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Article
September 3, 1973

Improvisation

Author Affiliations

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Cincinnati

JAMA. 1973;225(10):1241-1242. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220380053016
Abstract

"Any man who is afraid of being supplanted ought to be supplanted," said John Wanamaker. Evidently, Wanamaker was enough of the natural psychologist besides merchant and philanthropist, to recognize in the fearful an occupational hazard.

It had been in the nature of the frontiersman to deal with the vicissitudes of his environs. Improvisation was the order of the day, one coped or succumbed. The Industrial era required a narrowing of choices, the worker becoming specialized in a restricted task where improvisation was more or less superfluous. Increased output was, of course, the main interest of management, although the limitations of the method allowed the employment of persons of limited capacity and generally quite devoid of the ability to improvise. The restriction of outlook required to concentrate on piecework made of the employee a cog in a machine, for which he was paid more. It is no wonder that the majority

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