lecture 7 notes
MODELS of MANAGERIAL CONTROL
- Richard edwards tries to extend their theory of labour market segmentation to also de-
scribe the evolution of workplace control systems.
- identified 3 basic types of managerial control
- simple control
- most common in secondary labour markets
- employers regulate the labour process with coercive methods,
through a hierarchy of authority
- technical control
- achieved by machine pacing of work and can, replace the direct supervi-
sion of simple control methods.
- e.g. henry fords assembly line gave managers a power means of
controlling the pace of work.
- bureaucratic control
- evolved in large corporations in the core sector of the economy.
- has good salaries, benefits, rewards, environment, usually to
skilled labour and middle and upper class market. this employ-
ment package designed to win employees commitment.
- argues that the evolution of segmented labour markets, with different control systems
resulted in a socially fragmented and politically weak working class.
- critics: like, braverman, theory portrays workers as largely passive, undermining their
power of resistance.
Andrew Friedman emphasizes how workers resists, reshape and actively participate in
the management control strategies
- suggests frontier of control
- workers could gain control through union bargaining
- management may initiate work reforms
- responsible autonomy - a means of obtaining cooperation by granting workers
some scope for making task-related decisions.
- e.g. quality of working life
- opposite strategy is direct control (like simple control)
- involves strict supervision with very little job autonomy for workers
- Michael burawoy
- suggests that in many work settings employees actively choose to operate.
- they treat work bonuses as a game they try to beat
- there wont be resistance and challenges made to managerial
rules if workers have a fair chance of ‘winning’
- workers are often self motivated and requires no coercive
methods, since they agreed to follow the original manageri-
- Buroway also describes the hegemonic organization of work
- in large corporations and government departments, employees often see their
own futures linked with the success of the organization.
- management’s goals and values are dominant, or hegemonic
- with responsible autonomy,
- makes good long-term commitment from workers to organization.
- with the rapid growth of computerized based information technologies, gave a rise to
- electronic control system - common in teleworkers
- could either be passive
- workplace monitored by security cameras
- or high active
- managers keep track of work performances electronically and
sends messages to those who are under performing.
- very intrusive
- however, this type of control system may not be effective
- managers sometimes cannot differentiate productive work and un-
- they also are unable to get the sense of employee’s frame of mind
and their commitment to the organization. - had to rely on long conversations and regular home visits
- home visits turns the worker ‘the boss’ since they’re
at home and the boss into guests. control is
- hence reverting to traditional methods of direct con-
- call centers has led to extensive use of electronic control of workers
- Michel Foucault
- see call centers as ‘electronic sweatshops’ in which workers have virtually no
- they know they can be monitored at any time, they become their own
- nonetheless, their degree of control also depends on what service
they provide through the phone.
- the combination of technical and bureaucratic control that underlies call-centre man-
agement systems should be given a new label
- structural control
THE DESKILLING DEBATE
- according to braverman, the application of taylorist-style management along with the
adoption of new technologies was systematically deskilling both blue and white collar
- contradictory, daniel bell argues that a new economy relying heavily on highly
skilled knowledge workers was taking shape.
- arguments made of enskilling workers, growing numbers of multi-skilled workers re-
quired with flexible specialization, lean production with proliferation of computers and ro-
botics in the workplace.
- deskilling happens to both individual and the job they occupy
- jobs can be redesigned to increase and decrease skill conten