chapter  3
20 Pages

HR 3.0

The Process wave (1935–1985)
ByAlan Watkins, Nick Dalton

The Process wave led to far greater consistency of output, and the benefits were significant. In 1957, Harold Macmillan, the UK prime minister, said, “Most of our people have never had it so+ good.” Pre-agreed rules and regulations created a more cooperative environment where both owners and employees worked together for the good of the business. It was less about control, discipline, and personal opinion, and more about the mutual following of rules. These rules and regulations often standardised the best way of working at that time, which led to greater efficiency and higher-quality production and output.

But as with all evolutions, this P-wave went too far. Issues of demarcation, where roles were tightly defined and a worker’s role was given strict boundaries, created inflexibility in production or delivery. A form of industrial action known as “work to rule,” where workers could cause major disruption by sticking to the rules, summed up the contradictions. Bureaucracy, red tape, and a fundamentalist mindset was stopping progress. A need for greater individual freedom and self-determination emerged. People yearned to “break free” of the constraints. As a result, the pragmatic and competitive Profit wave emerged.