaucracy, government bureaucracy, government reform, Thorstein Veblen, social revolution, corporate elite

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