Labor, Scientific Organization of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Labor, Scientific Organization of


(scientific man agement), the process of continuously improving the organization of labor on the basis of scientific achievements and advanced methods. Scientific organization of labor ordinarily refers to enhanced use of human labor within a given labor collective, such as an enterprise. Under socialism, a scientific approach is also typical of the organization of labor within the society as a whole.

The original innovator of advanced methods for the organization of labor was F. Taylor, from whose name the term “Taylorism” was coined. A high level of organization of labor and production is characteristic of many modern capitalist enterprises. However, as V. I. Lenin pointed out, “capital organizes and rationalizes labor within the factory for the purpose of increasing the exploitation of the workers and increasing profit. In social production as a whole, however, chaos continues to reign and grow” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 24, pp. 370–71). In their drive for profit, capitalist entrepreneurs use every available means to achieve a high level of organization in work; they create “scientific” systems to heighten the exploitation of hired workers and thus increase the labor-intensity of production. The true nature of these sweatshop methods is concealed behind demagogic calls for “class peace,” “human relationships,” and “humanization of relations between entrepreneurs and workers.” Lenin characterized the rationalization of labor achieved under capitalism as above all “progress in the art of sweating” (ibid., vol. 23, p. 19). Organization of labor on a truly scientific basis contradicts the very essence of capitalism.

Scientific organization of labor is inherent in the socialist mode of production, with its characteristic unity between the interests of society as a whole and those of each individual worker. The objectives of a rational organization of labor on a scientific basis were set down by Lenin, who personally initiated many practical innovations in this area. Guided by his ideas, the Communist Party and Soviet state have undertaken numerous measures aimed at working out the basic theoretical and practical problems of the scientific organization of labor. During the 1920’s, more than 50 research organizations in the country were already working on these problems, led by the Central Institute of Labor under A. K. Gastev. Special divisions and laboratories were set up under the Supreme Council on the National Economy of Peoples and within many of the people’s commissariats. The Council on Scientific Organization of Labor, headed by V. V. Kuibyshev, was established under the People’s Commissariat of Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection in 1923. P. M. Kerzhentsev played a major role in the expansion of public awareness of the overall problem.

Further work on improving labor organization was closely linked to the widespread shock brigade movement, the development of the Stakhanovite movement, and the multimachine operator movement. Significant improvements were made in the practices used to establish labor norms. Here major contributions were made by such Soviet scientists as A. G. Spakh, G. V. Orentlikher, Ia. M. Punskii, and A. A. Trukhanov. The importance of a comprehensive implementation of scientific organization of labor received special emphasis in the decisions of the September 1965 Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Twenty-third Congress of the CPSU in 1966. In 1967 the All-Union Conference on Labor Organization in Industry and Construction was convened to define future paths of development in this field.

In the early 1970’s, a centralized system for the planning of scientific organization of labor took shape in the country. A plan for the scientific organization of the labor performed by production workers, engineering and technical personnel, and office workers has now become an independent component of the comprehensive technical, industrial, and financial plan of every enterprise. State statistical reports compiled by enterprises on the fulfillment of such plans have been introduced. During the eighth five-year plan (1966–70), a five-year plan for scientific research into the organization of labor for the national economy as a whole was worked out for the first time. In 1971 a special section on the introduction of scientific organization of labor was included in the overall plan for development of the USSR national economy. Today numerous ministries and departments are planning various new measures in this regard to be carried out in the appropriate industries, and the corresponding specialized services are being made available at the enterprise level. In addition, all-Union, sectorial, and republic centers for the scientific organization of labor have been established.

The decisions of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU in 1971 call for further improvement in both theoretical and practical work aimed at introducing the scientific organization of labor into all sectors and spheres of the socialist national economy.

Implementation of a scientific organization of labor throughout the national economy is intended to produce such desired effects as further development of the division of labor and the forms of cooperation found within the collective, improvement in the organization and operation of work facilities, planned introduction of rational procedures and methods of labor, dissemination of advanced methods, and improved techniques for the establishment of labor norms. Equally sought are such goals as enhanced material and moral incentives to labor, rationalized conditions of labor, improved training leading to higher qualifications among personnel, strengthened labor discipline, and increased creative activity among the working people. These aims apply to all categories of working people in all sectors and spheres of the national economy, although general lines of action must take specific forms in relation to each specific category of workers.

The problems solved by introduction of a scientific organization of labor may tentatively be broken down into three basic groups: the economic problems of achieving a high level of labor productivity through better use of the work force and the physical elements of production; the psychophysiological problems of ensuring optimal conditions for the normal functioning and reproduction of the work force; and the social problems of ensuring conditions in which the comprehensive and harmonious development of the worker as a human being can take place and labor becomes more meaningful and attractive. Such purposes fundamentally distinguish the scientific organization of labor under socialism from any rationalization of labor that occurs under capitalism.

The overall significance of scientific organization of labor corresponds directly to these purposes. Economically, scientific organization of labor is a means of preventing possible disproportions between the level of development achieved in production methods and technology and the level of organization of human labor. Actual time saved through scientific organization of labor becomes an important factor in raising labor productivity. Better use of the physical elements of production also saves more embodied labor. When the requirements of a scientific organization of labor are taken into account in the planning of future enterprises, equipment needs, and production processes, real savings are achieved in labor exerted by workers engaged in operating equipment and carrying out processes that were appropriately planned and built at the outset.

The introduction of a scientific organization of labor preserves the health of workers, maintains their working capacity, prolongs their ability to remain in the work force, and raises their cultural and technical level. Thus realization of the stand taken in the CPSU Program on converting labor into a primary human need under the new society is promoted.

The problems of introducing the scientific organization of labor are also being actively worked out in other socialist countries.


Marx, K. , and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 25, part 1. Chapters 4, 5, 7, 8, and 13.
Lenin, V. I. “’Nauchnaia’ sistema vyzhimaniia pota.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. “Kak organizovat’ sorevnovanie?” Ibid., vol. 35.
Lenin, V. I. Ocherednye zadachi Sovetskoi vlasti. Ibid., vol. 36.
Lenin, V. I. Velikii pochin. Ibid., vol. 39.
Rekomendatsii Vsesoiuznogo soveshchaniia po organizatsii truda (26–29 iiunia 1967 g.). Moscow, 1967.
Osnovy nauchnoi organizatsii truda. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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