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Industrial psychology: industrial relations: the study of the psychological component of industry--how human personalities and emotional needs affect the workplace--was an emerging discipline in the 1940s. These are a few of the observations by a researcher in industrial relations.

One of the most striking developments in the American industrial field during the last few years has been the rapid growth of interest in industrial relations. The growth of the union movement, which has served to point up the relations between management and labor, and the war, which has emphasized the necessity for the intelligent selection, training, placement, and handling of men, have led to an increased need for understanding the part played by human beings in industry. It appears highly probable that the student in technological school in the future is going to have to add one more tool to his kit, no matter what his specialty. That tool should be an increased awareness of the problems involved in dealing with human beings.

Here at M.I.T., a group of us, in what is called the Industrial Relations Section, have set out both to explore that field and to discover methods for giving the student some understanding of it.

The whole dynamic pattern of the interaction of human beings and the moving equilibrium of that pattern must be increasingly understood. That is the general problem. There are many specific problems, for example: How to institute a change which affects human beings, how to change the attitudes of human beings, how to achieve worker satisfaction, how to adjust the organization of management to the personalities involved so as to produce the most efficient setup, and how to achieve union-management co-operation.

A start has been made toward the solution of problems and such as these. Published material is scarce and scattered. What is perhaps the first representative text has just appeared (Personnel Management and Industrial Relations by Date Yoder. Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1942). Students of the field are few, and more are to be found filling positions in industry than on the staffs of educational, institutions. The demands of the field are for knowledge which has application whenever the organization of human beings toward some end is necessitated. The challenge implied is not limited to future supervisors, industrial, psychologists, or industrial management.




Formal research into the human side of industry--including psychological concepts like motivation and worker satisfaction--was a novel idea in 1943. As a member of the Industrial Relations Section at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Irving Knickerbocker was one of the early researchers in the field.

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Title Annotation:TECH BUZZ//VAULT FEBRUARY 1943; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author:Knickerbocker, Irving
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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