Florian Hoof

Angels of Efficiancy. A Media History of Consulting

Angels of Efficiency traces the invention of film and the parallel rise of management consulting, telling the story of how these together brought about new forms of information visualization and visual management. In addition to pioneering a new field of film and media studies, Hoof contributes original research to American cultural and economic history, such as archival findings concerning Gilbreth's consulting efforts for the German Army during WWI. With this distinct and innovative interdisciplinary approach, Hoof has marshalled cinema and media studies, business history, and science and technology studies to make sense of the rise of consulting practices and their remarkable stability to this day.


Angels of Efficiency makes a fantastic contribution to the growing body of scholarship on the role played by film and visual media in modern systems of knowledge, governance and control. The book is far more than just a study of the Gilbreths or even of consulting films more widely. It offers a compelling case for the agency of visual media in shaping forms of knowledge, while showing how techniques of visualisation developed around 1900 anticipated the cybernetic turn of the post-WWII period.”

—Michael Cowan, University of St. Andrews


This incisive volume demonstrates how the business of consulting harks back to the audiovisual motion studies of Lillian and Frank Gilbreth. Hoof unfolds a media history from ergonomics, proto-cybernetics, and control interfaces to the flip charts, graphs, and slide decks of roving advisors today.

—Peter Krapp, University of California – Irvine


Charting the reciprocal emergence of corporate consulting and a series of visualization techniques—including graphs, charts, tables, photographs, and motion pictures—between 1880 and 1920, Hoof definitively demonstrates how these visual media were not merely new forms of communication, but new forms of knowledge that actively shaped corporate strategy and practice. Angels of Efficiency provides an insightful portrait of modernity’s visual culture of useful images, but it also brilliantly fuses film and media studies with economic history to make a powerful argument for the mutually constitutive relationship between media and discipline.”

–Scott Curtis, Northwestern University 

Angels of Efficiency. A Media History of Consulting, Florian Hoof
Veröffentlichungsjahr: 2020
Verlag: Oxford University Press, New York

ISBN: 9780190886370