In the Journal of Management History, Arthur Bedeian uses the chronology of how an aphorism became, and continued to be, credited to Kurt Lewin as an historiographic illustration in order to critique how errors of attribution can be perpetuated by historians, and to model a method for correcting this tendency.
Titled “A note on the aphorism ‘there is nothing as practical as a good theory,’” this piece traces “the history of the above-captioned aphorism back through its use by the General Electric Company in the 1920s to Friedrich W. Dörpfeld’s 1873 book Grundlinien einer Theorie des Lehrplans, zunächst der Volks- und Mittelschul.” While doing so, Bedeian provides commentary on the widespread challenge presented to historians by historical inaccuracies.
By Michael Billig a piece titled The myth of Kurt Lewin and the rhetoric of collective memory in social psychology textbooks. A rhetorical analysis is conducted in order to elucidate how texts have employed reductive tropes in a manner that mythologizes Lewin’s role in psychology rather than providing a historically accurate handling of his work and theory. A compelling assessment, which could be translated to ascertain other “fathers” of psychological subdisciplines have been caricatured.
Another work, by Ian Parker, Politics and “Applied Psychology”? Theoretical concepts that question the disciplinary community elucidates the practices by which psychology is substantiated as producer of concepts that get applied to the “real world” through political psychological movements, and inverts the acceptance thereof by applying political theoretical concepts to psychology as the object of inquiry. Continue reading Theory & Psychology Online Firsts July 2015→
The University of Oklahoma library has made available on its website the audio of the Bass Business Oral Histories. These oral histories consist of telephone interviews conducted by Professor Arthur G. Bedeian and his class of Ph. D. students. Among those interviewed are: industrial psychologist Frank Gilbreth, behaviorist B. F. Skinner, industrial psychologist Bernard M. Bass, and organizational psychologist Richard E. Boyatzis. Also interviewed are psychologist, and daughter of Kurt Lewin, Miriam Lewin, as well as business professor Alfred A. Bolton, whose work included research on the Hawthorne studies. In all, there are more than 25 oral histories freely available on the website.