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they had received this right have been removed from their land without explanation. This of course has increased their frustration in trying to secure their economic well-being within a system they do not comprehend. In response, the frustrated Mossi farmers tend to refocus their interest on the traditional source of their economic security, the maintenance of good relations with their kinsmen in the Yatenga. Management's failure to understand the cultural origin of this further impediment to labor commitment is indicated by its increased reliance on negative or punitive sanctions in order to control the productive behavior of the Mossi labor force.

Experience without Learning

Reappraisal is last in the cycle of managerial activities important to the achievement of labor commitment and is the second of the two activities that appear most crucial to it. Managerial reappraisal in this context implies recognition that labor commitment is achieved gradually and must be maintained. At the Niger Project management has consistently failed to reappraise accurately its original decisions about the indigenous labor force. Those few policy changes that have been made involve greater reliance on punitive sanctions and mechanization, and have not resulted from accurate perception of the cultural reasons for earlier failures. The inefficient performance of the workers has been attributed to their ineptitude rather than to their lack of comprehension of what was required.

Change in the Mossi workers' response to an aspect of their traditional authority system provides an example of what may occur when cultural differences between management and labor prevent accurate reappraisal of managerial decisions. When the Mossi were first resettled at the Niger Irrigation Project, authority within each household was vested in its eldest male member in accordance with Mossi tradition. With time, however, the younger members of households, especially those born at the Niger Project, have grown restive under this control. They are more efficient than their elders, both in learning the new techniques required and in communicating with the Frenchspeaking managers, and consequently believe they should be granted land of their own and given freedom from economic dependence on their elders. Adherence to the original authority system, explicitly recognized and supported by management, requires the younger members to cooperate with their elders in maintaining good relations with their kinsmen in the Yatenga. To assure that the names of all Mossi

at the Project will be remembered and that they will be represented when sacrifices are made to their ancestral spirits, they must send to the Yatenga a portion of the payment they receive for their crop. Many young people at the Project have not been conditioned to regard their elders in the Yatenga as the principal source of security, and therefore resent the system that requires them to share their earnings with kinsmen whom they may never have seen.

Management does not understand that this system of authority is no longer functional. By continuing to delegate authority to the eldest, least adaptive, members of the Mossi community, management fails to satisfy the younger workers' emergent desire for a larger share in the control of their own economic destiny. Because of the artificial maintenance of the traditional system of authority, many young men become discouraged about making a permanent identification with the Project. They are frustrated and, like their elders, refocus their interest on their lineage in the Yatenga as the more reliable source of social and economic well-being. Consequently, they also come to make increasingly mechanical responses to their assigned tasks. Their real interest is diverted to preparation for the time when they too can "return" to the homeland.


For the purposes of this brief analysis, the managerial activities that appear most relevant to the achievement of labor commitment have been described as if they occurred in a single cycle. Obviously this is an oversimplification. In any organization many such cycles of activity are going on at the same time. Although it has been stated that certain of these managerial activities appear more crucial than others in attaining labor commitment, the successful functioning of each is likely to depend largely on the successful implementation of the activity that precedes it. When action results from a misperception of reality, every succeeding action is likely to compound the original error. This gives further support to the contention that communication and reappraisal are the two activities most crucial to the attainment of labor commitment. By the successful establishment and maintenance of communication, a mistaken action ultimately can be reappraised and rectified.

In newly developing areas the most significant cultural difference separating management from the labor force is frequently nothing less

profound than the differing sources from which the two groups derive their basic social, economic, and supernatural security. Each expects the other to behave as if it shared in the perception of the proper source of this security, and is frustrated to the extent that this is not so. Management must recognize this difference, not so that it may alter the satisfactions it offers the workers, but in order to comprehend the cultural aspects of the problem of relearning involved in achieving labor commitment.

It is not realistic to expect management to refrain from action until it has examined all the cultural differences between it and the labor force, but management should accept the possibility of their existence and maintain adequate channels of communication so that the nature of the differences may become known. Once they are identified, reappraisal-derived from and dependent on organizational flexibility— provides the means of responding to them.

To achieve labor commitment, management ultimately must provide the indigenous labor force with a substitute for their traditional sources of security. This cannot be done by the successful teaching of new skills, nor by physical adaptation to a new habitat. The problem is one of reassurance, of positive demonstration that the new enterprise offers the labor force an equally certain source of security. Communication and reappraisal appear crucial to the achievement of this reassurance and its continued reinforcement as commitment grows.


Melville J. Herskovits

When we project the problems with which this volume is concerned against the backdrop of the total field of economic growth, we find that they can be resolved into two principal categories, the institutional and the human. These categories may also be thought of as sociological and cultural or, from another point of view, as comprising the observable aspects of behavior, on the one hand, and the underlying sanctions that motivate responses, on the other. In the totality of a developmental situation we thus set up a continuum on which particular points of interest can be abstracted and isolated for analysis, and which extends from the technological through the social to the cultural. Although there is a certain strategic advantage to be gained from focusing on the middle position, it is essential that the polarities be not disregarded.

For this reason the present discussion of the general implications of the three preceding papers on the organization of work is principally concerned with the motivational, cognitive, and other noninstitutional aspects of the place of labor in developing areas. Since the institutional, structural approach tends inevitably, in a situation of change, to lay stress on the problems faced by the agents from outside the area who act to stimulate development, we hold entrepreneurial and managerial problems in the background. Our focus is on the traditional attitudes and the values that the indigenous worker brings to the new setting to which he must adapt.


Form and Process

The problems we are studying may be thought of as lying in the general field of cultural dynamics. The analysis of questions of this nature involves balancing the factors of conservatism and change. It is the interplay between these factors that makes for the adjustments toward a desired end or brings about the defeat of attempts to introduce innovations—in this case, in the patterns of work and the drives to achieve given objectives that underlie them. This approach indicates a way out of the dilemma posed, by implication at least, by Feldman

and Moore at the outset of their theoretical formulation. There they speak of cultural relativism as the "ultimate refuge" of the social scientist who despairs of resolving the complexities of the means-and-end dichotomy they sketch. This, they suggest, is a way out for the theoretically faint of heart, since it "essentially denies the possibility of any repeated relations or predictive propositions."

This statement expresses a misunderstanding that is commonly encountered. The relativist's search for universals in the light of the varied manifestations of behavioral phenomena is too often submerged in the undue emphasis, by critics of relativism, on his recognition of these differences. In a sense this misunderstanding is a reflection of the approach that, in stressing analysis, relegates dynamics to a subsidiary place, identifying the search for general principles with the first and associating the second with the relativistic position. When we go into the matter, however, we find that insofar as "a generalized theoretical system" of dynamics is concerned, the methodological implications of cultural relativism involve a recognition of the difference between form and process if the principles advanced are to attain any degree of validity. It is patent from any point of view that a problem carrying the label "development" must be dynamic. We must then give full weight to the position that holds a given form to be the end result of a historical process whose character as a universal is to be induced from its manifestations in unique historical sequences.

In their phrasing Feldman and Moore seem to be saying something not much different from this. What else could they mean when they assert that "the elements of social behavior associated with productive systems are not randomly variable. The possible sequences of change are substantially short of infinite in their variety"? Their interpretation of relativism appears even stranger in the light of their incisive comments on the means-and-end aspect of development.

From the point of view of a dynamic approach to this constellation, "development" is to be thought of as a process whose mode of operation (means) and results (ends) represent the working out, in a given place and at a given time, of an impinging force whose identity in various places and at various times has been established. The categories of form Feldman and Moore have abstracted are thus to be thought of as variations in the conditions under which the common process, subsumed in the phrase "economic and technological development," may be expected to bring about comparable results. This point is perfectly exemplified in Belshaw's paper. He advances the proposi

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