This film walks the line between informational and motivational. It documents management techniques that the Bell System felt, through research done at the company and elsewhere, would help make workers happier and more fulfilled. From the film’s original description:
"More Than a Living presents a variety of techniques used in motivating the worker on the job. It stresses that a worker must be given real job responsibility to motivate him. He must be held accountable for his work. It also points out that an unhappy worker is the result of the situation under which he works."
The film offers an explanation of "Motivation Hygiene Theory", a part of a corporation’s culture where jobs shift to become more challenging in order to inspire more, and better, work from people. The film outlines this theory, developed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg, who called this the “two-factor theory”: an employee has external factors in their job that can lead to either satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Herzberg's theory has been studied greatly since he published it in 1959 in the book The Motivation to Work. It still is tested, and new results are published all the time - most recently in a 2009 study relating the "two factors" to factors of equity.
A John Sutherland Production
Directed by Dan Weisburd
Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ