Shop Traditions: Constructing and Maintaining the Boeing Family at the Boeing Company

Shop Traditions: Constructing and Maintaining the Boeing Family at the Boeing Company

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This dissertation examines the Boeing Company's attempts to construct and maintain its corporate culture as the military firm weathered economic and social changes from the 1930s to the 1990s. Boeing provides a case study for better understanding postwar capitalist relations and the strategic importance of corporate culture, sexuality, and gender systems in day-to-day business operations and workplace organization. This study also extends studies of cold war masculinity by shifting focus from the state to provide unique insight into the private, everyday operations of an influential firm. Boeing's efforts to uphold masculine images and policies show the links between company traditions and the larger investment of the military industrial complex in regulating gender and sexual norms. Until the end of the twentieth century, Boeing's corporate culture revolved around celebrated qshop traditionsq that were based on white heterosexual masculine norms. These norms organized workplace relations and disciplined and regulated the workforce. Boeing leaders developed a qcorporate familyq with strict divisions of labor based on racial and gender hierarchies. Company leaders and managers deployed qfamilyq to attempt to stabilize the labor force through periods of instability, including war and the turbulent boom and bust cycles of the aerospace industry. This study focuses on case studies that reveal the tensions that surrounded the employment of white women, racial minorities, transsexuals, and other non-male and non-white workers. It was during moments of severe anxiety and rupture that Boeing leaders employed familialism. As the last case study reveals, by the turn of the century, global capitalist strategies led company leaders to abandon the family model and focus instead on teamwork. Overall this study shows the ways in which heterosexuality is institutionalized and how business, labor, and political economies relied on gender and sexuality to uphold capitalist power.T.A. Wilson, Boeing President, noted: aquot;We have an obligation which goes beyond the requirements of a contract; ... A 1 964 Boeing security manual ordered employees to tell Boeing Security officials if a family member of an employee or theiranbsp;...

Title:Shop Traditions: Constructing and Maintaining the Boeing Family at the Boeing Company
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008


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