Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Robert E. Parker

Number of Pages



Using a comparative historical review of changes in the organization of work, this study analyzes the changing organization of federal work in relation to the organization of work in the private sector. Following a break in 1883 with the simple control wielded by political appointees running federal agencies, federal work became more tightly controlled through a greater bureaucratic organization of government work. However, a continuing influence of private work practices on federal work, such as the incorporation of the principles of scientific management, suggests not only a relationship between private and federal work practices but one that is stronger than a mere copying of management styles, such as that which is occurring in the contemporary control of work through the use of externalized work forces. The 1980s were characterized by a reorganization of work in the private sector. Core work forces were shaved by outsourcing work to private contractors, moving work offshore, and/or creating temporary and partial jobs without beneficial employment contracts. In the 1990s the federal sector has been following the corporate lead by downsizing primary work forces and outsourcing or privatizing the work. Following three views of power, the social pluralist perspective, the structural Marxist conception, and an instrumentalist image of power, the connection between the private and public organization of work will be analyzed by looking at the introduction of scientific management into federal work and identifying civil service reform legislation and its proponents and then attempting to trace their social connections to private industry. Such an analysis may not only lend empirical support to a particular way of seeing the interaction between the economic and political structures but also may provide insight regarding the construction of the social organization of federal work.


Civil Service; Contingent Labor; Economic; Federal; Organization; Political; Scientific Management

Controlled Subject

Industrial relations; Public administration

File Format


File Size

5242.88 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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