[OPE-L:8313] Paul S. Adler

From: OPE-L Administrator (ope-admin@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu)
Date: Sat Jan 11 2003 - 23:06:42 EST

I am pleased to welcome Paul Adler to our list.  Paul is a Marxist
professor of management (!) at the Marshall School of Business at the
University of Southern California.

Paul is originally from Australia but moved to France in 1974
where he received his Doctorate in Economics and Management.
His dissertation topic was "Automation and work: the case of banks" and
the Chair of the Dissertation committee was Michel Aglietta.

While in France he worked as a financial analyst for an accounting firm
and a research economist for the Employment Research Center
of the French Ministry of Labor in Paris.

He came to the US in 1981. Before his current job at USC in 1991, he had
a Guest Scholarship at the Brookings Institute in association with the
Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1981-82 and taught at Columbia, Harvard
and Stanford universities.   I encourage listmembers to visit his
website at http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~padler/   for more interesting
details on his career and writings.

His self-introduction follows:

Jerry suggested I introduce myself. Here goes:

 I am currently a professor of management in the business school at the
University of Southern California. My research focuses on the
capitalist firm and work organization within it. I am interested in
large, complex organizations in particular, since that context
 affords greater visibility into the underlying structural
 determinants of work organization.

 Most of my work is guided by my enthusiasm for an old-fashioned,
 teleological version of Marxism. I (still) find very compelling the
idea that socialism is inevitable, and equally compelling the idea that
this inevitability springs from the more-or-less irreversible and
irrepressible development of the forces of production coming into
ever-sharper contradiction with the persistence of capitalist
 relations of production. This trope seems to me a very fruitful one for
understanding the evolution of work organization over the last century.
As I interpret it, it implies a position quite contrary to Braverman's.
Specifically, it implies that capitalists are forced to upgrade (not
degrade) workers' capabilities (since these are part of the forces of
production), and in doing so to create a class
 increasingly intolerant of capitalism's limitations (recurrent
 crises, inequality, wars, ecological devastation, etc.) and
 increasingly capable of taking a leading role in governing society.
This upgrading of capabilities (the "class in itself") is seen in
rising average skill and education levels, a tendency to greater
 responsibility at work, and growing breadth of workers'
 world-horizons. These trends in turn seem to me to reflect the
 growing knowledge-intensity of advanced economies and a concommitant
increase in interdependence within and across firms firms.

 I have explored these issues in connection with the impact on work of
advanced technologies in manufacturing and engineering and with the
Toyota Production System, and I'm currently looking at large-scale
software systems development organizations and hospitals. You can get a
flavor of my research interests looking at the publications listed on
my website at http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~padler/

 Working in a business school gives me a chance to study these issues
from close up. (Given the contradictory role that my paleo-marxist
theory attributes to managers, teaching them doesn't seem like a
 total waste of time...usually.) The downsides of working in a
 business school are obvious: business schools are ideologically toxic
and scientifically weak. But that situation is not entirely
 immutable. There are quite a few progressives, even radicals, on
 business school faculties -- more in Europe, where b-schools come under
pressure not only from business but also from unions and
 governments, and there are even some in the US.

 In order to galvanize progressive forces in b-schools, I have been
working over the last few years to bring together a left-wing caucus
within the Academy of Management (which is the main professional
 organization for profs teaching subjects such as "organizational
 behavior," "organization theory," "strategy," "human resource
 management," etc.) Our "Critical Management Studies" network was
 accorded official Interest Group status within the AoM this last
 year. Our website is at http://aom.pace.edu/cms/ and we run a
 listserv (c-m-workshop). (Somewhat confusingly, a sister network by the
same name operates a biannual conference in the UK. It is loosely
affiliated with a listserv, critical-managment, which is distinct from
our CMS9-IG listserv c-m-workshop)

 I'm looking forward to learning from and contributing to your
 network's discussion.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* Prof. Paul S. Adler,
Management and Organization Dept,
Marshall School of Business,
 University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0808
USC office tel: (213) 740-0748
 Home office tel: (818) 981-0115
Home office fax: (818) 981-0116
Email: padler@usc.edu
List of publications and course outlines at:
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Paul: welcome aboard!

Solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jan 13 2003 - 00:00:01 EST