The transformation of U.S. steel 1945-1985: Perspectives from the corporation and the union

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This paper explores why the US steel industry changed from being the largest steel industry in the world in 1945 to a condition of near extinction in 1985. In the early to mid-1980s a number of academics, particularly those in the areas of management and economics, were writing about the "decline" of the American steel industry. The approach taken in most of these studies was one of attempting to discover where management went wrong, and why managers did not foresee "environmental changes." This paper is part of a study which takes a different approach to understanding the events which occurred in the US steel industry during the period 1945 to 1985. In undertaking to provide a different form of explanation, this project was principally concerned with searching for an understanding of how those in the industry chose to act in the manner they did.