How People Work: Psychological Approaches to Management Problems

How People Work: Psychological Approaches to Management Problems

by Patricia Gellerman


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Psychologist, professor, consultant, Gellerman shows the remarkable range of managerial problems that can be looked at—and often solved—using the psychologist's unique viewpoint and special training. He reports 10 cases in his personal files, mostly from Fortune 500 and large international companies, and lets readers watch as he questions managers and other employees to develop insights into dynamics that drive their working relationships. Each case is presented to the reader as it was presented to Gellerman—as a management problem—by executives who suspected, correctly, that it had psychological implications. The result is a candid, up-close examination of what really goes on in organizations and how solving tough organizational problems may require counter-intuitive strategies that only a trained, experienced psychologist can muster. An engaging first-person book with wise and helpful things to say to anyone in management, or who aspire to management, and for others in the academic community who want to learn more about managers and what they actually do.

Gellerman presents examples of psychological approaches to organization design, labor relations, shop-floor supervision, sales tactics, and other problems in organizational management that are not ordinarily thought of as psychological at all. Several of these cases required the author to uncover unrealistic assumptions about human nature that were the basis of corporate policies and proposed legislation. In other cases, he deduced the unwritten rules for effective decision-making used at both ends of the management hierarchy: in one case, the decision rules used by a company's top executives; and in another case, a quite different set of decision rules used by another company's shop-floor supervisors. He also traced the origins of a disastrous strike back to its ultimate cause, and helped management change its tactics so a repetition could be avoided. In the only one of these cases which resembles conventional psychological work, he helped a vice presidential bad boss achieve lasting changes in his supervisory style. The cases demonstrate the remarkable range of different managerial problems to which the special training of the psychologist can be usefully applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781567201468
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/20/1998
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.56(d)
Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)

About the Author

SAUL GELLERMAN is a Management Consultant and Professor of Management at the University of Dallas. His long, distinguished career as a consulting industrial psychologist has taken him into corporations and management associations in 35 countries and provided him with material for nine previous books and numerous articles. He holds a doctorate in clinical and industrial psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Diplomate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. An earlier book, Motivation and Productivity (1963) was awarded the McKinsey Foundation Prize by the Academy of Management. He also is also the producer of 29 management training films.

Table of Contents


Lederle Laboratories: Appraising Performance Appraisal

How IBM did it Right

Schering Reorganizes Its World

U.S. Railway Association: Motivation Meets Politics

Wûth Fastner: How to Excel at Selling

Baffling Behavior in the Beverage Business

Caterpillar: The Anatomy of a Strike

Shop Floor Strategies

U.S. Home: A Motivational Pressure Cooker

The Bad Boss Problem

Lessons Learned by Listening


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