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mation or evidence is presented to the worker, enabling him to make the choice properly, and he can only decide whether he has made the right choice on the basis of comparative trial and error. Mobility, in the first generations encountering change, will give the population as a whole greater experience in the varieties of employment and improve the possibility that the right man will be available for the right job. This is particularly so since aptitude and interest tests have very little validity in such situations, and labor exchanges, however well organized, can contribute only so much by way of advice. Mobility, of course, has its own costs. It would be interesting to know the optimum balance between the costs and advantages of job change.

Broadening the Bases of Development

The advantages of training and education, whether traditional or novel, cannot be realized unless the main elements are put to social use. Mobility will cost less if it can be confined to occupations requiring similar training. When an electronic utopia is attained, it may well be that labor can be assigned to quite different productive processes that use similar techniques of control. But the achievements of productive mobility are at the cost of occupational variety. If we limit persons to jobs for which they are trained and train them against their aptitudes and interests, we are no further ahead. A tremendous responsibility for the effective commitment of the labor force in newly developing areas thus clearly rests with the humanity and intelligence of the system of vocational education.

Other factors than aptitude for and interest in technique, qua technique, are involved. The prestige and power rewards of supervision may be as important as pride in artisanship. The mine or plantation foreman can be acutely conscious of his superior knowledge of the environment that is so strange to his village cousins. His example can spur others to emulate and compete with him. This sometimes creates its own difficulties, as when workers of differing cultures are brought under one occupational or legal jurisdiction. Some employers keep men of different cultures separate, counting on the stimulus of rivalry. Others mix them, contending that group rivalry can be misdirected and that individual rivalry is a more effective stimulus.

Traditional societies are so highly interdependent that some theorists have characterized them as being held together by the bonds of reciprocity that have marked relations to productive incentives and effective organization. Such bonds should not be exaggerated, but they

can be of great assistance in giving labor a sense of security and personal control over events during the first stages of economic growth. Indeed, a false emphasis on individualism and impersonality in policy can do great harm to the cause of growth. Such a condition cannot last, however. When specialization and productive relations lose contact with coherent external social bonds, such as those indicated by a lineage system, interdependence exists schematically but is difficult to translate into belief and motivation. The worker is hardly able to define a purpose common to himself and his employer; he works perforce, with little interest in the product. He is likely to be influenced by his desire to support his fellow worker, but this may take the form of being against management and for minimal production. The concept of "affective neutrality" seems to by-pass the issue that, other things being equal, production is likely to be greater if the working force has a sense of positive identification with the prosperity of the work organization itself. Support for the fellow worker is a necessary part of such an attitude, but the reverse is not always true.

The effect of union and political objectives on commitment to efficiency and growth should be mentioned also, for the sake of completeness. Clearly, personnel policy will have a simpler task if the developing unions adopt policies directed toward sharing the rewards of increased production. Although this implies increased attachment of profits, it also implies a common interest in production. Such clear-cut unity of interest is seldom achieved, and it is likely that the prevailing political philosophy in newly developing countries will be an increased demand for wealth and social services. These will compete with investment in productive capital. In such circumstances employers, like governments, may be expected to provide rewards in terms of job and personal security as well as wages.

Does this mean that the dilution of individualistic profit-making with cultural or welfare goals is necessarily detrimental to investment in productive capital? At the national level, investment in hospitals, for example, clearly uses funds which might otherwise be employed in developing skills or factories; but at the level of individual or firm enterprise, it is not always easy to analyze what happens. Much depends on how the entrepreneur conceives of his relations with his labor force, and how it uses its monetary rewards. In one New Guinea community, for example, the entrepreneur rewarded his labor force by feasting and by gifts of food and of money.12 To the casual observer, he was 12 Belshaw, In Search of Wealth.

being ruined by the continuous and temperamental demands of relatives. In fact, he was able to devote a fair amount of his expenditures to capital improvement, and his labor-force relatives sometimes supplied him with equipment and funds when he needed them. Furthermore, many of his relatives had ambitions to run enterprises of their own, devoted some of the income they received from him to improving their own stock of tools, and had plans for the education of their children. A village leader may have the social improvement of his village at the forefront of his mind when he initiates a cooperative form of production. It does not necessarily follow that a cooperative with social objectives will be unable to reinvest significant amounts of income. Even if a large proportion of income is distributed to the workers as personal dividends, capital investment may still be made through the expenditure of increased incomes and the raising of new share capital. In such cases of welfare or community-oriented production, much depends on administrative and personal allocations of income.


Patterns of behavior in cultures or subcultures are based on regularities in individual behavior. Individual behavior is not composed of mutually independent units, but is strongly influenced by physical, social, and cultural factors. From this viewpoint, every person or subculture (defined as possessing behavioral uniformities) operates with ideas, concepts, and subconscious influences that are more or less systematized. These mental images or influences set ends that may be translated into real action, or remain as potential. The ends may be variously interpreted as goals, wants, desires, drives, values; there should be no necessary psychological assumption that they are rational. At the cultural level, determining influences on the ends are many, the most important being related to the socialization process, the growth of perception, the effects of learning through experience, and the integration of such processes through personality.

The ranking of ends in terms of the worth-whileness of acting them out may be regarded as valuation, and one may assume with the economist that scales of preference will be present. These need not be highly organized, conscious, or rational. Their presence is a necessary consequence of our being unable to do everything we would like to do at once. What persons actually decide to do may be regarded as resulting from the assignment of an end to a priority, when the circumstances

of the moment and the resources, difficulties, and costs of achievement are taken into account. Uniformities in such decisions constitute tradition and culture; exceptional decisions represent deviance, eccentricity, or idiosyncracy; cultural change and innovation, as Linton made quite clear, represent alterations in these judgments. For example, the creation of new hierarchies involves deference patterns composed of numerous elements. By abstracting work authority out of these elements, we are not left with forms of deference based only on a technical interpretation of work skill. The worker's concepts of what constitutes skill and knowledge are significantly formed by considerations external to the organization. It is doubtful whether he would be significantly attracted by the skill of his neighbor if he were hostile to the product. A laborer's assessment of his neighbor's work skill would not be unaffected by the fact that his neighbor was a chief, or a close and trusted relative.

Personnel policy is essentially the manipulation of such factors by employers who are acting both as the subjects and the objects of change. It aims at securing an appropriate division of labor, organizational bonds, and motivation for effective production as the entrepreneur sees it. Although the firm may be thought of as a microcosm of society, the data with which it deals are already partially formed and set by the wider social processes. Every act of an entrepreneur attempting to influence the patterns of behavior of his personnel is, almost by definition, an act aimed at cultural change. Its result, in terms of commitment or any other goal, must thus be interpreted in a varied and complex framework



Peter B. Hammond

In many technologically underdeveloped areas a dominant foreign managerial group is charged with directing the productive behavior of a dependent indigenous labor force. Cultural differences separating the two groups frequently result in failure of managerial activities designed to achieve and maintain labor commitment. These same cultural differences often prevent management from accurately perceiving the cause of this failure and correcting it. Two sets of variables appear significant for understanding this problem: (1) the managerial activities most crucial to the attainment of labor commitment; and (2) the cultural differences between management and labor most likely to impede successful implementation of the former's plans.


Certain activities appear basic to the administrative or managerial process regardless of the specific nature of the enterprise or its context. They have been identified as: decision making, programming, communicating, controlling, and reappraising.1 The effective implementation of all these activities is important for the achievement and maintenance of labor commitment, but two of them appear crucial. Communication seems vital to the achievement of labor commitment; and reappraisal appears essential to its maintenance.


The importance of communication in achieving labor commitment within an enterprise increases in inverse ratio to the degree of consensus among its members; for labor commitment results from comprehension and acceptance of organizational goals and of the role of labor in attaining them. When the usual social and economic differences separating management and labor are complicated by cultural differences

1 Edward H. Litchfield, "Notes on a General Theory of Administration," Administrative Science Quarterly, 1:12 (June 1956).

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