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As the Chief Consulting Engineer for the General Electric Company, a prominent socialist, and leader of the AIEE, Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865-1923) compromised between business demands and professional ideals when the Institute considered such issues as standardization, ethics, and the social responsibility of the engineer. Underlying these compromises was his theory of corporate socialism, which influenced how he believed the AIEE should participate in the professionalization of electrical engineering. Since he thought the AIEE's main purpose was to improve the corporation's technical or production function, the Institute's major role was the advancement of engineering knowledge. In order to perform this role effectively, he thought the AIEE should maintain high membership standards, which meant engineering rather than business control of the Institute. When other AIEE activities, such as standardization, ethics, and social responsibility, came into conflict with corporate interests, he thought the Institute should cooperate with business interests while retaining its autonomy. He, therefore, believed the AIEE should play a passive but impartial role in codifying the "best practice" of industrial techniques and morals, and that it should limit itself to technical functions and not address social issues.