THE PEOPLE SPECIALISTS by Stanley M. Herman

THE PEOPLE SPECIALISTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sophisticated treatise on the function of personnel managers, of whom the author is one. He dissents from both liberal complaints about conformist watchdogs, and employers mandates to influence workers toward more Output for lower cost. Salary administration, recruitment, 'management training, community relations and other tasks are discussed with lucidity, wit and abundant reference to esoteric doctrines from Boulwarism to T-grouping. But Herman's critique of business ideology remains shallow. His target is the anti-government, anti-welfare troglodytes, while he admires the more enlightened (and more manipulative) vanguard. And his conclusion displays either disingenuousness or socio-economic solecism. Having guardedly endorsed the ""new industrial humanism"" which provides ""therapeutic"" personnel sessions, he suggests that personnel directors should represent the ""people"" and ""society"" rather than management. This amounts to an absurd surrogate for white-collar unization and/or political pressure. Yet the book's presentation of pros and cons is otherwise exemplary, and it will have a certain impact on its audience. If it fails to rid the ""specialists"" of feckless and coercive procedures, it will puncture obscurantist views and behavioral platitudes for the rest of the personnel.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1968
Publisher: Knopf