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SOC207 Lecture 5

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FEB 4 2013 SOC207 Lecture 5 The Labour Process: Control over Work and Workers The Labour Process : how labour is used to produce goods and services 1. Allocation of labor to different aspects of production/service - How certain jobs are assigned to others - Workers negotiate what it looks like, individually or through unions 2. The use of technology - The assembly line > the rise of Fordism - The use of computers in the labour process ; mobile community technologies 3. Intensity of effort - The degree of effort and piece of effort they seek from the employees (how fast and how hard you work) - The degree of effort given by the employees themselves Focus of labour process theory:  Relationships labor process as employers’ efforts to determine who does which kind of work and how they use technology and workers’ responses to these decisions  Power power of the employer to make decisions about production but workers’ also respond to employers’ efforts ***all about the relationship between the products Assumptions of Labour Process Theory Influence of Marxist concepts of power, conflict, control and resistance - Focused with class and inequality - Trying to explain workplace changes and settings through the organization efficiency (power and neutral approach) - Showed how power relations are important to understand how workplaces are organized - Not just about power and efficiency, also about control - The rise of the service sector: contemporary relationships - Marx only saw two classes: owners of production and workers of production - Understanding how relationships work around labor protection, how labour protects itself through for example labour unions  Power: workers and managers/supervisors have different interests and concerns. And there is inequality between them because employers have more power than workers - both groups had different interests, concerns about work - Inequality, employers had powers over employees in terms of interest  Conflict: worker does not receive the profit that they generate. Instead it goes to the owner The value of a product was defined by the labour used to define that product  Workers sin a capitalist economy, produced way more than it is required to pay their wages > over production FEB 4 2013  Surplus values, the value over and above what is needed to make the product itself  Workers are exploited because they are not getting excess to the surplus value  Capitalism: the maximize profit, minimize cost and benefits  Reduce the cost of labour, layoff workers, keep them suppressed  Workers then want to just produce enough to receive their base wage, yet employers want them to over work and create surplus/profitable products Conflict of interests Exploitation of workers’ labour  Control: Managers/supervisors try to control when where and how workers do their jobs. e.g., clock to regulate time - Easy under Freudism, slaves, but it was legal for this - We are free to work for our employer of choice - Loyalty > keeping workers loyal and having them not leave  Resistance: workers resist managerial control, sometimes by organizing collectively into unions other times in more individualistic ways - For Marx this is inevitable 1. The owners of production and the workers would come to realize the imbalance of power, the workers would overthrow the owners (though this did not really occur) Disregard orders Sabotage, of machines, take home supplies (paper/pens) Redefine how they interpret their situation (form of psychological resistance)  Who does what and how hard  Hard work, high productivity … but not much benefits for the workers, as they are still getting paid the same amount Braverman: the Degradation of work  Argued that Taylorism was at the center of all management styles under monopoly capitalism  large companies owning the majority of the smaller companies, nationally and internationally, having control over the cost, and benefits …etc.  Government regulations  The growth of technologies  Labour and the labour process itself has become much more standardized  Braverman: the idea that come form Marx is still used and seen in modern day  Taylorism is a method of controlling the LP:  Scientific management: the control component of the labour process, fragmentation and 1. Separate work from skills from workers - Shift decision making from workers to management FEB 4 2013 - Dissecting the jobs and responsibilities, taking away the autonomy away from the workers 2. Separate conception from execution - the create a centralized place in a persona area 3. Employers’ use of knowledge to control how each step of the work process is done 1. How you monitor worker performance Deskilling Thesis  Context= Bureaucracy  Braverman argued that clerical workers were subject to deskilling due to management’s fragmentation and routinization of their work - Workplace ethnography: how is the idea of scientific management present in the workplace, based on fragmenting and routinizing of work - Told how to do it, how often to do the work, management taking total control - The effect to degrade and skill, was leading to deskilling; skills are taken away from workers, how you do the job is told to you from the management (its like workers do not have any skills) - White collar workers are the same as blue collar workers (same concept, different control) - Basic aspect: control over the work itself - Pros: cheapens labour cost, standardized work (workers will comply, because they are regarded as similar to the person next to them) Vs.  top managers and executives of large offices gained more control over the office labour process.
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