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Some Personnel Problems of Automation

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1 Author(s)
Weinberg, E. ; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The author presents two basic principles of strategy for orderly transition to automation. Also given are eight generalized solutions to the attendant personnel problems -- solutions that were suggested by research studies being conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U. S. Department of Labor. Specific examples are given. from the case studies of: a TV manufacturer issuing printed wiring and automatic assembly equipment, an insurance company and an airline both using electronic computing systems, and a bakery and an oil refinery representing other industries that are more experienced in automation. The author indicates that, as difficult as the problems of extensive technological change may be, they can still be handled in a constructive and orderly fashion. Answers are suggested to such questions as: how are workers informed about changes; what is the extent of displacement; how were workers reassigned; what was the change in total employment; do new jobs require greater skill; has there been any upgrading or downgrading; and what is the attitude of workers toward the changes? He concludes with an 1835 quotation, "That machines do not, even at their first introduction, invariably throw human labor out of employment must be admitted; and ... that they never produced that effect .... ".

Published in:

Production Techniques, IRE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 1 )