The Soviet Union said today that it will assign teams of psychologists and sociologists to job sites to improve morale, boost labor productivity and help workers adapt to technology in the workplace.
An editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda said the move is part of an effort to combat lagging labor productivity.
Western analysts say Soviet worker productivity is among the lowest in the industrialized world. A recent Soviet study said about 27 million of the Soviet Union’s 116.3 million workers are lazy and violate rules against absenteeism and alcoholism, and only 25% to 35% were inclined to work to the best of their ability.
Pravda commented that sociological and psychological experiments in the workplace have proved successful in decreasing stress and improving overall productivity.
It pointed to a program introduced at Kurganpribor, a Siberian production association, as an example of how social workers can help boost plant efficiency.
“The introduction of measures to improve the management of social processes reduced the absenteeism rate by two times, reduced professional trauma by 30% and increased labor productivity and production quality,” Pravda said.
The editorial did not specify how the social workers would operate but indicated they would be available at work sites to interview workers to determine if they are suited to their jobs and how they work.
It admitted, however, that there was a shortage of trained professionals. In the past, the Soviet Union has played down the social sciences in favor of technology.
Pravda said the new program is intended to help the labor force make the transition to more technology in the workplace.