Charles Samuel Myers.

Mind and work, the psychologial factors in industry and commerce online

. (page 1 of 8)
Online LibraryCharles Samuel MyersMind and work, the psychologial factors in industry and commerce → online text (page 1 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


MIND AND WORK



MIND AND WORK

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS
IN INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE



BY

CHARLES S. MYERS

M.A., M.D., Sc.D., F.R.S.

Director of the Psychological Laboratory, Cambridge University ; Member

of the Industrial Fatigue Research Board ; Lieut. -Colonel, late

R.A.M.C.; sometime Consulting Psychologist, B.E.F.



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND FIGURES
IN THE TEXT



LONDON

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PRESS, LTD.

18 WARWICK SQUARE, E.G. 4
1920



INTRODUCTION

THIS book may be regarded as an expan-
sion of part of my Present-day Applications
of Psychology, the fourth edition of which
is now out of print . It contains the sub-
stance of various lectures and addresses,,
which I have given during the past two
years, on the relation of psychology to the
well-being and efficiency of industrial and
commercial workers.

Of the four main determinants of in-
dustrial and commercial efficiency the
mechanical, the physiological, the psy-
chological, and the social and economic
the psychological is by far the most im-
portant and fundamental. Intelligence in
foreseeing demands and in improving
industrial conditions, and a sympathetic
understanding of the standpoint of others,
are much more " productive " than mere
capital or mechanical labour. The physio-
logical factors involved in purely muscular



vi INTRODUCTION

fatigue are now fast becoming negligible,
compared with the effects of mental and
nervous fatigue, monotony, want of interest,
suspicion, hostility, etc. The psychological
factor must therefore be the main con-
sideration of industry and commerce in
the future; and in the following pages
I shall endeavour to show its importance
in (i) movement study, (ii) fatigue study,
(iii) selection study, (iv) incentives study,
and in (v) industrial unrest. In move-
ment study it will prove necessary also
to take into consideration mechanical and
physiological factors; in fatigue study,
certain physiological factors ; in describing
the methods of selecting workers according
to their special aptitudes, the standpoint
will be principally psychological; while
in considering the incentives towards
increased efficiency (in the chapters headed
" Restriction of Output " and " Systems
of Payment ") and the causes of industrial
unrest, social and economic considerations
must necessarily be introduced.



CONTENTS
CHAPTER I FA

MOVEMENT STUDY 3

Its three aspects (p. 4) Examples of motion
study (p. 5) Importance of initial training
(p. 15) Needless stooping, walking and stand-
ing (p. 17) Principles of motion study (p. 18)
Monotony in motion study (p. 19) Use of
the cinematograph (p. 29) The chronocycle-
graph (p. 29).

CHAPTER II

FATIGUE STUDY ...... 39

The four aspects of fatigue (p. 41) The ergo-
graph (p. 43) Fatigue and increased output
(p. 46) -Mental fatigue (p. 47) Boredom and
weariness (p. 48) Methods of estimating fatigue :
factory methods (p. 53); apparatus (p. 55);
tests of nervous and mental efficiency (p. 56)
Factors affecting the work curve (p. 59)
Holiday and Monday effects (p. 61) Variations
in work curve (p. 62) Physiological fluctuations
(p. 64) The load lifted (p. 65) Needless stand-
ing and stooping (p. 66) Effects of illumination,
noise, ventilation, temperature, humidity, etc.
(p. 67) Importance of rest pauses (p. 71)
Effects of reducing hours of work (p. 75).
vii



viii CONTENTS



CHAPTER III PAGB

SELECTION STUDY .... 83

Genius and talent (p. 83) Excessive labour turn-
over (p. 84) Individual differences (p. 85)
Vocational guidance (p. 87) Reaction times
(p. 88) Tests of telephone operators (p. 89)
Other mental tests (p. 90) Physical and sexual
differences (p. 91) Army, Air Service and
Admiralty selection tests (p. 93) "General
impressions " (p. 97) "Phrenological" and
"physiognomic " tests (p. 98) Classification and
use of mental tests (p. 99) Blind-alley and
unsuitable occupations (p. 102) Pre-vocational
and vocational training (p. 103) The future of
vocational guidance and selection (p. 104).

CHAPTER IV

RESTRICTION OF OUTPUT . . . .111

Restriction by the employer: deliberate (p. Ill);
unconscious (p. Ill) Restriction by the em-
ployee: deliberate (p. 112); unconscious (p. 116)
Examples of employees' restriction of output
(p. 118) Methods of detection (p. 120) Artificial
uniformity of output (p. 121) Need of efficiency
records (p. 123) Coal output (p. 124) Brick-
laying (p. 126) American and British produc-
tivity (p. 126) Effects of increased use of
machinery (p. 127).

CHAPTER V

SYSTEMS OF PAYMENT 135

Time rate and output rate (p. 135) Opposition
to payment by results (p. 136) Differential
piece rates, premium and bonus systems (p. 140)
Scale of recognised individual differences
in output (p. 145) Advantages and objections



CONTENTS ix



PAGE

of day rate (p. 147) Graded day rate (p. 150)
Collective piece rate and bonus (p. 161)
Profit sharing (p. 152) Co-partnership (p. 154)
Present tendencies (p. 155).

CHAPTER VI

INDUSTRIAL UNREST 161

Industrial overstrain and the war (p. 161)
Overstrain and loss of higher nervous control
(p. 163) Loss of higher mental control (p. 165)
"Defence mechanisms" (p. 166) The extremist
employer and employee (p. 170) Labour's
attitude to Scientific Management (p. 175}
The worker's envy (p. 178) The appointment
of a works psychologist (p. 179) Educational
experiments (p. 182) Labour and management
(p. 184) Security against unemployment, and
share in management (p. 190) The introduc-
tion of vocational guidance and selection (p. 191)
The introduction of motion study (p. 191)
Motion study, craftsmanship, and trade secrets
(p. 193) Vocational training and its organisa-
tion (p. 198) Functions of a National Institute
of Applied Psychology and Physiology (p. 199).

INDEX 201



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

JIG Facing page

1. "PACKET" DESIGNED TO FACILITATE

ASSEMBLY MOVEMENTS (GILBRETH) . 5

2. RECORD OF A CHAMPION GOLFER'S SWING

(GILBRETH) 30

3. DIAGRAMS SHOWING GRADUAL DEVELOP-

MENT OF THE CHRONOCYCLEGRAPH page 31

4. CONSTRUCTION, FROM CHRONOCYCLEGRAPH,

OF WIRE MODEL OF LEFT-HAND MOVE-
MENTS IN WORKING A DRILL PRESS
(GILBRETH) ..... 33

5. MODEL OF LEFT-HAND MOVEMENTS IN

FOLDING HANDKERCHIEFS (GILBRETH) . 33

6. MODELS OF DRILL PRESS MOVEMENTS SHOW-

ING PRACTICE EFFECTS (GILBRETH) . 34

7. KRAVELIN'S ERGOGRAPH . . . page, 43

8. ERGOGRAM, SHOWING THE ONSET AND

PROGRESS OF "MUSCULAR FATIGUE" . 45



CHAPTER I

MOVEMENT STUDY



Its three aspects Examples of motion study Im-
portance of initial training Needless stooping, walk-
ing and standing Principles of motion study
Monotony in motion study Use of the cinematograph
The chronocyclegraph.



CHAPTER I

MOVEMENT STUDY

MOVEMENT study may be broadly
regarded from three aspects. The first
of these relates to the planning of the
factory or business, including the arrange-
ment of tools and materials; the second
to the division of work among skilled and
unskilled employees; and the third to
the learning of the best movements in
work. The last is generally known as
" motion study."

The planning of the factory or business
involves, among other things, the proper
organisation of administrative departments
for specification, costing, order of work,
instruction, material, and stores, and the

proper location of the different industrial

3



MIND AND WORK



or commercial operations. On this par-
ticular aspect it is unnecessary to dwell,
as its technical nature lies beyond the
province of the psychologist. Two state-
ments, however, may be repeated which
have been made elsewhere (i) that only
2 1 per cent, of the industrial firms in
this country, in contrast to 10 per cent,
in the United States and 92 per cent, in
Germany, have established efficient sys-
tems of costing; (ii) that in a certain
works, whilst wages are calculated in
tenths of a penny, it often costs 2s. Qd.
to get a split pin out of the stores !

A few striking instances will be now
quoted where industrial efficiency has been
improved by a better arrangement of
tools and materials. The New England
Butt Company, for example, was engaged
in manufacturing machines for braiding
called " braiders," and an expert was
called in to apply movement study to the

factory. He found the tools lying any-

4




FIG. 1. " Packet " designed to facilitate
assembly movements (Gilbreth).



{To face p. 5.



MOVEMENT STUDY



where, the base of each braider placed
on an ordinary low bench, with the various
parts kept on the floor or in boxes.

No special method was being taught.
The assemblers l worked by tradition, or
according to individual fancy. The con-
ditions must have resembled those obtain-
ing in a factory in this country, where it
was recently calculated that 75 per cent,
of the time was spent in handling the tools,
15 per cent, in handling the machine,
and only 10 per cent, on the actual
job!

The expert proceeded systematically to
study the best positions for the tools
and parts before assembly. The latter
he arranged in definite order on a vertical
trellis frame called a " packet " (Fig. 1),
which he provided with arms and hooks
so as to allow the parts to be placed in
the most convenient position for the
assembler's grasp. This packet was loaded

1 " To assemble " means to fit the parts together.
5



MIND AND WORK



by an apprentice, who was meanwhile
being trained in the principles of assembly.
Henceforth the tools were placed in pre-
arranged order on the table, and the table
was so designed that it could also be used
when turned over on its side, thus pro-
viding a table of two heights, one for the
ordinary, the other for the taller or " double-
deck " braiders. The result of these im-
provements was that, without increased
fatigue (and with increased earnings), a
man could assemble 66 braiders per day,
in place of a previous output of 18 per
day ; that is to say, a 266 per cent, increase
in rate of output was obtained.

Another instance of the effects of move-
ment study occurred in the Derwent
Foundry Company, Derby, which was
engaged during the war in making Mills'
hand grenades and what are called " fuse-
hole plugs." These fuse-hole plugs fitted
into the top of shells in place of the fuses

until the shells Were wanted for actual

6



MOVEMENT STUDY



use . The managing director of the foundry
came to the conclusion that he could
enormously improve the output without
causing a greater amount of fatigue among
the workers. So, broadly following F. W.
Taylor's methods, he set to work, with
two or three men whom he could trust,
including his works manager, to analyse
each small job, in his and their cases,
into its essential component movements,
and to time these movements with a stop-
watch in order to see how he could improve
the movements. Having done this to
his satisfaction, and having drawn up
a list of the " standard times " of each
separate unit movement and the " standard
time " in which the whole job should be
performed, he devised instruction cards
on which these estimates were entered.
He deducted 10 per cent, from what he
had evolved as standard times, so as to
allow the worker 45 minutes during the

day to attend to his personal needs, and

7



MIND AND WORK



also to allow for accidental waste of time ;
and then, after making various improve-
ments in the arrangement of materials,
in the efficiency of the machining, and
in the co-ordination of the moulders' and
labourers' work, he turned to his workers
and asked them to allow themselves to
be trained. He said : " We are out for
shorter hours, higher wages, and more
output; will you help us? 53 They said
they would. His object was to train them
individually so that needless movements
could be eliminated, and so that they
might adopt the best and most expeditious
methods. As soon as each worker began
to be trained, his hours were reduced
from 54 to 48 a week, and he received 25
per cent, higher wages than the ordinary
day wage of the district as an inducement
for him to continue his training. When
the men began to produce at the standard
rate, they were put on to a special system
of payment which he had devised, in



MOVEMENT STUDY



which piece-rate and bonus systems were
combined. In the early days they did
not fully appreciate the working and
the advantages of this system, and some
of the older men were disinclined to give
up the older methods; they were in a
groove from which it was difficult to
escape. To any such grumblers the manag-
ing director said : " If you do not like it,
you can come to-morrow morning as
before at six instead of eight o'clock and
go back to your old wages. 95 There is
good reason to believe that some of them
would have done so if it had not been for
the tact of the managing director and his
works manager.

The result was as follows. At the out-
set the Ministry of Munitions had estimated
that the foundry would turn out 3000
articles a week. In the end they turned
out 20,000. Part of this difference, of
course, may have been due to an under-
estimate on the part of the Ministry of

9



MIND AND WORK



Munitions ; but in order to obtain a better
basis for comparison, the managing director
later visited a foundry which had actually
more machinery than his firm had, and
he observed that while his firm was turning
out 20,000 a week, the other foundry
had difficulty in turning out 5000 such
units. There is hence no doubt as to
the enormous increase of output in his
own foundry due to his methods. It
is an extremely difficult matter, of course,
to determine how much of this improved
efficiency was due to movement study,
how much to shorter hours or higher
wages acting as an incentive, how much
to better food arising from higher wages
for there had been a striking improvement
in the general appearance of the workers
after the increase of pay and how much
to increased efficiency of the machinery
and better organisation of the factory.
It is probable that in the actual moulding

and casting, about 90 per cent, of the

10



MOVEMENT STUDY



increased output was due to improvement
in the human factor, and that more than
20 per cent, of this was due to training
in the best movements. In the machining,
of course, the improvement was largely
due to improved machinery.

I will present a few figures which may
make the results still clearer. In the
10-hour day, worked under the old
system, this foundry produced an average
output of 48 of a given item. After the
introduction of movement study the
standard output, based on standard times,
rose to 147 per day of 8f hours, which
represents nearly a 284 per cent, increase
in hourly rate of output. But this
standard output was regularly surpassed
by all the trained adult workmen ! The
increase in actual earnings in the case of
one worker (chosen at random) was found
to be, roughly, 200 per cent., while the
reduction in his working hours was about

11 per cent. When fourteen of the men

11



MIND AND WORK



and women, chosen quite haphazard, were
interviewed by a visitor in the moulding
and machine shops, they expressed them-
selves as perfectly contented with the
new system and evinced no desire to return
to the old conditions. There was no
general evidence of increased fatigue;
indeed many of them said the fatigue was
less, and several of them preferred the
new system because it involved less idling,
or because under the old system they were
called continually and irregularly from
one job to another, whereas now they had
a more methodical kind of work. Through-
out, the trade union officials placed no
serious obstacle in the way of the scheme,
although neither they nor the employers'
federation regarded it with favour. The
difficulties arising in relation to this aspect
of the subject will be considered later
(Chapter VI).

As another instance of the working

of such methods elsewhere, an operation

12



MOVEMENT STUDY



in moulding may be quoted which had
previously taken 53 minutes, but which,
an expert reported, could, with proper
training in improved methods, be done
in 44 minutes. After some practice, the
men took 20 minutes for it ! That is,
there was an increase of 165 per cent,
in the rate of output ; and one of the men
actually averaged 16 minutes during a
whole day's work. The labour cost was
reduced by 54 per cent., while the earnings
were increased by 60 per cent.

An operation in yet another factory
taking 2*17 minutes was reduced by motion
study and training to half-a-minute. The
scheduled time in which the work should
be performed was, therefore, put to make
full allowances at 30 per cent, over this
half-minute. In six months most of the
girls had surpassed it by 30 or 40 per cent.,
so that they had reached the half-minute,
which was equivalent to a 334 per cent.

increase in rate of output; the wages

13



MIND AND WORK



of the workers at the same time rising by
50 or 60 per cent.

In the Ferracute Machine Company in
New Jersey, with practically unchanged
equipment and a constant number of
employees, motion study reduced the time
of performing 275 jobs by 38 per cent.,
and it reduced the total cost, including
overhead expenses, by 47 per cent.; the
average day-rate paid to the workers
being increased by 11 per cent., with a
bonus increase of from 20 to 60 per cent.

In the correspondence department of a
printing office, where girls had to fold
letters with enclosures, motion study
increased the output by about 300 per
cent.

In cotton folding the number of separate
movements was reduced from 20 or 30
to 10 or 12, with the result that instead
of 125 dozen pieces, 400 dozen pieces were
folded in the same time, without any

increase of fatigue.

14



MOVEMENT STUDY



In a sweet factory of this country the
output in a certain department was almost
doubled by motion study and subsequent
training. The percentage of working time
wasted in such unproductive labour as
fetching and replacing trays was reduced
to nearly one-third of its previous amount.

The following table (p. 16) gives some
further data resulting entirely, or almost
entirely, from motion study.

Everybody who has had to do with
motion study lays stress, as may be
imagined, on the importance of the initial
training of new workers. If one can get
hold of an employee from the start, instead
of allowing him to become fossilised in
antiquated methods or to pick up his
own methods, one saves enormously.

Clearly one of the main principles of
motion study is to eliminate needless
movements, especially such as unnecessary
stooping or walking. Bricklaying is a

striking example of wasted effort in move-

15



MIND AND WORK



Nature of Work


Percentage
increase in rate
of output


Percentage
reduction in cost


Percentage
increase in
earnings, etc.


Mid-Vale Steel Co.


not


41


40




given






Bleaching


200


40 (labour eost)


40


Yale & Towne Manufac-


not


32 (labour cost)


not given


turing Co.


given


31 (overhead








charges)




Tabor Manufacturing


200


not given


25-30


Works (moulding ma-








chines, etc.)








Link Belt Works (elevat-


100


50 (labour cost)




ing and conveying ma-




20 (total cost)


25-30


chines )








Joseph & Feiss Co. (cloth


70


10 (by reduced


70 (Hours


making)




cost of super-


reduced






vision)


from 54








to 45








and less)


Putting paper covers on


100


not given


not given


small boxes








Drilling holes in metal .


300


ff


>


Bricklaying .


192





Great in-








crease


Bleaching shirtings about
Putting up cloth ,,
Packing cloth ,,


80}
150 \

no)


about 60 in]
wage cost


About 140


Pillow-case making


230


about 50 in








wage cost }




Cotton plant


100


not given


not given


Drill Press Factory


100








Cotton cloth folding


220







Unloading pig iron
Other handling of pig iron


500
300


66
60


69
60


Shovelling


270


54


>


Riveting
Sulphate Pulp Mills


69
100


not given



not given



Tobacco Pouch Factory .


100





i



16



MOVEMENT STUDY



ment. It was in connexion with brick-
laying that modern motion study was
first applied, trebling the number of bricks
laid per man per hour, without increase
of effort. When one considers that for
centuries bricklayers have continued stoop-
ing down and picking up bricks and mortar,
when one thinks of the amount of needless
work involved in thus lowering and raising
through some two feet about one-and-a-
half hundredweight of trunk and head
so many times a day whereas one could
easily save fatigue and increase output
by arranging the bricks and mortar in
more convenient positions and in con-
venient quantity and quality for the work
one realises how deeply rooted and how
difficult to change are archaic, inefficient
methods of work. There must be few
factories at the present day where it would
be impossible to reduce fatigue by abolish-
ing needless stooping and by devising

proper seating accommodation with sliding
c 17



MIND AND WORK



seats, back-rests, foot -rests, etc. This has
already been done in various workshops,
especially in America, and has effected a
considerable saving of fatigue and increase
of output.

Another principle of motion study is
to try to combine separate movements
into a single movement, one uninterrupted
(circular) movement being generally less
fatiguing than two separate (angular)
movements. Yet another principle is to
combine, as far as possible, similar move-
ments of the two hands at the same time.
It requires much more effort to raise first
one hand and then the other, than to raise
them both together ; a good deal of saving
has been effected by this method of simul-
taneous symmetrical movements of the
two hands. Another principle of move-
ment study this list does not pretend to
be exhaustive is based on attention to
rhythm of movement. Obviously it is

much less fatiguing to perform an act

18



MOVEMENT STUDY



rhythmically than by an irregular series
of jerky movements; of course, every
person has his own best rate of repetition
of movement, a rhythm peculiar to himself.
Having alluded briefly to the advantages
of the system of trained movements,
let us now turn to one of its principal dis-
advantages, leaving a discussion of the
others until the consideration of industrial
unrest is considered in Chapter VI. The
great disadvantage which has been urged
against movement study will probably
have occurred already to the reader. It
is the monotony of always employing
one and the same method. But of this
one cannot well judge as an outsider, with-
out inquiring from the workers themselves
as to whether they find the effects of move-
ment training monotonous. To the un-
initiated, angling, when unrequited, appears
so boring and senseless a sport as hardly
to be fit for a sane person. So, too, an

apparently monotonous occupation may

19



MIND AND WORK



to some prove full of interest. At the
foundry already mentioned, practically
no evidence could be obtained of workers
objecting to the monotony of the processes.
It is true that there were two persons,
of the fourteen specially questioned, who
spoke about their work being monotonous ;
but when one came to cross -question them,
they appeared to be people who would
also have found the previous conditions
of work monotonous. There are, of course,
wide differences in individuals, but there
can be no doubt that a large number of
factory workers, like the majority of domes-
tic servants, prefer the even tenor of their
way. In every social stratum there are
many folk who do not care to use their
brains much ; they just want to carry on,
week after week, doing the same things,
day-dreaming perhaps during their day's
work. That is to say, a more or less
monotonous occupation is actually wel-
comed by some people, just as there are

20



MOVEMENT STUDY



others who cannot exist without variety.
Whether or not such mechanical occupa-
tion is good and should be encouraged,
and how far preference for it is acquired
by stress of circumstances (cf. p. 189), need
consideration. But the fact remains that
all occupations involve a certain amount
of drudgery, and where the drudgery is
necessarily great, the possibility of com-
pensation by shorter hours or higher wages
and the selection of those who prefer a
humdrum life, also demand consideration.
We must remember that the worker,


1 3 4 5 6 7 8

Online LibraryCharles Samuel MyersMind and work, the psychologial factors in industry and commerce → online text (page 1 of 8)