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Work Organization in the Middle Kingdom, Ancient Egypt

Ezzamel, Mahmoud 2004. Work Organization in the Middle Kingdom, Ancient Egypt. Organization 11 (4) , pp. 497-537. 10.1177/1350508404044060

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This paper examines original documents from the Middle Kingdom in ancient Egypt (2050-1780 BC), containing material on various practices relating to the organization of work and labour discipline in state projects. The paper explores the roles of accounting and administrative practices in rendering possible the form and functioning of work organization and labour discipline during that historical era. Historical evidence so far removed from the present is clearly open to a variety of readings. Although acknowledging this, the paper argues that, through the compilation of rosters and name lists, the setting of work targets, regular reporting on performance, the application of sanctions against recalcitrant individuals and the determination and distribution of differential wages, accounting and administrative practices established a regime of control that traced workers’ presence and absence at precise temporal points and spatial locations and monitored their achievements. The evidence points to a very strong role for both accounting and administrative practices, lending greater credence to the view that the ‘visible’ hand of administration played a crucial role in the civilization of ancient Egypt.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accounting; administration; ancient Egypt; control; labour discipline; work organization
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 1350-5084
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:24

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