The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)
Stress on the maximum of output has caused some workers to fear or to discredit these “new fangled” notions, and two arguments are conspicuously specious, although it must be admitted that, in general terms, they sound quite logical. The first is that Industrial Psychology means harder work—a speeding up on the day's output and, secondly, it must displace men because of added machinery.
At the Otahuhu shops, where applied psychology has been employed, the machines have not caused men to be displaced. Moreover, this is a question of men versus machinery rather than a question of refining and saving human effort. As for the relation between our subject and speeding-up it cannot be dismissed so lightly. Reverting to the typewriter for a moment it certainly seems that all improvements, whether mechanical, technical or in modes of use, aim at an increased output. This is not to be denied, but the employee must see that such an increase cannot be made unless the ultimate factor—human energy—is rightly directed. There cannot be an increase when fatigue makes itself felt. How this factor affects the output will be considered later. To put the relation between “speeding-up” and industrial psychology in another way: consider a working day as being a standard of eight hours. The factors which enter into the output may be classed as:—
(a) Technique of Work, or how the job is done.
(b) Employer's Returns, or The Output.
(c) Energy Expenditure, or amount of effort required to do the job by the employee.
(d) Employee's Returns, or Wages.
This analysis shows two aspects; (a) and (b) concern the employer while (c) and (d) affect more personally the employee. Under normal conditions the employer is anxious to increase the output during the unit of working time; on the other hand the employee is most anxious to page 13 secure a greater reward in the form of wages. Both, however, have a rather hazy idea about the relationship of (c) to the job and, until quite recently (a) was practically ignored. The outcome of this loose thinking was that the employee thought that he could do more by working harder while the employer devotedly hoped that his “hands” would increase the output by putting every “bit” they knew into the job. Strangely enough, both, in the light of modern research, are mistaken.