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Hiring Science History: Origins in Post-WWI Germany

In 1929, at age 19, Dr. Robert S. Schirokauer was studying mathematics and philosophy. A bright scholar at the top of his class, he became the youngest judge in Berlin. He quickly gained a reputation for his harsh sentencing of Nazis. When Adolph Hitler became Reich Chancellor in 1933, he aimed to eradicate Schirokauer and called for his death. In fear for his life, Schirokauer fled Germany to continue his studies in Mexico, changed his name to Dr. Robert S. Hartman, and later migrated to the United States.

What is “the good?”

Dr. Hartman’s time in Germany left a disturbing impression on him. As a judge he observed that people who subscribed to Nazi ideals thought they were doing “good.” He wanted to understand how the brain worked to cause people to make the decisions they made. The realization that a person could do evil and still believe it was good troubled Hartman so much that he decided to devote his life to developing a science of human behavior, specifically addressing the mechanisms of how people decide something is good.

What he discovered is that people do indeed act on what they think is good, but that everyone’s definition of “the good” is relative. He found a correlation between chaos science and transfinite set theory calculus (a field of mathematics), and he developed the value science known as axiology. Formal axiology provides a structure for how people derive meaning, think, and make decisions that lead to behaviors.

Using Axiology to Change the World

Using axiology, Dr. Hartman created an assessment that accurately measured resolution in the brain. Just like the resolution on a TV, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image. The clearer the image, the more perceptive the judgement is of what the brain is viewing. This assessment allowed him to measure a person’s ability to exercise clear, sound, and accurate reasoning. It also provided a formal system by which he could understand and model thinking, decision making, and relationships of the dimensions of value to each other.

He utilized axiology for consulting and eventually worked with Walt Disney. Using data from the assessment Dr. Hartman developed, the company was able to uncover employee motivations and behaviors. As a result of the findings, Euro Disney implemented the very first 401K profit-sharing plan as a strategy for employee engagement and retention.

Dr. Hartman truly fulfilled his lifetime objective of developing the science of human behavior. He introduced formal axiology at a national convention in Chicago in 1955 and later published his seminal book, The Structure of Value, in 1967. He taught formal axiology in seven major universities including MIT, published 16 books, became the principal catalyst for the development of the 401K, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, but passed away before he could receive it. The Hartman Institute was founded in 1976 and continues the work of Dr. Hartman with the mission of changing the world for the better through understanding the science of values.

Axiology-Based Hiring Decisions

Today, formal axiology is used at ZERORISK HR as the science behind the ZERORISK Assessment. This unique assessment is used for hiring and measures the candidate’s ability to exercise clear judgement and the thinking patterns that lead to behaviors. This advanced science enables hiring managers to make accurate hiring decisions based on objective data. To learn more about how axiology can help you hire, contact ZERORISK HR today.


  • The Hartman Institute

  • Kinsel-Smith, Robert. Assessing DISC Using Formal Axiology.

  • Poskey, Mike. (2019, August 15). In-person interview.


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