2. – THE CULTURAL CONTENT OF GREEK ADVERTIZING DISCOURSE: CONTEXT – REORGANIZING THE PRODUCTION PROCESS, 1950’s

The American Economic Mission, the later Greek Productivity Center, as also all of the parties directly involved in the “reconstruction” of the Greek economy, knew full well that Greek products would not be able to compete in international markets unless radical changes were introduced to the production and labour process of the Greek workplace. This would have to apply to both craft industries and manufacturing industry proper (as we shall see, this could also mean the as radical reorganization of the Greek agricultural sector).

Apart from the granting of loans and the promotion of Greek products overseas, it was this radical reorganization of the Greek workplace that would constitute the central strategic objective of the Greek Productivity Center. Traditionally, at least, Marxian-inspired industrial sociology has been highly critical of whatever reorganization of the capitalist labour process from “above” (cf., for instance, Harry Braverman, Labor and monopoly capital: the degradation of work in the twentieth century, New York, Monthly Review Press, 1974). We may keep such critiques in mind – on the other hand, we shall need to understand the endeavours of the Greek Productivity Center in the context of the real, material need to reconstruct an economy that had been destroyed by the ravages of war (but cf., as well, our study of the “eros”-workplace interface – esp. Greek advertizing discourse related to “eros” – where we point to the rather precarious application of “Fordist” principles in various workplaces across the Western capitalist world).

The intention of the Greek Productivity Center, we are saying, was to introduce Greek firms to what has been called the “scientific organization of work”. It is well beyond our present project to evaluate the extent to which the intentions of the Center would be successfully applied across the board. Here, we merely wish to briefly examine the emphasis that the Greek Productivity Center would place on such “scientific organization of work” (Braverman, amongst others, has attempted to describe what that would entail for large enterprises generally). We shall also point to the various practical ways in which the Center would try to introduce such “organization” to Greek firms.

Konstandinos Krispis, who in 1958 was the vice-president of the Technical Chamber of Greece as also an executive of the Greek Productivity Center, would try to explain to whomsoever it may have concerned at the time that, above all, Greece had to urgently increase its gross (or net) national income. He would go on to argue that national income could only be increased with the introduction of the “scientific organization of work” at the point of production. In an April 1958 issue of the periodical Παραγωγικότης, Krispis would publish an article entitled as follows:

 

«ΑΝΑΓΚΗ ΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΟΝΙΚΗΣ ΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑΣ – ΑΠΑΙΤΕΙΤΑΙ ΤΑΧΕΙΑ ΑΥΞΗΣΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΕΘΝΙΚΟΥ ΜΑΣ ΕΙΣΟΔΗΜΑΤΟΣ» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, April 1958, issue no. 28, Athens, pp. 189-190).

 

It is extremely interesting to note that bodies such as the Technical Chamber of Greece and the Greek Productivity Center – both as represented by Krispis in the period under discussion – are highly critical of whichever political formation happened to be in power at the time (and which goes to show that the relationship between the American State, Greek Capital and the Greek political classes was never as simple as the traditional Greek Left would have us believe). All Greek Governments, Krispis states, wrongly assume that national income could be increased through mere investment – he writes:

 

«Αι εκάστοτε κυβερνήσεις προσπαθούν, δια των έργων επενδύσεως να βελτιώσουν το εθνικόν εισόδημα και υπερηφανεύονται, όταν διακηρύσσουν ότι το εθνικόν εισόδημα ηυξήθη εις εν έτος περίπου 5 έως 6%, απαιτούν δε αναγνώρισιν μεγάλων οφειλών, αν κατορθώσουν να υπερβούν ολίγον αυτό» (ibid.).

 

Krispis says that Greek Governments usually tend to boast when, via direct investments, the national income comes to somewhat surpass a 5% or 6% rate for a particular year. But what they forget, he further asserts, is that the annual growth rate of the Greek population itself has the effect of actually lowering per capita income to a serious degree. Thus, it is not true that investment per se improves the standard of living of the Greek people – in fact, Krispis argues, we see a perpetuation of the existing levels of poverty. As he puts it:

 

«Αλλά ξεχνούν, ότι η ετησία αύξησις του πληθυσμού μειώνει σοβαρώς την ετησίαν αύξησιν του εισοδήματος κατά κεφαλήν και, επομένως, τελικώς, εκ των ως άνω επενδύσεων δεν επέρχεται βελτίωσις του βιοτικού επιπέδου των Ελλήνων, αλλά συγκράτησις του υπάρχοντος επιπέδου αθλιότητος» (ibid.).

 

What, asks Krispis, is to be done so that per capita income is to be increased? He begins by accepting that both investment and external aid – as also foreign loans at low interest rates – are absolutely necessary ingredients for the resolution of the social problem of poverty. He explains:

 

«Ερωτάται, λοιπόν, τι πρέπει να γίνη; Και η απάντησις είναι η εξής: α’ Βεβαίως, πρέπει να καταβληθή πάσα προσπάθεια, όπως γίνουν όσον το δυνατόν περισσότεραι επενδύσεις εκ του κρατικού προϋπολογισμού. β’ Βεβαίως, πρέπει να επιζητηθή η εξωτερική βοήθεια εις όσον το δυνατόν μεγαλυτέραν κλίμακα, οφειλομένη λόγω των ζημιών, ας υπέστη η Ελλάς, προμαχήσασα υπέρ των συμμάχων της, και η βοήθεια αυτή ν’ αναλωθή εις έργα επενδύσεως. γ’ Βεβαίως, πρέπει να γίνη προσπάθεια δανεισμού από το εξωτερικόν, με μικρόν επιτόκιον, δι’ έργα ανασυγκροτήσεως» (ibid.).

 

And yet, continues Krispis, all of the above measures are simply not enough – by themselves – to effect an increase in per capita income. There is only one basic manner in which this problem can be resolved, and such manner would not necessarily require any new investments. The missing factor is that of the “scientific organization of work” at the point of production:

 

«Αλλά όλοι οι ιθύνοντες και λοιποί αρμόδιοι έχουν παραγνωρίσει την αξίαν ενός παράγοντος, ο οποίος ημπορεί να λύση το δύσλυτον πρόβλημα και ο οποίος δεν απαιτεί νέας επενδύσεις, ή απαιτεί ελαχίστας τοιαύτας, είναι δε ταχίστης αποδόσεως… Ο παράγων αυτός είναι: Η επιστημονική οργάνωσις της εργασίας, προς αύξησιν της παραγωγικότητος» (ibid., his emph.).

 

For Krispis, such “scientific organization of work” would yield an increase in productivity, and it would be this that would resolve the problem of poverty (by implication, and as we shall further see below, resolving the problem of per capita income would allow for an increase in the levels of consumption, and which would itself boost productivity). Of course, Krispis would not have much bothered to entertain critiques of the sort that would be later articulated by social theorists such as Braverman. One may suppose that, for Krispis, Braverman’s emphasis on “the degradation of work” had to simply be ignored – what really mattered was the actual amelioration of living conditions. We know, of course, that such amelioration of material conditions throughout most of Western Europe would become a reality in the post-war years (yielding what we have elsewhere described – following Hobsbawm – “the Golden Years” of the 1960’s). Even as early as 1958, Krispis asserts just such improvement in the material conditions of working people in Europe, and which had increased their consumer capacity. For Krispis, it was the implementation of the “scientific organization of work” in countries such as France that had produced such tangible results. He explains:

 

«Τελευταίως, αι ευρωπαϊκαί χώραι έχουν εντείνει τας προσπαθείας των επί της επιστημονικής οργανώσεως εργασίας και έχουν επιτύχει καταπληκτικά αποτελέσματα. Δύναμαι να βεβαιώσω, ως εκ της ειδικότητός μου και της κατά το δυνατόν μελέτης του θέματος, ότι γαλλικαί βιομηχανίαι λ.χ., άνευ ουδεμίας δαπάνης, επέτυχον διπλασιασμόν των κερδών, ως και περίπου διπλασιασμόν των απολαβών των υπαλλήλων και εργατών αυτών, εντός συντομωτάτου χρονικού διαστήματος, με σύγχρονον αύξησιν της παραγωγής των, εις την αυτήν περίπου αναλογίαν, και μείωσιν της τιμής των προϊόντων προς όφελος της καταναλώσεως» (ibid.).

 

In his capacity as a mechanical engineer and having studied matters related to the “scientific organization of work”, Krispis makes the following observations with respect to French firms that had implemented such “organizational” principles on their shop floor: a) the adoption of such principles had been undertaken without any extra expenditure; b) company profits had doubled; c) the remuneration of employees – that of both White Collar and Blue Collar workers – had itself almost doubled within a short period of time, and it had done so in a manner analogous to the rise of employee levels of productivity; d) there had been a decrease in the price of commodities produced; e) the latter had been of benefit to levels of consumption.

Krispis’ observations are hardly original, and we have already noted that his well-known frame of reference has been heavily criticized by Marxian-orientated social theorists. On the other hand, and as also noted, his observation regarding the rising standard of living amongst the working people of Western Europe has never really been a moot point – history has spoken for itself. But what does remain an open question is the extent to which such rising standards of living were mainly or exclusively due to the adoption of methods representative of the “scientific organization of work”. If this constitutes an open question with respect to the highly industrialized countries of Europe – as it does for us – the matter is all the more so open to debate as regards the case of Greece (given the latter’s fragmented industrial infrastructure, and which would have distorted or hampered whatever implementation of the methods of a “scientific organization of work”). But such reservations seem to miss the point in any serious attempt to come to comprehend the real workings of the American Economic Mission and its later organ, the Greek Productivity Center. Krispis’ almost obsessive emphasis on the need for Greek industry to adopt the “scientific organization of work” had both its “ulterior” and its openly socio-political intentions. His intentions may be said to have been “ulterior” in that he simply wished to express the economic interests of Greek capital – viz. to help it increase its profitability margins. In that sense, Krispis was representing the “narrow interests” of capital. On the other hand, his obsessive emphasis on the “scientific organization of work” had much broader, socio-political intentions – viz. to “reconstruct” and bolster a quasi-capitalist economy in the context of a looming Cold War situation. In that very specific sense, Krispis’ intentions were clear-cut and not at all “ulterior” or “narrow”. We may reiterate such intentional project as follows:

 

  1. Raise the productivity of the Greek employee;
  2. Thereby, raise his remuneration;
  3. Thereby, raise the overall per capita income;
  4. Thereby, and which comes down to the same thing, raise the overall national income;
  5. Thereby, boost consumption (and which would mean a solid and robust prevalence of the Greek advertizing industry, engaging both local and foreign brand names).

 

We know that the vast majority of the Greek population at the time – whatever its ideological orientations and whatever its class position – would become as “obsessed” as was Krispis in materializing such intentional project. Such national will for material reconstruction (almost of an existential nature) would be plagued with contradictions, angst and – at least for certain segments of the Greek people – even futility. But, in the last instance, that project would be crowned with an undeniable success (a “success” which, as we shall further see below, would be lamented by skeptical “spiritual leaders” – usually poets of the Left, though not exclusively so).

But that is the exact context in which we need to understand Krispis’ wish to initiate Greek society to the tenets of the “scientific organization of work”. With respect to the Greek case, he writes:

 

«Δια τας ελληνικάς συνθήκας, ανυπάρκτου σχεδόν βαθμού επιστημονικής οργανώσεως και χαμηλού βαθμού παραγωγικότητος, είναι βέβαιον ότι, εντός διετίας το πολύ, είναι δυνατός ο διπλασιασμός του εθνικού εισοδήματος, άνευ ή δια μικράς επενδύσεως κεφαλαίων»(ibid., his emph., throughout).

 

Here, Krispis notes the almost total absence of any “scientific organization” in the Greek workplace at the time, and the inevitably low levels of productivity. He assures his readers that adopting such methods would double the Greek national income, and would do so within a two-year period and with limited capital investment. Krispis then goes on to suggest that the philosophy of the “scientific organization of work” should be initiated into the Greek way of life in all of its manifestations. It should – he even seems to be suggesting – literally permeate the Greek psyche, and it was the duty of the Greek State to undertake such a process of reeducation and reorganization. This is what he writes:

 

«Η επιστημονική οργάνωσις της εργασίας πρέπει να γίνη το πρώτον ιδανικόν των Ελλήνων. Ν’ αρχίση να διδάσκεται εις όλας τας ανωτάτας επιστημονικάς σχολάς, εις την μέσην εκπαίδευσιν, ακόμη δε και εις την στοιχειώδη εκπαίδευσιν, (εκεί βεβαίως εις την απλουστάτην μορφήν της), και ν’ αρχίση εφαρμοζομένη πρώτον υπό του κράτους, το οποίον, ούτως, είναι δυνατόν να ελαττώση τας μη αποδοτικάς δαπάνας του, ν’ αυξήση τας εις παραγωγικά έργα επενδύσεις, αι οποίαι, μάλιστα, λόγω της εφαρμογής της επιστημονικής οργανώσεως, θα είναι πολύ αποδοτικώτεραι, και ν’ αυξήση την απόδοσίν του, ως όργανον κατευθύνσεως της εθνικής οικονομίας και της ζωής και το οποίον να υποβοηθήση την εφαρμογήν ταύτης εις την ιδιωτικήν οικονομίαν, δια παροχής ευνοιών εις τους εφαρμόζοντας ταύτην υπό διαφόρους μορφάς, (ελαττώσεως φορολογικών συντελεστών, δανείων κ.λ.), δια να κατορθώση, τοιουτοτρόπως, ν’ αυξήση τας αποδοχάς των εργαζομένων και ν’ αποκτήση περισσεύματα δια νέας επενδύσεις» (ibid.).

 

The philosophy of “scientific organization”, Krispis urges, should be adopted as the primary ideal of all Greeks. The implication of course is that he would wish to see a radical change in the very psyche of the Greek population as a whole, with a view to “reconstructing” a devastated economy that had in any case been underdeveloped even prior to the war. Such a radical reorientation would have to be brought about through a reeducation of Greeks, and this had to be done at all levels of formal education. The philosophy of “scientific organization” had to be taught everywhere, from tertiary to secondary education – further, it should even be taught at the level of primary education, albeit in simplified form. The central catalyst of such change would have to be the Greek State itself. The latter would have to begin by first adopting such philosophy for itself – the principles of “scientific management” would have to be applied in the very organizational structures of State organs as such. And these very principles would have to be implemented in the wider terrain of the State sector of the economy. Having adopted such principles for itself, the State would then also have to assist in the implementation of “scientific management” in the private sector of the economy as well. To do that, it would have to offer a variety of incentives to capital so that the latter would accept “scientific management” in the organization of both its managerial structures and at the point of production. Such incentives would include tax reductions and the granting of loans. Above all, then, it need be emphasized that Krispis was clearly speaking of a quasi-“socialist” State intervention in the Greek economy and society so that “scientific management” would become the order of the day.

One might wish to argue that Krispis’ project – reflective of that of the American Economic Mission and especially that of the Greek Productivity Center – was simply intended to Americanize the Greek way of life and chain the Greek economy to American monopoly capital. Such thinking has been especially reflective of the Greek Left through the years. The argument, of course, borders on the ridiculous. Any country in that historical period of time – and whatever be its political regime – would have no choice but adopt some form of “scientific organization” if it planned to rapidly industrialize its economy. Need we mention that, even as early as 1921, Soviet Russia would itself be holding its First Conference on the “Scientific Organization of Labour” – the basic objective of such Conference being to examine methods of maximizing worker productivity. We know that Lenin – as also Soviet economic planners thereafter – was especially interested in Taylorism. Although the case of the USSR and that of countries such as Greece are two completely different kettles of fish, they did share one common objective – viz. to industrialize as swiftly as possible. Both Lenin and Krispis would have fully agreed that the most efficient manner in which that could be achieved was some form of “scientific organization”, at least as applied to the structuring of the production process.

For our purposes, there is little point in carrying such analogies too far – we may merely note here that, for Krispis, such a “scientific organization” of Greek economy and society would increase national income and thus boost consumerism («ν’ αυξήση τας αποδοχάς των εργαζομένων»). Unlike the Soviets, the Greek social formation would thereby yield an advertizing industry that would help forge a socio-cultural milieu alien to the so-called “communist” societies at the time (although it need be mentioned that Dubcek’s Czechoslovakia, by 1968, may be considered at least one exception to the rule).

Krispis would see the philosophy of the “scientific organization of work” as the only road leading to the industrialization of Greece – that was the basic manner in which per capita income would be increased. Further, and perhaps above all, that was the only way in which Greek capital could successfully compete with foreign capital. This is how he concludes his article:

 

«Χωρίς να θέλωμεν να υπεισέλθωμεν εις τας λεπτομερείας εφαρμογής, διότι το θέμα είναι τεράστιον, νομίζομεν, ότι… πρέπει να επιδιωχθή άμεσως έναρξις της προσπαθείας προς εφαρμογήν της επιστημονικής οργανώσεως εργασίας εις ευρυτάτην κλίμακα, διότι είναι η μόνη οδός ταχείας αυξήσεως του εθνικού εισοδήματος και, επί πλέον, η μόνη οδός, η οποία δύναται να καταστήση την ελληνικήν οικονομίαν ικανήν να συναγωνισθή την ξένην οικονομίαν…» (ibid., my emph.).

 

Krispis’ ideas were not at all meant to simply provoke intellectual discussion. The Greek Productivity Center (together with various bodies related to it) would undertake a systematic attempt to introduce principles of “scientific organization” to Greek firms. It would do this through the organization of seminars. There would be a variety of experts that would participate in such seminar projects, both foreigners and Greeks. The latter would be company executives of largish Greek companies that had already been experimenting with “scientific organization” in their own workplaces. One has the impression that it was these locals that could best communicate the ideas of “scientific organization” to their compatriots, if only because these all shared mutual experiences and difficulties. With respect to seminars run under the auspices of the Greek Productivity Center and coordinated by foreign lecturers, a December 1957 Bulletin of Activities reports the following events:

 

«… επραγματοποιήθησαν (δευτέρα σειρά) Φροντιστήρια (Σεμινάρια)… της Μελέτης των Μεθόδων Εργασίας, με συμμετοχήν τεχνικών διευθυντών βιομηχανικών επιχειρήσεων. Εισηγητής ήτο ο Αμερικανός εμπειρογνώμων κ. Λ. Νταίηβις, καθηγητής της Βιομηχανικής Τεχνολογίας εις το Πανεπιστήμιον της Καλιφορνίας, τον οποίον παρουσίασεν ο Σύμβουλος του ΕΛ.ΚΕ.ΠΑ. καθηγητής του Ε.Μ. Πολυτεχνείου κ. Αλ. Παππάς. Κατά την διάρκειαν των Φροντιστηρίων εγίνετο προβολή εικόνων και πινάκων σχετικών με την αύξησιν της Παραγωγικότητος εις τα εργοστάσια» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, December 1957, issue no. 24, Athens, pp. 31-35).

 

In this case, a series of seminars had been organized around matters pertaining to “work methods” aimed at optimizing efficiency and/or productivity levels on the Greek shop floor. We see that the coordinator of these seminars was a professor of industrial technology from the University of California. He was introduced to seminar participants by a consultant of the Greek Productivity Center, himself a professor of the National Metsovio Polytechnic School, based in Athens. Importantly, the participants were all technical directors of various Greek industrial enterprises.

But what is perhaps of greater interest was the running of similar seminars by locally-based “experts” who belonged to largish Greek enterprises with some experience in the implementation of “scientific management” in their own work contexts. The participation of ΙΖΟΛΑ (IZOLA) consultants is of special interest in this case. The ΙΖΟΛΑ company has been referred to in a variety of instances in the course of this study and its case shall be further examined below, especially with respect to its major advertizing campaigns in the period under discussion. Here, we merely note that this company’s consultants would be playing an important role in the Greek Productivity Center’s project to introduce “scientific management” techniques to the rest of Greek endogenous capital. The December 1957 Bulletin of Activities referred to above reports:

 

«Εις το Ελληνικόν Κέντρον Παραγωγικότητος συνεχίσθησαν και κατά τον Δεκέμβριον τα Φροντιστήρια (Σεμινάρια) επί του θέματος ‘Διοίκησις Προσωπικού’, με εισηγητήν τον συμπράττοντα Σύμβουλον της Α.Β.Ε. ‘ΙΖΟΛΑ’ κ. Κ. Φιλίππου. Ειδικώς ο ομιλητής ανέπτυξε ζητήματα σχετικά με την απασχόλησιν του προσωπικού» (ibid.).

 

According to the Bulletin, “experts” of the ΙΖΟΛΑ company – such as K. Filippou mentioned above – would be running a series of long-term seminars on issues related to personnel management and the organization of the shop floor. The Bulletin of Activities goes on to record that the running of such types of seminars was actually being requested by the Greek companies themselves – we read:

 

«Εις τον Τομέα Βιομηχανίας του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Παραγωγικότητος συνεχίζεται η εκδήλωσις ενδιαφέροντος εκ μέρους διαφόρων επιχειρήσεων, αι οποίαι ζητούν την συμβολήν του ΕΛ.ΚΕ.ΠΑ. δια την αύξησιν της Παραγωγικότητος εις τα εργοστάσιά των. Ιδιαιτέρως ζητείται η οργάνωσις διαλέξεων δια το προσωπικόν, ως και κατάλληλοι υποδείξεις δια την μείωσιν του κόστους παραγωγής» (ibid.).

 

We have noted above (sect. 1) how the Athens Chamber of Crafts Industries, by way of an example, would itself be calling upon the Greek Productivity Center to assist Greek units of production with the modernization of their installations. Here, we similarly see how members of Greek productive capital would themselves be asking of the Greek Productivity Center to undertake the organization of seminars aimed at increasing levels of productivity on their shop floor. Indicative of such local interest is also the fact that companies such as ΙΖΟΛΑ would invest time and energy to help endogenous enterprises – some of which may theoretically have been their potential competitors – to join this project whereby “scientific organization” would help modernize Greek capital-as-a-whole (the need for national “reconstruction”, one may here argue, would superimpose itself over and above the competing interests of individual capitals, or segments of such capitals).

Seminars aimed at introducing Greek companies to “scientific organization” would also be combined with workshops of a more technical nature. Here too, a company such as ΙΖΟΛΑ would – and again under the auspices of the Greek Productivity Center – participate in workshops or seminars whereby it shared its technical know-how with other Greek enterprises. Such more technically-oriented workshops would constitute an on-going process of company training. The April 1958 issue of Παραγωγικότης presented readers with its regular Bulletin of Activities for the month and therein it would report on how the technical personnel of ΙΖΟΛΑ would coordinate a series of workshops on matters of factory organization pertaining to the local foundry industry. The Bulletin reports:

 

«Εν τω μεταξύ, εις το Ελληνικόν Κέντρον Παραγωγικότητος, συνεχίσθησαν τα φροντιστήρια δια την πρακτικήν λειτουργίαν των χυτηρίων. Ούτως ο τεχνικός της Α.Β.Ε. ‘ΙΖΟΛΑ’ κ. Β. Αναστασίου ανέπτυξε το θέμα ‘Σιδηρούχα κράματα και τήξις αυτών’, αναπτύσσων δε το θέμα του, ο κ. Αναστασίου παρουσίασε πίνακα σχετικόν με την τήξιν των σιδηρούχων μετάλλων» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, April 1958, issue no. 28, Athens, pp. 207-208).

 

This report, accompanied by a picture of the proceedings of one of the seminars, informs us that the technical consultant of ΙΖΟΛΑ would be lecturing employees of the Greek foundry industry on issues related to ferrous alloys and iron smelting. The purpose of such seminars was to help Greek foundries improve their practical and organizational functioning on the shop floor. As the report also informs us, such workshops were part of the initiative undertaken by the Greek Productivity Center in the 1950’s to establish an Institute of Greek Foundrymen (Ινστιτούτο Ελλήνων Χυτών). It goes without saying that the development of foundry technology played an important role in the development of whichever national economy, especially in the post-war “modern era” of the foundry industry (advent of mass production of different types of casting, high pressure molding, etc.).

Apart from the foreign, usually university-based “experts” and the various consultants of locally-based firms (such as those of ΙΖΟΛΑ) who were attempting to introduce Greeks to principles of “scientific management”, there were also other agencies that were as much directly involved in such a long-term project. One such agency was the “Training Within Industry” (TWI) organization. This organization would, amongst its other activities, host Greek nationals in various industrial study tours within the USA, especially during the 1950’s. The objectives and methodology of TWI were very specific and they were presented to the readers of Παραγωγικότης in a 1956 article signed by K. Hristakis. This article addresses an issue that was central to the problems of productivity with respect to most local units of production operating in Greece at the time – viz. the critical role of supervisors on the shop floor. Entitled «Θέματα παραγωγικότητος – εκπαίδευσις προϊσταμένων» (transl. “Issues related to productivity – the training of supervisors”), the article begins by defining the usual qualities expected of a supervisor – Hristakis writes:

 

«Πως προβιβάζεται σήμερον ένας υπάλληλος ή ένας εργάτης εις την θέσιν του προϊσταμένου; Ποία είναι τα προσόντα τα οποία λαμβάνονται υπ’ όψιν; Αυτά συνήθως συνίστανται εις ικανοποιητικήν εκτέλεσιν της εργασίας, την πείραν και ταν [sic] γνώσεις ή, τουλάχιστον την δυνατότητα δια την ταχείαν απόκτησιν των αναγκαίων γνώσεων» (cf. Παραγωγικότης, April-May 1956, issue no. 12, Athens, pp. 37-39).

 

According to Hristakis, prevailing conceptions regarding the role of supervisors remained debilitatingly traditionalist. He points out that, for any employee to be promoted to the status of a supervisor, all that was heretofore required of such person was some capacity to execute his own duties diligently, based on personal experience and acquired knowledge. Such qualities, although necessary, were definitely not sufficient for any unit of production that aimed at raising its levels of productivity. Parallel to such traditionally expected qualities, a supervisor should also – and above all – function as a trainer of others. Further, his attitude and behaviour towards employees on the shop floor needs to be of a very specific caliber. Hristakis explains:

 

«Από ένα ικανόν όμως προϊστάμενον απαιτούνται και άλλα προσόντα εκτός της απλής γνώσεως της εργασίας, δια την οποίαν είναι υπεύθυνος. Εάν ο υπάλληλος ή ο εργάτης όστις προήχθη εις προϊστάμενον, δεν είναι ικανός να εκπαιδεύη τους υφισταμένους του και να μεταδίδη εις αυτούς τας γνώσεις του και τας οδηγίας του, κατά τρόπον σαφή, εάν παραλείπη να τους καθοδηγή ώστε να γίνουν και αυτοί ικανοί να αναλάβουν αργότερον υπευθύνους θέσεις, εάν η συμπεριφορά και ο τρόπος με τον οποίον μεταχειρίζεται το προσωπικόν του, δεν είναι αυτός, που πρέπει να είναι και εάν δεν φροντίζη δια την βελτίωσιν των μεθόδων εργασίας του τμήματός του εις τρόπον ώστε η εργασία να γίνεται ταχύτερον, καλύτερον και οικονομικώτερον, τότε, δια του προβιβασμού του εις προϊστάμενον, η επιχείρησις έχασεν ένα ικανόν υπάλληλον ή εργάτην και απέκτησεν ένα ανίκανον προϊστάμενον, ο οποίος, λόγω της θέσεώς του, παρεμποδίζει την αποδοτικότητα μιας ομάδος εργατών ή υπαλλήλων» (ibid.).

 

Having enumerated the new skills required of a supervisor, Hristakis goes on to ask his readers a very practical question: who is it that undertakes the training of a Greek supervisor in a manner that enables him to fulfill such new duties? He suggests that, generally speaking, there exist no such training structures in Greece. He therefore identifies a vacuum in this field, which – as he points out – is somewhat filled in by Shell Co. (Hellas) Limited (operating in Greece since 1926). This company had been implementing a system within its units of production which it named “Training of Supervisors”, and which was a variation of the already mentioned international programme, Training Within Industry (TWI). The practices of a company such as Shell (Hellas) could potentially function as a paradigm for the rest of local Greek capital (and which would have complemented the industrial study tours of Greek nationals organized by the TWI project mentioned above). Hristakis writes:

 

«Αλλά ποίος υποδεικνύει εις τον προϊστάμενον αυτόν τα ως άνω καθήκοντά του και τον τρόπον, δια του οποίου θα δυνηθή να τα εκτελέση; Συνήθως κανείς. Το κενόν αυτό έρχεται να συμπληρώση το σύστημα, το οποίον η Εταιρία Shell Co (Hellas) Limited ονομάζει Εκπαίδευσις Προϊσταμένων και το οποίον είναι γνωστόν διεθνώς ως T.W.I. (Training Within Industry). Σκοπός λοιπόν του συστήματος αυτού, το οποίον δύναται να εφαρμοσθή εις εργοστάσια, γραφεία, τραπέζας και εις την ιδιωτικήν ακόμη ζωήν μας, είναι η πρακτική εκπαίδευσις των προϊσταμένων εις τας τρείς βασικάς ικανότητας, αι οποίαι αποτελούν την τέχνην της διοικήσεως…» (ibid., his emph.).

 

The methods of TWI, according to Hristakis in the quote above, could be implemented in factories, offices, banks and even in people’s private lives (and which is reminiscent of Krispis, op. cit., who had been suggesting that “scientific organization” should permeate the whole of the Greek psyche). But it would be supervisors above all that required the special training – this would encompass the acquisition of three basic skills, all of which would constitute the art (or technique) of management («την τέχνην της διοικήσεως»).

The three basic skills of a supervisor, according to TWI and as presented to us by Hristakis, would be the following:

 

● «Ικανότης εις την εκπαίδευσιν και καθοδήγησιν του προσωπικού (υπαλλήλων και εργατών) εις τοτρόπον εκτελέσεως της εργασίας των».
● «Ικανότης εις την μεταχείρισιν του προσωπικού, από της απόψεως των ανθρωπίνων σχέσεων…».
● «Ικανότης εις την βελτίωσιν των μεθόδων των διαφόρων εργασιών μέχρι του σημείου εκείνου του οποίου ένας προϊστάμενος έχων γνώσεις και πείραν αυτών δύναται να τας βελτιώση»(ibid., his emph.).

 

As we can see here, the TWI would be focusing on supervisory skills that were almost unheard of amongst Greek small- or medium-sized firms at the time – these would above all be: (i) that the supervisor should be able to educate/instruct the workforce on how to execute its duties on the shop floor; (ii) that the supervisor should be able to manage problems of industrial (or personnel) relations; and (iii) that the supervisor should be able to improve methods of work pertaining to different jobs being performed.

The TWI method would be introduced to employees via a tripartite programme – with specific reference to the Shell Co. (Hellas) “Training of Supervisors” system, Hristakis writes:

 

«Η ‘E.Π’ [‘Εκπαίδευσις Προϊσταμένων’] αποτελείται από τρία χωριστά προγράμματα εκπαιδεύσεως δια την ανάπτυξιν εκάστης των τριών ικανοτήτων. Τα προγράμματα αυτά είναι:
● ‘Καθοδήγησις Εργασίας’ δια την εκπαίδευσιν του προσωπικού.
● ‘Σχέσεις Εργασίας’ δια την μεταχείρισιν του προσωπικού.
● ‘Μέθοδοι Εργασίας’ δια την βελτίωσιν των μεθόδων των διαφόρων εργασιών.
Έκαστον πρόγραμμα αποτελεί χωριστόν σύνολον και είναι ανεξάρτητον από τα άλλα προγράμματα» (ibid., his emph.).

 

According to www.thebilasgroup.com/twi-learning-center, “TWI initially consisted of three main delivery programs (called J-Programs) – Job Relations (JR), Job Instruction (JI), and Job Methods (JM)”.

To end this brief reference to TWI, we may here add a few notes on the long history of this organization. One source for this is the April-May 1956 issue of the periodical Παραγωγικότης itself, and based on the Hristakis article we have been discussing. Hristakis writes:

 

«Μετά την λήξιν του πολέμου, τον Σεπτέμβριον 1945, η Κυβερνητική Υπηρεσία [i.e. the US Government Service] ‘Training Within Industry’ διελύθη. Την διεδέχθη το Ίδρυμα T.W.I. μια ιδιωτική οργάνωσις…» (ibid.).

 

Hristakis goes on to explain how the American-inspired philosophy of TWI would spread to many countries around the world in the post-war years. We know that such countries would include Japan and Britain. He focuses on the case of Britain, which he says was the first to adopt TWI principles in its factories and where TWI would achieve its greatest impact (presumably, this would explain why the British-Dutch Shell Co. based in Greece would have itself adopted TWI principles in training its Greek supervisors). Hristakis explains:

 

«Μετά το τέλος του πολέμου η ‘Ε.Π.’ διεδόθη ταχέως εις πολλάς χώρας. Η μεγαλυτέρα διάδοσις εσημειώθη εις την Μεγάλην Βρεταννίαν, όπου από του τέλους, του 1944 μέχρι του τέλους Ιουνίου 1955, 3780 Επιχειρήσεις εφαρμόζουν το σύστημα» (ibid.).

 

Other available sources inform us that, with the dissolution of TWI as a US Government Service by 1945, it would be re-established as a private initiative, thereby giving birth to TWI, Inc. The latter would carry on the programs used in the course of WW2 by the “TWI Service”, as commissioned by the War Manpower Commission (WMC). We know further that TWI, Inc. would be headed by Lowell Mellen, a District Representative of TWI Office District # 10 of Northern Ohio. This endeavour would continue for twenty years before being sold to Robert Murphy in 1964. Importantly, it would be Mellen’s group that would be heavily involved in hosting Greek nationals in industrial tours of the USA in the course of the late 1950’s (Japanese nationals would likewise be involved in such industrial tours (Source: Lowell Mellen Collection. #1991-098. Location: Western Reserve Historical Society Library, Cleveland, Ohio – cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ATraining_Within_Industry).

We have thus far noted what we consider to be some of the more important aspects of the role of the American Economic Mission – as a whole, and including its successors – in post-war Greece. We have seen how attempts at bolstering Greek local capital – whatever its size – would be accompanied by projects aimed at introducing radical changes to processes of production at the level of the shop floor. Both employers and employees would have to be re-educated along the lines of the “scientific organization of work”; supervisory staff would have to undergo re-training within production plants. Our purpose here is not to evaluate the relative success of such projects, though we do know that some sort of an “economic miracle” was to be sustained right through to the early 1970’s – the authoritative study of the Greek case by David H. Close certainly confirms this (although his references to a “long boom” with respect to Greece need be taken with a pinch of salt). Close writes:

 

“… having become integrated with the western economic world, Greece shared in the rapid and almost uninterrupted process of growth, known as the long boom, which lasted until 1973… the growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was indeed the highest in the capitalist countries of southern Europe and perhaps in the whole western world, averaging 6.5 per cent a year in 1950-73. This of course was a cause of self-congratulation…” (cf. David H. Close, Greece since 1945: politics, economy and society, Routledge, 2014, p. 48).

 

But what one needs to stress is that what Close elsewhere refers to as “the crutch of American aid” was not simply a matter of economic aid in the form of loans (a quantitative support). As important, at least in terms of strategic intentions, was the qualitative support which came in the form of re-education and re-training which we have tried to present above. Such re-education and re-training, as we shall see, would also be materialized in the field of consumption (via the complex articulation of advertizing discourse, whereby the advertizing industry would engage in a dialectical interaction with the given “psyche” of large segments of the Greek population).

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