IBM and Peter F. Drucker: Paternalism
Paternalism Is Treating an Adult like a Child
Two attempts have been made so far to solve the problems of industrial citizenship: industrial paternalism and industrial unionism. Both have failed to solve the problem........
It [paternalism] rest on the basic fallacy that people will take propaganda for reality. Paternalism attempts to give the individual in industrial society status and function by telling him that he has status and function. The problem of status and function in industrial society arises because in the modern plant the worker does not have the dignity and responsibility of an adult but is kept in the dependence of a child. Paternalism tries to make him feel like an adult by treating him like a good child.
Peter F. Drucker
The Concept of the Corporation
"How Well Does it Work," 1964
Eliminating Worries over Financial Problems
"We all know that the welfare of the enterprises that we are directing is closely bound up with the welfare of our workers, but in attempting to counsel or advise those whom we employ, we must not adopt a paternal attitude. In these times, when independent thought and action should be the order of the day, employees resent an attitude of paternalism. It is a well-known fact, however, that an employee's efficiency suffers if his mind is ill at ease, and that worry over financial troubles is one of the most powerful sources for the destruction of mental peace."
Thomas. J. Watson Sr.
“New York Savings Bank’s Luncheon,” 1933
Do too many corporations confuse caring about the welfare of their employee-owners and paternalism? Tom Watson Sr., ever the capitalist, knew that he needed his employee-owners to function efficiently. He worked to ensure his employees were cared for in ways only a corporation could provide but ensured every employee was provided the dignity and responsibility of being an adult - not a child.
Peter E. Greulich Insight
April 28, 2013
April 28, 2013
Peter E. Greulich is an author, publisher and public speaker.
He has written three books on IBM and three essays on Thomas J. Watson Sr.’s leadership during the Great Depression. His latest book, Think Again!: IBM CAN Maximize Shareholder Value is a sweeping historical look at IBM and its nine chief executives. It puts a spotlight on IBM's current human resource practices in light of IBM’s time-tested, human-relationship achievements.
THINK Again! is a different perspective from Louis V. Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. Pete's thoughts are always a view from beneath—the perspective of an IBM employee-owner. IBMers with stories to share can reach Pete at IBMers @ mbiconcepts.com.