The Prestige Value of Public Employment in Chicago:
Leonard D. White
This experimental study was made possible by generous assistance from the Local Community Research Committee of the University of Chicago, to whom due acknowledgment is made. Professor James W. Errant, of the University of Oklahoma, completed with unusual diligence and ability the bulk of the field work, but valuable aid was also forthcoming from several graduate students at the University of Chicago: Miss Mildred Sharp, Mr. Waldo Thorpe, Mr. Reuel Hemdahl, and Mr. Samuel J. Hocking. I am indebted to Professor Victor J. Hanson, of Shanghai College, who ably organized the material in chapter x. For meticulous care and accuracy in typing the manuscript, I am under heavy obligations to the staff of the Local Community Research Committee.
The study was planned with the benefit of helpful advice from my colleagues: Professor Charles E. Merriam, Professor Louis L. Thurstone, and Professor Forrest A. Kingsbury. None of these gentlemen, however, assume any responsibility for either the methods or results of the study. Finally, grateful acknowledgment is made to the many business firms who cheerfully consented to "loan" to our field workers blocks of their employees for laboratory purposes which must have appeared to them sufficiently academic.
The results of the study are not to be taken as conclusive. They are, however, thought to be significant. Much more experimentation by statistical and other methods is essential before one is entitled to speak with confidence on the prestige value of public employment, and it
(x) is hoped that similar studies may be initiated in other cities—indeed, in other countries.
Some of the evidence disclosed in the course of the experiment and printed in the following pages is hardly complimentary to city employees in Chicago. May the author take time by the forelock to say, especially to his friends in the city hall, that the opinion concerning city employees in Chicago which is described in the following pages is not his opinion. He has had opportunity to learn that many city employees in Chicago are distinguished by high ability, complete integrity, perfect courtesy, and full loyalty to the interests of the city, and has often been impressed with the success with which they conduct public business under unfavorable circumstances. Unfortunately other employees of the city have impressed contrary views upon many citizens of Chicago, in proportions which appear in this monograph.
L. D. W.
January 19, 1929