Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Betty LeMasters

Second Advisor

James Lister

Third Advisor

Joseph Lonigro


This paper will take the reader on a fascinating journey through the workplace from colonial times to the decade of 2000+. It will be a tumultuous roller coaster ride with victories and sacrifices for both employees and employers. It will begin with the birth of our country when labor was largely concentrated either in agriculture, or people were self employed in retail, or skilled trades. It will identify the somewhat nefarious methods for obtaining servants, from Europe and Africa when indentured servants and slaves provided cheap labor.

Soon the industrial revolution invaded the shores of the new nation and workers moved from the farm to the factory. New skills and trades were developing, and along with it worker discontent with conditions in factories. Labor unions began to form to address the unacceptable conditions and wages. Violence seems to have been present from the beginning of union activity. Strikes were soon found to be an effective tool to force negotiation.

Women began to make their mark in the workplace. Initially, they were not allowed in the skilled trades union, so they formed their own unions with their own agenda. They also fought for individual liberties and succeeded in getting the right to vote.

Significant world events affected the workplace also. Depressions seemed to occur every twenty to thirty years; wars--civil and world--affected products and manpower; government regulations and laws radically changed not only the workplace but worker rights, protection, and expectations.

Technology has impacted the workplace more than anything. The world of automation has changed the required skill level of workers, and the amount of workers required to produce products. The workplace of today is global. Communication occurs in a heartbeat. What happens in Japan today, or any other country, affects the rest of the world tomorrow.

Where are we going from here? No one really knows. Some prognosticators are guessing at what will be the management styles for the "new workers"; what will the workplace look like; how will we communicate. We can try to look into the future, but with the speed at which changes are occuring, it is anyone's guess.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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