Keeping Men on Track: The Management of Single Male Employees by the New Zealand Government Railways Department 1923-1940
The New Zealand Government Railways Department undertook a wide range of reforms in the 1920s as a result of concerns about the threat of road competition and the longevity of New Zealand’s railway infrastructure. Some of these reforms were structural and financial, but many were motivated by desires to create a more efficient, modern and useful workforce. Unmarried men made up a third of the NZGRD’s workforce in 1927 and this thesis is an investigation of how the management of the NZGRD attempted to mould them. By investigating and analysing the ways in which the New Zealand Railways Department communicated with its workforce, this study will address how the New Zealand Government Railways Department used soft power to affect its worker’s lives. From the designs of railway houses through the range of publications given to employees the New Zealand Railway Department had indirect influence on almost every aspect of the lives of their employees, from their physical existence to what art and literature they were exposed to.