Psychology and Management of the Workforce in Post-Stalinist Hungary
Laine-Frigren, T. (2019). Psychology and Management of the Workforce in Post-Stalinist Hungary. Slavic Review, 78 (1), 103-125. doi:10.1017/slr.2019.10
Published inSlavic Review
© Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 2019.
Over recent years, there has been a growing academic interest in the history of psychological disciplines and mental health in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. This article explores psychological sciences and social planning in post-Stalinist Hungary after 1956. The focus is on the psychology of work as a socially- and historically-situated discourse. The article demonstrates how psychologists started to promote their expertise to reform the practices of management and to “humanize” the conditions of work. They suggested practical remedies for everyday problems of worker motivation and social adjustment and introduced concepts from social psychology to improve the state of interpersonal relations at the workplace. The study argues that the workplace was a particular context in which a post-Stalinist reassessment of the government's ideology was acted out. To elaborate this more fully, both published texts and archival materials are analyzed in the framework of the governmentality thesis, as developed by Nikolas Rose. In this context, the concept of the “human factor” crystallized different but reconcilable interests between psychology experts and party politicians. ...