By making everyone a salaried employee at a time when class distinctions were pronounced in many workplaces, IBM took a bold move to signal its belief in the dignity of work—all work.
When Thomas Watson Jr. took Jack Bricker up on his proposal to do away with the hourly wage, he was setting a business precedent. Never before had a corporation the size of IBM leveled the compensation playing field to this extent. Before announcing the plan, Watson anticipated a favorable response from IBM employees. Years later he would write, “The joke went around that on the first day of hunting season no one would show up for work at our Rochester, Minnesota plant.”