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LABRST 1C03 (115)

Lecture - Theories of Work and Labour - 2014-01-10

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McMaster University
Labour Studies
Sandra Colavecchia

Theories of Work and Labour – 1 • opening thoughts – work is a structure created among people; how work is seen is different among the setting; work speaks to how people see themselves (young people can relate to this when people ask you "what are you going to be when you grow up" OR "where do you see yourself in 10 years") • basic concepts – talking about how people view their work and what they want out of their jobs o functions – what kind of function does a job provide  manifest functions – about the compensation, function is that it allows you to make a living; the function is the amount of money; when asked what people think about their job this is what comes to mind (why you working? I need to get paid)  latent functions (of work) – things that speak to your wellbeing, fulfillment etc.., the personal rewards; they are much more diverse than manifest functions; this is because what you find rewarding is different amongst other people; talking about things such as feeling valued, productive, and that you are actually accomplishing something; day-to-day aspect: helps structure your day; people tend to be highly structurally organized, this helps you create that routine; gives you a reason to wake up in the morning and orients your day; mostly noticed when people lose their jobs (losing their day-to-day sense of what they are supposed to do with themselves); sense of fitting in and having a place/role in society (more confidence that you have something to offer when you have a good job; when people realize they have a place they feel better); social aspect: fitting into the workplace in the sense that you can work with other people and be part of a team; work forces people to socialize more than anything (forces a social environment); as work as evolved overtime, the nature of the socializing has changed (more so in service work which brings forth different sorts of behaviours than mining); LATENT not usually first thing people mention, but when asked further these functions come up o rewards – what do you get out of your work; what do you think is important (very individualized); usually one big reward is enough to make workers put up with a lot of other problems (ex/ lousy pay --> don't feel they are alone, like hanging out with others)  intrinsic – things that come with the very nature of doing the job; things that are right there in the workplace, highly dependent on the type of work; something you find satisfying about doing the job; people's types of intrinsic rewards vary (most popular ones are #1. challenging work, #2. independence and creativity, #3. variation (not doing the same thing every day); sense of accomplishment and that you are making a difference is also a big reward (ex/nurse); last broad category is social relationships (do you like the social environment you are in or the people you work with)  extrinsic – things that come along with the job (pay, benefits, promotion); these rewards help you get ahead (better job, more pay etc); men focus more on extrinsic where women focus more on intrinsic o orientations – what things do people bring to the job; how do they see their job; very broad category with very wide range; talking about basic behavioural habits on the job; the way workers frame in their minds their experience; through studies there are a number of different categories that have come up; these CAN change overtime, not deeply engrained character traits (people's traits can often be different amongst jobs)  deferential (orientation) – certain workers defer to authority (people respect authority of boss and do what they are told); people are relied on to do what they are asked to; what these people want is to get along; most common in small businesses where employees identify with the owners; may see these people as the "suck ups"; they are not always the most ambitious however (they are the category that by far they are just happy to have a job)  upward – those with ambition; means that people are looking up, see this job as a path to better things; this means that there is a respect for the job and a desire to perform well; tend not to be identified with job in the long- term (cause looking up); see this in office work professions; take job seriously and raise the bar or are not liked because they are always trying to prove themselves and are very competitive (usually differential to impress boss); tend to not support protest; if they see superiors blocking their progress then they become less deferential ; two managers fighting at work (upward: intervene to look good or pick a side, differential: leave things as is); if asked to do something that is not safe or risky upward workers don't want to do something like that because thinking in the long- term, differential would most often do this (boss asked me to do it so it's probably okay)  proletarian – working class consciousness; workers who identify with other workers and notice divisions in the workplace but identify against the employer; it is "us vs. them" mentality and don't defer to the boss; tend to be resistant and defy authority; do not think about getting ahead in the job; not always making trouble, in some places are very happy that they are independent; most common in places where there is a big separation between management and workers (mining: managers don't go into mines, workers do); also see this in places where workers are clustered in small communities (resource towns); also seen in manufacturing especially in places where management pushes workers apart (speedups) (DECLINE in this thinking; not because workplaces have become better, but because instrumental and deferential places have gone up)  instrumental – quite common among young people; see job as an instrument; only interested in the money and don't care about the other things; tend to only focus on manifest functions of the job; speaks to someone's identity; do not speak to the job or indentify with the job; when asked about broader orientation of their lives they often don't talk about their jobs (job is just a place they have to go to for a little while, focus on other things they want to accomplish); common in part time work, manufacturing work etc; reaction to so many workplace questions is indifference ("get me out of here" behaviour)  family (formerly called female orientation) – orientation can be set by other outside forces; heavily gendered (men typically don't have these type and focus on the job); this is particularly set by "is it acceptable to put other things aside for their job" (to put kids to the side of work); if you don't have this type of orientation then you put job first; this has changed recently as people are having fewer kids; gender roles are also changing where men are taking on more of these responsibilities; number of men doing this is not that great (number of men sacrificing GOOD jobs is still very low)  youth – broadest categories; how young people orient themselves workplace; young people tend to have bigger emphasis on getting job to have skills and experience; not because they are upward but because they see the job as training; this explains why some people take jobs with no pay; much bigger issue in the last few years because more and more young people getting exploited by getting worked hard and not really gaining any experience; youth expectations on the job (are they too high or low?); popular topic in the media but not clear on how to gauge this; trends about their expectations are not clear Theories of Work and Labour – Part 2 • job satisfaction – important because results reflect important things; it is the main measurement we have of whether people are happy with their work o measurements – hard to measure reliably; usually job satisfaction surveys yield high results; howev
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