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International Socialist Review, Winter 1959


School for Executives


From International Socialist Review, Vol.20 No.1, Winter 1959, p.2.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Big Business has come around to the view that its executives need humanizing. They’re too conformist, too money-grubbing, and too ignorant of the liberal arts to make a good impression on “large groups of people, such as employees, customers and stockholders.” And so a number of corporations are sending their thousand-dollar-a-month junior executives to eight-week polishing courses at such top universities as Swarthmore, Dartmouth, Williams, Northwestern, Columbia, and Drake.

David Ray reports in the Dec. 6 Nation that at Northeastern, for example, they study architecture, modern art, and literature. The eight-week grind is made as endurable as possible. Students are freed of their job responsibilities, live in a hotel, enjoy daily cocktails. They “attend classes between rounds of coffee breaks and field visits.”

“Discussion is informal; classes are conducted in a carpeted lounge, with excellent lighting, ash trays by each foam-rubber chair, and even a blower to keep the air clean.”

But it seems that this humanizing of the executive personality does not always help improve relations with production crews. In one instance, when a graduate, practicing what he had learned of the liberal arts, tried to “impress upon his workers the importance of their individual contributions to the cornpany,” an employee responded:

“Doc, don’t rub it in. How would you like to be remindad that the most important thing you can do in life is to put four bolts in the right rear end of a car?”

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