ship between people and their work and said little about available techniques for influencing this
relationship. The methods of vocational guidance, time and motion study, sensitivity training, and employee
counseling, to name just a few, received only casual mention, if they were discussed at all.
This emphasis should not be construed as reflecting indifference to the application of knowledge. It merely
represents the conviction that existing technologies in the behavioral sciences are seldom adequate to handle
the complexities of the phenomena with which they purport to deal and that improvements in these
technologies are likely to come about through advances in scientific knowledge.
The relationship between science and technology is much closer in the physical and biological sciences than
it is in the behavioral sciences. In the former fields, professional practice rests on a rather firm foundation of
scientific knowledge in the underlying disciplines; in the behavioral sciences this gap is much larger. The
methods and procedures of the professional, whether his field is psychotherapy or management
development, labor arbitration or advertising, are rooted in his own experience and the experience of those
who have gone before him, and have a most tenuous relationship to data accumulated from the use of the
We cannot lay the blame for this unfortunate state of affairs at the feet of the professional. The results of
scientific investigations are seldom written in a language which he can understand and are typically con-
cerned with problems that he views as irrelevant to his work. Nor can we criticize the behavioral scientist
who chooses to focus on simple and easily researchable matters and prefers to leave more complex problems
to a later stage in the development of his discipline. Research on the behavior of the white rat in a T-maze
can be carried out with much greater precision and control than research on the behavior of the consumer in
the market place, the patient on the couch, or the worker on his job.
This book has been directed toward filling in part of the middle ground between the science of psychology
and technologies for influencing human behavior. We have attempted to treat the ever-growing empirical
literature on people and their jobs as special cases of more basic psychological laws, on the assumption that
in such literature may be found the needed foundation for the technologies of tomorrow. Although there are
undoubtedly many unsolved questions, we hope that the preceding pages have helped to bring these to light
and that, in the future, research may be carried out to obtain the needed answers.