The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization

The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization

The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization

The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization

Synopsis

In this volume Mayo discusses the Hawthorne experiments, relating the findings about human relations within the Hawthorne plant to the social environment in the surrounding Chicago area. The Chicago School of Sociologists were studying aspects of social disorganization and this was a topic pioneered by Emile Durkheim.

Excerpt

The human aspect of industry has changed very considerably in the last fifty years. The nature and range of these changes are still partly unknown to us, but the question of their significance is no longer in dispute. Whereas the human problems of industry were regarded until recently as lying within the strict province of the specialist, it is now beginning to be realized that a clear statement of such problems in particular situations is necessary to the effective thinking of every business administrator and every economic expert. In the nineteenth century there was an ill-founded hope that some species of political remedy for industrial ills might be discovered; this hope has passed. There have been very considerable political changes, both generally and also in particular national systems, since the end of the war in 1918. But the human problems of industrial organization remain identical for Moscow, London, Rome, Paris, and New York. As ever in human affairs, we are struggling against our own ignorance and not against the machinations of a political adversary.

The belief that we need to know far more of the human aspect and human effect of industry is quite recent; it is indeed a development of the post-war years. In 1893, in England, Sir William Mather of the firm of Mather & Platt, Manchester, tried the experiment of reducing the weekly hours of work from fifty-four to

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