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SOC101Y1 (470)

labour process theory.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Paul Glavin

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- al rules. ← - 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- productive work. - 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 swapped. - hence reverting to traditional methods of direct con- trol. - 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 decision-making opportunities. - they know they can be monitored at any time, they become their own taskmasters. - 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 workers. - 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
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