Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting Since 1880 (Hagley Library Studies in Business) (Paperback)

Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting Since 1880 (Hagley Library Studies in Business) By Joanne Yates, Craig N. Murphy Cover Image
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Description


The first global history of voluntary consensus standard setting.

Finalist, Hagley Prize in Business History, The Hagley Museum and Library / The Business History Conference

Private, voluntary standards shape almost everything we use, from screw threads to shipping containers to e-readers. They have been critical to every major change in the world economy for more than a century, including the rise of global manufacturing and the ubiquity of the internet. In Engineering Rules, JoAnne Yates and Craig N. Murphy trace the standard-setting system's evolution through time, revealing a process with an astonishingly pervasive, if rarely noticed, impact on all of our lives.

This type of standard setting was established in the 1880s, when engineers aimed to prove their status as professionals by creating useful standards that would be widely adopted by manufacturers while satisfying corporate customers. Yates and Murphy explain how these engineers' processes provided a timely way to set desirable standards that would have taken much longer to emerge from the market and that governments were rarely willing to set. By the 1920s, the standardizers began to think of themselves as critical to global prosperity and world peace. After World War II, standardizers transcended Cold War divisions to create standards that made the global economy possible. Finally, Yates and Murphy reveal how, since 1990, a new generation of standardizers has focused on supporting the internet and web while applying the same standard-setting process to regulate the potential social and environmental harms of the increasingly global economy.

Drawing on archival materials from three continents, Yates and Murphy describe the positive ideals that sparked the standardization movement, the ways its leaders tried to realize those ideals, and the challenges the movement faces today. Engineering Rules is a riveting global history of the people, processes, and organizations that created and maintain this nearly invisible infrastructure of today's economy, which is just as important as the state or the global market.

About the Author


JoAnne Yates is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management, Emerita, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of Control through Communication: The Rise of System in American Management and Structuring the Information Age: Life Insurance and Technology in the Twentieth Century. Craig N. Murphy is the Betty Freyhof Johnson '44 Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. He is the author of The United Nations Development Programme: A Better Way? and International Organization and Industrial Change: Global Governance since 1850.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781421440033
ISBN-10: 1421440032
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication Date: March 30th, 2021
Pages: 440
Language: English
Series: Hagley Library Studies in Business