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Representatives of steel, electricity, and air transport last night defined industrial relations as "the art of getting things done through other people."
Concluding the career conference series at Dudley House dining hall, a panel moderated by Dr. Sumner H. Slichter, Lamont University Professor, answered questions about the college graduates chances in the "baby field of industry."
Employee relations, collective bargaining, publications, and "environmental engineering" are all in the realm of industrial relations. "The expert" said James De Pasquali of American Airlines, "must understand the needs of the worker and of the capitalistic system. He must become a skilled professionalist able to handle any area of boss-worker relations which may arise."
Robert Phelps of Bethlehem Steel emphasized the role of the industrial relations man as a mediator between management and labor. He must deal with officials and "grass roots," and must understand the "subtle motivations of union representatives."
Not only a liking of people, but an enthusiasm for business, for "profit-making," is required, said Kenneth Pilcher of Sylvania Electric.
Qualities looked for in an industrial relations candidate are a liberal arts degree, objectivity, patience, and "a capacity to inspire respect."
"It is a field," said Phelps, "of great responsibilities and very little sleep. But it has its rewards."
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