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SOC101Y1 (985)

work and health

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Paul Glavin

Lec 7 SOC207H1F Work and Health Nov 16, 2011  Work and Health  Politics of Workplace Health and Safety  $4.65 billion in compensation  Administrative Model of Regulation  Internal Responsibility System (IRS)  Workers and management cooperating?  Marx’s Theory of Alienation  Alienation: a subjective, psychological experience of losing touch with one’s ‘self’ or human nature, brought about by objective conditions in the workplace  Marx: work essential for self-actualization  Expressing/fulfilling one’s core potential and needs occurs through activity of work  Labour: creative activity carried out in cooperation with others, where people ‘transform the world around them’  Under industrial capitalism, workers lost control over the labor process to owners/managers  This loss of control led to alienation  Sources of Alienation Alienated from goods produced - No ownership of goods produced - Work becomes means to an end Alienated from process of production - Decisions over work speed, scheduling, the manner in which a task is performed are not controlled by the worker Alienated from themselves - Workers are not able to fulfill needs to demonstrate their own creativity Alienated from other workers - workers are not able to collaborate of their own free will – but instead by the decree of owners/managers  Conditions leading to Alienation  Marx: industrial capitalism leads to alienation  Shift to an economic system where labor is sold results in alienation  Loss of control of labor process => alienation  Other scholars have examined how alienation varies across work organization  Blauner: role of technology in production techniques shapes experience of alienation  Craftwork  Machine tending  Assembly line work  Measuring Alienation  Job Satisfaction:  Summary measure of “workers attitudes of overall acceptance, contentment, and enjoyment in their jobs” (Hodson)  Satisfying jobs involve extrinsic and intrinsic rewards  Intrinsic: creative work, autonomy  Extrinsic: wages, security  “How satisfied are you in your job?”  75% Canadians report: satisfied with their job  Similar levels across men and women  Yet women are underpaid, have less advancement opportunities and more repetitive jobs  Measurement issues  Workplace Stress  Stressors  “Conditions of threat, challenge, demands or constraints that call into question the operating integrity of the organism.” (Wheaton)  Acute vs. Chronic stressors  Distress  The outcome of stressors.  An unpleasant state of depression or anxiety which may have both emotional and physiological components (Mirowsky and Ross 2003)  Job Stressors: “pressures or demands associated with work role that compromise an individual’s ability to function”  Demands-Control Model  Karasek’s Demands-Control Model  Job conditions categorized into ‘demands’ and ‘control’  Impact of demands on well-being depends on level of control workers have  Lawyer: high job demands
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