In this paper I utilize ethnographic data from the construction industry to demonstrate that occupational safety must be interpreted as having two different forms: the…
In this paper I utilize ethnographic data from the construction industry to demonstrate that occupational safety must be interpreted as having two different forms: the official policies and the actual operating procedures. This distinction is significant because it highlights the difference between rules that are stated – and may even be formally trained – and the rules that actually govern the workplace. It is this latter set of rules, a complex set of decision-making practices balancing the speed of work against acceptable loss, that actually shapes the worker’s individual decision-making. By illuminating the distinctions between these two forms of training, and the structures in which they occur, I challenge a common assumption of much safety-related research in construction, that worker behaviors and worker cultures are the most common causes of policy violations (e.g. Dedobbeleer & German, 1987; Hoyos, 1995; Hsiao & Simeonov, 2001; Lewis, 1999; Lingard, 2002; Personick, 1990; Ringen, Seegal & Englund, 1995; Rivara & Thompson, 2000; Smith, 1993). I argue here that what is often construed as “worker culture” is actually a structurally determined response to the unwritten rules of the construction industry. This is meaningful because the assumption that workers “choose” to forgo occupational safety protections as a cultural choice (generally construed as an enactment of working-class masculinity) is then used to assume or prove workers’ consent to the larger capitalist exchange of wages for work (e.g. Burawoy, 1979; Marx, 1867, 1977). By drawing on the media coverage of the workplace fatality, I highlight the costs and legal ramifications of such a dual system.
Sexual harassment law addresses hostile environments by evaluating whether the workplace environment would be considered hostile by a “reasonable woman”. But who is a…
Sexual harassment law addresses hostile environments by evaluating whether the workplace environment would be considered hostile by a “reasonable woman”. But who is a reasonable woman? Defendant‐employers may present one group of women employees as representative “reasonable” women and assert that any of these women’s co‐workers who have had different experiences with regard to sexual harassment are not “reasonable”. However, when male employees categorize various groups of female coworkers differently and, subsequently, treat them differently, the experiences of women from one of these groups would not be indicative of the experiences of women from an other group. This “selective sexual harassment” was present in the workplace I studied: while both groups of women were “reasonable”, they had very different experiences, only one of which might be confirmed by a court as the perspective of “reasonable” women. This article advocates for a version of the “reason ble victim” standard to facilitate a closer analysis of hostile environment sexual harassment suits.
Contemporary labor economics has a ready explanation for the role of job training in the labor market. The human capital framework pioneered by Becker (1962, 1993) and Mincer (1962) and now extended by many, many others sees training as an investment in productive capacity that benefits both workers and employers. Employers enhance the productivity of their firms by investing in the skills of their workers, and these productivity gains are passed on to workers in the form of higher wages. Key to all of this is the distinction between general and specific skill. According to the theory, employers will not pay for or provide general skills (i.e. those that are transferable and hence valuable to other employers), because they are averse to being “poached” by more high-wage employers. They will, however, invest in workplace-specific skills, which assure them a return on their training investments.
Purpose: to explore the experiences of employees in a local bank merger in the United States and examine the concept of job exit queues. We introduce the concept of a job…
Purpose: to explore the experiences of employees in a local bank merger in the United States and examine the concept of job exit queues. We introduce the concept of a job exit queue, which describes how workers position themselves or are positioned by employers to leave jobs and enter new jobs following the announcement of a corporate merger. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative interviews with mid‐ level managers, technical specialists and low status workers during the sale and merger process were conducted and coded thematically. We explore: (1) how workers and managers describe the job search as an “opportunity” or as a recurring cycle of low‐wage, high‐turnover work and (2) how severance packages structure the job exit queue to meet corporate needs. Findings: The role of severance pay is pivotal in understanding women’s and men’s job relations to job exit queues. We conclude that employers create job exit queues, placing low status workers and mid‐level women managers with less formal education at a disadvantage in reemployment. Value: This paper contributes a new concept “job exit queue” to the research and theory on work place diversity, gender inequality, and queuing theories.
This study contributes to the literature on sexual harassment by explicitly modeling race as a significant predictor of sexual harassment in combination with gender and…
This study contributes to the literature on sexual harassment by explicitly modeling race as a significant predictor of sexual harassment in combination with gender and occupation, rather than regarding each demographic characteristic (i.e. age, gender, race, marital status) as though experienced separately from all others. As represented in the larger literature on sexual harassment in the workplace, the female respondents in this study report more sexual harassment than men, though men do report sexual harassment. Moreover, the gender context (i.e., whether respondent’s occupation is predominantly female or male) of occupation makes a difference for both men and women. These results reveal that women are more likely to be reporting sexual harassment based upon demographic factors in the labor market and appear to be unaffected by labor force characteristics. The men, on the other hand, report more sexual harassment based upon occupational characteristics than demographic factors.
Structural factors during Chinese and Japanese immigration and settlement processes required families to adapt in ways that altered traditional gender behaviors. This…
Structural factors during Chinese and Japanese immigration and settlement processes required families to adapt in ways that altered traditional gender behaviors. This study examines how two factors – spousal immigration order and family economic structure – affected the gendered division of labor and how gender roles consequently were reconstructed for first and second generation Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans. These issues are investigated through secondary data analysis of 21 in‐depth interviews with daughters of Chinese and Japanese immigrants on the West Coast.
This paper, based on forty in‐depth interviews with teachers and principals in Hong Kong, utilizes the insights of feminist organization studies to explore the persistence…
This paper, based on forty in‐depth interviews with teachers and principals in Hong Kong, utilizes the insights of feminist organization studies to explore the persistence of gender inequalities in primary school teaching. Two common practices, namely the assignment of women and men to teach lower and higher grades respectively and the monopoly of men in positions of disciplining and authority, are centered. The data suggest that schools and teachers actively construct and reproduce gender inequalities by trivializing teaching of young children as babysitting, naturalizing women as natural caregivers, and normalizing the use of threat in disciplinary control. My analysis also argues that these routine and pervasive gendering processes are not often acknowledged or challenged, which have the effects of marginalizing caring work, overlooking the emotional labor of women, valorizing a masculine view of authority, encouraging men and boys to compete for power via aggression, and hence producing a masculinist workplace.