Plan A Background
The history of organizational dysfunction is prodigious. The history of highly-effective organizations is sparse, fragmentary, and obscure. The very popular book “In Search of Excellence” by Waterman and Peters, 1982, equated excellence with leadership. Within two years, half of the corporations featured by the authors had collapsed. Within two decades, only dust remained from the entire excellence collection. The leaders stayed rich.
The quotes included here provide an easy-to-digest overview of organizational dysfunction and the range of ideas about remedy. Without a success reference to benchmark their author’s imagined fixes and saddled with fatally-erroneous assumptions about implementation, nothing worked, nothing lasted, and everything dysfunctional got worse. All the fuss about the wreckage caused by dysfunctional organizations, amounting to a quadrillion US dollars over the last two centuries, delivered only frustration and angst.
The champions of the miscarriage of social behavior have all passed on and nobody has taken their place. Posting the quotes is not a call for action. The quotes are a framework for knowledge development and your ideas of a fix.
Someone has spoken of corporations as being organizations “without a soul.” A number of examples indicate that great business establishments need not necessarily be soulless and that cold-blooded methods, or on the other hand those in which the element of human interests and relations appear, are merely matters of election and of the management of affairs to the end chosen.
Experience further demonstrates that the latter method is more successful in that, while adding to the sum total of human happiness, it pays economically. The reasons for this seem to be imperfectly understood, even by the organizations which have made effort to use it. But what has gone before in this book sets forth such reasons very clearly as founded on the laws of human nature. In exactly the proportion in which such laws are employed to the desired purpose, and are not contravened, industrial difficulties are avoided, unnecessary wastage of potential man power is reduced, productivity is increased and economic results are successful. It is not only a case of dollars and cents, but of dollars and sense. Successful business does not overlook the human agencies contributing to business success. Edward Lyman Munson, Col., US Army (1919)
“Our wealth is increasing as wealth has increased at no other time and place in the history of the world. However, only one-fourth of our population is benefited by this vast increase. Adam Smith, and other economists, have taught that the rate of wages depends upon “dispute,” “contract,” “custom,” in one phrase, social adjustment. On the other hand, in the theory that “labor is the residual claimant,” and in the theory of “specific productivity” now generally held, an effort has been made to show that economic law does determine wages as completely as rent or interest. To the question, why does not the increase of wealth correspondingly diminish poverty, we reply: because there is nothing in the operation of economic laws to secure a just, reasonable, or tolerable distribution of wealth.” Lester B. Ward (1915)
“There are two kinds of mentality, of which the conscious mind is the higher and responsive to will and reason; the other is the sub-conscious mind which reacts to suggestion even though the suggestion may be unreasonable. With the first, the man is a rational, self-controlled individual. With the second he is a negative self, plastic to outside suggestion and control. The latter is of great importance from the standpoint of industrial management. Consciousness is more concerned with the relation between environment and self than with that existing between any factors of the environment. This explains why, in the vast majority of cases, matters are interpreted largely on the basis of personal reactions, thereby accounting for the universal tendency to reason from the basis of individual experience and from the particular to the general. We tend to judge the world to be good or bad according to the way it treats us not according to any abstract standards of good or evil.
The original basic tendencies of man rarely act at one time in isolation from each other. Life is complex and stimuli of diverse character press in from all sides. Every influence is registered in the brain, whether the exciting agent is tangible or intangible. With the various stimuli come the inhibiting influences necessary to the harmonious relations of men in groups. Thus the behavior of man, through its excitants and restraints, tends to be a compromise of multitudinous combinations. Where two opposing tendencies neutralize each other, action is paralyzed or the mental stress may be expressed in hysteria.” Charles Henderson (1914)
A host of questions concerning the origin and development of legal and political institutions await a socio-psychological settlement. Government and law are two of the most important products, or rather sides, of the social psychic process, and the attempt to understand them without understanding it is like an attempt to understand all organic species without reference to organic evolution as a whole, or to explain attention without reference to the whole process of the mental life.
The natural history of government and of the various forms of government, when it comes to be properly written, must seek the help of social psychology to explain the phenomena with which it deals. Monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, with their variations and “perversions,” will be truly explained as phenomena only when they are shown to be expressions of the particular psychical processes which characterize particular stages of social growth, or special social coördinations. The same method of interpretation will have to be applied to the legal systems and institutions which are bound up with government.
It will be the further task of political science to show, through the facts of history and ethnography, what forms of government and of law are regularly associated with certain types of social psychic coordination. Thus it is possible that some degree of prevision may be reached as regards the relation between a society and its form of government; but no exact prevision, since, as individual psychology teaches, no two psychical coördinations can ever be exactly alike. On this account a socio-psychological interpretation of political and legal phenomena will, perhaps, be unacceptable to those who, like Comte, long for a rigid science of society, a “social physics,” which shall make possible in social life the exact prevision of the mathematical sciences.” Charles A. Ellwood: 1899
“The efficiency of labor is the greatest factor that influences productivity and profit. This is evidenced by the unceasing efforts to produce new “labor saving” devices, not only to lower costs but to reduce the various difficulties attaching to human agencies. Labor probably enters into costs more than capital invested in machinery and plants, and as a far more variable and perplexing factor. It is curious that the importance of this element has not been more fully realized and that more intelligent effort has not been made to solve the problem of increasing productivity through the man as well as the machine. Inasmuch as the purpose of an industry is to produce, an essential quality to consider in an employee is his comparative productiveness.
Where differences in productivity exist between individuals of the same group of workers producing the same thing under the same conditions and encouraged to develop their output to the full capacity, it is apparent that these relate to diversity of qualities within the individual workers themselves. Mental state enters-in that workers of enthusiasm and loyalty will show it in producing more than those not prompted by these influences, often in great degree of difference. Thus, it is economically important to determine where and to what extent such differences exist and their causes, for the worker who does more is worth more, having due consideration not only to quantity but to quality.” Edward Lyman Munson, Col., US Army (1919)
Much research has been done on the negative impact of organizational defensive routines. Many change programs have been and continue to be executed to reduce them, and the dominant focus has been to change the culture of the organization. Yet the effectiveness of cultural change programs as documented by evaluations of the participants varies from very effective to quite ineffective. And even when participants report that the programs produced positive changes, the changes have not persisted. Why?
Most individuals answer this question by saying that Organizations are too rigid and bureaucratic. They contain organizational defensive routines that inhibit learning and change. There is a lukewarm commitment to change from those at the top. I often hear additional explanations for why successful change is not sustainable.
Most busy executives do not have the time that is required to generate lasting commitment by others. It is frustrating getting people to realize that they are responsible for the problem and to stop blaming others or the system. Many executives express concern about harming their reputation if they take initiatives that are too risky. Chris Argyris (2004)
More often than not supervisors report they are being punished for missteps that inevitably happen in any operations. If missteps and failures —two essential elements of any learning — are harshly criticized, employees will shy away from taking on assignments outside their comfort zones, and organizations will lose the opportunity to develop our leaders of tomorrow. Harvard Business Review (1978)
Overall, the results of this survey were unequivocal: Respondents identified frontline managers as a linchpin of organizational success. Despite this, it revealed, most frontline managers are not equipped with the requisite resources to excel in their organizations. Respondents believed that the gap between what is expected of frontline managers and what is provided to them is adversely impacting organizational performance in myriad ways. Harvard Business Review (1989)
“The gimmicks and devices employed for purposes of manipulation will soon lose their effectiveness. The important question is management’s motives in employing the results of human relations research. If its motives are those of narrow self-interest, of finding subtler and smoother ways of bending workers to its will, the effort will be worse than useless for it will widen further the gap between management and the worker.” J. C. Worthy (1957)
Gain victory over yourself
Insist upon responding intelligently to unintelligent treatment.
The wise pilgrim avoids the battlefield of egos.
Only those who are angst-free can vent angst in others.
Act but don’t compete.
The lead people walk beside them
Do the tough tasks while they are small
To see things in the seed Lao Tzu (587 BCE)
“Those who would promote material efficiency must work hand and hand with the apostles of human efficiency and the order of precedence is given to those who are promoting the welfare of the man – body, mind and soul.” Charles Buxton Going (1908)
“I believe that just as life exists on account of certain natural laws, so also is civilization built up on the foundations of a few great moralities which organizational activities, so large a part in our civilized life, must also observe. I believe that these moralities must be enforced, not by bureaucrats, but by great leaders. I believe that the fundamentals of organization have not been invented by men, but underlie the development of all the universe and particularly govern all life, plant and animal.
I believe further that just as the wheel flanges, the swivel trucks, the elevated outside rail on the curve, the spiked rails on the ties, embedded in the leveled ballast, keep the trains on their course, so also a few, a very few practical principles systematically applied will enable us to eliminate the errors that make industrial wrecks of great enterprises, of great communities, of great civilizations. The great moralities are:
- That aptitude should have opportunity.
- That all should coordinate and cooperate for the common good.
- That public and social hygiene are essential and obligatory.
- That pleasure and joy are as essential to life as toil and rest.
- That “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law.” (Golden Rule)
- That what is in each man should be developed through education and that he should also acquire general and special skill.
- That industrial competence should at all times be obligatory; that all needless losses and wastes and leaks should be eliminated.” Harrington Emerson 1920
When executives feel their “power,” their sense of control becomes inflated. They believe not only that they control things that they do not control; they come to believe they control things that cannot be controlled at all. Joseph Hallinan (2014)
“The company union has improved personal relations, group welfare activities, discipline and other matters which may be handled on a local basis. But it has failed dismally to standardize or improve wage levels, for the wage question is a general one whose sweep embraces whole industries, the States, and the nation. Without wider areas of cooperation among employers there can be no protection against the nibbling tactics of the unfair employer or of the worker who is willing to degrade standards by serving for a pittance. Major questions of self-expression and democracy are involved.
The company union, initiated by the employer, exists by his sufferance; its decisions are subject to unimpeachable veto. The highest degree of cooperation between management and labor is possible only when either side is free to act or withdraw or that the best records of mutual respect and mutual accomplishments have been made by employers dealing with independent labor organizations.” Robert R.F. Wagner, Senator from NY (1927)
“Before we are fully prepared to consider, in all its length and breadth, the important proposition that society can and should seriously undertake the artificial improvement of its condition upon scientific principles strictly analogous to those by which the rude conditions of nature have been improved upon in the process which we call civilization; before we are wholly ready to enter upon an argument to prove the feasibility, the desirability, and the right of society, as such, to adopt an aggressive reform policy guided entirely by scientific foresight rendered possible by an intelligent acquaintance with the fundamental laws of human action; before we can justly contemplate man in his social corporate capacity assuming the attitude of a teleological agent and adopting measures in the nature of final causes for the production of remote beneficial effects – before we can properly rise to this position, it seems necessary that we should first seek to obtain as just and true a conception as the human mind is capable of grasping, of the real and precise relations which man and nature mutually sustain to each other.” Lester F. Ward (1881)
“A concept of desired application to a specific purpose is so developed in the individual that neither its source nor purpose nor the fact of acceptance may be recognized. In this way a man accepts and supports an idea as his own, not realizing that it came from outside and was not of internal and individual origin. This is because impressions of all kinds bow in upon him and all exert their influence upon ideas and acts. The individual does not have the power to automatically receive only such mental impressions as he might have decided he would like to accept. Those artificially and deliberately created present no difference in appearance or result than they would have if they had been the product of chance. But if suggestion is so clumsily conveyed as to show its artificiality, it is at once resented.” John Carl Cabe (1909)
“I shall not urge details of dealing with men any more than to urge details of tools and materials we see, but I do urge that as the laws of nature are utilized by us all after keen inquiry into them in the mechanical and material side of our work, so the laws of human nature shall be given at least as keen study in the living and productive side of our work. For, since both the laws of mechanics and the laws of human nature are but a partial manifestation of the law of the universe, there can be no harmony and no basis for permanent peace in reaching for the highest production until we have readjusted our factories so that they operate in accordance with the laws of human nature.” Ordway Tead (1895)
Making slavery unlawful provided the setting for treating the workers who took their places – with detachment, abuse and indifference far worse than slavery. George B. Hugo (1901)
“Preamble: The alarming development and aggressiveness of great capitalists and corporations, unless checked, are leading to the pauperization and hopeless degradation of the toiling masses. The method of remedying this evil is first the organization of all laborers into one great solidarity. The direction of their united efforts towards the measures that shall, by peaceful process, evolve the working class out of their present condition in the wage system into a cooperative system. It proposes to exercise the right of suffrage to assist the natural law of development. It is the purpose of the Order to establish a new and true standard of individual and national greatness.” The Knights of Labor (1880)
“It is one thing to discover the cause of the trouble; it is quite another to get the victim of the conflict to realize and admit that you have for arrived at the truth of the matter. After all, we can do nothing for another beyond putting him in the way of doing something himself. The solution lies in getting him to face reality and to accept responsibility for what has been troubling him. Once this has been done, the remedy takes care of itself. It is fighting shadows that causes most maladjustments. Once a man has it brought home to him just what the real trouble is, he will see his own solution without further help from outside. Facing reality is the hard task. It is much easier and more self-satisfying to continue to evade the responsibility by placing the blame elsewhere than on our own shoulders even though this face-saving evasion accomplishes nothing in the way of bettering our situation.” John N. Bury (1937)
“Work is not a commodity, another inanimate element in the process of manufacture. It is inseparable from the personality of the worker. To promote increases in process productivity, attention must be centered on the worker, upon the congenital and acquired human traits and modes of action which comprise his personality. The natural tendency of the process owners is this regard is to make human values secondary to machine values. While care for the machine is normal practice, care for the worker is not.
The Establishment invoked the policy of Laissez Faire buttressed by the opinion that held generally, even by enlightened members of the employing and governing class, that the degradation of the workforce and their enslavement to the machine was part of the necessary order of nature – the inevitable result of the operation of natural laws which no effort of government, public opinion, or philanthropy could change.” Lionel Edie (1917)
“In the first place, the United States is a market economy, not a government-planned economy. Individual firms reap the fruits of their comparative economic advantages and suffer the consequences of economic miscalculations as well. The recent experience of the gigantic Chrysler Corporation demonstrates the futility of workers relying on corporate viability as protection for their jobs, salaries or pensions.
Now their jobs offer low pay, little training, no promotion, arbitrary discipline and constitute the “secondary” labor-market. The larger firms satisfy the constant demand in the industry and provide “primary” labor market jobs. Primary jobs offer better pay, training on the job, some advancement and due-process protection against arbitrary discipline. At the most general level then, the planning of human-resource opportunities for workers is the consequence of product market decisions made by a number of employers more or less independently in order to deal with uncertainty in the product market and maximize return on their investment. Such decisions are not in the control of one firm. Thus, human-resource planning in a capitalistic market economy is a contradiction.
The second problem is more mundane; planning just doesn’t amount to much in practice. Two years ago, we studied the human resource planning efforts of two large private sector employers. Our findings can be summed up in a word: smokescreen.
Financial considerations dominated the long-range planning effort in each firm. The human-resource considerations were strictly secondary, despite their reputations for sophistication in this field. For example, in one company, if divisional human-resource projection failed to conform with the financial projections of corporate managers, the planning staff simply changed their numbers at corporate headquarters. The new numbers never sifted back to the divisions, so it is difficult to imagine how much the final “human resource plan” affected operations. In the second firm, the financial plan preceded the human-resource plan each year, so the financial estimates dominated subsequent human-resource projections.” James W. Driscoll (1980)
The handling of the American worker seems to have been attempted in defiance of the laws of human nature. Some of the methods have been largely adopted from feudal society. Whether they were applicable to the American mental make-up, or to present day conditions, was not duly considered. Some business executives, deliberately, if innocently, attempt to repress natural instincts. It must be emphasized that all administrative methods not in accordance with the laws governing psychology will fail. Morale work is governed by general principles only. Rules will not apply, for methods which may be successful at one time or place may be successful only in part, if at all, under other conditions. The early symptoms of low morale should be recognized and their causes inquired into and corrected, for morale work is essentially not repair work but work of prevention, though both may go hand in hand. Edward Lyman Munson (1919)
“Wherever human beings are grouped together in mutual endeavor or for the accomplishment of a definite task, attitude is bound to be a controlling factor in their work. That their mental state, their will to do, their cooperative effort – all of which are synonymous – bear a true relation to their output, productivity and the success of the joint undertaking, is so obvious and has been proven so often as to require no supporting argument.
It is regrettable that modern industry has failed so often to comprehend this basic and vital economic truth or, comprehending it, has failed to grasp the opportunity and turn it to practical advantage. Directive and administrative energy has been turned too exclusively along mechanical and operative lines with disregard of the intrinsic and vitalizing psychological factors of producing.” Arthur Twining Hadley (1901)
“At present the working man toils on through the period of a dreary existence, content if he can secure enough of the common necessities of life. He leaves behind him a family with no heritage but his own – no means to live but by hiring out to work for the benefit of others. Our descendants who wish to raise themselves from the conditions of wage earners, but they wish in vain. They cannot approach a field on which the capitalist has not set his mark and each succeeding age their condition becomes more and more hopeless.
They read the history of their country and learn there was a time when their fathers could have preserved balance. When our posterity look back to the opportunity that we are now losing, they will not bless our memory if we leave them nothing but a heritage of toil and dependence.” Winston Lloyd Garrison (1840)
“It is true that the complexity of the general industrial morale problem is very great, including as it does the hundreds of possible varieties of men and women, races and creeds, skill and awkwardness, trades and professions, classes and diversity of environmental conditions, many of which do not enter into the problem of military morale. Large organizations have proportionately greater industrial difficulties because of the greater number and diversity of their elements. As the aggregation of men in masses increases liability to epidemic of infectious disease, so it increases the problems brought about by infectious thought. Nevertheless, it is possible to demonstrate that the problem of industrial morale is practically solvable to an extent far greater than is usually appreciated.
It seems perfectly feasible to reduce considerably many of the points of unnecessary friction between the employer and employee to their mutual advantage and profit. Many repressions of perfectly natural human traits can be done away with by wise management, and the reactions which spring from them, such as lowered production, increased labor turnover, strikes and lockouts, be avoided. Any such conditions as are left unremedied will continue to serve as irritants and result in corresponding loss in efficiency – that is, in productivity.” Edward Lyman Munson (1919)
“The greater productivity of labor must not only be attainable, but attainable under conditions consistent with the conservation of health, the enjoyment of work, and the development of the individual. In the task of ascertaining whether proposed conditions of work do conform to these requirements, the laborer should take part. He is indeed a necessary witness. Likewise in the task of determining whether in the distribution of the gain in productivity justice is being done to the worker, the participation of representatives of labor is indispensable for the inquiry which involves essentially the exercise of judgment.” Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1915)
The bottom line to all the paradoxes is this: managements at all levels, create by their own choice, a world that is contrary to what they say they prefer and contrary to the managerial stewardship they espouse. It is as if they are compulsively tied to a set of processes that prevent them from changing what they believe they should change. W. Edwards Deming (1981)
“Invoking managerialism is futile. It approaches change using the mindsets and techniques of the command and control workplace and it does not work.” Brad Jackson (2001)
“Not rarely, problems outwardly disciplinary have their basis in matters of executive maladjustment. It is thus obvious that the constructive instinct is one to be turned to valuable organizational account. But to do so most efficiently, the personality of the worker must be allowed to enter. The individual must be given to realize that the task assigned to him is his own particular job, or he will have little incentive to put thought and labor into it. Every human creation, no matter how simple or complex, is an embodiment of thought and concept in which one or more persons had pride of origination and development. Every act offers opportunity for self-expression and self-assertion.” Edward Lyman Munson (1919)
“North Americans have had little trouble living with each other as citizens during the recent centuries. Since the industrial revolution geared up, in exception, there has been scant and fleeting success in living with each other as employer and employee. Clearly the same man has a very different status regarding the state from what he has regarding the organization. As a citizen, he has a good measure of freedom of speech. He can criticize those in authority with impunity and take every opportunity to do so. He has a voice through the ballot box, in the selection of those who are to govern him, and he can exert his influence upon them by this power after they are selected. He has a constitution and a definite code of laws which state in no uncertain terms just what he can do and what he must do. Should he be accused of violating those regulations, he has the right to a hearing in the form of a trial by a jury of his equals.
Evaluate the same aspects in industry. The wisdom gained by bitter experience orders that if he wishes to exercise his right of free speech, he will do so where it will not be heard by anyone else, fellow worker or employer, if what he says can be construed as unfavorable to the management. He has no voice in in the matter of who is to be his supervisor nor has he power to change or correct the supervision if he finds it incompetent, counterproductive or unjust. He has no Bill of Rights as an employee and no adequate idea as to exactly where his duties and responsibilities begin and end. He does not know the full extent of his privileges and perquisites. When he is suspected of failing to meet the nebulous rules and regulations of the organization, he is faced with the charges by a man who is at the same time his accuser, his prosecutor, his jury, and his executioner.
If this paradox, the discrepancy between the worker and the citizen, was imposed on us by law, rather than by custom, we would rebel as we did over taxation without representation. On this contradiction is based whatever stability there might be in the workaday world of industry. Freedom of speech, not a code of silence, is the safety valve of organizational dysfunction.” Albert Walton (1921)
“All of them were very alive and were making great changes in short periods, both in system and personality. One was passing from autocracy into government by employees; another from scientific management into unionism; another from welfare into self-government; another from political to industrial form of government.
One interesting fact was found: the sudden or gradual moral conversion of an employer from business to humanity. Employees noted it, and could not at first believe it, or were still incredulous, and told us about it, and so did the employer himself. In some cases it was unionism or strikes that did it. In others it was business foresight of the labor problem. In others it was sermons by an industrial evangelist.
We noted also certain obvious contrasts. In one case, not however included in this book, output had fallen off two-thirds, wages had doubled and high prices took care of both. In others efficiency had increased nearly as much as wages, so that the increased cost of living was nearly paid for by increased output per man. In some cases wages had not kept up with the cost of living; in others they had exceeded the increased cost. In some cases labor-turnover was down at astonishingly low figures compared with the industrial world in general. In some cases seasonal industries had been stabilized so that no employee is laid off. In others the rapid growth of the business has overcome instability of employment.” John R. Commons (1919)
“It is important that the desires of the individual as to choice of task should be helped as far as possible and not thwarted. It has already been stated that what human beings want to do they usually do well, and they do it well because they want to do it. This of course has a direct bearing on productivity. It is short-sighted economic policy to attempt to meet a special need at the expense of the sacrifice of interest and the checking of the energy flowing from constructiveness.” Edward Lyman Munson (1919)
Too many of us have stopped too soon on the path of scientific development of our industries. The man is infinitely well worth study and infinitely more difficult to study than the machine. We all believe that cleaner and better things are attainable than a constant struggle between profits at the top and penury at the bottom in the same establishment. Joseph Tiffin 1877
“Delegated authority to control, and personal ability to control, is as far apart as the poles. Efficiency at the machine and efficiency over men require very different qualifications, and the overlooking of this fact will bring about many unnecessary frictions and difficulties. The close contact between the workers and their immediate supervisors makes this matter of special importance. On the other hand, unsympathetic policies handed down from above as to the handling of men will be carried out by loyal subordinates even if they are in conflict with the ideas of the latter. One result of the poor handling of the human element is the impairment of interest and initiative and a resulting slowing down in productivity. There may be direct reaction against repression, or a lack of stimulus for the expenditure of a fair degree of energy. Either cause affects result.” Edward Lyman Munson (1919)
“An altruistic quality of sympathy is evoked toward a superior from his organization if the men see that he is particularly concerned with the welfare of the weaker and those more in need of assistance. Sympathy is capitalized for efficiency in result. The value of good will between chief s and workers is an asset which may be estimated in millions of dollars by a great industrial organization. A greater output of a product of better quality is the result of sympathy in a mutual purpose. The organizations whose managers are trusted and respected by their men will maintain higher standards for accomplishments. No superior, if only for personal and selfish reasons, can afford to affect to ignore what the men think of him, for upon the relative zeal and degree of thoroughness with which they carry out his orders rests his own reputation.” Akin Karoly (1902)
In 1913 USA production efficiency had dropped to 60% from previous higher levels. By 1920 the figure had fallen to 40%. No one disputes the attainable benchmark efficiency at 90%. Most people treat this ongoing calamity as of no consequence. Why does management combat successful methods? Albert Grimshaw (1917)
“Ordinarily the intangibles of psychology receive little attention and consideration in industrial affairs, but if these are aroused in them, the reaction is much like that expressed by the foreman whose champion gang at the Hog Island ship yard set a new record for riveting, “According to my way of figuring, this thing called morale is blamed important.” All business men realize that production is not a smooth and orderly process at all times and that with exactly the same physical equipment of plant, machinery, material and capital invested, and with the same number of workers, elements of morale affecting the latter will enter to force output up or down. This may be so variable as to run the gamut between profit and loss.” Edward Lyman Munson (1919)
“The inanimate elements of the labor-saving process assume a complementary boost in the effective use of human energy, human abilities, and of the human will-to-work to deliver the success of the process and the future of our civilization.
In perfecting the machines and the tools which the worker uses in the economic arts, we have hardly attempted to improve the worker himself. If he were considered as an instrument, a tool, a motor, he would necessarily be placed in the first rank of all instruments, all mechanical agents, since he has the immeasurable advantage of being an instrument who observes and corrects himself, a self-stopping motor which functions with the motivation of its own intelligence, and which perfects itself by thinking not less than by work itself.
Management has always selectively and deliberately considered labor as the opponent in a zero-sum game. In 1880, Frederick Winslow Taylor was struck by how little management, handicapped by prejudices handed down from the past, knew about their workers and how erroneous their notions as to the role workers play in creating their fortunes. Never appreciating that when they fail the worker, by withholding instruction, conditions of work, and morale, they fail their own stated purpose. Even when confronted with successful applications of psychological principles, management continued to pursue policies and practices proven to fail.” John Leitch (1914)
“That the owners and agents of factories should see this whole matter in a different light from that it wears to us, we deem unfortunate but not unnatural. It is hard work to convince most men that a change which they think will take a thousand dollars out of their pockets respectively is necessary or desirable. We must exercise charity for the infirmities of poor human nature. But we have regretted to see in the Whig journals of New Hampshire indications of hostility to the Ten Hour regulation, which we hardly believe being dictated by the unbiased judgment of their conductors.
What show of argument they contain is of the regular Free Trade stripe and quite out of place in journals favorable to protection. Complaints of legislative inter meddling with private concerns and engagements, vociferations that Labor can take care of itself and needs no help from legislation – that the law of Supply and Demand will adjust this matter, properly belongs to journals of the opposite school.
We protest against their unnatural and ill-omened appearance in journals, of the true faith, to talk of the freedom of labor, the policy of leaving it to make their own bargains, when the fact that a man who has a family to support and a house hired for the year is told “If you will work thirteen hours per day, or as many as we think fit, you can stay. If not, you can have your walking papers; and well you know that no one else hereabout will hire you” – is it not the most egregious flummery?” Horace Greeley 1845
I would gladly hear any man compare the justice that is among them with that of all other nations; among whom, may I perish, if I see anything that looks either like justice or equity; for what justice is there in this: that a nobleman, a goldsmith, a banker, or any other man, that either does nothing at all, or, at best, is employed in things that are of no use to the public, should live in great luxury and splendour upon what is so ill acquired, and a mean man, a carter, a smith, or a ploughman, that works harder even than the beasts themselves, and is employed in labours so necessary, that no commonwealth could hold out a year without them, can only earn so poor a livelihood and must lead so miserable a life, that the condition of the beasts is much better than theirs?
For as the beasts do not work so constantly, so they feed almost as well, and with more pleasure, and have no anxiety about what is to come, whilst these men are depressed by a barren and fruitless employment, and tormented with the apprehensions of want in their old age; since that which they get by their daily labour does but maintain them at present, and is consumed as fast as it comes in, there is no overplus left to lay up for old age.
Is not that government both unjust and ungrateful, that is so prodigal of its favours to those that are called gentlemen, or goldsmiths, or such others who are idle, or live either by flattery or by contriving the arts of vain pleasure, and, on the other hand, takes no care of those of a meaner sort, such as ploughmen, colliers, and smiths, without whom it could not subsist? But after the public has reaped all the advantage of their service, and they come to be oppressed with age, sickness, and want, all their labours and the good they have done is forgotten, and all the recompense given them is that they are left to die in great misery.
The richer sort are often endeavouring to bring the hire of labourers lower, not only by their fraudulent practices, but by the laws which they procure to be made to that effect, so that though it is a thing most unjust in itself to give such small rewards to those who deserve so well of the public, yet they have given those hardships the name and colour of justice, by procuring laws to be made for regulating them. Sir Thomas More (1516) “Utopia” (edited by Erasmus)
All great movements of history and prehistory have been the products of unrest and man’s struggle to make or find an environment that better suits his nature and his needs. Today we are in the midst of a Copernican revolution in industry and are beginning to realize that it was made for the better development of man, and not conversely. It can never be stable until it fits human nature and needs.
But let me say at the outset that the nascent but inevitable advent of democracy into industry is not to be attained by any Bolshevik program of confiscation or nationalization of capital; nor by any form of government socialism, or by the French or any form of syndicalism; nor by any modernization of the medieval guilds; nor by any development yet in sight of the efficiency system, which has so far contributed almost as much to the discontent of labor as it has to the effectiveness of the organization; nor even by the full program of the Whitley reports.
Permanent and settled industrial peace and good-will can only be found in a full and unreserved cooperation between capital and labor, with some complete scheme of joint control and profit-sharing, involving more knowledge by the laborer of the business as a whole and more loyalty to it. This alone can bring harmony, avoid the excessive waste of friction, ill-will, soldiering on the job, labor turnovers, strikes, of which an official report a few months ago told us there were three hundred sixty-five, or one for every day of the year, on at that time in this country-and all the other wastage of energy from unemployment to sabotage. All these disorders which are so ominous for the business and economic future of this country and its supremacy in the markets of the world are, in a sense, of psychic origin, and the cure must be sought by a better knowledge and a wiser regimentation of the mind of labor. G. Stanley Hall (1920)
One of the main forces in keeping economic motive on a low moral level has been the doctrine that selfishness is all we need or can hope to have in this phase of life. Economists have too commonly taught that if each man seeks his private interest the good of society will take care of itself, and the somewhat anarchic conditions of the time have discouraged a better theory. In this way we have been confirmed in a pernicious state of belief and practice, for which discontent, inefficiency, and revolt are the natural penalty. A social system based on this doctrine deserves to fail.
When pressed regarding this matter economists have not denied that their system rests on a partial and abstract view of human nature; but they have held that this view is practically adequate in the economic field, and have often seemed to believe that it sufficed for all but a negligible part of human life. On the contrary, it is false even as economics, and we shall never have an efficient system until we have one that appeals to the imagination, the loyalty, and the self-expression of the men who serve it.
By a sense of security I mean the feeling that there is a larger and more enduring life surrounding, appreciating, upholding the individual, and guaranteeing that his efforts and sacrifice will not be in vain. I might almost say that it is a sense of immortality; if not that, it is something akin to and looking toward it, something that relieves the precariousness of the merely private self. It is rare that human nature sustains a high standard of behavior without the consciousness of opinions and sympathies that illuminate the standard and make it seem worthwhile. It lies deep in the social nature of our minds that ideals can hardly seem real without such corroboration.
In a still more tangible sense I mean a reasonable economic security. A man can hardly have a good spirit if he feels that the ground is unsure beneath his feet, that his social world may disown and forget him tomorrow. There is scarcely anything more appalling to the human spirit than this feeling, or more destructive of all generous impulses. It is an old observation that fear shrinks the soul; and there is no fear like this. The soldier who knows that he may be killed at any moment may yet be perfectly secure in a psychological sense; secure of his duty and of the sympathy of his fellows, his mind quite at peace; but this treachery of the ground we stand on is like a bad dream. As one will shrink from attaching himself in love and service to a person whom he feels he cannot trust, so he will from giving his loyalty to an insecure position. It is impossible that such tenure of function as now chiefly prevails in the industrial world should not induce selfishness, restlessness, and a service-only mercenary. Judged by such standards, our present order is inefficient, because its tasks are so largely narrow, drudging, meaningless, and inhuman.
While it is not indispensable, in order to secure emulation in service, that the work should allow of self-expression and so be attractive in itself, yet in so far as we can make it self-expressive we release fresh energies of the human mind. The ideal condition is to have something of the spirit of art in every task, a sense of joyous individual creation. We are formed for development, and an endless, hopeless repetition is justly abhorrent. No matter how humble a man’s work, he will do it better and in a better spirit if he sees that he can improve upon it and hope to pass beyond it. As regards the individual himself, self-expression is simply the deepest need of his nature. It is required for self-respect and integrity of character, and there can be no question more fundamental than that of so ordering life that the mass of men may have a chance to find self-expression in their principal activity.
Self-expression springs from the deeper and more obscure currents of life, from subconscious, unmechanized forces which are potent without our understanding why. It represents humanity more immediately and its values are, or may be, more vital and significant than those of the market; we may look to them for art, for science, for religion, for moral improvement, for all the fresher impulses to social progress. The onward things of life usually come from men whose imperious self-expression disregards the pecuniary market. In humbler tasks self-expression is required to give the individual an immediate and lively interest in his work; it is the motive of art and joy, the spring of all vital achievement.
Closely related to this is the sense of worthy service. No man can feel that his work is self-expressive unless he believes that it is good work and can see that it serves mankind. If the product is trivial or base he can hardly respect himself, and the demand for such things, as Ruskin used to say, is a demand for slavery. Or if the employer for whom a man works and who is the immediate beneficiary of his labors is believed to be self-seeking beyond what is held legitimate, and not working honorably for the general good, the effect will be much the same. The worst sufferers from such employers are the men who work for them, whether their wages be high or low.
As regards the general relation in our time between market value and self-expression, the fact seems to be something as follows: Our industrial system has undergone an enormous expansion and an almost total change of character. In the course of this, human nature has been dragged along, as it were, by the hair of the head. It has been led or driven into kinds of work and conditions of work that are repugnant to it, especially repugnant in view of the growth of intelligence and of democracy in other spheres of life. The agent in this has been the pecuniary motive backed by the absence of alternatives. This pecuniary motive has reflected a system of values determined under the ascendancy, direct and indirect, of the commercial class naturally dominant in a time of this kind. I will not say that as a result of this state of things the condition of the handworkers is worse than in a former epoch; in some respects it seems worse, in many it is clearly better; but certainly it is far from what it should be in view of the enormous growth of human resources. In the economic philosophy which has prevailed along with this expansion, the pecuniary motive has been accepted as the legitimate principle of industrial organization to the neglect of self -expression.
Production has not always lacked ideals, nor does it everywhere lack them at present. They come when the producing group gets a corporate consciousness and a sense of the social worth of its functions. The medieval guilds developed high traditions and standards of workmanship, and held their members to them. They thought of themselves in terms of service, and not merely as purveyors to a demand. In our time the same is true of trades and professions in which a sense of workmanship has been developed by tradition and training.
A good carpenter, if you give him the chance, will build a better house than the owner can appreciate; he loves to do it and feels obscurely that it is his part to realize an ideal of sound construction. The same principle ought to hold good throughout society, each functional group forming ideals of its own function and holding its members to them. Consuming and producing groups should cooperate in this matter, each making requirements which the other might overlook. The somewhat anarchical condition that is now common we may hope to be transitory. Charles Horton Cooley (1918)
American organizations of all kinds have peculiarly lacked balance. In our national and State governments the mental type has predominated—lawyers; in our city governments the vital type has predominated—the glad-hand politician without ideals; in the railroads and other great businesses the motive type has predominated to the exclusion of ideals and of human sympathy. Congress and the Supreme Court and the President are viewed with distrust by the whole country because we, the workers, are being subjected to theories, to protection and to free trade theories, to the theory that big combinations and mergers are inimical to the public welfare.
In the business world, as in all occupations involving human beings, to illustrate the need of selected habits and adaptive variability in a field too often overlooked, the manner in which men are treated largely determines the success of manager or foreman. Certain methods, called drive, have been acquired from the environment, education, or training, and they are followed. These managers know no other way.
Virtually all psychologists observe that business managers commonly miscalculate the mind of the worker in that they attribute his shortcomings and misbehavior to willful and deliberate perverseness. The repeated complaint made by management is that the faults, sins and inefficiencies of labor are the result of a pernicious act of will. The corresponding assumption is that labor ought to change its mind by an act of will, ought to see the reasonable way of behavior, and ought to revise its mental outlook as a matter of volition and self-control.
This common view held by management grossly overrates the element of detached and independent reason and grossly underrates the element of impulsive human nature. The faults and perversities of labor are due to natural causes, and certain pioneer managers have found that by changing the natural causes, they eliminate the faults and perversities, and substitute for them sound mental attitudes and efficient behavior.
Psychologists generally emphasize that the so-called faults of labor are due to unscientific methods of management which do not rightly encourage the “wholesome tendencies” of human nature nor “curb the pernicious tendencies.” In other words, psychology indicates that the responsibility for the misconduct of labor rests not with labor, but with management. Executives cannot shift the blame upon a perverse human nature on the part of the workers, for their human nature is as good as that of anybody else. The blame rests upon executives for not having developed methods of management which direct the human nature of the workers in the proper channels.
At the outset, therefore, psychology presents a strong challenge to management to accept the responsibility for reconstructing business practices so as to “help the better and repress the pernicious tendencies” of labor. But this challenge comes face to face with many traditional axioms of management and with a background and outlook which often are slow to change. A few pioneer business men here and there acquire the viewpoint of modem psychology and demonstrate in practical achievements what can be done. The rapidity with which the rank and file of executive management come to understand the mind of the worker in a manner similar to that of the pioneer managers determines the rate of industrial progress. Lionel E. Edie (1920)
There is a very pregnant sense in which the war is not ended but only transferred to other fields to be carried on by other agents. Those of us who have not smelled powder must now come forward and take up the battle which is waged against conservatism and inertia, by which things tend to slip back into the same old ruts as before if we do not mobilize and use all the unprecedented opportunities and incentives to reform to make the educational, industrial, social, political and religious world fitter to live in; for otherwise we break faith with the millions who have died. Our foes are timidity and laziness in this new spiritual conflict to which the battle of arms has bequeathed its precious legacy. To say that reforms are now needed, though hard and dangerous, is true, but to leave them unattacked is a slackerdom unworthy of the spirit of our armies in France. The new struggles we ought to enter upon are the harvest of victory, and are harder and will take far longer than the war itself.
Our task, thus, is nothing less than to rehumanize industry, to break down the disastrous partition that has grown up between brain-work and hand-work, to appeal at every step to mind lest we add to the degradation of labor, remembering that the brain in its evolution was hand-made and that in all progressive periods of the past the two have always gone and grown together. We must find a way of putting not merely head and intelligence but heart into work, as also was the case of yore. We must search everywhere for the culture elements which are inherent in every industry and even in every process, and which it is the tragedy of modem industrialism to have lost. Work has made and it alone can perfect man; hence we must attempt to restore or else create a morale in every great branch of industry. All this stupendous task I believe can be wrought out, because nearly every item of it has been accomplished somewhere at some time. Jeremiah W. Jenks (1919)
There can be no doubt that, in the case of the larger industrial combinations, the belief on the part of the managers that a virtual monopoly could be secured was a powerful element toward bringing about their formation. The pride of power, and the pleasure which comes from the exercise of great power, are in themselves exceedingly attractive to strong men. As one with political aspirations will sacrifice much and take many risks for the sake of securing political preferment in order that he may in this way rule his fellows, so a successful organizer of business derives keen satisfaction from feeling that he alone is practically directing the destinies of a great people, so far as his one line of business is concerned. Walter E. Clark (1917)
Certain institutions have been found by experience to work better than others; i.e., they give more scope to the wholesome tendencies, and curb the pernicious tendencies. Such institutions have also a retroactive action upon those who live under them. Helping men to goodwill, self-restraint, intelligent cooperation, they form what we call a solid political character, temperate and law-abiding, preferring peaceful to violent means for the settlement of controversies.
Where, on the other hand, institutions have been ill-constructed, or too frequently changed to exert this educative influence, men make under them little progress toward a steady and harmonious life. To find the type of institutions best calculated to help the better and repress the pernicious tendencies is the task of the philosophic enquirer, who lays the foundations upon which the legislator builds. A people through which good sense and self-control are widely diffused is itself the best philosopher and the best legislator, as is seen in the history of Rome and in that of England. It was to the sound judgment and practical quality in these two peoples that the excellence of their respective constitutions and systems of law was due, not that in either people wise men were exceptionally numerous, but that both were able to recognize wisdom when they saw it, and willingly followed the leaders who possessed its government, relapsed wearily after their failure into an acceptance of monarchy and turned its mind quite away from political questions.
More than a thousand years elapsed before this long sleep was broken. The modern world did not occupy itself seriously with the subject nor make any persistent efforts to win an ordered freedom till the sixteenth century. Before us in the twentieth a vast and tempting field stands open, a field ever widening as new States arise and old States pass into new phases of life. More workers are wanted in that field. Regarding the psychology of men in politics, the behaviour of crowds, the forms in which ambitions and greed appear, much that was said long ago by historians and moralists is familiar, and need not be, now, repeated. Arthur Stone Dewing (1920)
During the first three weeks of the application of the slide rules to two lathes, the one a 27 inch, the other a 24 inch, in the larger of these shops, the output of these was increased to such an extent that they quite unexpectedly ran out of work on two different occasions, the consequence being that the superintendent, who had previously worried a good deal about how to get the great amount of work on hand for these lathes out of the way, suddenly found himself confronted with a real difficulty in keeping them supplied with work.
But while the truth of this statement may appear quite incredible to a great many persons, to the writer himself, familiar and impressed as he has become with the great intricacy involved in the problem of determining the most economical way of running a machine tool, the application of a rigid mathematical solution to this problem as against the leaving it to the so-called practical judgment and experience of the operator, cannot otherwise result than in the exposure of the perfect folly of the latter method. Carl G. Barth (1899)
Organization is older than history. The earliest documents, such as the code of Hammurabi, show the evidences of many generations of systematized social life. The real pioneers are the unknown promoters of the Stone Age and the system-makers of the Bronze Age. Long ago almost every conceivable experiment in organization was first made. The records of history tell us of large units and small ones, of great and slight differentiation of functions, of extreme division and extreme concentration of authority, of mild and severe sanctions, of appeal to system and appeal to, passion, of trust in numbers and trust in leadership. Of the vast variety of units of organization through which human intelligence has worked, and through which human purposes have been achieved, or thwarted, the greater part has passed away; and the names of them, even, have been forgotten. In politics, the evolution has passed through the horde, the patriarchal family, the clan, and the classical city state.
We are still eagerly searching for the most elementary principles of administration. With countless generations of experience, in the conduct of affairs, behind us, the individual business executive of today is feverishly trying to broaden and intensify his personal experience—to live fast and hard—so that, in the short span of his life, he may discover de novo, for himself, the principles and policies required in the government of the complicated economic organizations of the present day. Since a knowledge of the principles of administration is now of so great importance, we should add to the agencies now being established, for the study of current performance, a provision for the systematic review of the history of administration.
An analogy exists between the present needs of the American business executive, into whose hands in a generation a great increase in power has come, and the needs of the German army officers before the development of that splendid system which made Germany the leading military power of the world. A hint may, therefore, be gained from their experience. The Prussian General Staff and War College were organized to gather all engineering, topographic, and other technical knowledge, which could be made of use in war. But, especially, there was entrusted to them the function of reviewing military history in a scientifically thorough manner, to obtain from it the maxims and principles which possess validity for future operations. In the hands of general historians, history is worth less for military guidance; but to Scharnhorst, von Clausewitz, von der Goltz, von Moltke, and the other students of the General Staff, is due the credit of having so sifted their facts, and so brought them to bear, in the criticism of principles, that they have made them a firm foundation for the scientific conduct of war.
Many men of affairs are much prejudiced against the invasion of business by science and theory. They conceive of these things as something new and untried, and something opposed to experience. A certain excuse for this view exists in the fact that the scientific method has, thus far since its discovery, been applied most prominently to facts which ordinary experience does not furnish, but which are attainable only through the somewhat rigid and refined methods of the laboratory. Many persons have concluded from this that the method cannot be applied to the facts of ordinary experience. Edward D. Jones (1912)
The scientific method is the analysis of problems into their elements; an extensive and thoroughly adequate collection of data; an exact and truthful classification of facts on the basis of their nature; such an arrangement and grouping of them as will best reveal agreements, differences, and concomitant variations between them; and the making of inferences, or the discovery of new facts, by means of induction, deduction, and analogy. The new truths, or inductions, are then subject to criticism and test in every possible way.
The scientific method calls for the eradication of prejudice which may interfere with the just estimate of any facts; and it requires open-mindedness, or willingness to receive new facts at any time, and to make such revisions in conclusions as may be required. This method is universal in its applicability. It can be set at work upon the organizations of which we find records in history, as well as upon the fossil remains of organisms in the earth’s strata. It can work upon data which are the product of the most haphazard, partial, or impassioned of experiences, as it can upon the exactly controlled processes of a laboratory experiment. The results obtained will, of course, depend upon the quality of the materials furnished to it, and upon the degree to which the material can be controlled to compel it to reveal its true nature fully and clearly.
It is now obvious that on such important matters as repairs on locomotives the Taylor plan is the most efficient for prevention of accidents. In our own experience, we have found that increasing productivity prevents accidents. In fact, we know that it is the one simplest and most efficient method of protecting the workers from injury and loss of life. Albert Spencer (1902)
In strategy, which includes the general movements of a military campaign, preliminary planning is of course impossible. The distances separating the several divisions of a great army, the time which would be required to make voluminous reports to headquarters, and to receive back detailed instructions, and the innumerable local conditions which cannot be adequately grasped by one at a distance, make it impossible that highly centralized control should exist. Here the flexibility of the German army system is shown.
In contrast to the rigid plan of mobilization imposed by central authority, when the campaign is once underway, and changing and uncertain conditions have to be dealt with, the headquarters becomes responsible only for the general features of the plan of operations. Authority immediately passes down the line to army commanders, and regimental and company officers, lodging as close as possible to the time, place, and agencies of specific action. The army then becomes, not a mechanism under the thumb of a single leader, but an organism with great liberty of action, and corresponding responsibility, resting upon the parts.
Von Moltke once said that nothing should be ordered which it was conceivable could be carried out by the proper officers without orders. Certain it is that the orders from headquarters in the Austrian and Franco-Prussian wars were very few in number, and composed of but a few sentences each. Passing from higher to lower units, orders from the leaders of separate armies, corps orders, and division orders, were, of course, progressively firmer and more detailed. In the modern tactics of engagements, a similar rule as to the location of authority is followed.
While each army headquarters retains sufficient control to insure harmony of plan, details of execution are entrusted largely to the officers on the field, and in direct command of the minor divisions of troops. The old ramrod drill movements of troops on the field of battle are no longer possible. Discipline is now interpreted broadly that each individual shall apply sound principles in every emergency. The fear of minor mistakes is as nothing, with modern military administrators, in comparison with the energy of troops and lower officers by unduly suppressing initiative. All this manifestly calls for a superior class of executives of all ranks, adequately prepared for their duties. Edward D. Jones (1912)
It is clear that for the lodging of any administrative function, and the resting of the corresponding responsibility, there must be a certain ideal point in the administrative hierarchy of any organization. This point is where the problem of keeping in touch with the specific details of the agencies of the action controlled, is approximately equal in difficulty to the problem of keeping in touch with the general plan of which that action is a part. To move a function from this point towards headquarters is to lose touch with specific conditions; to move it closer to the agencies of performance is to lose touch with the general plan. As organizations grow, one function after another should take its departure from headquarters and pass down the line of administration, drawn to lower levels, by the necessity of keeping in touch with local conditions.
The definition of what constitutes detail for an officer, in a growing organization, expands. Headquarters gradually change from a directing into a coordinating agency. From the point of view of a superior officer, this sifting of everything to its proper level is the problem of the subordination of detail. It is the onset of the CEO disease. The man of capacity often errs by working with energy rather than intelligence; not seeing that efficiency does not mean alone to do a great deal, and do it well, but also to be constantly engaged upon tasks of one’s caliber. It is undoubtedly a fact that most organizations are in a state of being strangled by undue concentration of work at headquarters, while the subordinate ranks are soldiering. The proper place for deliberation, and even leisure, is where the far-reaching decisions are being made.
From the point of view of the minor official, the proper division of administrative functions means dignifying him in the eyes of those over whom he is set. Well scattered responsibility sobers and settles a force of executives, and develops and seasons their talents; for individual character is not developed by imagining responsibility, but by actually carrying it. The progress of an organization is largely due to the ambitious upward pressure of the ranks below. Judicious liberty will increase this pressure, and form a prime means of insuring the future.
A visit to the Tabor Manufacturing Co., the Link-Belt Co., and the J. M. Dodge Co. will convince anyone who looks the employees over, finds that the men are happier, healthier, better paid, and in better condition in every way than the men found in similar work in that vicinity. These places above named are among the shops where Scientific Management in its highest form has been in operation the longest time. Frank Galbraith (1907)
Directly or indirectly the instincts are the prime movers of all human activity; by the conative or impulsive force of some instinct (or of some habit derived from an instinct), every train of thought, however cold and passionless it may seem, is borne along toward its end, and every bodily activity is initiated and sustained. The instinctive impulses determine the ends of all activities and supply the driving power by which all mental activities are sustained; and all the complex intellectual apparatus of the most highly developed mind is but a means toward these ends, is but the instrument by which these impulses seek their satisfactions, while pleasure and pain do but serve to guide them in their choice of the means.
Take away these instinctive dispositions with their powerful impulses, and the organism would become incapable of activity of any kind; it would lie inert and motionless like a wonderful clockwork whose main-spring had been removed or a steam engine whose fires had been drawn. These impulses are the mental forces that maintain and shape all the life of individuals and societies, and in them we are confronted with the central mystery of life and mind and will.
In man, instinct is more universal and more powerful than reason; indeed, reason plays a relatively small part in the lives and activities of most men. The contrary opinion is due to our inveterate habit of acting instinctively and then attempting to explain to ourselves or to others the reason for the act. Indeed, mankind, as a whole, has but recently begun to emerge from a life of instinct to one of intelligence and reason. Some races and some individuals have gone farther in this direction than others, but with the great mass of mankind instinct is still the guide of life.
The principal instincts of all animals are those which concern safety, food, and reproduction; the most important social instincts have to do with the defense, welfare, and perpetuity of the group.
In addition to the general instincts the following more special ones have served to bind the higher mammals together in societies:
- The instinct of service, especially between members of the same family or social group.
- The fear of isolation or disapproval and the desire for fellowship, or sympathy.
- The tendency to follow trusted leaders, but not to depart too far from precedents.
These are the integrating, coordinating, harmonizing bonds which unite men in societies. They are deep-seated instincts not easily overcome. The presence and power of these instincts in practically all peoples of the earth has been demonstrated in a most remarkable manner during the Great War. It is reassuring to find that the integrative instincts on which society is founded have not disappeared, and while these foundations remain let no one despair of the future of society.
On the other hand, among the higher mammals and especially among men there are disintegrative instincts or desires which tend to disrupt societies or at least to create disharmony. Among these are:
- The desire for individual freedom, even when it conflicts with the welfare of society.
- The tendency to limit social cooperation to groups or classes based upon family, racial, national; temperamental, environmental, industrial, intellectual, or religious homogeneity.
The incompleteness of integration, cooperation, and harmony in human society is due to the fact that imperfect intelligence and freedom have come in to interfere with instinct. Disharmony in ourselves and in society is the price we pay for personal intelligence and freedom. The more intelligence one has the greater is his freedom from purely instinctive responses, but man is never wholly free from the influences of instinct. The personal freedom which endangers human cooperation opens at the same time a path of progress along rational lines. In our individual behavior and in our social activities we now seek the ideal harmony of the hive, but on the higher plane of intelligence, freedom, and ethics.
The past evolution of man has occurred almost entirely without conscious human guidance; but with the appearance of intellect and the capacity of profiting by experience a new and great opportunity and responsibility has been given man of directing rationally and ethically his future evolution. More than anything else, that which distinguishes human society from that of other animals is just this ability, incomplete though it is, to control instincts and emotions by intelligence and reason.
Those who maintain that racial, national, and class antagonisms are inevitable because they are instinctive, and that wars can never cease because man is by nature a fighting animal, really deny that mankind can ever learn by experience; they look backward to the instinctive origins of society and not forward to its rational organization. We shall never cease to have instincts, but, unless they are balanced and controlled by reason, human society will revert to the level of the pack or herd or hive. The foundations of human society are laid in gregarious instincts, but upon these foundations human intelligence has erected that enormous structure which we call civilization. William McDougall (1918)
In recent weeks we have heard much about the efficiency of industrial democracy, of shop committees, of senate and house plans, of collective bargaining, as the panaceas for all labor problems. During the same period, we have had striking examples of the inadequacy of all these plans. Industrial democracy is a misnomer unless fairly and honestly applied. Collective bargaining is a great danger if wrongly applied and used as an instrument of autocratic power.
Labor problems have always existed and are likely to continue. There is no panacea, as industrial democracy, profit sharing, committee system, open shop, closed shop or collective bargaining. None of these agencies will accomplish or avail much unless there be behind them and disseminated through every fibre and thread, the spirit of fairness, honesty and justice. If these principles be present, there will be no labor trouble. And again, if they be present, it does not matter much what plan is used.
This accounts for many striking examples of the successful management of labor through each of the plans named. Because these successful examples can be pointed out is the reason for the confusion in the minds of many-whereas if a close analysis be made, it would be found that the wholesome conditions existing in each case were not due to the plan in vogue, but to the fact that the employer and the employee each, in turn, was a believer in, and a practitioner of, the cardinal virtues of honesty, fairness and justice.
The unfortunate thing is that many employees; many employers; many associations of employers; many labor organizations, have violated and ignored these principles. Through the utter disregard of the principles of honesty, fairness and justice, great damage has been done, and to quote, “Great powers have been used arbitrarily and autocratically, to exact unmerited profit or compensation by both capital and labor. This policy of exacting profit rather than rendering service has wasted enormous stores of human and natural resources, and has put in places of authority those who seek selfish advantage regardless of the interests of the community.”
The problem before the American public is to evolve those plans and to inaugurate those policies that will make such use of arbitrary and autocratic power a grave offense against the community and to make it impossible for any such arbitrary power to invoke its wrath against the will and against the welfare of the masses. Such plans should provide severe and sure punishment for the autocratic employer or autocratic labor leader who willfully violates the principles of honesty, fairness and justice, and by such violations brings hardships, despair and heartaches upon the masses. One is just as guilty as the other and we have had glaring examples of the evils of the financial trust and of the labor trust. Both are equally culpable and both should be dealt with in like manner.
Many of the abuses have grown up through ignorance of cause and effect. Poor management, incompetent supervision, excessive equipment, large inventories, poor equipment, inadequate sales policies and other causes have resulted in reduced income and a loss of net profits. Ignorance of the causes leads to a misinterpretation of the reason for the effects. In arriving at a solution, incompetency in management again shows itself; faulty analysis and incorrect conclusions follow. Wages are cut, demands increased, working conditions made less desirable; all of which is a disregard of the principles of honesty, fairness and justice. The result being strained relationships, strikes, bloodshed, and destruction of property no one permanently benefitted.
Ignorance of cause and effect on the part of labor leads to many misinterpretations and faulty conclusions; such as to believe that to limit production is to benefit the worker; to decrease the length of the work-day is conducive to prosperity and the well-being of society and of labor; to oppose the training of the worker, to place all workers in a given trade on a par, regardless of capacity or ability, to demand compensation for which no adequate service has been rendered, to deny the right of individual choice of employment. These policies inevitably lead to reduction of production, increased cost, to suspicion, to the disregard of the rights of property, to the rights of individuals and to the rights of society.
It is the function and province of the industrial engineer to make correct analysis, to predict effects through known causes. It is purely the mission of the industrial engineer of wide experience, of great foresight and of unselfish motive to see to it:
- That every action is based upon the principles of honesty, fairness and justice to the employee, to the employer and to the public.
- To so formulate the plan of action as to eliminate all unfair privilege of employer and employee and to make it possible for each to fulfill its responsibilities to the community.
- To so organize the plant or industry as to make it exceedingly difficult for an incompetent to hold a position of authority or to exert autocratic control. W. Wallace (1916)
A large part of the work of the United States is now being done by people who are incompetent for their jobs. Some, by wretched inheritance of poverty and ignorance, are naturally incompetent. These are least dangerous to economic stability, most susceptible to ready improvement. The methods of “scientific management” have already accomplished great things in raising the efficiency and the general standing of workers of this class. More numerous, and graver in their menace, are those who have no desire to be competent, but only to get the most that force can wrest for the least a willful limitation of effort will give. These waste the substance of the world through the lower levels of production, while the interests above fatten on the substance they misappropriate through the media of exchange and distribution.
The result is a rising exorbitance of tolls for the luxurious maintenance of non-producers, all of which fall in crushing burden upon the ultimate consumer. The second agency is the inefficiency of service of every kind, including the services of production—an inefficiency due to a complex of causes in which the modern industrial and educational systems, errors of commercial and labor organization, false economic theories, and the merely quantitative problems of a huge and unfluxed national civilization—all are factors.
The War, in the last analysis, is but the expression upon a world scale of conflicting forces also at work in the relations of Industry. The unfortunate worker caught between these forces finds himself almost everywhere dealing individually with systems and interests which have their will of him, and leave him in a constantly growing temper of impotent because so far unorganized wrath. It is the surge of these individual currents rolled into a popular wave that makes the industrial, political and social menace of our times.
The wastes and inefficiencies of production have been deeply studied and the conclusions widely published. Because they are thus more clearly recognized, because they are more concrete and susceptible to attack, and because they are relatively much smaller in total volume, they are the less formidable. The wastes, inefficiencies and brutal injustices of exchange and distribution are far greater, far more difficult to attack —but for that very reason far more urgently demanding acknowledgment, recognition, and earnest effort at reform. The way to balance is not plain. All the more urgent is the need to seek it diligently, purposefully. It is a problem for the commercial and industrial world to solve, and their leader in the solution must be the engineer. W. L. Mackenzie King (1917)
Thus we find Mr. Hodges, the General Secretary of the Miners’ Federation, in one of his numerous speeches in favour of the nationalization of the mines, declaring that what they demanded was a new status for the worker as a controller of his industry. Miners were not anarchists, although they had the power to be. They realized that their interests were bound op with those of the community, and therefore they demanded conditions which would develop the corporate sense. Education was carrying men along social rather than individualistic lines, and right throughout the mining industry there was the desire to be something different from what they were.
This desire to be master of the work in which the man was engaged was the great thing that was vital in working-class life. There had never been a movement born of greater moral aspiration than this movement for the nationalization of the mines. The miner wanted to be in a position where it would be to him a point of honour not to allow even a piece of timber to be wasted, where he would want to do his work well. He wanted a social contract.
For the last two or three years a new movement has sprung up in the labour world which deals with the question of joint control of the industry by representatives from the side which represents, for the most part, the consumer, and representatives of the workmen, who are the producers. Sidney and Beatrice Webb (1917)
As a rule the average workingman has little interest in or knowledge of the broad questions of finance, how to secure credit, how to determine the best method of payment for the sales of the product, and so on. Thoughtful leaders of labor recognize this limitation and disapprove plans which place on the employee responsibilities of management beyond the matters already mentioned, matters, that is, in which they are directly interested and on which they are entirely competent to speak.
The workingmen are immediately interested in questions of wages, hours, housing, sanitary conditions in the shop, and in anything that tends to effect either their comfort or the productivity of their labor. They do not merely have an interest, but in many cases are entirely competent to speak with a high degree of real knowledge. It is a well-known fact that a large proportion of the inventions for the improvement of industrial processes have come from workmen who in their daily experience and by the cooperation of their fellows are able to obtain suggestions for devices that are likely to cut corners and lessen costs. If the workmen feel that they themselves are likely to benefit by improvements, improvements will be devised.
Through group action and discussion the employees gradually come to feel that they are a real and vital part of the institution and that the success of the whole institution depends on the way in which they do their work and the attitude which they display toward their work. Each employee has concrete evidence of the fact that he is a participant not only in the success of his concern when a dividend is not made, but that he has a definite channel of expression and may make suggestions tending to improve not only his own condition but that of his fellows.
As I see it, one of the obstacles is the fact that in many cases the local manager – who is not an owner of the business has not the authority to deal with employees as he knows they should be dealt with. Absentee management, like absentee landlordism, is evil. The present phase in which, to a very large extent, labor is antagonistic to capital and capital feels that it must regard labor as a sworn enemy, is counterproductive. John Hays Hammond (1921)
When men feel themselves under constraint, when they cannot determine and direct their actions, when they believe that their behavior is governed by forces beyond their control, when they have no voice in settling hours of work and compensation, the instinct of self-assertion revolts. This instinct is nature’s high explosive. It has destroyed monarchies. It is the essence of democracy. And it is also the fundamental cause of labor’s resistance to the present industrial system.
The issue, however, is often confused. The underlying radical impulse which ignites the spark of conflict is hidden in the conflagration that follows. The explosive ingredient of self-assertion is not easily identified as the unstable element in the usually peaceful compound of democracy. The individual himself, indeed, is usually unaware of these instinctive impulses. It is a well-known fact of psychology that a man first acts instinctively, and then finds reasons to justify his actions. And the reasons given are generally suggested by the exigencies of the moment. Occasionally, however, in more thoughtful moods, the fundamental impulse is revealed.
Human nature cannot be organized out of men not even by scientific management. There is always danger under mechanically efficient methods of increasing human costs to a degree that makes mechanical efficiency too expensive. We hear much today about overhead charges. It is now time that attention be given to inside-head expenses.
Managers have taken account of the various factors in production. They have analyzed and itemized the elements in the job. Under scientific management they find the right man, give him the right tools, and teach him to use them in the right way. They have omitted only one factor – human nature. Some day we shall learn that the fundamental element of efficiency is man himself, his instincts and emotions. An efficient organization will then be found to be one that builds upon these instincts and, instead of ignoring them, makes them allies in productive achievement.
Consider the lack of insight into human nature in the rule of one authority for speeding up. It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and of enforcing this cooperation rests with the management. That sort of cooperation does not interest workmen. The less initiative, judgment, responsibility, and intelligence a man has, the more readily will he fit into this enforced adaptation. Intelligence has the inconvenient habit of occasionally asserting itself. And this is unpleasant for those who claim a monopoly of this gift.
Enforced uniformity in methods of work-imitation routine, deaden the mind. In proportion as habits are acquired intelligence lapses. Initiative is lost, and the number of men fitted for positions of responsibility decreases. Business men are continually calling for young men of initiative. The manager for a large factory recently said that among his thousand employees he could not find men fitted for half a dozen subordinate chieftainships. The reason is that the employees had been trained to follow directions. Modern business has become abnormally centralized, and at the center stands the manager from whom all intelligence issues.
But this method denies a hereafter. And the present popularity of revolutions shows that starving the brains of workingmen is a terrible social menace. Efficient management would encourage initiative so as to give those of ability a chance to know themselves. It would make distinctions by finding them. Men do not object to being taught; they do not oppose being directed. But they always resist an uncooperative relationship, the advantages of which they think are weighted against them. This suspicion and the practical prohibition of initiative has greatly reduced the productive value of wage work. The resistance of employees to the present system of employer and worker, which has reached its culmination under unscientific “scientific management,” indicates a willful desire of wage-earners to be human beings.
To avoid social waste, to call into the service of the nation the instinct of workmanship, an industrial democracy is necessary. And it must be wholly frank and open. The workmen will accept nothing less. This is no time for “secret treaties.” Entertainments, lectures, and welfare organizations are of the greatest value. But they will not fulfill the demands of industrial reconstruction. Rather, they should be one expression of the principle of cooperation in a democracy. They do not buy bread nor pay rent. And the workers are conscious today of the economic side of labor.
Industrial democracy objectively and ingenuously carried out satisfies both the instinctive and economic needs. And it is not merely a theory. It has been successfully introduced into a few plants and the chief reason for its slow adoption is the inertia of the human mind-the unwillingness to break completely with the past, the adhesion to antiquated notions of business.
Human nature is much the same in all ranks of men, as well as in the old and young, and bonuses awaken interest in securing rewards rather than in improving the quality of the work. They do not arouse creative interest. Business men have found, just as teachers learned long ago, that rewards have only an artificial relation to production. They do not maintain an alert interest in achievement. Besides, rewards usually awaken suspicion. They suggest an ulterior purpose. And the workers are not unaware that the owners receive a rather generous proportion of the profits of the new economies and efficiencies.
Rewards are offered in factories for the same reason that led to their use in the schools. They are the easiest way of meeting a perplexing situation. It is characteristic of man, when confronted by a difficulty that must be overcome, to follow the line of least resistance instead of profoundly studying the problem. Educators have learned that young people will not work efficiently unless they appreciate the meaning and use of what they are doing and realize its value for themselves. This is as true of adults as of children. But employers, when compulsion failed, resorted to fictitious incentives instead of developing the creative interest in workmanship. Yet this interest is necessary if the work is to be done efficiently. And the workers must be convinced that the improved product of their interest will benefit themselves as well as their employers. Edgar James Swift (1919)
Looking to the future of industry, if we want to avoid constant difficulty, constant friction, constant unrest, it is necessary that we should take account of the intellectual ferment which is working in the minds of the industrial masses. I have been interested in observing the way in which the American employer is meeting the situation. What I find is that when he is dealing with material problems, the American employer is extraordinarily alert and scientific. He is far more on his toes – he has more “pep,” to use the American expression, than the British employer. But somehow, when he comes to deal with the human factor in industry, he seems to lose that wonderful slight-of-hand and scientific accuracy of action which marks him when he is dealing with administrative and material problems. He seems to me to descend altogether to a lower level.
He does not approach the human problems connected with industry with the same ability with which he approaches the material problems. I do not say that he is approaching them any less ably than we are in Britain; but whereas he is streets ahead of us in the way in which he administers his business and in the way in which he applies science to the solution of his material problems, I do not think that he is so far ahead of us in the way in which he is dealing with the human problems.
There is another kind of employer whom I regard as a great danger, whether you find him in America or in England, you can find him in both countries, and that is the short-sighted person who seeks to take advantage of the present economic and industrial situation in order to keep the worker in his place, as he expresses it-in order to get hold of the worker by the throat. He says: “During the war the worker was on top. Now I am on top and I am going to stay there as long as I possibly can.” That man is a revolutionary.
I find here, just as in England, an absence of that quiet, calm, patient, scientific inquiry into the whole industrial structure and into the causes of unrest which is the only real way of getting rid of unrest because it removes its causes. I believe that the right action for us employers is to examine the existing condition of industry on the assumption that industry continues on its present basis. A number of people are so dissatisfied with conditions in industry as they exist today that they are devoting the whole of their efforts to attempts to alter the system of industry-to replace the capitalist system by some other. The capitalist system of industry has always be abused by the capitalist.
The following statement of what, I think, may be regarded as the aims of industry has been written on the minutes of a board of directors in capitalistic industry in England, a board that is definitely trying to work toward the achievement of those aims.
- Industry should create goods or provide services of such kinds, and in such measure, as may be beneficial to the community.
- In the process of wealth production, industry should pay the greatest possible regard to the general welfare of the community, and pursue no policy detrimental to it.
- Industry should distribute the wealth produced in such a manner as will best serve the highest ends of the community.
I believe it is possible for men engaged in capitalist industry to work conscientiously and steadily toward achievement of these aims.
The most important item in this country is that we give the workers reasonable economic security. I have said that we employers have very little imagination. If we had imagination, we should have solved the problem of unemployment long ago. If we could visualize the suffering due to unemployment, the discouragement of mankind, the demoralization, the lowering of morale, we should have said long ago this evil must cease. But we regard the evil of unemployment with almost complete indifference.
Occasionally we flutter into a little interest in this subject when a great crisis occurs. There is a very slight interest in the matter in America just now because you have three or four or five million people unemployed. You do not even know within 50 per cent how many there are. You really do not know whether you have three or four or five million. The fact that there are no reliable unemployment statistics anywhere in the world is an indication that we do not actually regard the matter very seriously.
As regards the status of the worker, I see just the same thing here that we find in England, that the worker resents the continuance of that condition in which he is regarded as a servant to obey the orders of the “master.” We talk about master and man. Why master? We have always talked about masters and men, when we don’t call them “hands.” But why master? B. Seebohm Rowntree (1921)
In order to make it easier to think about the industrial worker, it has long been the fashion of the social philosophers to describe him as the “economic man”- interested in playing his part in the process of production or distribution, more or less exclusively for the purpose of thereby earning his daily bread, and, with good luck favoring, his daily jam and cake. “All he wants is in the pay envelope,” so more practical and experienced observers are apt to voice the same effort to find an all-inclusive rule of modern human action. Such a man, it goes without saying, will have only an incidental interest in the nature, the hours, or other conditions of his work, or the character of his foreman, or his company, so long as he takes out of the plant enough money wherewith to buy in the remaining hours of his day the satisfaction of his real desires as a person among other persons.
This explanation of the mainspring of men’s doings is highly popular. To my great surprise I found it used quite as much by the worker for the explanation of his employer’s behavior and especially his misbehavior, as by the employer for the understanding of the worker’s comings and shortcomings. But something must surely be wrong with a mainspring whose effectiveness is so readily accepted in the case of the “other fellow” and so strenuously denied in our own. At the very least an enormous amount of proof ought to be required in order to substantiate on any universal basis a theory which no one can be found willing to admit for himself or for anyone else except the person he does not intimately know.
Of course the dilemma may be partly avoided by making the all but universal assumption that putting men into the group called Labor or Management or Capital changes them even down to the bottom of their souls where their life’s motors are set upon the piers of their foundation desires. This is the way often taken to get around the need of coming to the understanding of the other person’s actions by taking the time to understand him. Of such study the result is pretty sure to be the same as that which impressed itself after my months at the south pole of the industrial world that humans vary little at the bottom of their hearts though they may vary much at the tops of their heads; that of all of us the mainsprings are just about the same, though different circumstances require different modes and methods of their escapement. Whiting Williams (1920)
Politicians fear the votes of a great number of workers who honestly believe that the sum total of “working opportunity,” as they call it, is fixed and constant, and that to make one man more efficient and thus cause him to be able to do two men’s work is simply displacing one more man to be added to the great army of the unemployed.
The fact that this may be so this week blinds them to the fact that Scientific Management will quickly bring lasting benefits to them in the immediate future. Improvements have come and are coming. Nothing can resist them permanently. It is however, a national, yes, a world calamity, that there are so many against any plan for saving labor.
No friend of the working men can do his fellow man so much good as to teach the truth about the benefits to the workmen from increased outputs, for increased outputs are the one thing, or condition, that will permit raising wages permanently and reducing production costs permanently. Sidney Webb (1909)
The reason why the instinctive nature of workers so often leads to industrial disorders is because certain of their most powerful instincts are thwarted by their industrial environment. When the instinct of workmanship is suppressed through monotonous and haphazard working conditions; when the instinct of self-assertiveness is denied expression because of arbitrary methods of management; when the herd instinct is threatened by plans for undermining the unity of groups of workers; and when other instincts are balked in similar ways, the basic psychological energies of the worker are thwarted. The results are found in unrest, restriction of production, ill-will, radicalism, inefficiency, unhappiness and disloyalty. These are the outlets for the energies within balked instincts.
Business executives who have applied psychological principles to the solution of such problems have found that the repression of the basic instincts of the workers is not only unnecessary but is one of the most costly, blind and dangerous phenomena of present day industry. All of these instinctive energies are capable of either good or bad expression, and if the good expression is not provided for in the day’s work, the bad expression is the natural alternative. Balked instincts insure pugnacity, uneasiness, discontent, strikes, agitation, sabotage and the whole retinue of industrial disorders.
The instincts and their emotions, coupled with the obedient body, lay down in scientific and exact description the motives which must and will determine human conduct. If a physical environment set itself against the expression of these instinct motives, the human organism is fully and efficiently prepared for a tenacious and destructive revolt against this environment; and if the antagonism persist, the organism is ready to destroy itself and disappear as a species if it fail of a psychical mutation which would make the perverted order endurable.
If one leaves the strata of unskilled labor and investigates the higher economic classes, he finds parallel conditions. There is a profound unrest and strong migratory tendency among department-store employees. One New York store with less than three thousand employees has thirteen thousand pass through its employ in a year. Since the establishment in American life of big business with its extensive efficiency systems, its order and dehumanized discipline, its caste system, as it were, there has developed among its highly paid men a persistent unrest, a dissatisfaction and decay of morale which is so noticeable and costly that it has received repeated attention . Even the conventional competitive efficiency of American business is in grave question. I suggest that this unrest is a true psychosis, a definite mental unbalance, an efficiency psychosis, as it were, and has its definite psychic antecedents and that our present moralizing and guess-solutions are both hopeless and ludicrous. Carleton H. Parker (1920)
The Efficiency Society, advancing from the stage of organization to that of active operation, has in prospect a work which should, and undoubtedly will, add largely to the exact knowledge of the correct principles and standards of industrial organization, administration and operation. It is a work of much difficulty because of the reluctance of those who have experience to reveal that experience frankly. The fear of some individual disadvantage overpowers the realization of the enormous gain to all, whether employers or employees, that would certainly and swiftly follow the definition and proof of the standards of efficiency in industrial operation. By no other means than this discovery and use of standards, with rewards proportionate to achievement, is advance possible.
Nature in Her march of evolution moves inerrantly forward because Her knowledge is perfect, Her apportionment of reward automatic. Man is neither omniscient nor infallible. He must proceed by slow and painful accumulation and interpretation of knowledge. Salvation, materially speaking, can be gained only through knowledge and recognition of efficiencies— through discovery and elimination of wastes and obstacles to efficiency. And this is a product of definite knowledge, of exact measurement, of recognized standards, obtainable only through co-operation and mutual confidence. Harrison Emerson (1912)
Given two establishments in the same industry, in the same locality, build for them the same buildings, equip them with the same machinery and establish for them similar methods of handling equipment and materials – yet, in the course of a short time, there will be a difference in both the quality and the quantity of their output.
If one of the above plants were headed by a management of the ordinary or traditional type and the other by a management which fully realized the importance of personnel and had developed an active philosophy tending toward the solution of the personal problem, the difference in practical results would be so great as to be unbelievable by the uninitiated. In fact, this difference alone would often spell failure in the one case and success in the other.
The managers of both plants would see the shortsightedness of letting buildings and other equipment run down for lack of upkeep and repair. Both would see the value of and put into practice means for running the machinery at the most efficient speeds and bringing into use the best tools and the best method of handling material. It would be taken for granted by both that anything that goes to the improvement and upkeep of these things would be a necessary expenditure or a wise investment. The ordinary management, however, would not think of applying the same laws of upkeep and improvement to the personal equipment.
The ordinary or unscientific manager believes that factory management consists of the handling of orders, materials, and machinery, and that the men in the plant are a mere adjunct to these things-a necessary evil. When this type of manager is confronted with the fact that his organization is less efficient than another he will lay the blame on his employees and say, “I haven’t the same kind of people that the other fellow has.” In making this statement he will be absolutely correct, but he does not realize that the fellow with the other point of view has developed a particular kind of people as an essential part of the responsibility of management.
The old type of management would at the best consider expenditures for the development of personnel as an unnecessary outlay forced upon it by unintelligent public opinion, or would consider it a politic expenditure which would bring a certain amount of cheap advertising at the expense of fair wages. The enlightened, or scientific type of management would consider expenditures of this kind not only wise, but also an investment bringing proportionately larger and more permanent returns than all other kinds. Full value of all expenditures or investments for upkeep and improvement of a plant can be realized only when sufficient investment of both time and money has been made for the purpose of improvement and upkeep of the personal side. In fact, the management which has the correct viewpoint will find that the mechanical and material side of the organization will be better developed as a necessary incident to personal development than it would be where this point of view is reversed. This is well illustrated in the Clothcraft Shops of The Joseph & Feiss Company, where this philosophy has been the basis of its development of scientific management. Richard A . Feiss (1915)
We do not have to theorize as to what a modern plant and its management should stand for. The facts are ready to hand. Here and there throughout the country, examples of sound and successful practice in industrial relations within a plant can be observed with profit to the observer. And the number of such examples is growing day by day.
Take two such well-known instances of organized right relations as the system followed by Hart, Schaffner and Marx and the International Harvester Company. In the former case, there has been peace and profitable production for years in spite of conditions in the garment industry which constantly work against stability. In the second instance, the Harvester people, after a long and well-prepared campaign, recently put into operation a plan for industrial representation of its employees among the twenty plants based on the most enlightened principles of labor relationships.
The truth is that managers and men have, in reality, a common goal before them. But they have been at odds as to the best way of reaching that goal. And because they have been differing in this way, they have naturally lost sight of the big fact that it was a common goal which both were really seeking. What is that goal? It is to get the maximum satisfaction and return from the work. Anxiety, uncertainty, discontent – these things are the chief foes of fitness. Efficiency, we must remind ourselves over and over again, is more of a psychological than it is a mechanical result.
The management which recognizes this axiom holds the key to unlimited success. Where work is sheer monotony and nothing is done to offset it, where surroundings pull down health and strength, or where relationships are such that no man feels that he has any stake in the plant and that the scrap-heap is ahead of him so far as any concern on the part of the management is felt; in all these circumstances we have the fertile soil for ill will and poor work. Management has sometimes lost sight of the goal which it has in common with labor. It has been blinded perhaps by a narrow point of view, a rigid devotion to rule of thumb, and indifference to the greatest factor in production the human factor. There can be no real organization here.
Income without satisfaction in work means labor instability, unrest and lowered output. And satisfaction in work is hardly possible without recognition by management of the human elements involved. Like all other human beings, the worker is a bundle of instincts. He wants to create, to possess, to gain power, to have his work and merit properly recognized, to play, to protect himself and his own. He wants to learn new things, to vary his occupation so that it does not get on his nerves. He wants the satisfactions which make life worth living.
Many people have to learn, and not a few do so only after very costly and bitter experience, that it is better to be genuine than spectacular. Workers are never deceived by make believe industrial relation schemes. They reward all insincerity with lasting contempt, disguised though it may be. A. Lincoln Filene (1919)
There is a preponderance of managers who are thoroughly autocratic in mental attitude and who would resort to extreme measures of discipline if the workers could not be content with crystallized relations and were insistent in their strivings to express a desire for change; and there is a compensating fringe of workers who demand radical changes in the social and industrial structure and strive, some of them destructively, to achieve their ideals; but neither of these represent the great directive force in industry.
They are a profound influence in making others take thought, but the actual course of step-by-step industrial development will be determined by cooperation of the moderate workers, the latter asking for progressive improvement and the former desirous to assume leadership in finding the improvement that is really mutually progressive. The demand for improvement by the great body of moderate workers constitutes a challenge to management; a challenge to display vision, initiative and leadership.
It is not abnormal for the average manager to meet this challenge with reluctance. It is normal for him to simplify his problem and, if he has once constructed a formula for securing production under more or less familiar conditions, to hesitate to attack the problem of working out new production formulas involving, to him, new variables. It is much easier and presents apparently less risk for him to ask that all concerned work harder individually in accordance with present formulas, and thereby secure the needed production.
There is no question but that greater individual physical effort is possible and that it would secure greater production. But it is just as normal and reasonable for the individual worker to meet that challenge with greater reluctance than the manager meets the other challenge, especially if the individual believes that the problem can be met by better management. He feels that it is the function of management not to work out a status quo in production methods but to strive for increasing efficient methods, increasingly efficient because of better coordinations and not because of greater individual exertion. Harlow S. Persons (1916)
What we want in society is no leadership save that of thought—no authority save that of principles—no laws save those which increase honest freedom—no influence save that of service. George Jacob Holyoake (1891)
Sooner or later in the production game we are brought up with a round turn against the worker’s frank, sometimes brutal question, “Produce? Turn out more work? Why should I? What’s the use? If I work more I simply work myself out of a job or line the bosses’ pockets”; or, “I have got enough anyhow; I don’t need to work anymore.” This gets down to bed-rock. Why, after all, should men produce? Is there any virtue in producing for production’s sake? Of what value is it, once you get away from certain fundamental articles of food, clothing and shelter, to make more units of a certain kind of stuff? I am frank to say that if I were a worker, turning out some of the cheap gimcrackery that is made just to sell or play with, and which fits no fundamental human need, I should answer that the only reason which would lead me to produce would be to get more for myself.
I am equally frank to say that I can see no way of getting over to the workers the full stimulus to production until they are convinced that the world is suffering from a lack of production of certain basic commodities, and that they, as partners in industry, are responsible for furnishing those commodities. Sidney Hillman told the City Club of Rochester a short while ago that “to get production, not only for one year, but for always, the worker must have a feeling that he has a citizenship in industry as well as in the political state.”
That is to say, the worker must understand that in reality and in truth he is a responsible citizen who is charged with helping to fulfill some great fundamental demand of the people; or, to put it in another way, that he is helping industry to perform a public service. That is, citizenship in industry means not just voting one’s self more pay, not just receiving certain benefits through collective action; it means responsibility and some measure of self-determination and self-expression. No technical arrangement of business nor juggling with piecework or weekwork or production standards or bonus systems will get anywhere in the long run unless this fundamental question of creative responsibility is first answered. Failing that satisfactory answer, pressure for output on highly specialized and subdivided lines may defeat itself. Speed competition teams may succeed for a time; but permanent success can only come if the workers understand the point of this speed, if they are taken into confidence in production plans, if instead of standing baffled before meaningless production “they are made conscious participators in the creative process.” Arthur J. Todd (1920)
We are getting into a new age now, one in which the profiteer is in disgrace, and the man who produces the goods is the man who counts. It has never occurred to me that the new age would be any dictatorship of the incompetent and in which the organizers and executives of industry would have no place. But it will be a world for the workers, a world in which mere possession will no longer rule, a world which will yield honor not to those who have but to those who serve. And the best soldier of the common good is not necessarily the one who performs the most brilliant individual exploit. He is the one who goes furthest in inspiring the whole gang to do its best.
Industry is not an army. You can’t reach your objectives by simply giving the right orders. You can’t get anywhere by attempting to train your workers to jump at the word of command. Industry is constructive, creative. In order to get results you must depend on the individual initiative of every unit in the organization. You must appeal to their creative instincts. No boss who tries merely to drive his men is worth a damn.
I know something about making steel, but I don’t know anywhere near as much as the millions of steel workers know. No one man can know as much as the crowd knows. No one can do as much as the crowd can do. The real leader is not the man who substitutes his own will and his own brain for the will and intelligence of the crowd but the one who releases the energies within the crowd so that the will of the crowd can be expressed. Charles W. Wood (1918)
A large part of traditional industrial relations has been built upon the supposition that labor is naturally lazy, and instinctively hates work. Psychology points out that what ordinarily appears to be laziness arises from the fact that measures have never been taken to appeal to the instinct of workmanship.
Pride in work, satisfaction in work, creativeness in work are deep human realities when the conditions of work are properly adapted to the human organism. When working conditions, or methods of management are such as to cause the creative instinct to atrophy, workers become indifferent to their work, and often hate it. When working conditions and methods of management are such as to stimulate and satisfy the creative instinct, workers take a genuine interest in their work. The creative instinct takes rank with the possessive instinct in its force and energy. Business executives who manage men on the assumption that all they work for is money leave untapped the rich resources of productive energy contained in the normal man’s instinct of workmanship. The worker is a man of more than one motive, and that the money motive. He is capable of craftsmanship, and his nature fundamentally longs for the satisfactions of interesting workmanship. Psychology attempts to aid the business man in discovering the means of arousing and organizing the creative energies of human beings. Irving Fisher (1919)
The ultimate problem of all industrial management is to make some man want to do something as it should be done, and that this is a problem in psychical forces, of which as yet we know very little, to express. Let us hope that at some time Mechanical Engineers, recognizing that industrial management is essentially a question of the relations of men, who are psychical beings, may attack the art of management as a problem in psychology and try to discover and define the psychological principles and laws involved.
As all engineers know, autocratic industry kills incentive. It punishes brilliancy of attainment. It warps the mind and drains the energy from the body. We have repeatedly condemned the principle of autocratic control of industry, and we now declare that short of its complete removal from our industrial life there is no industrial salvation and no hope of abundance in our time. We point out to employers the fact that industry, which is the life blood of our civilization, cannot be made the plaything and the pawn of a few who by chance today hold control. Industry is the thing by which all must live, and it must be given the opportunity to function at its best.
President Eliot of Harvard once spoke in Boston on the joy of work. The next week a labor leader in the same hall spoke with a scornful laugh of the “high brow’s” reference to such “joy” and the crowd of workingmen present approvingly joined in his ridicule. This incident is pathetic evidence that joy of work is too often conspicuous by its absence. When I first became conscious of this fact, I was loath to publish my opinions. There is a knowledge of industry among the workers in industry of which society has not begun to avail itself. The effort has been to suppress use of that knowledge and to demean those who possess it. The workers know their work as none but the workers can know it.
Textbooks of economics today make the statement that the motive for work is money-making, with the exception that artists and scientists work for the joy that their work gives them. There is no greater fallacy than to make this contrast. The workman has this same power, though latent, of enjoying self-expression in his work. Our usual acceptance of this fallacy shows how far we are off the track. Ordway Tead (1920)
The real problem is no longer whether it is possible to return to medieval craftsmanship, but the detailed problem of how far and in what manner we can reap the fullest advantage of modern machinery, while avoiding its evils. And this full human control of machinery for human ends can only be gained when the science of the relation between man and machine is fully developed. We can only control what we understand and it has been the blind wastes and inefficiencies of the past that have given rise to most of the evils that the workers deplore.
The workers ask what are the ends which we are serving? When we speak of Production, they ask, “Production of what?” “Production of things or of men? Of goods or of human well-being and happiness?” It has been said to me over and over again, “There are things more important than mere production, and one of these is human personality.” The criticism by these educated men of our emphasis on production is not on the fallacious ground of “over-production,”- a fallacy they understood as well as ourselves; it is on moral and social grounds. They over-ride the artificial barriers which the sophisticated erect between economic, psychological and ethical questions, and ask that we shall view industrial processes in their proper relation to the full needs of human nature.
They have even pointed out to me that our science is incomplete unless it deals with the wide social effects of technical processes. They do not deny the need for production, but demand some social guidance of that purpose in relation to moral ends. Moreover, they are seeking to find in their daily occupation a true vocation – one which shall develop them further in their manhood and employ the balance of powers of mind and body. S. S. Brierley (1920)
The personal relationship which existed in bygone days is essential to the development of this new spirit. It must be reestablished; if not in its original form, at least as nearly so as possible. In the early days of the development of industry, the employer and capital investor were frequently one. Daily contact was had between him and his employees, who were his friends and neighbors. Any questions which arose on either side were taken up at once and readily adjusted.
A feeling of genuine friendliness, mutual confidence and stimulating interest in the common enterprise was the result. How different is the situation today. Because of the proportions which modern industry has attained, employers and employees are too often strangers to each other. Personal contact, so vital to the success of any enterprise, is practically unknown, and naturally, misunderstanding, suspicion, distrust and too often hatred have developed, bringing in their train all the industrial ills which have become far too common. Where men are strangers and have no points of contact, this is the usual outcome. On the other hand, where men meet frequently about a table, rub elbows, exchange views and discuss matters of common interest, almost invariably it happens that the vast majority of their differences quickly disappear and friendly relations are established. Much of the strife and bitterness in industrial relations results from lack of ability or willingness on the part of both labor and capital to view their common problems each from the other’s point of view.
A man who recently devoted some months to studying the industrial problem and who came in contact with thousands of workmen in various industries throughout the country has said that it was obvious to him from the outset that the working men were seeking for something, which at first he thought to be higher wages. As his touch with them extended, he came to the conclusion, however, that not higher wages but recognition as men was what they really sought. What joy can there be in life, what interest can a man take in his work, what enthusiasm can be expected to develop on behalf of his employer, when he is regarded as a number on a payroll, a cog in the wheel, a mere “hand.” Who would not earnestly seek to gain recognition of his manhood and the right to be heard and treated as a human being and not as a machine?
While obviously under present conditions those who invest their capital in an industry, often numbered by the thousand; cannot have personal acquaintance with the thousands and tens of thousands of those who invest their labor, contact between these two parties in interest can and must be established, if not directly/then through their respective representatives The resumption of such personal relations through frequent conference and current meetings, held for the consideration of matters of common interest such as terms of employment, and working and living conditions, is essential in order to restore a spirit of mutual confidence, good-will and cooperation.
Personal relations can be revived under modern conditions only through the adequate representation of the employees. Representation is a principle which is fundamentally just and vital to the successful conduct of industry. This is the principle upon which the democratic government of our country is founded. On the battlefields of France this nation poured out its blood freely in order that democracy might be maintained at home and that its beneficent institutions might become available in other lands as well. Surely it is not consistent for us as Americans to demand democracy in government and practice autocracy in industry.
What can this Conference do to further the establishment of democracy in industry and lay a sure and solid foundation for the permanent development of cooperation, good-will and industrial well-being? To undertake to agree on the details of plans and methods is apt to lead to endless controversy without constructive result. Can we not, however, unite in the adoption of the principle of representation, and the agreement to make every effort to secure the endorsement and acceptance of this principle by all chambers of commerce, industrial and commercial bodies and all organizations of labor? Such action would be overwhelmingly backed by public opinion and cordially approved by the Federal Government. The assurance thus given of a closer relationship between the parties to industry would further justice, promote good-will and help to bridge the gulf between capital and labor.
It is not for this or any other body to undertake to determine for industry at large what form representation shall take. Once having adopted the principle of representation, it is obviously wise that the method to be employed should be left in each specific instance to be determined by the parties in interest. If there is to be peace and good-will between the several parties in industry, it will surely not be brought about by the enforcement upon unwilling groups of a method which in their judgment is not adapted to their peculiar needs. In this, as in all else, persuasion is an essential element in bringing about conviction. With the developments in industry what they are today there is sure to come a progressive evolution from autocratic single control, whether by capital, labor, or the state, to democratic cooperative control by all three. The whole movement is evolutionary. That which is fundamental is the idea of representation, and that idea must find expression in those forms which will serve it best, with conditions, forces, and times, what they are. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1919 Industrial Conference Keynote)
The multitude of causes making for the general dissatisfaction prevailing among workers which is called industrial unrest may be compressed under three heads:
- Dissatisfaction with their wages, hours, and earnings-a feeling on the part of the workers that they are not receiving a fair share of the product of industry; a widespread belief that workers are being exploited by owners, employers, and their managers. The rapid rise in prices has greatly strengthened this belief even among those workers who have secured wage increases in excess of increases in the cost of living. Many thousands of workmen who have profited greatly by the price upheavals of the war period firmly believe they are worse off than before the war, or, at least, that the employers have gained more than the workmen and hence the workmen are being done by the employers.
- Dissatisfaction with the management of industry-a feeling that not only are the workers being exploited but that the “enterprisers” are not as enterprising and their managers not as capable as has been commonly supposed. Work is made needlessly monotonous and uninteresting and production is thereby curtailed. The workers feel that industries are being conducted from a distance by men who have little or no first-hand knowledge of conditions and who do not understand the workers’ point of view, knowledge, and capacity. These grievances are due, in large part, to big business organization which has brought about what may justly be called “absentee landlordism” in industry.
- Dissatisfaction with the nature of their work- a feeling that industry is a treadmill for workers of all kinds and that the opportunities for successful and permanent escape are scarce and growing scarcer every day. Lack of interest in work grows out of absentee ownership. The absent industrial landlords, interested only in dividends, employed experts, scientific managers, to produce a substitute for the old-time workman’s interest in his work. Royal Meeker (1920)
Industry in America has not been carried on as effectively as it might have been, one prominent reason being the lack of confidence which has existed on the part of management toward labor and on the part of labor toward management. Management, at times, has apparently believed that satisfactory production depended wholly upon rules, methods and systems worked out and applied by management alone.
Labor has been made to feel, on more than one occasion, that its sole function was to obey orders, and frequently to obey them blindly, and, where this condition has existed, it has unquestionably created an attitude on the worker’s part where they had but little interest in production and none of the spirit of cooperation which is so essential. John P. Frey (1920)
From the moment in which workers and employer negotiate and agree upon terms, hours, conditions and wages, the principle of autocratic domination gives way to the principle of democratic operation. That is the vital point in the whole question of labor relations and it is precisely that point that arbitrary and reactionary employers fear to pass. King John before them struggled over the same principle. King George the First struggled over the same principle. The late Czar and the ex-Kaiser did likewise. Every great force that has stood against this principle has, in the great hour of decision, been compelled to give way.
The reason employers in some instances put forth such violent opposition to organized labor is that it involves the change from autocratic control to democratic control. The basis of calculation is changed. And if employers were not in some instances shortsighted the change would be accepted unanimously and gladly as a benefit to industry and to mankind in general.
Only careful surveys by competent engineers could reveal the staggering losses to industry caused by arbitrary rule. There have been estimates of the colossal losses suffered each year by the steel trust because of its refusal to adopt enlightened employment policies, including negotiating with organized workers, but only a detailed examination and the most careful comparison could reveal anything approaching the real loss. Some employers cannot believe that the workers have motives unlike their own. Let those employers find out the production loss caused each year by autocratic control of industry. The nation pays the bill for this obstinacy in a definite loss of consumable commodities. Samuel Gompers (1920)
Industrial unrest is bound to continue just as long as the present state of mind and feeling of workers is generated by growing disparity between their participation in politics and their exclusion from industrial direction. Modern industry more and more stifles the deep creative impulses of the workers at the same time that it emphasizes how illusory is their political power and how unrelated to economic control. They listen to Mr. Bryan’s apostrophe, “Behold a Republic in which every man is a sovereign, yet no one cares to wear a crown,” only to reflect that as to the essential circumstances of their lives they are but the instruments of needlessly blind chance under the direction of the heads of industry. It is an old story, but at this time we all of us need “education in the obvious more than investigation of the obscure.” The last authoritative inquiry into industrial relations made in this country, with wide opportunities for observation and under the most favoring impulses of war, was thus reported to the President:
“Broadly speaking, American industry lacks a healthy basis of relationship between management and men. At bottom this is due to the insistence of employers upon individual dealings with their men. Direct dealings with employees’ organizations is still the minority rule in the United States. In the majority of instances there is no joint dealing, and in too many instances employers are in active opposition to labor organizations. This failure to equalize the parties in adjustments of inevitable industrial contests is the central cause of our difficulties. There is a commendable spirit throughout the country to correct specific evils. The leaders in industry must go further, they must help to correct the state of mind on the part of labor; they must aim for the release of normal feelings by enabling labor to take its place as a cooperator in the industrial enterprise. In a word, a conscious attempt must be made to generate a new spirit in industry.”
It will no doubt be said that if the employees are to have a share in the management of industry it will mean a loss in efficiency, and since the real cure for industrial difficulties is increase of output, such a change would be a retrograde measure. The same argument has often been applied in the political world, indeed it is the mainstay of the defense of Kaiserism. Granted an absolute monarch of intelligence and probity, it is at any rate plausible to contend that this state will be administered more efficiently than it would be by any democracy. Nevertheless the world has decided against autocracy, and for good reasons.
In the first place, history shows that really good despots are rare, and I suspect that the same is equally true of captains of industry; and, in the second place, the argument leaves out of sight the passion of mankind for liberty. Over and over again, we have seen men prefer a bad government for which they are responsible, and in which they have a share to a good government imposed upon them from above. And I believe the same is as true in industry as it is in politics. Moreover, industrial efficiency itself depends upon the good-will of the workers. Without their hearty cooperation the most skilled captain of industry is powerless. Felix Frankfurter (1922)
The one thing that a patch-work of palliatives and concessions does not touch is the one thing that lies at the heart of the modern labor problem and gives to the modern labor movement its sustained and vibrant purpose, and that is the status of the worker in industry. And the instincts of self-defense and self-interest, rather than conscious statesmanlike administration, have dictated and devised the policies and instruments that both capital and labor, with certain heartening exceptions, today employ in dealing with the issues of industrial relations.
Now, one thing lies coiled at the heart of everything I have pointed out, and that is that in the transfer from hand production or small scale industry to machine production or large scale industry the worker lost control of the instruments of production, lost control of the raw materials for production, lost control of the conditions under which production is carried on, lost control of the profits arising from production. And the history of the labor movement, from the time James Watt, in 1769, harnessed the expansive power of steam to human use and made possible machine production down to the present time, has been the story of labor’s struggle to regain the fruits if not the facts of that lost control.
To the cynical and the superficial the labor movement is a purely selfish struggle between a group called labor, trying to keep wages up, and a group called capital, trying to keep wages down ; but it is essentially a competition for control, with a rich variety of meanings attached to that word. Specific demands, specific strikes for shorter hours and higher wages, aside from their immediate purpose, are part of this larger movement for a restoration of control, even in those instances where the leaders of such strikes are blind to the relation their immediate action bears to the larger movement. The present system of regulating the relations between the parties to industry in the atmosphere of continuous class contest, latent or in action, from the public’s point of view falls far short of the desirable. From the point of view of the intelligent self-interest of both capital and labor it is a costly and inadequate method of progress. It is important to remember, however, that this system was never planned as a desirable method of progress either by capitalists or labor leaders; it is the product of an instinctive evolution under the spur of self-defense and immediate self-interest. Glenn Frank (1919)
The congestion of population is producing subnormal conditions of life. The vast repetitive operations are dulling the human mind. The intermittency of employment due to the bad coordination of industry, the great waves of unemployment in the ebb and flow of economic tides, the ever-present industrial conflicts by strike and lockout, produce infinite wastes and great suffering.
Our business enterprises have become so large and complex that the old, pleasant relationship between employer and employee has, to a great extent, disappeared. The aggregation of great wealth with its power for economic domination presents social and economic ills which we are constantly struggling to remedy.
We must take account of the tendencies of our present repetitive industries to eliminate the creative instinct in their workers, to narrow their field of craftsmanship, to discard entirely the contribution to industry that could be had from their minds. Indeed, if we are to secure the development of our people we cannot permit the dulling of these sensibilities. If we are to secure increased production and an increased standard of living, we must keep awake interest in creation in craftsmanship and contribution of the worker’s intelligence to management. Herbert C. Hoover (1920)
There is a feature of the present industrial unrest which differentiates it from that commonly existing before the war. It cannot be denied that unrest today is characterized more than ever before by purposes and desires which go beyond the mere demand for higher wages and shorter hours. Aspirations inherent in this form of restlessness are to a greater extent psychological and intangible. They are not for that reason any less significant. They reveal a desire on the part of workers to exert a larger and more organic influence upon the processes of industrial life. This impulse is not to be discouraged but made helpful and cooperative. With comprehending and sympathetic appreciation, it can be converted into a force working for a better spirit and understanding between capital and labor, and for more effective cooperation.
The guiding thought has been that the right relationship between employer and employee can be best promoted by the deliberate organization of that relationship. That organization should be within the plant itself. Its object should be to organize unity of interest and thus diminish the area of conflict, and supply by organized cooperation between employers and employees the advantages of that human relationship that existed between them when industries were smaller. Such organization should provide for the joint action of managers and employees in dealing with their common interests. It should emphasize the responsibility of managers to know men at least as intimately as they know materials, and the right and duty of employees to have a knowledge of the industry, its processes and policies. Employees need to understand their relation to the joint endeavor so that they may once more have a creative interest in their work. Joint organization of management and employees where undertaken with sincerity and good-will has a record of success. Employees need an established channel of expression and an opportunity for responsible consultation on matters which affect them in their relations with their employers and their work. There must be diffused among them a better knowledge of the industry as a whole and of their relation to its success. Far-sighted executives testify to the advantage gained from careful and painstaking efforts to encourage and educate their foremen in the proper attitude toward employees. Woodrow Wilson (1920)