Work Study, Productivity and the World Standard of Living

Date: April 1969

The forerunner of all subsequent Congresses was a first event held in April 1969 in London. This was the first time that a global gathering of productivity experts had been held. The theme was Work Study, Productivity and the World Standard of Living and keynote speakers included :

  • Professor Alex W. Rathe, a past President of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers (representing the USA)
  • Sir Walter Scott, probably the most distinguished name in management in the Southern Hemisphere (representing Australia)
  • Dr. J.R. de Jong, the president of the European Work Study Federation, (representing Europe)
  • General B. D. Kapur and Brigadier K. Pennathur (representing the Asian point of view).

Altogether 32 speakers from 12 different countries created an event that could be described as truly intercontinental and as the Congress was brought to a close by an address by Admiral of the Fleet, The Earl Mountbatten of Burma, it certainly proved to be a memorable occasion and the start of a long line of influential Congresses.

In chronological order, latest first, we present a brief summary of each Congress. Each of these Congresses has resulted in a ‘declaration’ – a document summarising the overall mood, values, discussions and/or outcomes of the Congress. Where available, these declarations are included along with available details of the event.

The James L Riggs Memorial Lecture has been an important event in many of the Congresses.

Jim Riggs obtained his BSc in Forest Engineering at Ohio State University, USA in 1951. He then served as an Engineering Officer in the US Marine Corps before returning to OSU to complete his MSc in Mechanical Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1959, becoming a Professor in 1967 and Department Head of Industrial Engineering from 1969 until his death in 1986. Jim was the founder of the Oregon Productivity Center and a founding member of the Manufacturing Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP). He authored or co-authored 14 textbooks in engineering economics, production management, and operations research. Dr. Riggs held numerous leadership positions during his career including Vice President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Chairman of the National Council for Industrial Engineers Department Heads and, of course, President of the World Confederation Science.

The James L Riggs memorial lecture is used to showcase current WCPS developments or work of particular merit in the field of productivity science