Magnus Alexander, the economists and the issue of labour turnover

Kyle Bruce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article chronicles the pioneering research conducted by the General Electric executive Magnus Alexander in estimating the cost of labour turnover and the impact this had not only on wider management practice but also on academic economics. It demonstrates that his message to high-ranking business executives regarding labour turnover and labour relations more broadly was one that was deeply influential, not only in the fledgling field of employment or personnel management where it was used to establish legitimacy, but also in the emergent sub-discipline of labour economics. It is a neat encapsulation of how, in Alexander's time, ideas from management practice diffused into academia quite readily and spontaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-510
Number of pages18
JournalBusiness History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2005


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