Accounting and Labour Control at Boulton and Watt, c. 1775-1810
The paper offers a new perspective on the management and accounting practices at this pioneering firm of the British industrial revolution. Using a historical materialist approach, it offers an alternative to the economic rationalist, Foucauldian and Marxist explanations in the prior literature. Based on preliminary archival research, it shows how the business practices of Boulton and Watt reflected the norms of the eighteenth century and before rather than overtly capitalist methods and used accounting to solve the problems of pricing their product and the supervision and control of labour.
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