Fundamentals of Industrial Psychology


Albert Walton, Fundamentals of Industrial Psychology, New York, …It is true that the force that transforms human actions into a succession of predictable reactions is an external force: the machine imposes on men the patterns of mechanized behavior, and the less competitive the individual becomes, the more the standards of competitive performance are imposed from the outside. However, man does not see this loss of freedom as the work of a hostile force foreign to himself; he renounces it under the command of reason itself. The fact is that the apparatus to which man must now adjust and adapt is so rational that individual protest and liberation appear not only desperate but also completely irrational. The living regime created by modern industry reaches a high degree of opportunity, convenience and efficiency. The reason, as long as it is defined in these terms, is equivalent to an activity that perpetuates this world. Rational behavior is similar to factuality (matter-of-factness ) which calls for a reasonable submission and guarantees a smooth integration into the established order.
At first sight, the technological attitude would rather suggest the opposite of resignation. Since theological and teleological dogmas no longer interfere with man’s struggle with matter, man deploys his experimental energy without inhibition. There is no longer a conglomerate of matter that it does not attempt to split, manipulate and transform according to its will and interest. This experimentalism frequently serves the effort to develop a superior efficiency of hierarchical control over men. Technological rationality can easily be put to the service of such control: in the form of “scientific management”, it has become one of the best weapons in the hands of a refined autocracy. FW Taylor’s presentation of scientific management brings to light a marriage between exact science,matter-of-factness ) and big industry: “Scientific management attempts to substitute, in the relationship between employers and employees, the governance of fact and law for the rule of force and opinion, the know exact to the hypothesis. It seeks to establish a code of natural laws that would bind both employers and employees, that is to say, to substitute, in the routine of work, a natural law to the code of discipline based on the whim and the arbitrary power of the ‘man. Such a democracy has never existed in the industry before. Any protest by an employee must be managed by directors, who must decide the dispute, not on the basis of the opinion of the director or employee, but on the basis of the large code of laws to guarantee equity. ”
Robert F. Hoxie, Scientific Management and Labor, New York, …The scientific effort serves to eliminate losses, increase production and standardize the product. And all this process of increasing profitability is presented as the ultimate realization of individualism, all culminating in the demand for a “development of the individuality of the workers”

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