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Angels of EfficiencyA Media History of Consulting$
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Florian Hoof

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190886363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190886363.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Failing in Style

Failing in Style

Business Consulting in Wartime Berlin

(p.240) 5 Failing in Style
Angels of Efficiency

Florian Hoof

, Daniel Fairfax
Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 focuses on the restructuring of the Berlin-based Auergesellschaft, one of the Gilbreths’ first consulting contracts, in which, from 1914 on, they began to implement their consulting method on a major scale. It charts the Gilbreths’ strategic use of sports studies from baseball and fencing to showcase their method to potential customers—which included the German military—and how they eventually acquired a long-term contract with the Auergesellschaft. It describes the installation of a central planning room and a charting department, as well as the implementation of visualization techniques, including route models and flow charts. It analyzes how such visualization devices were used to train workers, while also allowing Gilbreth to give lectures about his system to middle management, thereby legitimizing his consulting model. The failure of the restructuring process shows the gap produced between the aspirations of their method and the reality of their concrete consulting activity, but also the high value that media techniques were given in this process.

Keywords:   route models, Wilheminism, Auergesellschaft, military, sport studies, union, visualization techniques, data visualization, flow charts, Walter Camp

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