Purpose – The paper aims to highlight the fact that Louis Dembitz Brandeis, well known for his time as a US Supreme Court Justice, was also very influential in promoting the virtues of scientific management in its early period of development while America was experiencing progressivism. In addition to his well known brilliance as a legal scholar, he was also a proponent of the importance of the role of efficient business practices in benefiting the worker and society in general. This paper aims to discuss the relationship between Brandeis and the scientific management movement that evolved over a period of decades that ultimately led to their mutual success. Design/methodology/approach – Through a discussion of the key relationship developed between Brandeis and scientific management the paper shows how each was able to thrive during progressive times. Findings – Over the span of his career Brandeis was adept at blending his appreciation and understanding of efficient business practices based on scientific management concepts with his view of a legal society. His legal and judicial temperament were best illustrated by his well known Brandeis brief which methodically combined economic facts and statistics of work performance with sound and convincing legal recommendations. Originality/value – This is a historical account that provides a better understanding of the key role that Brandeis played in highlighting the field of scientific management while at the same time applying its concepts in a unique way to issues in the law and society.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 9, 2009
Keywords: Scientific management; Labour; Management history; Process efficiency