Tags: Abraham Charnes, Alan Waterman, Alfred Sloan, Allen Newell, Beatrice Cherrier, Charles Holt, Edward L. Bowles, Eli Shapiro, Franco Modigliani, Henry Stimson, Herbert Simon, Horace Levinson, Hunter Heyck, Jay Forrester, Joel Isaac, John Muth, Judy Klein, Karl Compton, Marion Foucarde, Paul Samuelson, Philip Morse, Rakesh Khurana, Robert Solow, William Larimer Mellon Sr., William W. Cooper
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This post continues my provision of supplementary commentary for my Business History Review article, “Operations Research vis-à-vis Management at Arthur D. Little and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s” (Thomas 2012). In it, I look at a history split between this article and my 2009 article with Lambert Williams, “Epistemologies of Non-Forecasting Simulations, Part I: Industrial Dynamics and Management Pedagogy at MIT” (Thomas and Williams 2009).
When MIT established its new School of Industrial Management (SIM) in the early 1950s, the institute’s administrators sought a signature approach to the subject reflecting its strengths in science and engineering. This search moved from operations research (OR) to Jay Forrester’s “industrial dynamics”. In the end, neither approach became the distinguished approach to management that MIT sought, though SIM and OR would both become individually successful within the Institute.
The last part of this post puts this story in the context of the more successful effort of the Carnegie Institute of Technology to develop a high-profile program for its Graduate School of Industrial Administration, which was established around the same time. Carnegie Tech’s approach to management had strong intellectual connections with academic economics — an intellectual model that soon attracted the field of OR into its orbit. The equivalent intellectual and institutional movement at MIT was to be found in the ascendancy of its economics department.
Tags: Allen Newell, Arnold Thackray, Derek de Solla Price, Eugene Garfield, Gerald Holton, Harriet Zuckerman, Joshua Lederberg, Robert K. Merton, William Adair, Yehuda Elkana
Simultaneously reading a recent Guardian article on the issue of open-access scientific publication, and Robert K. Merton’s “The Sociology of Science: An Episodic Memoir” (in The Sociology of Science in Europe, 1977, pp. 3-141) spurred me to wonder whether science studies could aid scientists to transition to a new model of scientific publication that is up-to-date with technology, but that also retains the intellectual and institutional virtues of present models. My answer to this question is: probably not.
The thought occurred to me because of Merton’s consideration of whether or not his 1940s-era understanding of how and why scientific credit is assigned the way it is could have led to the establishment of something like the Science Citation Index (SCI) prior to its actual appearance in 1963. Merton speculated on why it didn’t, but he also marked a growing contact in the 1960s and ’70s between the historians and sociologists of science, publication indexing, and the rising tide of “science indicators”. He reckoned this contact would grow as both the sociology of science and science metrics matured. Unfortunately, the 1970s actually seems to have been its high-water mark.