Sociology Essays – Sociology and Work

essay A+

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Discus: Work is a large part of a person’s life.

To state that work is a large part of a person’s life is a understatement of big proportions. Children are raised with one or both parents who make it a precedence. They are raised to do it a precedence. They work virtually all their lives. They retire from it. It can be intrusive and omnipresent and the fact that it is both a noun and a verb does non get down to suggest at the complexness of it.

In get downing to see it, a nature way would be to specify its nature. Is it feathered or scaled, or more accurately, is it to be relegated as a scientific discipline of economic sciences, sociology or something else wholly? Many respect it as a pure map of applied economic sciences ( Block, Berg, & A ; Belman 2004, p. 94 ) . It seems right to see it every bit such as at its most basic degree it is a about an exchange relationship in which two parties trade something the one owns for something the other owns. Whether this exchange is of clip, expertness, belongings, or thoughts is irrelevant. The exchange takes topographic point in a signifier of a market while both distinct and frequently not-so-discrete forces are at ‘work’ to put the value of the exchange. These forces, Torahs of supply and demand, unseeable custodies and the similar seek to maximise the public-service corporation of the trade to both parties.

As a effect of the nature of the relationship being able to be characterized by an ‘exchange’ , work can besides be considered by a legal or contractual footing. By virtuousness of this, there are certain really expressed regulations that govern the behavior of either party with respect to the fulfilment of their several responsibilities. Such Torahs, as for illustration in the United States, frequently autumn under a Department of Labor and by and large includes such criterions as a forty-hour work hebdomad, torment and favoritism commissariats, minimal wage and pay frequence specifications every bit good as commissariats sing corporate bargaining. The end of such a position is to function as something of a span between non merely the economic involvements of both parties but thesocietal impactof work to the workers.

In modern universe, a typical exchange takes topographic point between the person and the organisation. With this type of exchange, there are a figure of extra concerns and issues that become relevant. In the first topographic point there is by and large an dissymmetry of power in which the proprietors of capital employ persons in masse to literally do up the corporate organic structure and to exert net income maximising power on employees. This instability is potentially offset by the antecedently mentioned ability of certain workers to partake in corporate bargaining actions such as the formation of brotherhoods that finally can assist to give the single worker a larger voice. This power is wielded as a effect of the corporation’s greater resources to implement the frequently contractual nature of the exchange. Besides, as corporate budgets by and large exceed those of persons the ration of the loss to the entire ‘budget’ is greater. In add-on, as a corporation does non hold emotions, the effects of a ‘failed agreement’ are frequently of important magnitude to the person. Though the worth of the single worker is so important to the corporation for, without him, the corporation would ‘die’ , the clip skyline of the two parties is immensely different. This thought is articulately expressed by Adam Smith, “In the long-term the workingman may be as necessary to his maestro as his maestro is to him ; but the necessity is non so immediate” ( Smith 1976, p.84 ) .

As the nature of work is at least partially economic, to disregard the basic issues of concern direction would be unpardonable. From Taylor’s get downing of scientific direction to the “high public presentation work systems” of today, the nature of pull offing the single worker presents a scope of methods devised in order to maximise the economic return of work. While Taylor’s command-and-control methods mostly regarded the mean labourer as incapable of being able to self-manage, they did however make huge additions in efficiency and paved the manner for the development of really big organisations. Interestingly plenty, these techniques, or at least, the execution, of them has been supplanted by the like’s of Stanford’s Pfeffer is able to rigorously document the superlativity of a complete system of seven cardinal human resource patterns that, when to the full integrated into an organisation green goods superior fiscal returns to the organisation. In topographic point of timed work, close supervising and uninterrupted pushs for greater efficiency through centralized decision-making, see the features of the ‘modern’ high public presentation organisation ( Taylor 1917 ; Pfeffer 1998, pp. 64-65 ) :

  1. Employment security
  2. Selective hiring
  3. Decentralized decision-making
  4. Relatively high compensation
  5. Extensive preparation
  6. Classless work topographic point
  7. Extensive information sharing.

Despite the cardinal economic nature of work, there is another side that, were it travel unmentioned, the treatment would absolutely neglect to see the other position on work: that of the single employee. Even as an economic premiss wholly, the end of which is to increase the net income and wellbeing of the person, the sociological facets of work virtue full consideration ( Stiglitz 2002, p. 1 ) .

In consideration of the person, it is sensible that one might see the really contractual nature of work to be kindred to that of a “social exchange” procedure through which persons and groups of persons engage in minutess ( Dreher & A ; Dougherty 2002, p. 41 ) . These exchanges are clearly governed foremost by applicable Torahs and ordinances, possibly secondly by organisational policies and processs and thirdly and possibly most notably, they are regulated by the very nature of persons to impute to something that might resemble a common values system. In this system is the apparently natural constituent of a sense of “fairness” . This guides countless behaviours as the person necessarily seeks a signifier of “reciprocal altruism” in which, in add-on to following self-seeking fulfilment of their ain demands, persons appear to run on the premise that there is a bigger image of ethical motives and the “right thing” involved ( Frederick & A ; Wasieleski 2002, pp.284 ) .

An extra consideration of the societal nature of work and resulting issues is the thought that, for many, work is the procedure by which “identity” is established. See the typical debut at a party or other function
 foremost, one gives their name and so, about necessarily either their business or work relation position to the host ( i.e. , “I work with Ted” , “I am a client” , etc. ) . This phenomenon,Social Identity Theory, is rather relevant to the workplace in that it forces one to see the psychological deductions of making concern ( Ashforth & A ; Mael 1989, pp. 20-21 ; Stiglitz 2002, p. 1 ) . Bridging this construct with the representation that work is basically an exchange relationship is the thought of the psychological contract. Merely as there are expressed regulations regulating work outlooks, so excessively are at that place inexplicit regulations. The regulations are communicated by the civilization of the house, the apparently recognized behaviours of others in a similar place and other verbal and non-verbal waiting lines. The conditions of the contract are chiefly mediated by the individual’s director, the immediate representation of the organisation in the head of the person ( Rousseau 2000, February ) . Therefore, it is through the societal procedures of work that an single additions an understand of who they are but besides gain peculiar cognition of the common duties of the economic exchange.

In drumhead, work is. It is: what, why, how, when. It is the noun and the verb, the consequence every bit good as the procedure. A treatment of which can non exclude the cardinal economic nature of it yet one can non disregard the principles of sociology and psychological science woven into every individual ‘unit of production’ , the single worker. Any treatment of work which does non give full deliberation the coincident duality is to merely give half the statement and less than that for the grasp of what work represents, to the organisation, the person and to society.

Plants Consulted

Ashforth, B. & A ; F. Mael. ( 1989 ) . “Social Identity Theory and the Organization” . Academy of Management Review ( 14 ) , 1, pp. 20-39.

Block, R. , Berg, P. and Belman, D. ( 2004 ) . “The Economic Dimension of the Employment Relationship” , in Coyle –Shepard, J. Shore, L. Taylor, M. and Tetrick, L. , ( eds. ) . The Employment Relationship: Examining Psychological and Contextual Perspectives. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.

Dreher, G. and Dougherty, T. ( 2002 ) . Human Resource Strategy: A Behavioral Perspective for the General Manager. McGraw-Hill Irwin: Boston, Massachusetts.

Frederick, W. and Wasieleski, D. ( 2002 ) . “Evolutionary Social Contracts” . Business and Society Review, ( 107 ) , 3, pp. 283-308.

Pfeffer, J. ( 1998 ) . The Human Equation: Building Net incomes by Puting People First. Harvard Business School Press: Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Rosseau, D. ( 2000, February ) . Psychological Contract Inventory Technical Report. Carnegie Mellon University: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Smith, A. ( 1976 ) . An Inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nation. , R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner, eds. Clarendon Press: . Oxford, UK

Stitlitz, J. ( 2002 ) . “Employment, Social Justice and Societal Well-Being” . International Labour Review, ( 141 ) , 1-2, pp. 9-29.

Taylor, F. ( 1911 ) . The Principles of Scientific Management. Harper: New York, New York.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member