Williams, R., Inscribing the workers: An experiment in factory discipline or the inculcation of manners?, School of Accounting & Finance, University of Wollongong, Working Paper 11, 1995.
The establishment of the factory system during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution created a demand for labour. Labour that was unused to the confines and rigours of factory life. In an attempt to encourage punctuality and conscientiousness the industrialists of the late eighteenth century resorted to a number of practices designed to encourage their employees to give up their old habits and take on a new rhythm of life tied to the demands of the factory. At the same time, the guiding principle of improvement of product and factors of production led many industrialists to devote considerable energy to improving their human capital. Samuel Oldknow was one of these industrialists and this paper is concerned with his attempts to exert discipline through the surveillance and recording of the behaviour and output of his employees.