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January 13, 1934

The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization

JAMA. 1934;102(2):156. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750020068039

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The first efforts to treat human problems were by applying broad generalizations to specific situations. Fatigue was traced to the increase of toxins in the blood and was measured by declining output. Wide individual variations threw doubt on the generalizations and led to the conclusion that fatigue and monotony were not definite entities but were more like relations arising from the attitude of individuals to all their environment and hence could be treated only after individual and social diagnoses. An elaborate five-year experiment in the Hawthorne General Electric Works finally involved psychiatry, anthropology, economics and the related sciences in the effort to diagnose and treat the problems of five individuals. The author follows the problems that arose in this study out into society, calling to his aid the allied sciences as they are being coordinated in the recently established Harvard Graduate School, and concludes that the conflicts discovered at Hawthorne

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