Summary of The Organization Man

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The Organization Man book summary


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William H. Whyte’s classic 1950s study of American corporations and their white-collar workers is a bittersweet trip back to a lost world of munificent corporations, placid suburbia and cookie-cutter “organization men.” When Whyte’s book appeared in 1956, 99% of white-collar workers were white men, and they tended to remain with their employers for their entire careers. As young men, they looked forward to superior benefits and generous pensions. But organization men paid a hefty price for this security: their souls, in the form of their individuality. getAbstract recommends this insightful study, which was groundbreaking for its time, to any thoughtful person who wants to understand the midcentury origins of modern corporate life.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How 1950s-era corporations robbed white-collar workers of their uniqueness,
  • How the “Social Ethic” affects life at work and at home, and
  • How white-collar employees can regain their individuality.

About the Author

William H. Whyte was an editor at Fortune magazine and a distinguished professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York. The publication of The Organization Man established Whyte as America’s foremost organizational analyst.



Circa 1956: “The Organization” and Its War on Individuality
America’s giant corporations are laying the groundwork for a profound shift in societal values. Individuality is stepping down to give way to the promise of the “collective.” Management boards strive to stamp out originality so...

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