Human Problems of Management

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    Abstract

    IN an address at the Commencement Exercises, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on June 6, Sir Harold Hartley pointed out that, apart from new inventions and discoveries, the great changes in industry in this century have been largely in the direction of transforming traditional methods depending on the personal skill of the operator to scientifically controlled processes in which measurement has largely taken the place of craftsmanship. A new standard of certainty based on scientific measurement has invaded every branch of industry and engineering. The human problems of management, however, are equally important and are much more difficult than the selection and working of inanimate material. Success or failure may depend on the wise choice of men, in which there is no figure of merit as guide. There are also the wider human problems of industry and the collective life of the factory; the emotional response of the individual, the human understanding of the supervisor may influence efficiency and output as much as scientific planning. These human problems of management, Sir Harold said, become increasingly important with the size of the concern, and the rapid growth of the great corporations constitutes a new factor in our social organization, so that any danger of their inability to utilize human effort to the best advantage is an urgent problem. When an organization becomes too large for personal leadership, it is in danger of losing its character and vitality, of becoming mechanical, with all the loss of efficiency implied thereby in a human agency.

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    Human Problems of Management. Nature 143, 1059 (1939) doi:10.1038/1431059a0

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