The Social Sciences and Management Practice

by Mason Haire



The one thing which, more than any other, seems to keep the social sciences from being socially useful is the lack of developmental research. By "developmental research," the author means a kind of work midway between the rarified aloofness of laboratory tests of theoretical propositions and the somewhat pebble-picking particularity of applied research. It is the second half of research and development programs in industry and the military services which looks for the detailed means for translation to use after the theoretical basis is clear. It is properly a "development" of theoretical concepts. It differs from applied research in just this way, that it flows from theory and is the developmental extension of theory toward practice. People go through a series of long historical cycles in the evolution of the problems of management. At one point in history the problem was capital formation, at another it was production. Neither of these is the pressing problem at the moment. Today the problem of organizing and managing coordinated human effort is paramount, and it is just here that the social sciences find their point of impact. To meet present problems people need their contributions.

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