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A new indicator of technical complexity at work

Jorge Rodríguez Menés (Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 20 June 2008




This paper aims to conceptualise and measure the technical aspects of the division of labour (DoL) with a new survey indicator of technical complexity (ITC) at work.


Two technical criteria skills and functions are used to distinguish positions in the DoL and to cluster and rank them into a 28‐category ordinal survey ITC. The indicator's construct‐validity is tested by assessing the correlation between these criteria and occupational activities' levels of substantive and organizational complexity, as uncovered by categorical principal component analysis. Criterion‐validity is assessed by testing the indicator's ability to predict occupational prestige, absolutely and relatively to other indicators.


The indicator shows high levels of construct and criterion‐validity.


The paper contributes to a better understanding and measurement of technical constraints in the DoL, facilitating a future evaluation of their impact on class inequalities.



Rodríguez Menés, J. (2008), "A new indicator of technical complexity at work", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 28 No. 5/6, pp. 155-178.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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