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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Dustin Avent-Holt

After multiple decades stumbling in the status attainment wilderness, the sociological study of inequality is now cultivating a new garden: the workplace generation of…

Abstract

After multiple decades stumbling in the status attainment wilderness, the sociological study of inequality is now cultivating a new garden: the workplace generation of inequalities. While our theories have long focused on contextually embedded social relations – often in production – as generating inequality, our methods have lagged, focusing instead on individual status attainment, abstracted from social relations including those at work. In this chapter, we outline first how we got into this mess, and then advocate a principled comparative methodological framework for studying the organizational generation of durable inequalities. We highlight the particular contribution of Randy Hodson to the original critique of individualistic status attainment research and his role in developing alternative methodologies, some of which we think should be further developed today.

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A Gedenkschrift to Randy Hodson: Working with Dignity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-727-1

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Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2018

Fiona M. Kay

Building on relational inequality theory, this paper incorporates social capital as a device to trace the flow of resources through relationships originating within and…

Abstract

Building on relational inequality theory, this paper incorporates social capital as a device to trace the flow of resources through relationships originating within and beyond organizations. I draw on a survey of over 1,700 lawyers to evaluate key dynamics of social capital that shape earnings: bridging and bonding, reciprocity exchanges and sponsorship, and boundary maintenance. The findings show social capital lends a lift to law graduates through bridges to professional careers and sponsorship following job entry. Racial minorities, however, suffer a shortfall of personal networks to facilitate job searches, and once having secured jobs, minorities experience social closure practices by clients and colleagues that disadvantage them in their professional work. A sizeable earnings gap remains between racial minority and white lawyers after controlling for human and social capitals, social closure practices, and organizational context. This earnings gap is particularly large among racial minorities with more years of experience and those working in large law firms. The findings demonstrate the importance of identifying the interrelations that connect social network and organizational context to impact social inequality.

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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2013

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey

Purpose – I suggest that we conceptualize labor markets as observable social networks, in which workplaces are the nodes and people moving between workplaces are the…

Abstract

Purpose – I suggest that we conceptualize labor markets as observable social networks, in which workplaces are the nodes and people moving between workplaces are the edges. The movement of people delivers the actionable information as to what the supply, demand, and going wage for labor might be. Labor market networks are hypothesized to be quite thin thus leading to substantial wage setting autonomy within workplaces, consistent with contemporary observations in both economics and sociology as to the weakness of labor market signals.Method – This paper reviews theoretical and empirical work in economics, sociology, and network science and develops a network image of labor market structure and function. Hypotheses derived from economic, sociological, and network theories are proposed to explain workplace-level wage setting.Findings – Information flow, trust in information, information variance, collusion, and status beliefs are all proposed as important network properties of labor markets. The paper outlines an observational strategy to make labor markets scientifically observable.Originality – Economists and sociologists often refer to labor markets as mechanisms setting the price of labor but rarely observe them. This paper outlines a strategy for making the invisible hand of the market scientifically observable.

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Networks, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-539-5

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Abstract

Details

A Gedenkschrift to Randy Hodson: Working with Dignity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-727-1

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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2013

Steve McDonald, S. Michael Gaddis, Lindsey B. Trimble and Lindsay Hamm

Purpose – The introductory chapter to this special issue highlights contemporary scholarship on networks, work, and inequality.Methodology – We review the last decade of…

Abstract

Purpose – The introductory chapter to this special issue highlights contemporary scholarship on networks, work, and inequality.Methodology – We review the last decade of research on this topic, identifying four key areas investigation: (1) networks and hiring, (2) networks and the labor process, (3) networks and outcomes at work, and (4) networks and institutional dynamics.Findings – Social networks play an important role in understanding the mechanisms by which and the conditions under which economic inequality is reproduced across gender, race, and social class distinctions. Throughout the review, we point to numerous opportunities for future research to enhance our understanding of these social processes.

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Networks, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-539-5

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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2019

James R. Jones

The US Congress is a racialized governing institution that plays an important role structuring the racial hierarchy in the nation. Despite Congress’s influence, there is…

Abstract

The US Congress is a racialized governing institution that plays an important role structuring the racial hierarchy in the nation. Despite Congress’s influence, there is little theoretical and empirical research on its racialized structure – that is, how it operates and the racial processes that shape it. This lacuna has developed from a narrow conceptualization of Congress as a political institution, and it ignores how it is a multifaceted organization that features a large and complex workplace. Congressional staff are the invisible force in American policymaking, and it is through their assistance that members of Congress can fulfill their responsibilities. However, the congressional workplace is stratified along racial lines. In this chapter, I theorize how the congressional workplace became racialized, and I identify the racial processes that maintain a racialized workplace today. I investigate how lawmakers have organized their workplace and made decisions about which workers would be appropriate for different types of roles in the Capitol. Through a racial analysis of the congressional workplace, I show a connection between Congress as an institution and workplace and how racial domination is a thread that connects and animates both its formal and informal structures.

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Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-492-3

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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2013

Abstract

Details

Networks, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-539-5

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Abstract

Details

A Gedenkschrift to Randy Hodson: Working with Dignity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-727-1

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Book part
Publication date: 30 January 2013

Carl le Grand and Michael Tåhlin

Economic inequality in contemporary advanced societies is strongly tied to the variation in wages across occupations. We examine the extent to which this variation is…

Abstract

Economic inequality in contemporary advanced societies is strongly tied to the variation in wages across occupations. We examine the extent to which this variation is captured by social class and occupational prestige and ask how the associations between class, prestige, and wages can be explained. On the basis of data from 11 countries in the European Social Survey (ESS) 2004, we find (a) that class and prestige account for a very large proportion of the occupational variation in wages; (b) that the tight links between class, prestige, and wages are strongly associated with the skill requirements of jobs but only weakly tied to other positional traits, including authority, autonomy, and scarcity; and (c) that these findings are highly similar in all countries examined. We conclude that the rank order of positions in the labor market is a social constant driven by efficiency requirements of work organizations rather than by the exercise of power. This iron law of labor market inequality clearly contradicts major class theoretical models, including Wright's and Goldthorpe's. In addition to empirically refuting contemporary class theory, we offer a number of more conceptual arguments to the same effect. At a macro level, however, power relations arguably affect the rate of economic inequality by determining the reward distance between positions in the constant rank order, as indicated by the large cross-national variation in wage dispersion.

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Class and Stratification Analysis
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-537-1

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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2013

Wei Zhao

Purpose – This study develops a theoretical argument that social networks are embedded in the macro-level institutional environment. From the perspective of institutional…

Abstract

Purpose – This study develops a theoretical argument that social networks are embedded in the macro-level institutional environment. From the perspective of institutional embeddedness, I investigate the changing patterns and implications of social networks in job search and job earnings after China's overhaul of its employment system in the mid-1990s.Methodology/approach – The empirical evidence is drawn from 2003 Chinese General Social Survey data. I conduct statistical analyses to examine the roles of networks in job search and earning disparity by comparing two groups who obtained the job before and after the emerging labor market in urban China, respectively.Findings –Social networks have become much more popular in job search in the emerging labor market. Use of social networks in job search has also become more differentiated across job positions and employment organizations. While managerial status of the key helper and direct ties yield greater returns to employee earnings, strong indirect ties make less contribution to job earnings in the emerging labor market than that under the state-dominated employment system.Research implications – The findings suggest that we should analyze the concrete institutional environment to appreciate the roles of social networks in job search and social inequality.Originality/value – This study highlights that institutions are the key factor to shape the patterns and significance of social networks. As institutions evolve, network patterns and their significance can change accordingly.

Details

Networks, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-539-5

Keywords

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