Lecture#7 Controlling Work and Workers: From Scientific Management to Emotional Labour
Control over Work and Workers:
Labour Process Theory
Extending Labour Process Theory-Emotional Labour
• Emotional Labour as an extension of control over the labour process
• Leidner—Routinized Interactive Service Work
• Pierce—Emotion Work and Gender
Labour Process Theory
Labour process refers to 3 activities: how labour is used to produce goods and services test***
1. allocation of labor to different aspects of production/service
-employers assigning certain jobs to certain people
2. The use of technology
-assembly line – allocates and controls labour
3. Intensity of effort
-degree of effort employers seek from employees to get job done. i.e. pace of work on
assembly line – keeps on moving, have to keep up.
• Focus= Power Relations
• Between employers, management and workers. Employers determine the effort.
Workers response is to those efforts.
• The power of the employer to decide, workers have power to resist or adapt.
• View of the worker = work has personal value
• Interpersonal exchanges. Karl Marx: what work is: all labour creates value. Everything
is of value. People are creative and we express our autonomy through things we
produce. Self-actualize – what we make is who we are.
• View of work= social
• It is social aspect, not technical that decides nature of work.
Karl Marx—Labour process as exploitative
• Employers have more power and different interests vis a vis workers
• The relationship between supervisor and workers – it is a power relationship. They
have different intentions and they have different access to resources. They have power
because they control your hours and pay. Workers interest: to get paid and do
something we don’t hate.
2. Conflict (and exploitation)
• Surplus value—workers do not see a profit for their labour=exploitation
• Power imbalance and different needs creates conflict.
• Surplus value: *******TEST***** the value of a product is defined by the effort put
into it. Creates a product with a certain amount of time and effort and you want an
equal exchange through money. Workers in Capitalist economy produce more than the
amount than what they are paid to do so. Not only do we overproduce – they create
profit. They put hours and intensity but then it is marked up 50-75% to create a
profit. This profit does not come back to the worker, it comes back to the owner of the
company. Workers get exploited – they don’t get an equal wage for it because they
have a profit.
3. Control (and alienation)
• As workers lose control over the labour process they become alienated from their work
• Goes with power – control hours. Alienation: workers working on assembly line and it
paces your work and controls you. You lose your brainwork, it becomes automatic. We
are creative beings and work is important to use imagination. This is lost because
1 work is controlled. You are standardized, you are part of the machine – alienation. We
lose creative aspects, you hav no say about what is going on. This leads to resistance
• workers resist managerial control, sometimes by organizing collectively into unions
other times in more individualistic ways
• this system can only go on for so long. Workers are the majority. This system is so
exploitive and workers are going to revolt and resist. They are going to take back their
• One way they resist – unions. Protects labour, fair wages, holidays.
• Workers resist on the line : doubling up – require 2 people to do the job – one person
does it for an hour while others to hang out – at night shift. This is social microlevel
• Another way is sabotage
• Taking pens and paper – I deserve this.
• health and safety and better technology – makes theory a little old.
Braverman—the Degradation of Work
• ‘Taylorism’--Fredrick Taylor perfected scientific management - what organizations need
to do is “scientific management” – need to break it down to see all the components. Break
down labour process into smaller components. You can then routinize it – you can control it
better and you can command productivity in a certain type of way.
• rise of beuraucracy, white collar workers.
• contemporary capitalism is characterized by small number of huge organizations
• It is deregulated – free market system – don’t get regulated by government. If you
work hard money will trickle down to you.
• Use of technology has increased and has become complex – everyone works with
• Labour process becomes more standardized since Marx.
3 principles of Taylorism:
1. Separation of the work from the skills of the workers
-knowledge economy – they are all specialized knowledge, get insider knowledge of
how to do things, more components, know best way to be productive. Under taylorism
that has to go – you have too much control over this. Need to get rid of insider
knowledge away. It is dangerous as an owner because you might not have these skills
2. Separation of conception from execution
-you have to take knowledge away and put it into a jar. How the job is done – job
description – they need to do specific things. Rise of HR – makes sure people do their
3. Employers’ use of knowledge to control how each step of the work process is done
-you have knowledge workers – get rid of their control, give new job description.
Deskilling thesis – Braverman
-two camps: gives workers more control over labour process. Rise of knowledge workers is a
move away from the past. We are being creative. Braverman says no: scientific management attached
to beurocracy – he is in Marx camp. Middle management in current time follows this too. This creates
more control, more standards. Only the very top have more say, everyone is losing control. Fragment,
routinize – creates docile bodies. You are not that important – we have a job description and others can
fill it. People can be paid less.
-braverman – different context than marx but same thing going on.
• Against the idea that increased workplace technology is increasing worker skill
• White collar work now being deskilled like Marx found in factories
• Control being more centralized at the top
• Separating the worker from work; focus on economic incentives only
2 Hoschild – second shift. Came up with emotional work. Rise of service sector
Labour Process –Emotions as a New Form of Control
What is Emotional Labour?
• “the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display”
that is sold for a wage (Hochschild) *****TEST***
• emotions take on an exchange value ($). Commodification of emotions.
‘Transmutation’: commercialization of emotions
• how private feelings are “engineered and administered by managers in large
organizations… (Hochschild: 19).”
• How managers use emotions to generate profits. Not building a widget and selling it –
we are selling our emotions. This creates a profit for companies.
• Personal emotions are turned from private feelings into a public one
• Commodification; employer control; profit exchange
• Not automatic; it’s work which is called ‘emotion work’
• there are rules: there are training. “feeling rules” – the way you are supposed to
interact with customers. “have a good day, smile etc”.
• turned from intimate to profit exchange.
• It is still labour and work.
Employer’s rules for expression --- Employee’s expression of those rules ---
1)relational aspects of work
-requires worker to create or retain bad feelings – in order to produce the correct expression
or state of mind wanted by employer.
-flight attendants: Hoschild: required to smile. We know what is authentic and what isn’t. Flight
attendants aren’t allowed to have a fake smile – they want them to FEEL real happiness so you can
produce your authentic smile. Smile isn’t the commodity – it’s the outcome – how the customer feels
about the exchange of interaction. Customers service – you’re not coming back if you didn’t like that
-you can’t automate service – i.e. machine. Need to be more relational, feel like they connect.
Want to talk to and see people.
2. labour intensive
3. Requires skills and effort
-doesn’t come naturally. Tone of voice. If you speak, high, low, making eye contact.
There are rules.
4. It is productive (it is the product being exchanged)
5. Requires suppressing one’s own feelings (‘feeling rules’)
6. Involves both one’s own feelings, and the feelings of others (especially customers,
Where Emotion Labour is it found?
• service sector jobs
“Remember ... a positive attitude is a basic ingredient. ... If you are not having fun, you can be sure
the people around you won’t be smiling either (customers or co-workers)…do what it takes to
change the situation into a positive experience ... no matter who or what is at fault!”
The gendered nature of emotional labour:
• Why more predominant in women’s work?
• 50% of F workers does emotional labour compared to 1.5 male workers.
• A lot of male jobs too –lawyers, police officers, psychologists.
• Gendered social control
• Why is it in