Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Industrial Psychology; Job Analysis; Job Characteristics; Theories; Trends; Employment Change.

Horgen, T. (1999). Excellence by design: Transforming workplace and work practice. New York; Chichester: John Wiley.


This book reports findings from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Architecture four-year project. Specifically the book describes how changes in the workplace can improve the quality of production and the lives of workers. The Process Architecture framework is introduced and through examples demonstrates how it can be applied in a wide variety of organizations and industries. The information is accessible to managers and others with no background in architecture or space planning.
KEY WORDS: Work Environment; Work Design; Employment Changes.

Huberman, M., & Lanoie, P. (2000). Changing attitudes toward worksharing: Evidence from Quebec. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques, 26(2), 141-155.


This paper reports on survey results administered to five work sharing opportunities in Quebec since 1994: Bell Canada, Alcan, Scott Paper, Sico, and the Ministere de l'environnement et de la faune. Findings indicate that while previous studies have raised doubts about the likelihood of successful work-sharing initiatives. However, based on the cases studied, participation rates in voluntary work-sharing programs were high, especially where the worker's sacrifice (lost wages) was less than ideal and where workers had previous experience with reduced and flexible work time. Work-sharing initiatives were less successful when they were mandatory. The programs studied point to the importance of labor-supply responses in policy design. It was recommended that governments makes work sharing more attractive to workers, as it would hopefully lead to changes in workers attitudes toward it. The findings are consistent with the recommendations of the federal government's Advisory Group on Working Time.
KEY WORDS: Attitude Change; Quebec; Working Hours; Work; Labor Policy; Flexibility; Government Policy; Employment Changes.

Hudson, K. (2001). The disposable worker. Monthly Review, 52(11), 43-55.


While the emerging practice of contract employment offers potentially better working conditions than such practices as day labor, it has an ominous potential, since workers may be doing the same job, in the same industry, firm, and occupation, and yet receive very different compensation. Employers, and employees in the favored primary job market, are motivated to perpetuate the uneven distribution of rewards. Eliminating the two-tiered labor market will require a full commitment from both government and organized labor.
KEY WORDS: Employment Changes; Labor Market; Labor Movements; United States of America.

Huws, U. (2003). The making of a cybertariat: Virtual work in a real world. New York: Monthly Review Press.


In recent decades by the rise of digital technologies has changed the workplace. Parts of a single labor process can be moved around the world, with implications not only for individual workplaces or firms, but for the working class as a whole. Computer operators in India process medical transcriptions for doctors in the United States at one-eighth of what U.S. computer operators would earn, and at four times the pay of an Indian schoolteacher. Within advanced capitalist countries, the workplace has been made more “flexible” through cellphones, e-mail, freelancing, and outsourcing. The same process often makes the situation of the worker more precarious, as they are required to pay for the tools of their trade, made constantly accessible to the demands of the workplace, and isolated from their fellow-workers. Huws’ Making of a Cybertariat examines this process from a number of perspectives. It focuses especially on women in the workplace and at home. It examines changing categories of employment, and modes of organization. It shows how new divisions of race and gender are created in the process, and sets out an agenda for negotiating them. It explores the ways in which traditional forms of organization are being reshaped, and questions how the emerging cybertariat can become conscious of their common interests and stand together to struggle for them.
KEY WORDS: ICT; Labour Process; Technological Determinism; Globalization; Telework; Spatial; Changes in Paid Work.

Iedema, R., Rhodes, C., & Scheeres, H. (2006). Surveillance, resistance, observance: Exploring the teleo-affective volatility of workplace interaction. Organization Studies, 27(8), 1111-1130.


The authors place their work within the critical study of contemporary management practice, where an understanding of the possibilities for worker subjugation has been framed in terms of the disciplinary practices of surveillance and responses to it in terms of compliance and resistance. This paper explores how the volatility of everyday interaction also leads to a different response - one the authors describe as 'observance': the process of identity diversification at work that creates an analytical-conceptual space that is not fully circumscribed by compliance and resistance. Providing empirical evidence, the paper examines team meetings held as part of a quality improvement program in a manufacturing workplace in Sydney, Australia. The researchers find that the interpersonal dynamics among team workers led to 'emergent' subject positions and conducts. The idea of observance, argue the researchers, highlights these emergent positions as well as how people exceed the parameters of surveillance, compliance and resistance, especially in relation to participative-communicative or 'immaterial' forms of work.
KEY WORDS: Labour Process; LPT; Subjectivity; Teamwork; Surveillance; Observance; Critical Management Studies; Discipline.

Innes, P. A., & Littler, C. R. (2004). A decade of downsizing: Understanding the contours of change in Australia, 1990-99. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 42(2), 229-242.


This paper seeks to map a decade of organizational downsizing in Australia utilizing a comprehensive longitudinal data set of 4153 firms. Aggregate downsizing measures conceal extensive change within organizations. We seek to assess these processes by comparing a conventional downsizing measure with more specific occupational downsizing measures. The results show the contours of change in Australia over the 1990s; indicate that there are distinctive and contrasting trends; and raise significant issues for future theoretical and empirical research.
KEY WORDS: Australia; Downsizing; Longitudinal Methodology; Occupation; Restructuring; Organizational Change; Employment Change.

Jackson, A., Baldwin, B., Robinson, D., & Wiggins, C. (2000). Falling behind: The state of working Canada, 2000. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.


This report describes how the poor economic performance and government cutbacks of the 1990s have adversely affected most Canadians. Findings indicate that there has been no increase for more than 20 years in the real annual earnings of Canadian men working full-time and the average weekly earnings, adjusted for inflation, grew just 2.8% from 1989 to 1998. Yet, despite strong economic growth in 1999, there was no increase in real weekly earnings. Lastly, the average after-tax and after-transfer income of Canadians fell by 5.6% over the 1990s, with poorer families experiencing a decline of 12%.
KEY WORDS: Canada; Economic Conditions; Statistics; Working Class; Economic Policy; Change; Economic Change.
Jacobs, J. A., & Gerson, K. (2001). Overworked individuals or overworked families? Explaining trends in work, leisure, and family time. Work and Occupations, 28(1), 40-63.
Data from the 1970 and 1997 Current Population Survey demonstrate that, more than changes in working hours, the shift from male-breadwinner to dual-earner and single-parent households has increased concern for family-work balance. Research should focus on combined work schedules of family members rather than changes in individual work patterns.
KEY WORDS: Family-Work Relationship; Work Leisure Relationship; Time Utilization; Dual Career Family; Working Hours; Work and Learning; Employment Changes.

Kalleberg, A. L. (2000). Nonstandard employment relations: Part-time, temporary and contract work. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 341-365.


Part-time work, temporary help agency, contract company employment, short-term and contingent work, and independent contracting are all examples of nonstandard employment. These employment arrangements have become increasingly prominent ways of organizing work in recent years. Understanding of these nonstandard work arrangements has been hampered by inconsistent definitions, often inadequate measures, and the scarcity of comparative research. A review of the emerging research on nonstandard work arrangements emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of contributions to this field, including research by a variety of sociologists, economists, and psychologists. Cross-national research, which is needed to investigate how macroeconomic, political, and institutional factors affect the nature of employment relations, is also assessed, with areas for future research suggested.
KEY WORDS: Employment Changes; Part Time Employment; Self Employment; Contracts; Working Hours; Sociology of Work; Sociological Research.

Kalleberg, A. L. (2001). Evolving employment relations in the United States. In I. Berg & A. L. Kalleberg (Eds.), Sourcebook of labour markets: Evolving structures and processes (pp. 27-31). New York: Kluwer Academic /Plenum.


Scholars, economists, and sociologists throughout the US and other industrialized nations have begun to discuss the changing employment relations with regard to "nonstandard" work arrangements, such as temporary and part-time employment. Employment situations that offer both flexibility and instability. This book brings to light four important issues associated with this scenario: (1) the number of workers in the US who are currently affected by nonstandard employment arrangements; (2) the rationale for nonstandard employment relations trends; (3) the relationship that exists between nonstandard employment arrangements and job quality; and (4) the triangular employment relationship that prompted the development of nonstandard employment arrangements.
KEY WORDS: Labor Relations; Part Time Employment; Labor Market; Underemployment; Employment Changes; United States of America

Kalleberg, A. L. (2001). Farewell to commitment? Changing employment relations and labor markets in the United States. Contemporary Sociology, 30(1), 9-12.


Review essay on books by (1) Peter Cappelli, The New Deal at Work: Managing the Market-Driven Workforce (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1999); (2) David Marsden, A Theory of Employment Systems: Micro-Foundations of Diversity (Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1999); & (3) Paul Osterman, Securing Prosperity: The American Labor Market: How It Has Changed and What to Do about It (Princeton: Princeton U Press, 1999). The focus of these books is on the new institutional rules between employees and employers. Called the "new deal" by Cappelli, and the "new labor market" by Osterman, these new relations are characterized by a rise in interfirm mobility, the end of the corporation as "family," lay-offs, and corporate reform practices like downsizing and subcontracting. All 3 books are written from an industrial relations perspective and use the firm as the basis for understanding changes in employment relations. Stressed are the inequalities that result from increased job mobility. Cappelli focuses on the impact of changes on employee management practices in the US. Marsden's original institutional theory of labor markets and human resources management offers a way to consider the range of possibilities for the evolution of employment relations. 1 Reference.
KEY WORDS: United States of America; Labor Market; Job Change; Employment Changes; Labor Relations; Employers; Superior Subordinate Relationship; Occupational Mobility.

Katz-Fishman, W., Scott, J., & Modupe, I. (2002). Globalization of capital and class struggle. In B. Berberoglu (Ed.), Labor and capital in the age of globalization (pp. 179-194). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.


Globalization, fueled by technological revolution & the triumph of neoliberalism over reform, has transformed the labor process & class relations worldwide by exporting production, eliminating many domestic jobs, & hastening the deterioration of work conditions. The chapter offers an overview of the transformation of capitalism & the labor process on the latter decades of the twentieth century. The consequences of economic crisis for labor, especially in terms of mass unemployment & underemployment, have lain the groundwork for global struggle, signs of which are evidenced by increasing labor movement & political activism in the US & internationally. The gradual, collective recognition that the struggle against advanced capitalism's "superexploitation" is at heart a political struggle that suggests the inchoate formation of an international workers' revolution.
KEY WORDS: Globalization; Labor Movements; Forces And Relations of Production; Scientific Technological Revolution; Labor Process; Political Movements; Worker Consciousness; Class Struggle; International Division Of Labor; Exploitation; Activism.

Kersley, B., Alpin, C., Forth, J., Bryson, A., Bewley, H., Dix, G., et al. (2006). Inside the workplace: First findings from the 2004 workplace employment relations survey (WERS 2004). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York: Routledge.


The book provides an in-depth exploration of findings from the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS 2004). In over 3,000 workplaces across Britain, managers and worker representatives were interviewed and over 20,000 employees returned completed questionnaires. The survey links the views from these three parties, providing a truly integrated picture of employment relations. Inside the Workplace covers change in a number of areas affected by government policy, including Britain's Working Time Directive, equal opportunities, work-life balance, workplace conflict and statutory trade union recognition procedures. The book is suggested for students, academics and practitioners in the fields of employee relations, human resource management, organizational behaviour and sociology. Additional information can be found at http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/0415378133/default.asp.
KEY WORDS: Work; Work-Life Balance; Workplace Conflict; Labour Relations; Industrial Relations; Labour Policy; Human Resources; Skill.

Koeber, C. (2002). Corporate restructuring, downsizing, and the middle class: The process and meaning of worker displacement in the "new" economy. Qualitative Sociology, 25(2), 217-246.


Based on a case study of displaced IBM computer and Link aerospace workers in Binghamton, NY, this article analyzes the phenomenon of corporate downsizing and the experience of worker displacement as a process of work and employment change that occurs within the context of structural changes in the economy, large firms, and labor markets. Findings suggest that in the new economy, the concept of worker "displacement" should be thought of in more expansive terms than the more narrow and conventional definition that is often associated with it. Workers' experiences of downsizing, displacement, and employment change were not simply associated with loss, but were characterized mainly by the change between objective conditions and subjective meanings of work and of being workers.
KEY WORDS: Dislocated Workers; Corporations; Unemployment; Employment Changes; Organizational Change; Labor Market; Economic Conditions; New York.

Kuutti, K. (1999). Activity theory, transformation of work, and information systems design. In Y. Engestroem & R. Miettinen (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory. Learning in doing: Social, cognitive, and computational perspectives (pp. 360-376). New York: Cambridge University Press.


This chapter provides an overview of the information system research discussion. The author analyzes the continued transformation of work organization and compares the need of this changing work with the goals of the new information system research and design approaches. Lastly, some major problems in recent information system research is discussed with comparisons made with the properties of activity theory. The latter is suggested to be a encouraging alternative as a new background theory for information system research and design.
KEY WORDS: Human Machine Systems Design; Information Systems; Theories; Working Conditions; Change.

Laviec, J.-P., Horiuchi, M., & Sugeno, K. (Eds.). (2004). Work in the global economy. Geneva: ILO.


Globalization has always been connected with the rise of “market individualism” and a polarization of the workforce. As the pace of globalization has quickened in recent years, the outcome has been rising inequality within labour markets. Quite significantly, this is accompanied by a rising acceptance of inequality, notably among the industrialized societies. The lectures in this book discuss whether this trend could be reversed through national economic and social policies.
KEY WORDS: Globalization; Work; New Economy; Social Inequality; Social Change; Economic Change.

Lowe, G. S. (2000). The quality of work: A people-centered agenda. Don Mills, ON; Oxford: Oxford University Press.


This book examines trends and issues in Canadian workplaces and advocates a people-centered agenda for improving the quality of working life. Chapters 1-9 discuss the following topics: the future of work; the crisis in work; what Canadians want from work; the "new economy"; education, skills, and the knowledge economy; youth and work; "putting people first"; workplace innovation; and unions and the quality agenda. Chapter 10 provides eight principles of higher-quality work for assessing overall work trends, employers' practices, government policies, and the agendas of unions and professional associations.
KEY WORDS: Quality of Work Life; Canada; Work; Social Aspects; Labor Policy; Canada; Economic Changes; Organizational Changes; Employment Changes.

Magdoff, F., & Magdoff, H. (2004). Disposable workers: Today's reserve army of labor. Monthly Review, 55(11), 18-35.


It has been suggested that the drive to increase profitability of investments has generated large numbers of workers living a precarious existence. Marx called this "reserve army of labor" a basic characteristic of capitalism. It allows the market system to function profitably by keeping costs low. This reserve army includes the unemployed, part-time workers, those working independently but desiring full-time work, as well as individuals not counted in employment statistics that would be available for work under changed circumstances (such as prisoners & the disabled). This paper explores the shifts in the reserve army's composition over time, along with the movement of workers from one segment to another; ways in which the reserve army benefits capital; and the improbability of ever reaching full employment. The future of the reserve army is contingent on labor's response to increased capital pressure.
KEY WORDS: United States of America; Labor Policy; Labor Supply; Capitalism; Marxist Analysis; Workers; Employment Changes; Employment; Economic Conditions.

Marlow, S., & Patton, D. (2002). Minding the gap between employers and employees: The challenge for owner-managers of smaller manufacturing firms. Employee Relations, 24(5), 523-539.

Using interviews with the owner-manager and employees of 45 manufacturing firms, the way in which labor compliance and control is addressed in smaller manufacturing firms is examined. Findings suggest that there can be blurred divisions between employers and employees. Through necessity or choice, when the owner of the firm also takes the role of co-worker this can create shared social relationships and group working which is advantageous to the owner, but this can have implications for managing labor discipline.
KEY WORDS: Business Organizations; Labor Management Relations; Organizational Behavior; Supervisor Employee Interaction; Employment Changes.

Mccabe, D. (2007). Individualization at work? Subjectivity, teamworking and anti-unionism. Organization, 14(2), 243-266.


This article explores power as a multidimensional phenomenon, with the ability to individualize, rendering us isolated and fearful, but also used to challenge such conditions. The article argues that subjectivity should not be confused with individualism, for although we are all individualized, and understand ourselves as individuals, subjectivity is constituted through social relations that give rise to collective meaning, sentiments and affiliations. The authors consider these issues in the context of an automobile manufacturing company, where there was an attempt to constitute individualistic employees through anti-unionism and, somewhat paradoxically, teamworking. The article also links to the labour process theory debate, arguing that much of the controversy and confusion in that field stem from a dualistic reading of the issues involved.
KEY WORDS: Labour process; LPT; Subjectivity; Individualism; Work; Teamworking.

National Research Council. (1999). The changing nature of work: Implications for occupational analysis. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.


The subject of this book is the changing nature of work and the implications for occupational analysis. The charge to the committee from the Army Research Institute was (1) to review and analyze the research on the environmental forces, organizational factors, and the content of work; (2) to identify key issues in the changing context and content of work that affect the design of occupations in the civilian and military sectors; (3) to evaluate the changes in tools for analyzing the nature of the work environment and developing occupational classification systems that are responsive to current and future needs of the workplace; and (4) to assess the application of methods and tools developed in the civilian sector to occupational classification and analysis in the Army. The current composition of the committee includes experts in the areas of sociology, economics, management, occupational analysis, and industrial and organizational psychology and training. This book is intended to provide decision makers in both public and private organizations, as well as in both the civilian and military sectors, with guidance on how to assess and respond to contemporary debates about changes in work. The intended audience extends far beyond the boundaries of social scientists and human resource specialists who have a professional interest in understanding changes in work and the adequacy of occupational analysis systems for charting and managing the changes. In particular, the authors hope that decision makers whose choices influence the nature of work--who include senior executives, line mangers, military officers, and designers of technology--will find valuable information in this volume.
KEY WORDS: Diversity in the Workplace; Labor Market; Occupations; Forecasting; Industrial Sociology; Work; Change.

Neuwirth, E. B. (2004). Blurring corporate boundaries: Staffing agencies, human resource practices and unions in the new employment relationship. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences., 65(6), 2384-A.


Drawing on comparative ethnographic data from 2 different staffing services, a private agency and a non-profit, union-affiliated staffing organization, this research demonstrates how contemporary staffing agencies connect more to organizations, changing the traditional employment relationship. In the dissertation, Neuwirth argues that staffing agencies actively shape labor market dynamics, as opposed to simply reacting to impersonal market forces. The research shows how the staffing agencies played a crucial role inside their client firms, taking on a range of functions once reserved for HR departments and unions. Currently many corporate managers are relying on staffing agencies to recruit and manage a temporary and sometimes permanent workforce. At the same time, many workers are now using staffing agencies to help them navigate the complex terrain of the labor market. Adapting to these changes in the employment relationship, Working Partnerships Staffing Service (WPSS), ventured far beyond familiar territory. Findings show that this organization sought to create an alternative worker-centered staffing service. However, they continually ran the risk of reproducing normative models of staffing. Even so, WPSS innovatively mobilized across the different fields of organized labor, staffing, and workforce development to forge a new model for staffing.

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