The governing of men

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Reviews the book, The governing of men by Alexander H. Leighton (1945). About the time this book was published the first atomic bomb exploded. The author leans heavily upon two psychological formulations that are only partly satisfactory: the frustration-aggression formula, and the law of effect. Of the two, the former is handled with greater caution. Responses other than aggression are noted on the part of the frustrated evacuees, though it seems to me that Leighton does not perceive clearly enough that planning and foresight are among the most important of all human responses to frustrating conditions. The concepts of reward and punishment are not convincingly employed. No clear examples of the actual effects of either incentive are given. The law of effect is taken on faith. One feels that the author would welcome the collaboration of psychologists in his team of observers, provided they would leave all preconceptions at the gate, and, like other participants, focus exclusively upon the phenomena of human relations as they unfold. The Governing of Men supplies the method, the spirit, and the initial formulations on which a new basic social science—a fusion of psychology, anthropology, sociology, and administration—can safely build. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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