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Chapter 12 Work and the Economy

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1 Chapter 12 Work and the Economy

2 Consider the Artist in the Gray Flannel Pajamas
What has changed in the American worker since the 1950s? (According to New York Times writer Michael Lewis) The dominant image of the “Organization Man” has shifted and now is inclusive of women. Values and Attitudes—Today’s worker will not sell out their identity to the corporation; rather, the American worker is moving toward acting as a free agent in the industry.

3 Other Changes in the American Worker According to Lewis
Values and attitudes that are revered include individualism and freedom—free-thinking and innovation. The values of traditional professions have been eroded by the business model.

4 Other Changes… (cont.) A new corporate language emphasizes the quest for originality, which helps to create a corporate culture between groups. Non-conformity seems to have become the norm. New individualism is fostered in the workplace (e.g., working from home).

5 Division of Labor Division of Labor: The specialization of tasks required to produce goods. Changes in the division of labor have occurred at the micro and macro levels (between males and females and also through globalization).

6 Figure 12.1 Labor Force Distribution by Major Industry Group, 1860-2000

7 Figure 12.2 Part-Time vs. Full-Time Employment Differences by Gender

8 Figure 12.3 Distribution of Workers by Weekly Hour Bands

9 Structural and Cultural Dimension of Work and the Economy
Structural Dimension: Is concerned with the way work and the economy are organized. Cultural Dimension: Is concerned with values, norms, attitudes, thought, and expression. Economy: The social institution primarily concerned with production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

10 Structure of the Economy: Economic Systems
Capitalism: A type of modern economic system in which people and organizations invest capital in the production of goods and services to make a profit. Capitalism requires a free market in which producers can compete with one another and freely enter into contracts to buy or sell.

11 Economic Systems (cont.)
Socialism: A type of modern economic system in which the capital invested and the profits from production and supply of goods and services are vested in the state. These state-run economies are sometimes referred to as communist.

12 Economic Systems (cont’d)
Mixed economic system: A type of modern economic system in which elements of socialism are introduced into an otherwise capitalist society. Examples: Britain, France, & Scandinavia

13 Economic Systems (cont’d)
Industrial Economy: An economy characterized by the employment of large numbers of workers in the mass production of manufactured goods. The industrial economy reached its peak during the twentieth century.

14 Economic Systems (cont’d)
Service Economy: An economy devoted to supplying services, such as information processing, teaching, nursing, advertising, marketing, or food.

15 Organization of Work Karl Marx emphasized that capitalist organization generated conflict, but that it was the most dynamic economic force for bringing about modernization that the world had seen. The incessant efforts to improve efficiency naturally brought about needs for new technologies and organization solutions.

16 Organization of Work (cont.)
Max Weber emphasized that the most rational form of organization was the modern bureaucracy, which is a large hierarchical organization governed by formal rules and having a clear specification of work tasks that are carried out by suitably qualified officials.

17 Professionals Professionals are characterized by:
(1) control of a large body of abstract, formal knowledge (2) substantial autonomy from supervision (3) authority over clients as well as subordinate occupational groups (4) the claim that they will use their knowledge for the benefit of their clients, putting their clients’ interests above their own when necessary.

18 Craft Workers Craft Workers: Employees who combine an intense pride in their work with a broad knowledge of tools, materials, and processes as well as manual skills acquired by long training and experience.

19 Figure 12.4 Number Employed in Professional and Related Occupations

20 Figure 12.5 Professional and Related Occupations by Subgroup

21 Figure 12.6 The Decline of Self-Employment in the Twentieth Century

22 Frederick Taylor and Taylorism
Taylorism: A system of “scientific management” developed by industrial engineer Frederick Taylor. Taylor believed that there was one best way to perform every task and that through careful observation, one could find a more efficient means of accomplishing the specific task.

23 Taylorism and Fordism Taylor’s ideas were developed into the principles associated with modern quality control and scientific management. These ideas played a role in the design of the automatic assembly line developed by the Ford Motor Company. This early modern industrial system-of standardized procedures, assembly-line production, and tight managerial control-is the quintessence of Fordism.

24 Formal Organization Formal organization: A cooperative system that serves to integrate the contributions of individual participants. Characterized by an official structure with formal rules and sanctions governing the operation of the system.

25 De-Skilling of Workers
De-skill: A term referring to the process by which workers’ skills are built into machines, thus removing the necessity and value of the workers themselves. This process originated with the emergence of capitalism and factory labor, and it continues today as a function of the increasing abilities of computers and technologies.

26 Making Out Making out: A term introduced by Michael Burawoy referring to workers’ willingness to consent to labor conditions inasmuch as they have the freedom to resist management pressures and still come out ahead.

27 Outsourcing Outsourcing: The process by which corporations and businesses send work to off-site contractors (often outside the country) in order to avoid paying high wages or providing expensive benefits.

28 Example of Outsourcing: Southern California
Many highly skilled and well-paid computer workers in Silicon Valley were supported by large numbers of low-paid service workers, and racial economic inequality was significant. As a result, outsourcing occurred, whereby many lower-level services, including janitorial services, were outsourced to legal and illegal Mexican and Central American immigrants. These immigrants receive low pay, have no benefits, and are worked overtime.

29 Figure 12.7 Distribution of Top Occupations

30 Figure 12.8 Distribution of Top Five Occupations of Foreign-Born Workers

31 Free Agenting Free agent: An individual who does not seek jobs but, rather, is on the lookout for projects, new knowledge and information, and connectedness through the Web. They do not require a physical location to work. They only need a powerful computer, programming languages, and access to the Internet. They have project contracts (not jobs) and run their own business operations.

32 Deindustrialization & Gender Gap
Deindustrialization: Systematic disinvestment in a nation’s manufacturing infrastructure. Gender Gap: Broadly speaking, the difference between men’s and women’s labor-force participation.

33 Figure 12.9 Labor Force Participation Rates by Gender

34 Breakdown of Boundaries
Whereas modernization involved increasing separation of the work situation from personal and family life, the use of computers and other electronic devices has made possible an increase in work outside the bureaucratic office or factory. This reflects an erosion of the boundary between workplace and home. Also, through direct-selling techniques, workers may blur the line of customer-seller relations.

35 Breakdown of Boundaries (cont.)
Within the work of professionals as well as craft-workers, managers are increasingly seeking to establish and maintain “human bonds” and personal relations within the company. Under the Ford model, these relationships were strictly separated and excluded from the workplace.

36 Breakdown of Boundaries (cont.)
Workers in the Fordist economic system might have worked for a single company their entire lives. In today’s society, workers move fluidly from firm to firm within their lifetime.

37 Study Questions What are the main differences between capitalist and socialist economic systems? What are the features of “mixed” economic systems? To what does the term division of labor refer? How did the Industrial Revolution transform the division of labor in society?

38 Study Questions (cont.)
Define Max Weber’s concept of bureaucracy. What aspects of the modern bureaucracy make it an efficient way to organize work? What aspects make it inefficient? What are the four defining characteristics of “professionals”? List some examples of professional occupations.

39 Study Questions (cont.)
Henry Braverman argued that capitalists organize the work process in whatever way will minimize labor costs, and thus maximize productivity. Is this a “structural” explanation of the labor process? Or is it a “cultural” explanation? Discuss the implications of both.

40 Study Questions (cont.)
Why are the concepts of meaning and identity important for understanding work? What role does gender play in the construction of workers’ identities? Have technological changes led to a downgrading or an upgrading of worker skills? Explain why.

41 Study Questions (cont.)
Describe how outsourcing has changed the way work is organized for supermarket janitors in Southern California. In what way does outsourcing represent the transition from Fordist to post-Fordist production?

42 Study Questions (cont.)
This transition to post-Fordist production has been described as one of dedifferentiation, which involves the erosion of institutional boundaries. Give three examples of boundaries that have been blurred or undermined under the post-Fordist system.

43 Study Questions (cont.)
Ethnographic studies of workplace behavior distinguish between strategies of “resistance” and “cooperation.” Give three examples of workers’ resistance strategies as well as three examples of cooperation.

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