Power Ethics

The Organization Man, by William H. Whyte (Doubleday, 1956, 456 pp., $1.45), is reviewed by R. Richard Searle, assistant minister of First Presbyterian Church, River Forest, Illinois.

The panorama of the ages is designed to show that man, individually and collectively, is inadequate to his predicament as a sinner. Supernatural aid is prerequisite to the effecting of any salvation of the soul or of society. It is the purpose of God to make himself experimentally indispensable to righteousness. He says, “Come unto me all ye that labor …” But man will not heed. He hears other voices beguiling him into a pseudo-security. They are all more dangerous to his soul when they pose as economic or social systems benevolent to his welfare. In fact they are really horizontal religions. Modern man is currently caught in the throes of one of these redemptive systems. His predicament is quite thoroughly analyzed in the 1957 non-fiction best seller by William H. Whyte, Jr., entitled The Organization Man.

The organization man is identified as the man in the middle. He is married to his job and the ideology thereof. But like most systems its adherents appreciate its pragmatic value more than its theoretical intricacies. The junior executive, the corporation “dog-face,” the collectivized man lives in the context of an otherwise free environment. The business trainee, the seminary student, the Ph.D. on the science lab team, the clinical physician are each representative of his clan. He may talk in terms of the rat race, the treadmill commuter, laughing at the description because he’s afraid not to. For the organization man is theoretically unable to control his economic destiny, and is therefore forced to believe in the ultimate harmony ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.