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Brym_Ch13.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA02H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Malak Patel | Chapter 13
1
Chapter 13: Work & the Economy
The Promise & History of Work
Salvation or Curse?
Work automation & standardization→ as degrading & inhuman processes
Wired magazine→ computers allow us to become mobile & creative
Three Revolutions
Economy: institution that organizes the production, distribution, & exchange of goods & services
1. Primary sector- farming, fishing, logging & mining
2. Secondary sector raw materials turned into finished goods; manufacturing
3. Tertiary sector services are bought & sold
The Development of Agriculture
Farmers invented the plow
Productivity: the amount produced for every hour worked
In 1900, > 40% workforce employed in agriculture in Canada
Commodities are staples
The Development of Modern Industry [Industrialization]
International exploration, trade & commerce stimulated growth of markets from 15th cent. on
Markets: social relations that regulate the exchange of goods & services
o Prices established by supply & demand
The Development of the Service Sector
The computer automated many manufacturing & office procedures
Created jobs in the service sector [75%]
The Social Organization of Work
Division of Labour: specialization of work tasks
o Involves creating new skills
o Breaking complex range of skills into series of simple routines
Work relations became more hierarchical
Work organized bureaucratically
“Good” vs “Bad” Jobs
“Bad” jobs → don’t pay much & require the performance of routine tasks under close supervision
→ working conditions are unpleasant, dangerous
→ requires little formal education
→ called “dead-end” jobs
“Good” jobs → require higher education, pay well
→ not closely supervised, encourages workers to be creative
→ offers secure employment, opportunity for promotion, other benefits
Malak Patel | Chapter 13
2
The Deskilling Thesis
Harry Braverman→ argued that owners [capitalists] organize work to maximize profits
o To ↑ profits, break complex tasks into simple routines
o ↑ division of labour; 3 consequences:
1) Machinery can be used to replace workers
2) Less skilled, cheaper labour can be used
3) Employees can be controlled directly since less worker discretion & skill is needed
o As a result, future of work involves a “deskilling” tend
Deskilling: separation b/w conception and execution in a job
o Accompanied by the use of machinery to replace labour & increase management control
over workers
Fordism: mass production, assembly line work
Scientific management: system for improving productivity developed by Frederick Taylor
o After analyzing the movements of workers as they did their jobs, Taylor trained them to
eliminate unnecessary actions, thus, improve efficiency [also called Taylorism]
Criticism against deskilling thesis→ its irrelevant
o Factory workers only represent a small proportion of the labour force [13%]
Deskilling thesis apply to both industrial labour & service work?
o Yes b/c computerization eliminated many jobs, ↑ed supervision over work
Good jobs in manufacturing being replaced by bad jobs in servicesdownward slide in LF
Part-Time Work
1/6 of all ppl in Canadian labour force were part-time workers, working <30 hrs a week
Part-time work offers flexibility [time can be spent for other activities]
Increasingly large # of ppl depend on P-T work for necessities of FT living
Part-time workers make up 2/3 of ppl working @ or below minimum wage
o 1/3 workers work involuntary
Downsideeconomic [$] AND maintaining your self-respect [ex. Working Mac Jobs]
A Critique of the Deskilling Thesis
Focused occupations at the bottom of the hierarchy, ignores the top
1. Not all jobs are being deskilled
2. Deskilling maybe occurring primarily in old economy jobs [e.x. assembly line manufacturing]
o but not in new economy [e.x. biotechnology informatics]
How do you measure changes in skill across all jobs in labour force?
Research on skills should be conducted using multiple methods
Deskilling is occurring b/c of the rise of the service sector?
Service sector requires higher level of skills
Least-skilled service workers only hold their jobs briefly, then move on to something higher
Although technological innovations kill off entire job categories, they also create entire new
industries w/ many good jobs
Info tech revolution has transformed work, but lil evidence that it has degraded work overall
Proposed
view on
“future of
work”

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Description
Chapter 13: Work & the Economy The Promise & History of Work Salvation or Curse?  Work automation & standardization→ as degrading & inhuman processes  Wired magazine→ computers allow us to become mobile & creative Three Revolutions  Economy: institution that organizes the production, distribution, & exchange of goods & services 1. Primary sector- farming, fishing, logging & mining 2. Secondary sector – raw materials turned into finished goods; manufacturing 3. Tertiary sector – services are bought & sold The Development of Agriculture  Farmers invented the plow  Productivity: the amount produced for every hour worked  In 1900, > 40% workforce employed in agriculture in Canada  Commodities are staples The Development of Modern Industry [Industrialization]  International exploration, trade & commerce stimulated growth of markets from 15 cent. on  Markets: social relations that regulate the exchange of goods & services o Prices established by supply & demand The Development of the Service Sector  The computer automated many manufacturing & office procedures  Created jobs in the service sector [75%] The Social Organization of Work  Division of Labour: specialization of work tasks o Involves creating new skills o Breaking complex range of skills into series of simple routines  Work relations became more hierarchical  Work organized bureaucratically “Good” vs “Bad” Jobs  “Bad” jobs → don’t pay much & require the performance of routine tasks under close supervision → working conditions are unpleasant, dangerous → requires little formal education 1 → called “dead-end” jobs  “Good” jobs → require higher education, pay well → not closely supervised, encourages workers to be creative → offers secure employment, opportunity for promotion, other benefits Malak Patel | Chapter 13 The Deskilling Thesis Proposed  Harry Braverman→ argued that owners [capitalists] organize work to maximize profits view on o To ↑ profits, break complex tasks into simple routines o ↑ division of labour; 3 consequences: “future of work” 1) Machinery can be used to replace workers 2) Less skilled, cheaper labour can be used 3) Employees can be controlled directly since less worker discretion & skill is needed o As a result, future of work involves a “deskilling” tend  Deskilling: separation b/w conception and execution in a job o Accompanied by the use of machinery to replace labour & increase management control over workers  Fordism: mass production, assembly line work  Scientific management: system for improving productivity developed by Frederick Taylor o After analyzing the movements of workers as they did their jobs, Taylor trained them to eliminate unnecessary actions, thus, improve efficiency [also called Taylorism]  Criticism against deskilling thesis→ its irrelevant o Factory workers only represent a small proportion of the labour force [13%]  Deskilling thesis apply to both industrial labour & service work? o Yes b/c computerization eliminated many jobs, ↑ed supervision over work  Good jobs in manufacturing being replaced by bad jobs in services—downward slide in LF Part-Time Work  1/6 of all ppl in Canadian labour force were part-time workers, working <30 hrs a week  Part-time work offers flexibility [time can be spent for other activities]  Increasingly large # of ppl depend on P-T work for necessities of FT living  Part-time workers make up 2/3 of ppl working @ or below minimum wage o 1/3 workers work involuntary  Downside—economic [$] AND maintaining your self-respect [ex. Working Mac Jobs] A Critique of the Deskilling Thesis  Focused occupations at the bottom of the hierarchy, ignores the top 1. Not all jobs are being deskilled 2. Deskilling maybe occurring primarily in old economy jobs [e.x. assembly line manufacturing] o but not in new economy [e.x. biotechnology informatics]  How do you measure changes in skill across all jobs in labour force?  Research on skills should be conducted using multiple methods  Deskilling is occurring b/c of the rise of the service sector?  Service sector requires higher level of skills  Least-skilled service workers only hold their jobs briefly, then move on to something higher 2  Although technological innovations kill off entire job categories, they also create entire new industries w/ many good jobs  Info tech revolution has transformed work, but lil evidence that it has degraded work overall Malak Patel | Chapter 13 The Social Relations of Work  Industrial revolution→ ↑ing use of machinery in production  Managerial revolution→ separation of conception and execution  Workers have little discretion over what they produce; managers choose  Post-industrial revolution→ employ more skilled managers than firms in good producing  Results in rise of new middle class w/ greater power to make decisions  Areas of economy expected to grow: environment, biotechnology, multimedia, aerospace o Pattern consistent w/ growing inequality Labour Market Segmentation 3 stages of labour market development [David Gordon] 1) Initial proletarianization [1820 to 1890] o A large industrial working class replaced craft workers in small workshops 2) Labour homogenization [19 cent end to WWII] o Extensive mechanization & deskilling took place 3) Labour market segmentation [WWII end to present] o Large business organizations emerged o Workers & the work they do have different characteristics o Primary labour market: made up of high skilled, well educated workers  Employed in large corporations that enjoy high levels of capital investment  Employment is secure, earnings are ↑, opportunity for promotion, offers benefits  Work is often unionized o Secondary labour market: contains large # of women & ethnic minority grps- immigrants  Employees unskilled & lack higher education, work in small firms  Employment insecure, earnings low, mobility prospects are limited o Proponents argue: 1) work is found in different ways in 2 labour markets 2) social barriers make it difficult to move from 1 labour market to other Worker Resistance & Management Response  Workers often resist the imposition of task specialization & mechanization o They go on strike, change jobs, fail to show up, sabotage production lines, etc  Causes management to modify its organizational plans  Human relations school of management: emerged as a challenge to Taylor’s SM approach o Advocated less authoritarian leadership on the shop floor, careful selection & training of personnel, greater attention to human needs & employee job satisfaction  Unions negotiate w/ centralized org/gov’t over wages and labour policy in general o Sweden—90%; USA—14%, Canada—30% [4.8 million employees] o Canadians work more hrs per week than in other rich countries (Average 33.7 hrs) o Canadians have fewer paid vacation days per year (Average 26 days)  2 types of decision-making innovations 1) Reforms that give workers more authority on the shop floor  Quality of work life: originated in Sweden & Japan, involve small grps of workers 3 & managers collaborating to improve both the quality of goods produced & the communication b/w workers and managers [called quality circles]  Results in ↑ productivity gains & workers satisfaction Malak Patel | Chapter 13 2) Reforms that allow workers to help formulate overall business strategy  Gives workers more authority  Codetermination: German system→ workers’ council review & influence mngmnt pol
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