ABSTRACT

The contrast between EAPs good news and public welfare's bad news has led many critics to question the motives and results of industiy-based social services. They have been portrayed as at least the unwitting tool of big business and at worst an active participant in a conspiracy to impose more thorough social control on workers. EAP professionals have understandably resisted these charges, calling attention to the many benefits that the programs have brought to workers and management alike and invoking a "new era" in which the two sides could work together for their mutual advantage,

This debate has distracted attention from a much more vital task: an understanding of how employee assistance does fit into current trends in the workplace. The political and ethical issues are cer-. tainly worthwhile, but do not provide the detailed understanding of the changes of the work force that is necessary for planning and evaluation. Neither caricature —the humanistic corporation or the cynical social controller-provides a solid basis for program or policy analysis.