MPO Assesment 2 (completed).docx

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Business – Accounting
Jonathan Tyler

The worker’s body is a resource to be exploited. Discuss. In this essay, I will be discussing whether it is right or wrong to be abusing an employee‘s body by voicing my beliefs to the two sides of this argument that the workers‘ body is a resource to be exploited. On one side, I can understand that employees can be considered a resource since they are a factor of production and they do need to be pushed to their limits to gain the maximum potential of the company. On the other side I believe that exploiting the workers body can contain serious negative affects and some could argue that it is inhumane to take advantage of individuals in that matter. I will convey my argument in three separate sections with the first raised by Knights and Roberts arguing that the workers body is a resource and power is the tool used to exploit them (Morgan 2006). The second section I will continue this argument by discussing the different forms of power mentioned by Morgan (2006) and Milgram (1974) and demonstrate how companies use them to exploit their workers. In the third section I will then draw upon the ideas of Fromm about the meanings of work and the reasons behind why people choose to work (Fromm 1942), with mention of Ackroyd and Crowdy‘s (1990) slaughterhouse work, therefore setting themselves up to be branded as a resource of production. The amount to which a workers body can be considered a resource and therefore can or can‘t be exploited are decisions that only management can decide, however it is very important for those dealing with this potential power to understand both sides to this argument. Power As The Tool Used To Exploit In this first section I am going to argue that power is a weapon used by management to exploit workers thus agreeing with the statement that the workers body is a resource to be exploited. Max Weber, the founding voice of power in organisational studies, explained power as Person A doing something to Person B to cause Person B to do something they wouldn‘t normally undertake (Weber cited by Klegg, Kornberger and Pitsis, 2008). From this statement I can understand power to be the ability to force somebody to do something they wouldn‘t generally want to do, ensuring they act ―according to the rules‖ (Klegg et al., 2008, p.256). As Knights and Roberts demonstrate, power is typically treated as an individual possession, something that someone i.e. a manager can posses over another employee, rather than power as a relationship between people (Knights and Roberts 1982). As an individual possession, Knights explains power to be ―the source to which an individual can secure all that he or she desires or demands‖ (Knights 2009 p.144). In terms of being a relationship, power is described as action placed upon the action of others or in other words, ―power is necessary precisely to mobilise the power of others‖ (Knights 2009 p. 155). Exploitation is a term which I understand to be using something or someone in a selfish manner, defined by Morgan as organisations ―taking and using what they need‖ from their employees (Morgan 2006 p.297). Morgan explores this concept of power as the tool used for exploitation through the incredible organisation planning and effort used to construct the Great Pyramid at Giza. Morgan notes that it is estimated around 10,000 people were used to construct a pyramid with over 2.3 million stone blocks extending through a period of twenty years (Morgan 2006). It is very clear to understand that Morgan believes the construction of the pyramid to be a metaphor of exploitation, whereby the lives and work of thousands of people were used as a resource to ―serve and glorify a privileged elite‖ (Morgan 2006 p.293). Many other organisation theorists believe this combination of achievement and exploitation is a feature of organisation whether it is the building pyramids, leading an army or managing a family business and that in the end labour is only just a resource to be used up by management to better the company or leader (Morgan 2006). In this sense, Morgan‘s pyramid metaphor shows that the workers body is a resource, just like land and capital, which is to be exploited to benefit the company or leader. This form of power present in the pyramid metaphor is what Knights and Roberts refer to as coercive power, which appears to be ―something one person has over another‖, and for those empowered it is seen by their ―removal of individual choice‖, a severe disadvantage in the workforce (Knights and Roberts, 1983 p.50). Management within many companies use this coercive power to gain organisation within the company treating workers with unfair conditions and tend to ignore the fact that they ultimately rely on the workers. However, Giddens notes that coercion can never be an automatic process, as individual human beings will always have some control over their action (Giddens, cited by Knights and Roberts 1983). Jackson and Carter note that many workers may choose not to obey or follow coercive power from management, however they automatically do so in order to gain a wanted desire such as salary income or a promotion (Jackson and Carter 2000). This shows that some workers may understand they are being exploited but continue with their job since they choose whatever they get out of work whether it be money or enjoyment over the misuse and exploitation of their body. From this it‘s possible to understand that there are disadvantages of the worker being exploited and used as a resource, however an individual may automatically accept these working conditions, as they know they are gaining a wanted desire. Morgan clearly argues this point as he notes Arthur Millers well-known play ―Death of a Salesman‖ that follows the tragic life and death of a salesman named Willy Loman who has worked as a salesman at the Wagner Company for thirty-four years (Morgan 2006). At the age of sixty Willy feels as though he can’t keep up with the demands of life on the road and therefore asks his management if its possible to work closer to home however he is disappointed as management has very little time to listen to him. Willy even pleads that his wage be reduced from sixty-five dollars per week down to forty dollars per week, enough for Willy to get by. Management get annoyed at Willy’s pleading and after various attempts to escape the situation, management end the conversation by stating that the company no longer needs him. Willy says he feels like an “empty orange peel” as though “the company has eaten thirty four years of his life as if it were a piece of fruit and is now throwing the rest of him away”. Willy ends up committing suicide (Morgan 2006 p. 297). Morgan clearly shows that companies posses the power to use the workers as resources and evidently throw their employees away when they are finished using them, clearly the case for Willy. Power is a method companies use to control their workers and exploit them to benefit the company also having negative effects for the worker. So far in this section, I have argued that the workers body is indeed a resource that is often exploited by many companies, which I believe to be achieved through the use of power having many negative impacts on the employee whilst benefiting the company or leader. In the next section I will argue and demonstrate the different types of power used by organisations to exploit their workers and also present the negative impacts that result. The Forms Of Power In this section I will continue to argue that power is a tool that managers use to exploit the workers body and I will now display two forms of power, domination and authority, in relation to the exploitation of labour. Domination is an illegitimate form of power whereby an individual or company may impose their will on another, often seen in the workforce through the use of sweatshops. This is also the case for the USA deaths at work, whereby Morgan notes that ―the number of people killed... each year exceeds the number of American lives lost in the duration of the Vietnam War‖ (Morgan 2006, p.316) emphasising the viscous nature of exploitation due to domination by such organisations. In contemporary society, it is often thought that reflect our individual consumption and therefore Bakan notes that corporations have the power to govern our lives as to what we eat, what we wear and ultimately how we can consume (Bakan 2004). This form of domination is often done through persuasive advertising, which Bakan believes corporations use ―a ‗branding‘ technique to create unique and attractive personalities for themselves,‖ (Bakan 2004 p.26). Corporations are legal people and are necessary to our daily lives, however we generally dislike the power they exercise due to the dominant image presented to society making an individual feely unrecognised. This dominant image can cause workers to obey orders by management as Morgan notes women in retail would work around fourteen hour days with no rest, being kept awake by coffee (Morgan 2006). Morgan also notes that multinational organisations situate themselves in third world countries where ―they exploit local populations, using them as wage slaves‖ using the resources of the host countries to benefit and enhance the standards of living in the west (Morgan 2006 p.326). From this it‘s possible to see that I have argued the workers body is a resource that is used and exploited by companies through the form of power known as dominance.
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