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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Vicki Smith

In this tribute to Randy Hodson, I will demonstrate how the defining concept of his research – that “life demands dignity and meaningful work is essential for dignity” (Hodson…

Abstract

In this tribute to Randy Hodson, I will demonstrate how the defining concept of his research – that “life demands dignity and meaningful work is essential for dignity” (Hodson, 2001, p. 3) – has led me to fundamentally reinterpret much of my earlier fieldwork, principally represented in Managing in the Corporate Interest: Control and Resistance in an American Bank (Smith, 1990) and Crossing the Great Divide: Worker Risk and Opportunity in the New Economy (Smith, 2001). I then suggest that we add a fifth condition to his formulation of challenges to dignity. Hodson identified four: management abuse, overwork, limits on autonomy, and contradictions of employee involvement. The framework needs to be contextualized within the fifth major challenge of our times: the broader environment of employment precariousness under neoliberalism that has deeply affected our micro-experiences at work, including those singled out by Hodson.

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

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Vicki Smith

The first cluster of papers in this volume studies the effect of worker participation on individuals, group processes, and organizations. This topic mirrors the predominant…

Abstract

The first cluster of papers in this volume studies the effect of worker participation on individuals, group processes, and organizations. This topic mirrors the predominant emphasis in the literature wherein worker participation, broadly defined, has been regressed against nearly every conceivable outcome in diverse work settings. Quite reasonably, a driving question for social scientists is what happens when worker participation is introduced. What are the consequences of top-down participation schemes and are they meaningful? Do they change the distribution of rewards and opportunities, or reconfigure dynamics between workers? The study of outcomes is significant because it touches on whether worker participation programs genuinely change the nature of work, improve workers’ jobs, strengthen workers’ hand or merely perpetuate traditional power structures.

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Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Abstract

Details

Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Abstract

Details

Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Lorna Easterbrook and Vicki Smith

Abstract

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Working with Older People, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Vicki Smith, Heather Kohler Flynn and Jonathan Isler

Hunting for jobs is a socially, historically, and institutionally constructed process. Workers must learn how to find jobs and build careers but the ways in which they learn and…

Abstract

Hunting for jobs is a socially, historically, and institutionally constructed process. Workers must learn how to find jobs and build careers but the ways in which they learn and the tools they have for doing so vary by class, race, gender, and cultural capital. In this paper, we analyze two organizations that teach clients job market behaviors that purportedly enable them to search for work. We argue that job search organizations (JSOs) can reinforce occupational and career inequalities. Focusing on the job market information and skills given to different occupational groups, messages about opportunity and mobility, and resources made available to clients, we show how JSOs prepare people to look for jobs along class-specific lines. These organizations discipline clients’ aspirations and shape their understandings of their occupational competencies and weaknesses. The study highlights the importance of this understudied type of labor market intermediary.

Details

Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Steven Peter Vallas

Despite two decades of discussion and debate, key issues regarding the transformation of work have remained highly uncertain, largely because of the limitations in the theoretical…

Abstract

Despite two decades of discussion and debate, key issues regarding the transformation of work have remained highly uncertain, largely because of the limitations in the theoretical frameworks with which team systems have been approached. In this paper, I draw loosely on my own fieldwork to articulate a series of propositions regarding features of the new managerial regimes that have remained only poorly explored. These center on the structural tensions and contradictions that team systems elicit, the contested and negotiated nature of the new regimes, and the complex interplay between the new work-systems and the identities that workers import from the old-managerial regimes. The paper suggests that the overarching concern with rates of diffusion and the performance effects of team systems should give way to more culturally nuanced approaches that can bring to light the divergent and often inherently contradictory forms the new regimes assume in an era marked by increasing demands for labor market flexibility.

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Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Payal Banerjee is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University and is completing a dissertation on Indian immigrant IT workers in the U.S., which…

Abstract

Payal Banerjee is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University and is completing a dissertation on Indian immigrant IT workers in the U.S., which foregrounds the intersecting contexts of gender and race/ethnicity, U.S. immigration and visa policies, global economic restructuring, and transnational mobility of labor.

Details

Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Frank Ridzi and Payal Banerjee

This paper examines the experiences of welfare clients on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Indian immigrant information technology (IT) workers on the H-1B visa…

Abstract

This paper examines the experiences of welfare clients on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Indian immigrant information technology (IT) workers on the H-1B visa to analyze how public–private collaborations in the spirit and practice of outsourcing, i.e. systematic fragmentation and decentralization of both corporate and state activities, function as mechanisms for disciplining labor. Through an analysis of these groups’ parallel experiences with exploitative work and employers in the U.S., this paper identifies how outsourcing is not merely a business model for cross-border trade, but also a key principle, component, and outcome of policy-based neo-liberal economic restructuring.

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Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2005

Esther B. Neuwirth

Temporary, part-time, and contract workers face a myriad of challenges as they seek to navigate the complex labor market landscape. Working Partnerships Staffing Service (WPSS), a…

Abstract

Temporary, part-time, and contract workers face a myriad of challenges as they seek to navigate the complex labor market landscape. Working Partnerships Staffing Service (WPSS), a project initiated by one of the most prominent labor councils in the U.S., sought to create a new type of labor market institution – one that could empower contingent workers by innovatively linking job placement with training, benefits, and membership-based services. However, like other social movement organizations that endeavor to combine advocacy and income generation, structural pressures led WPSS to conform in important ways to the dominant private-sector staffing-industry model. I argue that WPSS's response to these pressures ultimately constrained their ability to successfully innovate. Analyzing the challenges facing new worker-centered institutions, this case study presents important insights on “next generation” union initiatives aimed at better positioning workers in the flexible economy.

Details

Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-202-3

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