Again, take the test of those who have “the characteristics that ought to make them executives.” We should like to know what these physical characteristics were. We should also like to know what other physical characteristics these men had. Perhaps there were some which interfered seriously with their becoming successful as executives.
Still further, it would be illuminating to know whether the men so examined had ever been properly trained for executive work; whether they had had opportunities to become executives or whether some or all of them may not have been misfits in whatever they were doing. Obviously, a sound, scientific conclusion cannot be reached until all of the variables in the problem have been adequately studied and brought under control. There is no evidence in the paragraph that we have quoted that Dean Schneider had done this.
But, after all, we shall proceed very little, if any, with our inquiry as to the reliability of Dean Schneider’s conclusions if we content ourselves merely with criticizing his methods of research and reason. Even if we could prove beyond a doubt that the methods used were unscientific and the reasoning unsound, we could go no further toward establishing the contrary of Dean Schneider’s conclusion than he has in establishing the unreliability of determining mental aptitudes and character by an observation of physical characteristics. The main question is not, “Is Dean Schneider right or wrong?” but rather, “Is an employment department, conducted along the lines laid down in the preceding chapter, a profitable investment, and, especially, is it possible to determine the right job for any individual by observing his physical characteristics?”
Fortunately, this question is no longer academic. There is no need for the bringing up of arguments, the stating of theories, the quoting of authorities, or any such controversial methods. Employment departments have been established in a number of commercial and industrial organizations, some very large—some small—and are being conducted, with some variations, according to the plan outlined in the preceding chapter. The science of character analysis by the observational method is the basis of their work. In addition, this science is the basis of employment work in several hundred other employment departments, large and small, where the Blackford plan has not been adopted in its entirety. The plan referred to was formulated in 1912. The fact that this method has been in actual commercial use under widely varying conditions and in the hands of many different individuals, for more than three years, is, on the face of it, a reasonably fair presumption of its reliability. At any rate, it is fully as convincing as Dean Schneider’s purely negative “proof.”
The question remains as to whether the commercial applications of this method are successful; whether the results obtained are reliable; whether the inefficiencies and losses, to which we have referred in previous chapters, are appreciably remedied by its use.