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The following program is made possible through a grant from the nation's business. This is business roundtable a program of current comment from leading members of America's business community. Today. Robert W. Galban chairman of the board of Motorola incorporated and Amory Holcomb Jr. chairman of the board Corning glassworks will explore the question. Business careers creative or organization man. With series host Alfred L. Seeley. Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration at Michigan State University. Our topic business careers created or organization is today actively being debated on most college and university campuses by a variety of students. In some cases business careers have seemingly lost their repeating too many of today's college generation.
Those rejecting business allege that business does not afford an opportunity to really assist in building a better society. That their personal identity and creativity will be lost in the large organization. That many of their assignments will be routine. And that some business values offend their moral and ethical standards. Right or wrong. These are some of the beliefs of the college student today. Obviously such views are of paramount importance to a society in which the modern corporation has become the dominant social and economic institution. Mr. Galban. One of the issues that many of the students are talking about today. Does business really require top flight talent or can business get along with lower level types of ability. Business can't fail Dollar Man or Dalai Dia's would fail and
therefore business cannot afford elementary double ideas. A businessman is required to understand i wide mix of subjects. You must be able to anticipate to synthesize to integrate. You must be able to think creatively You must be able to apply judge mental thinking. You must understand anthropology and logic native customs mathematics science a host of subjects in order to deal with practical problems that require decisions and these decisions are tested at the market place almost the day after he makes them so he knows pretty quickly whether or not he was intelligent enough to deal with them. So a business requires very bright people who do you think that business does require is right. People who say that are going into some of the scientific fields today or in some research capacities or in some cases academic life. While I certainly do and. Mr. Galban.
I think the problem is really convincing some of the brighter people that business does give the Normas opportunity for exciting contribution to the betterment of life. I think there is a bit of a problem between the concept of the intellectual and the intelligent person. Intellectual is a new word relatively in our society and used to be the academician the philosopher. If somebody wants to sit back and in repose view society. And think hard and plaited about it and it's good works. These are people probably that wouldn't be happy in business if somebody wants to put his intelligence to use. And probably the most demanding in creative of all occupations. Then we do need and want desperately intelligent.
In other words you think that business by the very nature of its subject matter. Has very complex kinds of problems that bring into. Focus a great many different kinds of intelligence. Indeed and certainly the most complex problem in the world is dealing with people and business is an organization of people. And the problem of managing at various levels and business is a very. Remarkable problem of dealing with the organization of people and they're the motivating of them and the directing of an effort towards a purpose for me. Never do you think the old stereotype that the business man was not is able the person is people when into certain other areas is no longer if it ever was true I doubt that it was ever true. What do you what do you do in your company to try to ensure that you're getting stuff like people into your company. Well it's now only a matter of fact and and sense of
planning what you want but also it and that of and involving the person. I know I myself do a great deal of personal recruiting. And I think there's a high level positions are these people coming out of universities or college primarily the numbers of people I see well over half of the people just coming out of colleges and graduate schools. And the thing is that that obviously is important to us is that we get good talent in the business people who who are convinced that this is the arena in which they can make the greatest contribution. And once they're there to remove the roadblocks and the Stones and the obstacles so they can get just as quickly as they possibly can and will position of responsibility over people in the funds that make the business run I was together when you and Mr. Hope make business sound very exciting and very
interesting and very demanding. Why is that do you think that some of our young people today don't seem to have this view. I think there's a mix of reasons I think. The young people today have an opportunity to be occupied with many important subjects. Certainly the major problems of world affairs the bomb the difficulties in domestic affairs these things command their attention. I think that business has been portrayed in periodicals in movies in a variety of the media somewhat in a mythological and not always interpreted in an accurate way. I think parental attitudes I think teacher attitudes have all had some bearing on students coming up with a misunderstanding as to the role of business in our society in the excitement in the zest for being a part of it. Would you.
Like to live. I heard a man say at one time something which rang a bell with me. He said next to the boom. The businessman was the least articulate form of human being exists. I think a very interesting thing happened to me when I was in school. I was taking a business course in graduate school and the professor stood up the first day and said this. He said You gentlemen have heard of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington Abraham Lincoln and so on and so forth. The main MI5 business man that lived before the Civil War. And this was an impossible question for students dedicating allies to business to answer. Primarily because the businessman has not been able to create the electricity in his profession that the politician or the educator's been able to do and I think this is a job for us really to concentrate on.
There was sort of another facet of this problem. A. Number of students today are talking about that they think that if they go with a large corporation in a career that they're going to lose their personal identity and they also seem to have a feeling that if they are creative people they're going to be really lost in their creativity is not going to have an opportunity to develop. What about the validity of this kind of a statement in your opinion Mr. Gallo. I think it is possible to get lost in the business organization as it is possible to get lost in any kind of a structured organization like a university or government bureau or a hospital or what have you. But the corporation does allow the greatest opportunity in my estimation for the most objective of valuation of the individual the political structure in corporations is relatively less significant than any other of our basic institutions in our society. And there is an
opportunity for the individual to show by results by an individual contribution what his worth is and his opportunity to be recognized and to rise within that institution because of the results that he achieves. Just opening the Corning glassworks for example. What do you do in your company as a matter of policy to. Attempt to find at an early stage able young people that have come with you and give them the opportunities that perhaps their talents deserve. And also the other aspect of course is the same question of what about this concept of creativity which ties I think into it. Well I think the one question we ask whether I'm in an engineer market plan or production Foreman a salesman and manager. Whoever he is or in the two basic broad categories the manager the individual contributor. I think we ask at any one time in a
particular area of endeavor. Who is the man. If you were in trouble that you would call upon. Many times this weeds out who are the people really that are showing the creative work and are sticking your head up in terms of their leadership in terms of creative work. As you probably know the business I am in which is one of making glass is primarily been through a transitional stage from the craftsman to one of science. And we depend very heavily upon the internal generation of new technology to provide our growth. There are other forms of growth but this is the one that happens to be applicable to us and we are constantly asking for men to be creative in judging them by whether they are working outside the rules. Because as boss Kettering you know the great
head of engineering for General Motors said nothing it was created within the rules and he told many humorous stories to this effect. Never somebody in your company isn't going to get fired if he goes off on little tangent looking for something that he thinks might be a little better. Well I'll say this that we obviously in terms of our scientific endeavors have general goals specifically that we're shooting at the most of the scientific breakthroughs again that's the source of our whole company growth stem from somebody going in one direction taking as on the branches of a tree many different offshoots and the offshoot or branch can be equally if not more exciting than the basic trunk line itself. Governor you mentioned that. You thought it was possible. For a young man. To be lost in a large corporation as he could be in any kind of a social order or economic organization whether it's a university or the government or so
forth. What do you do in your company to try to prevent that. First I'd like to say that I think Mr. Holcombe's company industry is one of many that has an excellent reputation for identifying and motivating young men to achieve what your question suggests and. The reciprocal of that however is that there are many companies in our society that I think have got to do a better job along that line. So while we sit here in defense of the business contribution to our society we have to acknowledge that all of our companies are not doing an adequate job along this line. This is one of the things incidentally we're learning from this dialogue or debate with with the campus that we have to sharpen up our ability to identify and stimulate these people. But I think that by the propagation of
attitudes concepts and principles you can inculpate an organization with a spirit of proprietorship that flows through the ranks of an organization by rewards and recognitions you can motivate by provided by giving a man the option of determining his own destiny which is the hierarchy of all motivators in a corporation. We are finding it possible to do just what your question suggests. Another issue that frequently comes up in university and college discussions is. The concept of ethics and morals in business life today. Again you will find some students who will say well they think that the ethics and morals of our business. Corporations today are not the same value judgments that they have now they are very specific about this sort of thing. To say that they think other elements of society have different standards of course just gets into the concept that business is
materialistic. You hear students say Well business is really just trying to make a profit. This enters into this. Is the hope. What do you think about this question. Business obviously is trying to make a profit. I think you've got to point to one the ethical question and secondly the materialistic question and he tried to hit both of them very quickly and Mr.. Gavin We have many ideas on these as far as the Ethics is concerned that. You see we live in a world in which we. Primarily act on faith. I sell something to Mr. Galban and I have stated Mr. Gavin at some point is going to pay me for that. If he doesn't I'm in trouble. Mr. Gavin goes through the same process several times move into a television set. Whatever product he's making
is in the hands of the ultimate consumer. And you obviously can't generalize about something like this because there are businessmen and there are businessmen. But it seems to me that that in terms of the internal aspects of an organization if you are an ethical what it does to reach and tear that apart plus the obvious terrible business damages which accrue to one if you understand the shady or unethical basis. It just it is not either something which you like to go home and sleep with or something which is practical. Now in terms of the materialism. I think it's awfully important to understand this concept of profit. Because it's probably one of the most maligned bandied about words that there is.
A business is made up of. Cash plant labor management. Technology markets. But you see if you could imagine yourself or a young person who is considering going into business imagine himself starting off in business. And getting a little group together with maybe a technical idea and moving forward in getting other people in the company broadening his market building further and further to the point where he might be able to contribute in varying degrees to the larger concept of society. And this is find in this is what many businessmen do. However once you stop selling your product. For more than it cost you to make it. To provide the flow of cash to regenerate your business and to pay your
employees and pay your suppliers then nothing else this man does whether it's involved in education or the symphony orchestra or any other field makes any difference because this happens to be the plasma. The important thing which makes for a business to business is gotta make a profit and do all of the other things that you just mash right. But one other thing and I'm sure Mr. Gavin We have many thoughts on this that a prophet. Is the seen acorn on the essential of the business. It's not the end in itself. It's the means to the end. Well Mr. Gammon. Commenting on some of the things that Mr. Houghton has said or thought occurred to me as he was talking that it was American business more ethical than it used to be. Times are changing different concepts even in ethics over time change and what might be.
Ethical to date might have been ethical in another era. Some of these kinds of concepts involved in this American business today do you think. Basically a more ethical institution. Yes and I think business is a more ethical institution today I think there is a much greater enlightened attitude in understanding and indeed a greater inlike and self-interest in this subject. I think the average business leader today has a very high conscience towards these people. And there are examples of 75 in a hundred years ago where this was not the case. Unfortunately today a student who is a reader of the history of business reads about the sweatshops of 75 years ago and can't quite get out of his mind that maybe things are dramatically different today. This is a conscience this is an ethics. I think the attitude towards the marketplace is as Mr. Hutton has described it here. The only way he can survive is to be honest and straightforward and to serve to the maximum his ability is
customary. And this is a principle of ethics that is now been ground into his bean to where he believes it to be good for the sake of it being good. I think rather a businessman sincerely believes that a profit is an ethical thing. We've already was cited here that profit is the essential to afford the investment in order for a business to grow. I think one of the reasons that profit is misunderstood is that people have too many people have an entirely erroneous attitude of what the size of profits are in corporations. I believe that a survey was made among high school teachers in your state which indicated that the median profit that your teachers thought that businesses made were 50 percent after taxes. Well. I know from my personal experience that we are just delighted if we can make three or four or five or really
very capable companies six or seven percent profits after taxes in those good years and this amount of money is inadequate for us to afford the growth of the next years opportunity so we have to borrow funds for that. So I think the size of profits as well as the concept of profits is both ethical and practical. Let's look at another aspect of this problem we've been talking about the abuse of the young college and university students today. It seems to me perhaps that compared with the generation when I went to college that suits this group are somewhat more idealistic than we were. And they raised the question for example. Does business afford an opportunity to really assist in building a better society. And I think we find many of our students today that are really thinking about this type of a question. Mr. Holden what what's your reaction to this
question of can. Can business afforded an opportunity to or somebody's working in IT to help build a better society. In Syria I know what you're talking about. Been exposed to a great deal of this and. Not the least of which area has been in reading Mr. Gavin's responses and also the letters from college students all over the place questioning. Just let me give you a little example of this. I interviewed a fellow a little while ago and I'm not sure why he was interested in talking to me about business. He said How can I get interested in selling your class or cornflakes or toothpaste. He said it's like doing The New York Times crossword puzzle. It may be interesting in the process but what do you got when you're all done. Well of course three hours later I stopped you know in discussing this thing
with him. But it it seems to me this that. If a man is interested. In making a contribution. If a man is interested. In doing something for the whole of society. He must take a look at where his individual talents lie number one. And secondly where are the most important not the peripheral areas where he can focus his attention. And it seems to me that in this country. Which is not based upon a military caste system or really agriculture but upon the ability of companies to take either iron ore or copper or sand out of the ground and do something with them that this concept of making products and services available in a way which no other country or civilization is ever recognised
is pretty important. Nora do you think that helping build a society which has brought about a higher standard of living in the world is a contribution to society even when you are doing it within a business firm. I'd like to take a crack at the ceiling. Let's start by asking what is society society as a grand and dynamic system of people and institutions. It's grand in that it's big and it's orderly and it's dynamic in that it changes with procreation innovation and so on. This system is made up of many subsystems government agriculture medicine and military business and so on and business is the economic institution which provides the goods and services and makes the money of the wealth. The general wealth that allows us to afford the government that referees and agriculture that feeds medicine that cures and so on so just by performing its economic rule as one of the subsystems it is doing a very noble job for society.
But then these kids ask but how can I personally be involved in solving the headline problems of society. They want to be at the interface. But what are they. Some of the headline problems that business helps solve may I personalize with one from our own company. We think the ideal of law enforcement is very important. The war on crime. Our company makes two way radios for police departments safety services. These products are as essential as the courageous man that walks the beat. We feel a very deep involvement in this ideal. Every time we ship such a system in our company I'm sure this is the case of the drug manufacturer. I'm sure it's the case of the man that makes the laboratory instrumentation like the Corning Glass work company does. Or what about the company that makes a very fine but Mundine heavy duty truck that collects the garbage that goes up and down the alleys of this country. We could not have the cosmetics the sanitation the health of
this country if there were not good heavy duty trucks and so it is we provide the means by which the ideals of peace and prosperity and cleanliness and justice and freedom can be achieved. And without them that you could not have the other elements of our society doing a good job. Can I interrupt you. Yes I'd like to follow up on this thought because it seems to me that when we take a look whether we like it or not of our involvement in Vietnam or the war in Korea or the second world war despite the fact that we had very. Able courageous soldiers. The thing that kept the difference was our tremendous arsenal and our industrial might. And if that isn't important in maintaining the freedom which we all believe in I don't know what is in the thing that scares me. And I think obviously the Mr. Galban is attacked so well
in his letter to two college undergraduates. Is this. Is that if we're not careful. That we're going to go the route that England went. They started this whole thing with the industrial revolution and it flowered in was successful and they were affluent. And what happened is that pretty soon the key people the intelligent the people with high motivation decided to go to the civil service or decide to go into the military. And gradually this thing began to erode it was unsocial to go into the triads as they call it doing the business. And if we're not careful and we don't get the best people involved in this business opportunity which is so vital for our existence in war or peace that we're going to go the same way. Mr. Hogan and Mr. Garman I certainly want to thank you for appearing on the Business Roundtable.
I think we've had a very interesting discussion of some of the issues. With regard to careers in business. Apparently there seems to be agreement between both of you that business careers can be creative. And that they can provide benefit to society. Participating in today's business roundtable where Robert W. Galban chairman of the board of Motorola incorporated and Amory Holton Jr. chairman of the board Corning glassworks host for the program was Alfred L. Seeley dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration at Michigan State University. The topic for next week's Business Roundtable is the new industrial state guests on the program will be Dr. Robert Lanza Lotty chairman of the Department of Economics Michigan State University and Dr. Reed Moyer
professor of marketing Michigan State University. This program was produced by the Graduate School of Business Administration and the Broadcasting Services of Michigan State University under a grant from nation's business a publication of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Business Roundtable is distributed through the facilities of national educational radio. This is any are the national educational radio network.
Business roundtable
Business careers: Creative or organization man?
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Guests on this program are Robert W. Galvin and Amory Houghton Jr.
Series Description
A program of current comment from leading members of America's business community.
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Host: Seelye, Alfred L.
Interviewee: Galvin, Robert W.
Interviewee: Houghton, Amo, 1926-
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-4-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:53
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Chicago: “Business roundtable; Business careers: Creative or organization man?,” 1967-12-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Business roundtable; Business careers: Creative or organization man?.” 1967-12-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Business roundtable; Business careers: Creative or organization man?. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from