Capitalist Family Values


Capitalist Family Values

Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing

Polly Reed Myers

284 pages
9 illustrations, index


September 2015


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2015


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

September 2015


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Though best known for aircraft and aerospace technology, Boeing has invested significant time and money in the construction and promotion of its corporate culture. Boeing’s leaders, in keeping with the standard of traditional American social norms, began to promote a workplace culture of a white, heterosexual family model in the 1930s in an attempt to provide a sense of stability for their labor force during a series of enormous political, social, and economic disruptions. For both managers and workers, the construction of a masculine culture solved problems that technological innovation and profit could not. For managers it offered a way to govern employees and check the power of unions. For male employees, it offered a sense of stability that higher wages and the uncertainties of the airline market could not. For scholar Polly Reed Myers, Boeing’s corporate culture offers a case study for understanding how labor and the workplace have evolved over the course of the twentieth century and into the present day amid the rise of neoliberal capitalism, globalization, and women’s rights.
Capitalist Family Values places the stories of Boeing’s women at the center of the company’s history, illuminating the policy shifts and economic changes, global events and modern controversies that have defined policy and workplace culture at Boeing. Using archival documents that include company newspapers, interviews, and historic court cases, Capitalist Family Values illustrates the changing concepts of corporate culture and the rhetoric of a “workplace family” in connection with economic, political, and social changes, providing insight into the operations of one of America’s most powerful and influential firms.

Author Bio

Polly Reed Myers is a lecturer in history and integrated social sciences at the University of Washington. Her work has appeared in Feminist Studies and Pacific Northwest Quarterly.


"This book is both an indictment of corporate greed and a snapshot of racial and social attitudes in an almost decade-by-decade examination."—David Mills, Western Historical Quarterly

"Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing provides a unique and nuanced account of the intersection between gender and workplace culture during Boeing's hundred year history."—Sarah Moore, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly

"Polly Reed Myers's Capitalist Family Values traces the evolution of corporate culture at one of the world's largest aerospace companies in order to elucidate the role of gender at work and the dynamics of occupational inequality. . . . Her attention to men in managerial and engineering occupations makes this a particularly welcome addition to the literature on gender and work in the twentieth-century United States."—Natalie J. Marine-Street, Pacific Historical Review

Capitalist Family Values represents a rich contribution to ongoing studies of work and labor history, women’s and gender history, history of sexuality, and the history of business.”—Amy Bix, author of Girls Coming to Tech! A History of American Engineering Education for Women

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Preface: Finding Women at Boeing    
Introduction: The Boeing Family    
Chapter 1: Fraternalism and the Boeing News in the 1930s    
Chapter 2: Manpower versus Womanpower during World War II    
Chapter 3: Women’s Place in Equal Opportunity Employment    
Chapter 4: Jane Doe v. Boeing Company    
Chapter 5: Employing Teamwork    
Conclusion: Corporate Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century    



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