Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview
ties can no longer be regarded as effective procedures for controlling behavior or maintaining discipline. This means that new ways of controlling behavior must be found. These must allow the foreman sufficient freedom to act so that he is not restrained by rules and can use his discretion. However, if the human factor is increased by moving away from judicial to the human relations approach, it means that foremen must be selected and trained to use human relations properly. In other words, foreman training is an essential part of a motivation program utilizing positive incentives.
Summary
In order to study the kinds of issues involved in a practical disciplinary problem, industrial supervisors were placed in a role-playing situation requiring that disciplinary action be taken. One person played the part of the supervisor, another the part of the union steward, and a third person identified himself with the worker who was to be disciplined. The background of the case made the violation of a no-smoking rule clear-cut so that a three-day layoff was in order. The steward intervened, however, and his function was to get the foreman to change his decision.The results obtained are as follows:
1. A total of 89 (52%) foremen altered their decisions and reached adjusted solutions. They tended to follow the human relations approach.
2. A total of 60 (35%) foremen persisted in their decisions and were governed by the fact that the worker was guilty. They followed the judicial approach.
3. The remaining 23 foremen (13%) failed to settle the matter in the time allowed. They were reluctant to change their decisions and also hesitated to take a stand.
4. The human relations approach was more successful than the judicial approach in that (a) satisfaction for foremen, stewards, and workers was greater; (b) the interview was more of a problem-solving type discussion than an argument; (c) the worker was more inclined to be satisfied with the steward; (d) the worker was less inclined to reduce his future production; and (e) the steward was less inclined to file a grievance.
5. Adjusted solutions varied in nature, but more than half of them omitted the three-day penalty altogether.

It is concluded that rules hamper the supervisor and place him in the awkward position of either showing disrespect for higher management or a disregard for the feelings of his men. New ways in discipline must be sought and these require training in human relations. Rules can function only when power to enforce them exists. Even then they do not create positive motivation. In the absence of power, foremen must be allowed and trained to use human relations skills.

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