Generations of British managers have been indoctrinated with a system of beliefs that condition their attitudes to industrial conflict in such a manner as to make most difficult the management of actual conflict situations. To say this is not to denigrate the work that managers conscientiously carry out but to draw attention to a particular aspect of that work that needs particular expertise not always readily available. As far back as 1962 a survey carried out by the Institution of Works Managers stated ‘… our members are saying that the most important factor (limiting productivity in British industry) is that top management, including works managers, is not of the quality required, that we lack the training necessary to do our job effectively’. In the decade that has passed since that was written there has been a great expansion of management training but no discernible change in the ideology of British managers who, like us all, live in a society where class divisions are more deep and sharply drawn than in the United States of America and some countries on the mainland of Europe. The prevailing collection of attitudes held by the typical British manager present a paradox. On the one hand he holds the view that the greater responsibilities inherent in a senior post entitle him to deference and greater than average cash rewards together with job satisfaction. On the other hand he believes that much clerical and manual work can be so organized by modern methods of management as to enormously improve productivity of labour and this is an unfortunate fact of life that the operatives and craftsmen ought to accept even if it means less job satisfaction for them. The dilemma is that the manager wants the worker to accept that polarization and like it and the worker increasingly does not accept it and demonstrates his dislike in conflict situations.
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