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SOCA02H3 (310)
Chapter 13

Sociology - Chapter 13.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Robert Brym

Sociology Chapter 13: Work and theEconomy The Promise and History of Work Salvation or Curse?  Computerization of the office began in the early 1980s  Shoshana Zuboff: visited such offices and asked the office workers to draw pictures  displayed frowns because the office became a mobile and unsociable.  Bill Gates: Goods and services cheaper removing distribution costs of capitalism, more leisure time, more mobile and more creative. Economic Sectors And Revolutions  Economy- the institution that organizes the production, distribution and exchange of goods and services  Three sectors: o 1. Primary (agricultural): farming, fishing, logging, mining o 2. Secondary (manufacturing): raw materials are turned into finished goods o 3. Tertiary (service): services are bought and sold  Three revolutions: o 1. Agricultural: 10,000 years ago most were nomadic; herding cattle, growing plants, settlements. 5000 years ago, invention of the plow  productivity – the amount of goods or services produced for every hour worked. o 2. Industrial: 15 century exploration, trade, commerce  growth of markets – social relations that regulate the exchange of goods and services. In a market, the prices of goods and services are established by how plentiful they are (supply) and how much they are wanted (demand). 1700 was the Industrial Revolution in England to the rest of the world  manufacturing most dominant. o 3. Postindustrial: productivity  service jobs  computerization in 20 century The Division and Hierarchy of Labour  Productivity  revolutions  increased division of labor – the specialization of work tasks. The more specialized the work tasks in a society, the greater the division of labor – by creating new skills, studying longer, breaking complex skills into simpler ones. “Good” Versus “Bad Jobs  Bad jobs pay little, require routine tasks under close supervision, bad conditions, little education. Good jobs pay well, not supervised, more creativity, good conditions, secure employment, promotion, and benefits. The Deskilling Thesis  Harry Braverman: to maximize profits, owners (capitalists) increased division of labour  o Deskilling – the process by which work tasks are broken into simpler routines requiring little training to perform. It is accompanied by the use of machinery to replace labor whenever possible and increase management control over workers. o Braverman’s Deskilling only applies to industrial labor not service work which is more important  ¾ of Canadian jobs are service jobs o Zuboff: Braverman’s deskilling applied outside factory  computerization  supervision  Fordism – a method of industrial management based on assembly-line methods of producing inexpensive, uniform commodities in high volume  Scientific management – developed in the 1910s by Frederick W. Taylor, is a system for improving productivity. After analyzing the movements of workers as they did their jobs, Taylor trained them to eliminate unnecessary actions. AKA Taylorism. Part-Time Work  Growth of part-time work (doubled with more women working) = concern about erosion of meaningful jobs because: o 1. Some part-time jobs are “good” o 2. Some people want to work part-time and can afford to do so (family, school)  PROBLEM: some people depend on part-time jobs for a living, and most of these are “bad” jobs o Part-time workers = 2/3 of low wagers o Fastest growing category of part-timers are involuntary (most want to work more, esp. women if proper family services are available)  DOWNSIDE: no self-respect w. bad part-time jobs o Ester Reiter – studied fast food workers in Toronto, mostly teens. They are trained to smile no matter what  blow up! o Temps and substitutes more likely to endure sexual-harassment A CritiqueOfThe Deskilling Thesis  Deskilling doesn't focus on the entire occupational structure; only occurs in old economy jobs.  Jobs in the service sector require higher levels of skill than jobs in the goods producing sector  Against deskilling of service sector in comparison to other sectors  Braverman and Zuboff underestimated skilled labor in the economy  Deskilling created work. o Technology killed off jobs but they also created new industries o Computers magnify pay differences among skill levels; computers enlarge the number and quality of good jobs and reduce the number of bad jobs but it does not improve the quality. TheSocial Relations OfWork  Workers are closely supervised in factory settings  More skills required because of the complexity of goods and services we now produce  Clement and Myles: the skill content of the entire labour process has risen but the skills are in managerial and administrative.  Managerial Revolution: separation of conception and execution  Managers now choose patterns and colors and order supervisors to direct shop floor production.  Managerial class rise has intensified in the postindustrial service revolution o Knowledge intensive + postindustrial services hire those with managerial skills rather than companies in goods and distribution o They play less supervision roles BUT more decision-making power = rise of middle class  Silicon Valley  High-paid people BUT low-wage almost sweatshop workers  Emerging sectors in Canada: Environment, Biotechnology, Multimedia, Aerospace Labour Market Segmentation  David Gordon – Three stages of labour development: o Initial Proletarianization (1820-1890) – large industrial working class replaced craft workers in small workshops o Labour Homogenization (late 1800s -1939) – extensive mechanization and deskilling o Labour Market Segmentation (1945- ) - the division of the market for labour into distinct settings. In these settings, work is found in different ways and workers have different characteristics. There is only a slim chance of moving from one setting to another (social barriers). o 2 Characteristics:  Primary Labour Market – comprises mainly highly skilled, well-educated workers. They are employed in large corporations that enjoy high levels of capital investment. Employment is secure, earnings are high, and fringe benefits are generous  Secondary Labour Market – contains a disproportionately large number of women and members of ethnic minorities, particularly recent immigrants. Employees tend to be unskilled and lack higher education. They work in small firms that have low levels of capital investment. Employment is insecure, earnings are low, and fringe benefits are meager. Worker Resistance and Management Response  Criticism of Braverman’s factory work analysis  workers resist  Human Relations School Of Management – emerged in the 1930s as a challenge to Taylor’s scientific management approach. It advocated less authoritarian leadership on the shop floor, careful selection and training of personnel and greater attention to human needs and employee job satisfaction.  Companies in industrialized countries made concessions to labour for loyal and productive workers esp. countries with powerful trade union movements such as Sweden  70%, unions in nationwide umbrella organizations that negotiate directly. NOT US  <12%  CANADA  30.4% but no nationwide organization. No concessions because we work more hours than most industrialized countries + fewer paid vacation days per year.  Industry-level decision making, Canadian workers are behind. 2 main types of decision-making innovations in rich industrialized countries since 1970s:  1. Reforms that give workers more authority on the shop floor o Quality of work life – movement originated in Sweden and japan. It involved small groups of a dozen or so workers and managers collaborating to improve both the quality of goods produced and communication between workers and managers.  AKA “quality circles” = high productivity gains and worker satisfaction  Few in Canada (automotive and aerospace)  2. Reforms that allow workers to help formulate overall business strategy o Codetermination – a German system of worker participation that allows workers to help formulate overall business strategy. German workers’ councils review and influence management policies on a wide range of issues, including when and where new plants should be built and how capital should be invested in technological innovation.  More authority for workers than quality circles  Few in Canada (auto industry)  Unions (from 1920s, strong in 1970s) mostly in public sector (70%) rather than private sector (20%) Unions and Professional Organizations  Unions – organizations of workers that seek to defend and promote their members’ interests  Power of unions  difference between unionized & nonunionized is 3$ full-time, 7$ part-time  Internal labor markets – social mechanisms for controlling payrates, hiring, and promotions within corporations while reducing competition between a firm’s workers & external labor supplies o Training program and specific length of time to serve required for promotion o Protect seniors from layoffs and intake of workers by "last tired first fi
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