Paul Pigors

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Paul John William Pigors (1900-1994) was an American industrial psychologist, and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, especially known for his 1969 book Personnel Administration, co-authored with Charles Andrew Myers.


Leadership or Domination, 1935[edit]

Paul Pigors (1935), Leadership or Domination, Houghton Mifflin Company.

  • How did the innovations of yesterday become the institutions of today? An idea does not institutionalize itself. It has to be organized. When the initiator has proposed a plan and inspired a group of followers with the desire to pursue it, he must devise a way in which their joint purpose can be realized. It is this process of organization and management which I call administration. No group movement endures without it. The administrator just sets up a structure of laws, rules, mechanisms, that is designed to accomplish a specific purpose and then directs the working of all its constituent elements, so that an institution is comparable to a machine with standard parts. Each part is designed to perform a specialized purpose to which it is adapted. It is replaceable, and the demand is not so much for individuals with creative imagination as for trained functionaries with suitable abilities. Every part of the machine conforms to a standard pattern and professional schools or colleges turn out candidates to replace those who drop out of active service. In this way institutions are maintained from year to year. They aim at that balance between energy expended and results achieved, which we call efficiency
  • The administrative function, therefore, insures the continuance of the existing order with a minimum of effort and risk. Its fundamental aim is to "carry on" rather than to venture along new and untried paths. Administrators are, therefore, the stabilizers of society and the guardians of tradition. They are stabilizers in both a positive and a negative sense, for not only do they make possible the continuance of the ideas which they convert into institutions: they also frustrate many innovations to which they deny their support. With the weight of their authority they confront every attempt to initiate a new development, and test it with a view to its effect on established interests. They resist change and stow down the rate of experimentation so that the main body of society can keep pace with it. The ponderous social machinery which is so irritating to the impulsive initiator is thus a safeguard against sudden changes which paralyze the Jess adaptable members of society and which would result in chaos if subjected to no check.
  • The administrative function comes easily to conservatives for the principal requirement of administration is unquestioning conformity to the standards embodied by the particular institution.

Quotes about[edit]

  • Professor Paul Pigors of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology... feels that a primary function of administration is that of stabilizing social institutions. Interested not only in the leadership function of society's managers but also in the "followership" role of both the administrators and the "administered," industrial psychologists like Pigors have shown an abiding interest in administration as a means of keeping society in balance while its institutions are at the same time undergoing a process of change and adjustment.
  • While Paul Pigors contends that the main purpose of administration is to preserve the status quo in society, Brooks Adams regards administration as a chief agent of social change.
    • Rumki Basu (2004), Public Administration: Concepts And Theories. p. 90

External links[edit]