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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2008

Karl von Holdt and Edward Webster

Is labour's decline permanent, or is it merely a temporary weakening, as Beverley Silver suggests in her recent book, as the labour movement is unmade and remade in…

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Abstract

Purpose

Is labour's decline permanent, or is it merely a temporary weakening, as Beverley Silver suggests in her recent book, as the labour movement is unmade and remade in different locations and at different times? The article aims to examine this question in South Africa, one of the newly industrialised countries of the 1960s and 1970s, now largely bypassed by new manufacturing investment destined for countries such as India and China.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper concentrates, through six case studies, on the growing non‐core and peripheral zones of work and examines the impact of the restructuring on labour.

Findings

The evidence presented is ambiguous. While there have been significant innovative union organising experiments, it may be that the structural weakening of labour has been too great and that the new sources of power are too limited, to permit effective reorientation.

Practical implications

It is concluded that significant progress will only be made if there is a concerted effort to commit resources and above all to develop new associational strategies that recognise the potential for symbolic power as an alternative to the erosion of structural power of workers and the unions that represent them. Unless such a shift is made the crisis of labour movements internationally may be better understood as a permanent crisis than the temporary one Silver suggests.

Originality/value

The paper identities the potential for new strategies to develop and sustain associational and symbolic power that might compensate for weakened structural power and facilitate a remaking of the labour movement under new conditions.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 September 2014

Linda Cooper

This paper aims to highlight the value of research contributions that have focused on making visible the knowledge of those historically excluded from formal…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the value of research contributions that have focused on making visible the knowledge of those historically excluded from formal knowledge-making. It identifies key bodies of theory that have grounded these analyses, and questions whether we can fully do justice to this project if we continue to rely on established “canons” of social science theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The article reviews research contributions to Researching Work and Learning conferences over the past decade, aimed at identifying those who have been invisible as makers of knowledge. It then considers a body of critique that our dominant epistemologies within the social sciences are rooted in unequal global and local power relations.

Findings

In the literature on workplace learning, a few theoretical paradigms forged in the global north seem to predominate. The article concludes that we need to re-centre our sources of knowledge-making to what Homi Bhabha has called an “ex-centric” site, if we are to develop more inclusive theorizations of work and learning, and more socially just ways of working and learning in the future.

Originality/value

The article invites researchers to reflect critically on their use of theory, and to be more proactive in developing theories with an angle of vision outside of the geo-political centre, so as to better understand the diversity of work and learning globally.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 26 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 June 2008

Geoffrey Wood

This introduction aims to review the present state of research on employment relations in Africa, and provide an overview of subsequent papers.

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Abstract

Purpose

This introduction aims to review the present state of research on employment relations in Africa, and provide an overview of subsequent papers.

Design/methodology/approach

The article provides a brief review on the journal issue.

Findings

Despite considerable diversity across the continent, a number of common issues and themes emerge. These would include the sharp divide between formal and informal work, the problems faced by unions in organizing in contexts where formal employment is shrinking, and the often negative effects of liberalization. What all the articles in this special issue point to is that the prospects of enhancing the quality of working life, and imparting greater fairness to the implementation of the employment contract is contingent on both national institution building – allowing for the nurturing of complementarities conducive to the expansion, entrenchment and development of higher value added production paradigms – and fairer terms, more equitable relations with the developed world.

Practical implications

Understanding of the practice of employment relations in Africa can be greatly advanced through collaborative initiatives aimed at developing the capacity of emerging scholars and ensuring that the work of more mature scholars of employment based at African universities receives the exposure it deserves.

Originality/value

The article introduces the papers in the issue.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 9 November 2017

Sizwe Timothy Phakathi

Abstract

Details

Production, Safety and Teamwork in a Deep-Level Mining Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-564-1

Book part
Publication date: 9 November 2017

Sizwe Timothy Phakathi

This chapter examines and discusses the unintended outcomes of the production bonus scheme the mine had instituted to motivate and increase the productivity of the…

Abstract

This chapter examines and discusses the unintended outcomes of the production bonus scheme the mine had instituted to motivate and increase the productivity of the frontline mining teams. This is crucial given that the maladministration of the bonus system could lead to a range of undesired outcomes such as deteriorating levels of trust between management and frontline workers, prioritisation of production at the expense of safety, poor work relations and ultimately low levels of organisational, employee and team performance. There are a number of organisational, management and labour factors that can render a production bonus scheme effective or ineffective. These factors influence the nature and extent of worker reactions to the bonus scheme.

This chapter examines and discusses the factors that influenced the reaction of the mining teams to the team-based production bonus scheme and the extent to which mine management fulfilled its side of the bargain in the implementation of the production bonus. The chapter highlights the manner in which the team-based bonus system influenced teams of stope workers to engage in their informal organisational practice of making plan (planisa) in order to offset the snags that jeopardised their prospects of earning the production bonus. The chapter reveals that, to a large extent, the productivity bonus generated conflict rather than cooperation at the point of production down the mine. As a result, the incentive scheme failed to live up to expectations by not eliciting the desired levels of organisational, worker and team performance at the rock-face.

Details

Production, Safety and Teamwork in a Deep-Level Mining Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-564-1

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 9 November 2017

Sizwe Timothy Phakathi

Abstract

Details

Production, Safety and Teamwork in a Deep-Level Mining Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-564-1

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1984

On 2 January, 1984 the American Library Association will inaugurate Alanet, a new electronic mail and information service. Subscriptions will be available to all ALA…

Abstract

On 2 January, 1984 the American Library Association will inaugurate Alanet, a new electronic mail and information service. Subscriptions will be available to all ALA organisation members.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1984

ASIS Annual Meeting. The 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science was held from 2–6 October 1983, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Crystal City…

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Abstract

ASIS Annual Meeting. The 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science was held from 2–6 October 1983, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Crystal City, Virginia, just the other side of the Potomac River from Washington, DC.

Details

Online Review, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-314X

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