Introduction to chapter 7: After WWI the American business leaders had much more confidence than before. So with this new found confidence theCommittee on Public Information (CPI) began an experiment in mass persuasion that had fostered the belief that public opinion “might be managed, that a social climate, more friendly to business interests, could indeed be achieved.”
Roger Babson declared that “the war taught is the power of propaganda. Now when we have anything to sell American People we know how to sell it.”
Roger Babson is an influential business analyst in 1921
Ivy Lee still on of the nation’s “preeminent practitioners of corporate public relations:
Lee in an interview states “I have found the Freudian Theories concerning the psychology of the subconscious mind of great interest. Publicity is essentially a matter of mass psychology. We must remember that people are guided more by sentiment than by mind.
With further research into psychology Lee reports that “the secret by which a civilization might be preserved and a successful and permanent business built.” … That is the understanding of psychology and human activity.
Gustave Le Bon: No other individual contributes more to this psychological perspective.
Most widely acclaimed writings: The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.
This put the field of social psychology on the map.
“The conscious life of the mind is of small importance in comparison with its unconscious life” , with this being said Le Bons understanding is that the unconscious life has been around all along lurking beneath the conscious life and is now just being discovered.
Robert Ezra Park: a “thinker”, doctoral dissertation “The Crowd and the Public.” Park embraced Le Bons ideas stating the “crowd” and the “public” are two distinct social forms. One marked by its “simple emotional state” and the other by its “intrinsic ability to engage in critical, relational debate.
“Crowd Mind”: embodied the triumph of unreasoned instinct.
“Public Opinion”: the sum of individual critical attitudes.
Public opinion was becoming less and less distinguishable from the crowd mind.
Graham Walls: “Intellectualist Fallacy” meaning the break between the rationalist paradigm that had dominated the political theories.
Walls classic study: Human nature and Politics.
Walter Lippmann: Impact on Walls ideas stating.. “consists largely in the creation of opinion, by the deliberate exploitation of subconscious non-rational inference.”
Wilfred Trotter: Adding to Lippmann, “Human beings were more sensitive to unconscious, instinctual drives than they were to the powers critical reasons.
Humans are more sensitive to the voice of the herd than any other influence.
This shift in understanding of human behavior was greatly influenced by the War and the above listed people but most importantly Sigmund Freud. It has changed the way business now interacts with humans.