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The Industrial Society presents. . .

The Industrial Society was an employment training and advisory organisation which was founded in 1918 as the Boys' Welfare Society. Presented here are some examples of the soundtracks of training filmstrips which the Society published on vinyl discs in the 1960s and which form part of its archive.

Each filmstrip consists of a series of still images combined with a synchronised soundtrack, which includes tones marking the points at which the image was meant to change. Their content is often in the form of dramatisations of workplace problems with an explanatory commentary.

Most of the general issues they address are still relevant today, but certain details - such as the portrayal of roles in the workplace, the references to office technology, and even the way the narrators and actors speak - are very much of their time.

The wrong way and the right way

Some of the filmstrips get their message across by contrasting examples of good and bad practice, as these extracts illustrate.

How to lose a customer

"What an appalling assistant!"

Mrs Jones goes on her first grocery-buying trip in a new town and encounters the shop girl from Hell.

"I've found a marvellous little shop down the road"

Later, laden with provisions, she meets up with her husband and we hear of a much better retail experience.

Listen to the whole soundtrack, which includes contrasting shopping trips for Mr Jones as well.

The personal secretary

"If ever I get like her I hope someone shoots me!"

Two secretaries: one power-mad, the other just hopeless.

"He likes her to avoid extremes in dress"

How the secretary (inevitably female) can best serve her boss (inevitably male).

Listen to the whole soundtrack.

Can you give an order?

"He also assumes too easily that people know what he's talking about"

Two inexperienced supervisors are either diffident or bossy, but an old hand gets it right.

Listen to the whole soundtrack, which also includes a typing-pool scenario.

The receptionist

"She looks pleasant enough, doesn't she?"

But Lorna still manages to annoy the usually genial Mr Sullivan when he comes for his appointment.

"She has the right attitude to the job"

Mr Sullivan remembers bad receptionists at another firm but then gets a pleasant surprise.

Listen to the whole soundtrack.

What would you do?

Here are some examples from the Human problems at work series which was designed to make managers think about how they would handle certain situations.

Riley v. Jennings

"I'd had just about as much as I could stand!"

A personnel officer has to decide how to deal with two cases of absenteeism.

The new boy

"Kids are hopeless nowadays!"

Young Tom is disillusioned by his difficult transition from school to the workplace.

Introducing changes

"How absurd, difficult and stick-in-the-mud can be people be?"

The problem of resistance to new office technology.