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An appeal under the Food and Drugs Acts, reported in the present number of the BRITISH FOOD JOURNAL, is an apt illustration of the old saying, that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In commenting upon the case in question, the Pall Mall Gazette says: “The impression among the great unlearned that the watering of the morning's milk is a great joke is ineradicable; and there is also a common opinion among the Justice Shallows of the provincial bench that the grocer who tricks his customers into buying coffee which is 97 per cent. chicory is a clever practitioner, who ought to be allowed to make his way in the world untrammelled by legal obstructions. But the Queen's Bench have rapped the East Ham magistrates over the knuckles for convicting without fining a milkman who was prosecuted by the local authority, and the case has been sent back in order that these easygoing gentlemen may give logical effect to their convictions.”
At the Royal Society of Health annual conference, no less a person than the editor of the B.M.A.'s “Family Doctor” publications, speaking of the failure of the anti‐smoking campaign, said we “had to accept that health education did not work”; viewing the difficulties in food hygiene, there are many enthusiasts in public health who must be thinking the same thing. Dr Trevor Weston said people read and believed what the health educationists propounded, but this did not make them change their behaviour. In the early days of its conception, too much was undoubtedly expected from health education. It was one of those plans and schemes, part of the bright, new world which emerged in the heady period which followed the carnage of the Great War; perhaps one form of expressing relief that at long last it was all over. It was a time for rebuilding—housing, nutritional and living standards; as the politicians of the day were saying, you cannot build democracy—hadn't the world just been made “safe for democracy?”—on an empty belly and life in a hovel. People knew little or nothing about health or how to safeguard it; health education seemed right and proper at this time. There were few such conceptions in France which had suffered appalling losses; the poilu who had survived wanted only to return to his fields and womenfolk, satisfied that Marianne would take revenge and exact massive retribution from the Boche!
Like it or not, change is inevitable if you are to survive. Far better to instigate change than allow other people to inflict it on you. To anticipate the future has to be good to allow time to implement change rather than having to react to it. This appears quite simple, but is it? This special themed issue of Management Decision contains a number of examples of how organizations have managed change. Lessons can be learned from other industries than your own with regard to best practice and basic principles which can then be applied to your own organization..