and Driskill, 1996). For example, following the Civil War, the early attempts at civil service reform were aimed at more orderly placement of people in federal jobs to overcome the political spoils system (Primoff and Fine, 1988). At about the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau began to do more formal grouping and analysis of occupational titles, beyond mere listing (National Research Council, 1980). In their historical account, Mitchell and Driskill (1996) noted the widespread misuse of personnel during World War I, due primarily to a lack of definition of job requirements. The response of the U.S. Army was to commission leading psychologists to improve personnel testing and placement. Among the results were the Army Alpha and Beta tests for selecting and classifying recruits, as well as other occupational analysis efforts after the war aimed at improving the match between people and jobs.

In the period between the two world wars, there also were major developments in occupational analysis and category systems. The U.S. Civil Service Commission launched major new efforts in the early 1920s to analyze a comprehensive set of jobs and occupations in terms of their duties, requirements, and advancement prospects (Mitchell and Driskill, 1996). The Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933, passed by Congress at the depths of the Great Depression, established the U.S. Employment Service with the basic aim of helping workers find suitable jobs. The act also established an extensive occupational research program. This research endeavor, closely coordinated with the Social Science Research Council and the National Research Council, eventually produced the first edition of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, with subsequent editions produced by the Employment Service in 1949, 1965, 1977, and 1991. During this period, key research communities in industrial psychology were formed, including such figures as Sidney Fine, Ernest McCormick, Ernest Primoff, and Carroll Shartle, individuals who would later develop occupational analysis methodologies that substantially inform the current state of the art.

Occupational analysis methodologies underwent further developments in and around World War II in both the military and the civilian sectors, as well as in their intersection. For example, during World War II the War Manpower Commission could sanction firms for labor pirating (Jacoby, 1985:262). That commission

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement