Howard Vollmer (1954)

I can claim few, if any significant contributions to academic sociology. After my dissertation on 'Employee Rights and the Employment Relationship' was published by the U.C. Institute of Industrial Relations and a subsequent book on the sociological process of Professionalization was published by Prentice-Hall, and after some futher graduate level course work in management, my career turned toward applied research and development and then into administration. Initially I served for 13 years at Stanford Research Institute (Now SRI International) in charge of management development and organization development projects. Our clients for such work included federal government agencies such as the U.S. Air Force (projects on the organization of research laboratories and the management of scientific personnel): state agencies (design of the new Department of Ecology for the State of Washington); Indian reservations such as economic and social development programs on the Colville, Crow, and Navajo reservations and many other applied projects. For a two-year period thereafter I served as Chairman of the Department of Sociology at the American University, Washington, D.C..during which time I also participated in the design of a new College of Public Affairs at that university.

After returning to California (San Francisco), I became corporate manager of management development programs at Bechtel Corporation, an international construction firm. Then after several years of independent consulting work on organizational design, I became Director of Extended (Continuing) Education at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo California for 11 years. More recently, I've served on several boards of directors of non-profit corporations. At times during the above years, I taught sociology courses part-time to adults at Pennsylvania State University, University of Alberta-Calgary, University of California Extension, Stanford University, University of San Francisco, and Antioch University-West.

For me, the U.C. Berkeley graduate program in sociology provided a strong foundation for my lifelong work, especially in classical sociological theory (e.g., Weber, Durkheim. and other authors of the '75 great books'). The fact that sociology (along with inputs from other disciplines) can provide a significant foundation for practical applications in 'the world' I believe is illustrated by the variety of involvements I have had in my own life.

Dissertation Title: 
Employee Rights and the Employment Relationship in Manufacturing Industries
Dissertation Book Title: 
Employee rights and the employment relationship