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CONCEPT OF WORK
Work is man’s basic form of self realisation. Hence, the way in which man works is a clue to human nature. Work is a form of human behaviour and it cannot be understood in isolation. Work contributes to an understanding of the (a) variety of social fabrics in which human beings live out their lives; (b) the value systems that legitimate these social fabrics; and (c) the cultural framework which supports the social fabrics and value systems. Work does not embody merely the tools and techniques. It rests upon consensus about what behaviour is to be rewarded, what is worth doing. A knowledge of work opens up the floodgates of the knowledge of human conditions itself. Though it is by the use of tools that man provides for his subsistence, these tools facilitate his labour and make it more productive. He has therefore an interest in and he has also a capacity for elaborating and refining his tools and in doing so he expresses himself , controls nature and makes history. If human labour makes history, then an understanding of the conditions of production is essential for an understanding of history (Marx in Bendix 1967). In pre-industrial society, the central problem was one of finding food and therefore, work was perceived to be a ‘central life interest’. In a subsistence economy, survival provided the nexus between man and his work, which was predominantly agrarian in character. The subsistence economy was replaced by exchange economy because of the simple reason that consumption of products not produced by the majority segment of population had become conspicuous. The Industrial Revolution stimulated the modern large scale industries. Being an outstanding industrial event, it made the circle complete by replacing the machine industry with mass production industry, aided by the new sources of power which migrant labour has made possible. Man’s dependency on family has passed over into dependency on employment, which is aimed toward orientation to patterns of life. Work, perceived in this perspective is a social demand. Work not only provides economic return, and becomes an economic necessity, but apart from its being a source of income and means toward eking out a livelihood, work regulates the activities of individuals. It ties the individuals into a network of social relationships, provides anchorage, and by being a central social
Work. Industrial problems. Work is an activity that can be invested with something more than survival value. Work becomes a problem for the workers when work is perceived to be unsatisfying. It helps the individuals to derive content and meaning in life by providing experience in work. Since work in industry and organisations helps the workers to develop shared beliefs and orientations. (Friedmann and Havighurst 1962). Likewise. it is to be considered as a social catalyst. Mores et al 1962. therefore. our work-oriented society calls for work being used as one of our main laboratories (Hughes 1952). which are crucial determinants of workman’s morale and productivity. unemployment or the state of not being employed. is the financial and social lynchpin of most people’s lives. the quest for continued tenure and protection derives individuals to associate themselves with organizations. Work is important as a source of interesting. are moulded by the character of the economy and the . Against the vicissitudes of life. It is not only the generation of wealth through work. therefore.process. (Slocum 1966. The uneven distribution of opportunities may have consequences and therefore work becomes a social problem. not only involves relative monetary deprivation and leaves a social scar. Work being the purveyor par excellence of man’s social status and prestige among his fellows. but it also helps one man’s output to become another man’s input. Apart from being a social activity affording recognition. work becomes a social problem. and a major social device vouchsafe for the individuals’ identification. Work. therefore. security and a sense of belonging. Seeing in work a therapeutic value. The social standing accredited to an individual in his own eyes and in the eyes of others is decided by the work one performs. When prideful identity is lost in work. The chances of achieving a measure of well-being increase with the extent to which individuals engage themselves in ‘validating activities’ (Rainwater 1974). purposeful activity and a source of intrinsic enjoyment. Decreed to win his bread by the sweat of his brows through labour. work help resolve the crisis of integration of an anomic society (Silverman 1970) by satisfying the social needs of man. the routine keeps the mind well grounded and keeps the individuals a stable citizen (Blum 1953). 1970). prevents the possibility of an individual being thrown on the job market. man is caught in the web which is the creation of his work. but also results in invidious epithets being hurled at the individual remaining ‘off the job’. Since work experience is so fateful a part of every man’s life (Hughes 1952. Levinson 1970). In other words. one man’s earning allows him to purchase another man’s output. for whatever happens in work has wider ramifications and it percolates down to other activities and affects other parts of the society. Sigmund Freud (1961) considers that work can be a source of special satisfaction. Work is all the more a major problem.
Another trap which employees find themselves in is that of adaptation or habituation. the instruments of their work’ become the material aspects of organization corresponding to production. employees’ ‘instrumental orientation’ (Goldthorpe et al 1969) drives them to endure deprivations and pressures. namely ‘expenditure rises to meet income’. and with the creeping capitalisation and expropriation of agricultural labour from land. the rational organization has inevitably come into being as a response to the drive for class coordination. in their opinion. which fits in with Parkinson’s Second Law. the object on which work is performed and …. and technology. The approaches of Argyris (1964). The dominant life pattern of the educated person is that of a progressive career in a selected line of work. The putting out system having been put out. in all social interactions. Every citizen today lives in a world in which the dominant social technology for handling social tasks is the organization (Sofer 1972).social structure. 1968) are in line with Maslow’s (1954) ‘hierarchy of needs’. according to Marx (1976) ‘work…. McGregor (1960) and Herzberg (1959. depends upon the organization’s adaptation of strategies to help realize the self actualization needs at work. people exercise mutual influence and control over one .. As has been held by Wrong (1968). wants and preferences (Rosenberg 1957). In our work oriented society. work organization looms so large as separate and specialized system (Hughes 1952) and provides ‘strategic site’ (Dunkerley 1972) for the study of organisations and industry helps the workers to develop shared beliefs and orientations. raw materials. discipline and control (Fox 1974) wherein interaction of motivated people takes place to resolve their own problems (Silverman 1970). The employees’ motivation to work . The employees ‘feel their lives to be a series of traps’ (Wright Mills 1959). Work orientations are shaped and conditioned by structural elements. The growth of the world into a workshop as a consequence of leaping industrialisation makes working and living together in formal organisations inevitable. The emergence of new needs of higher order leads to new dissatisfaction. While prior orientation to work crystallizes as values. A handsome increase in salary goes to meet growing additional commitments and renders the financial position as precarious as hitherto before. In that way. In the scheme of ‘hierarchy of needs’ having an ascending order. BUREAUCRATISATION The feudal fetters on production having been extinguished in the process of evolution of capitalist mode of production (Marx 1959). hoping against hope for higher earnings. the ‘law of diminishing returns’ operates in the case of needs realized. satisfaction derived decreases with the needs having been fulfilled.
The formulation of a model of bureaucracy with rational and legal authority has been analysed as an ideal type by Max Weber. of those who are vested with power to employ themselves in decision-making. another ingredient in the scheme of conception of bureaucracy by Weber is considered to be the role of discipline. One reason why Weber called bureaucracy rational is because it is a form of legal authority. the efficiency of the organization cannot be put on the balance (Bendix 1949) without taking into consideration the formal rules and human attitudes. the modern industrial organization. Had not the employers brought together employees in a single work place. the ‘collective worker’ would not have emerged. It is. The creation of real subordination is intended to be exploited for the appropriation of surplus value (Allen 1977). Being a social invention. communication and higher level of coordination with a network of rules. The consciously coordinated human activity in pursuit of common goals (Barnard 1948) resting on the firm belief in the legitimacy is fundamental to Weberian organizational structure.another’s behaviour. bureaucracy relies on power via rules (Bennis 1969). regarded bureaucracy as a Janusfaced organization. Weber. the two fundamental organizational positions dovetail into one of superordination on the one hand and subordination on the other. Weber tended to neglect the non-rational considerations on which bureaucratic authority is equally resting. As bureaucracy is the most rational offspring of discipline. However. and of those who are called upon to fall in line by complying with such decisions. however. Though economic means are not made use of in every case of domination. with . In that way a clear dichotomic alignment may be seen as emerging. economic power is found to be utilized for its foundation and maintenance in organisations where power structure is perceived to be the rational legal type (Weber 1968). values. and attitudes. and on the other. Peter Drucker writes to say that every enterprise has an internal order based on authority and subordination (Drucker 1951). roles. Because of his concern with the distinctive features of modern organization.However. therefore. Weber considered obedience as an end in itself. the human behaviour in its rational and non-rational aspects which form the core of organizational theory. with its ‘triple personality’ (Drucker 1951) may be looked upon as a set of specific functions which are parceled out among several occupations. relations. Since production is a rational activity revolving around systematic division of labour. His argument was built on the premise that bureaucracy on the one side was a form of administration based on knowledge and expertise. authority divorced from a common value orientation and legitimacy cannot exist. Seen in this perspective. Authority rests on the firm belief that discipline is the driving force. it was administration based on discipline. Undoubtedly this is an important statement. power.
the managers subject the workers to such an authority. In production processes. and the men whom they manage are diametrically opposite. Formal orders. Authority begets consent because it is felt to be legitimate. the contract sets a ceiling on commitment. The necessity of hierarchy appears to lie mainly in the nature of the system of communication. in work organisations. and this opposition is seen as an important stimulus to the formation of the social class (Bendix 1963). the effectiveness of legal authority rests on acceptance (Henderson et al 1947). interaction between the superordinates and the subordinates is amply aided by communication. In that way. work space and personnel-all must be allocated in such a way. Kerr et al (1973) also refer to the development of regulations and law which furnish us with the evidence of ‘logic of industrialism’ in the matter of consensus and restrictions or . Vaughan et al 1967) of managers as well as the employees at work.making profits. While exercising the authority vested in them. as held by Selznick (1969). The built-in mechanism of rules is intended to regulate behaviours (Flanders 1965 . but entail equality before the organizational rules (Blauner 1964). FUNCTIONS OF BUREAUCRATIC RULES The industrial enterprise. remaining competitive and providing goods and services as its end. The tendency to increase the use of power gets reinforced with the acquisition of knowledge (Weber 1968) and the ability to remove or cope with uncertainties (Crozier 1964). The resources and options of any organization not being unlimited. The use of hierarchy. system of rules and division of labour markedly portray an industrial organization. Though primacy of orientation of specific goals (Parsons 1969) is crucial. The whole gamut of the concept of consent brings the employees and employers within the fold of a contract of employment. At the processing points of decision-making. is an imperatively coordinated group (Dahrendorf 1958). commands. being the hierarchy of authority (Simon 1957). which invariably means. inter alia. the rules are intended to help communication (Gouldner 1955) constrain discretion. The objectives and orientations of the men who manage. money. keeping in view the organizational goal. written rules. It is ’consensus of ends and values’ which engender consent (Gouldner 1955). which brings off a new social relationship. rather than being legitimate because it evoked consent. power is employed to alter or maintain a given institutionalized allocation of rewards . facilities or personnel. equipment. and corrections become the primary objectives of communication aimed toward keeping control over the subordinates. The employers and employees keep their respective priorities in view and make adjustments accordingly in order to achieve a better balance of power.
work roles in the nature of a passport arm the occupants to employ ‘strategic leniency’ (Gouldner 1955) while exercising their power in the name of rules. This is partly because of the narrow specification of responsibilities (Crozier 1964) and also due to the inherent ambiguities (Kahn et al 1981). which emanate as unintended consequences (Merton 1959). The constant pressure upon officials . In supporting Flanders’ position on the saliency of job regulations. elucidates by saying that the central task of theory of industrial relations is to explain why particular rules are established in particular industrial relations systems. the network of rules are of critical importance as rules pervade the world and work and employment. Clegg ( 1970) and Hyman (1975) say that since the study of job regulations is shrouded in institutions and manifests through processes. The system of rules enhance the normative integration of industry (Blauner 1964) and provide the necessary escape mechanism (Gouldner 1965) for the subordinate strata. drawing inspiration from Parsons’ work of Social Systems. is being designated as a ‘system of rules’ (Dunlop 1958). Merton growing interrogative touches in his article ‘Bureaucratic Structure and Personality’ (Merton 1969) upon the limitations of the bureaucratic organisations and brings to limelight the aspects of ‘displacement of goals’ caused on account of the emphasis upon precision. Sills’ (1958) study of the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis amply corroborates the findings of Selznick. It is precisely in this context that the analysis of organizational behaviour in the light of organizational response to organizational needs becomes necessary. Though it is with a view to diminish the risk of starvation that mankind is subjecting itself to the monotony and tedium inherent in working in work organisations (Russell 1930). It has been rightly christened by Flanders ( 1965) as the study of ‘job regulations’.constraints. and how and why they change in response to changes affecting the system. Since work is one of the major life roles (Kahn et al 1981). conformity with the organizational blue-print is not always the pattern of organizational behaviour (Merton 1959). The system of industrial relations. This is precisely this aspect. reliability and so on. since organization happens to be a natural product of social needs and pressures-a responsive adaptive organism (Selznick 1949). which Dunlop ( 1958). which Gerald Somers (1969) recognizes as the concept of ‘web of rules’. Recalcitrance (Selznick 1949) as a sequel to non-compliance or a mechanism to resist action that are found to be subservient ensues. The attainment of prestige laden ends by whatever means is increasingly emphasized and the equilibrium between the designated ends and means thereby become unstable (Merton 1959) and engender dissensus in ends or ‘dilemma of ends’ (Gouldner 1955). whose central focus being allocation of rewards to employees and the conditions under which they endeavour to fulfill their role obligations.
Caught in the vortex of a . which induce timidity. and other fringe benefits. constrain and conflict’. pensions. who induced Adam and Eve to fall in line with his evil designs was hoist with his own petard when he declared in a conflictful state of mind that ‘it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven’. But for the conflict between the claimants that action as the derivative of system and that system as the derivative of action. The familiar process of displacement of goals. instead of working as ‘incentives’ aimed toward disciplined action. Constraints in that way may be seen as arising within the framework of consent. These service conditions.built into the system to adhere to rules. which is rational. constraints cannot exist. increments. Adam and Eve. Crozier (1969) holds that the bureaucratic structure is founded on the ‘vicious circle’ of dysfunctional elements. the paradox of consequences manifests itself. The likelihood of the structure. that is the question’ had he not been caught between the horns of a dilemma The various conflicting theories on conflict bear testimony to the fact that conflict is a social phenomenon. Dysfunctional elements. may end up in means becoming ends. the first man and woman. considered to be ‘social costs’ (Blau 1955) may result in the pattern being abandoned or the goals being succeeded (Sills 1969). dysfunctions arising within the organisations are in effect constraints upon action (Watson 1980). may be seen as revolving around ‘consent. may be the ‘golden chains’. conservatism. CONFLICT IN WORK ORGANISATIONS Before tasting the forbidden fruit. the science of sociology would not have come to such a glorious pass. The constraints are by consent and without consent being given. which Selznick (1943) refers to as ‘organizational paradox’ emerges. designated as a means to an end. increase the probability of conformity and thus lead to an over-concern with strict adherence to regulations. Satan. Industrial relations system. therefore. The paradoxical outcome of unintended consequences of actions and means may be seen as constantly at work in work organisations. since such a scheme while in operation creates unrealistic expectations leading to ‘demotivation’. engendering unexpected consequences leading to the organizational objectives becoming dysfunctional receives elucidation at the hands of Merton (1959). Though rules are the means whereby power is translated into action. which form part of the service conditions. Organisational devices such as promotion. and technicism. due to their orientation toward discipline intended to ensure compliance. The Price of Denmark would not have said ‘to be or not to be. would have had the taste of conflict. resulting in an instrumental value turning out to be a terminal value (Merton 1959). Particularly in a scheme of career advancement.
therefore. Since a symbiotic relationship is existing between an organization and the management practices which are shaped by a tension between centrifugal and centripetal pressures (Gouldner 1960). the concept of ‘effective affinity’ make people adopt ideas that help promote their own interests. Since interests rather than ideas govern men’s conduct. Established procedures may be seen as ‘substitute for open conflict’ (Kerr et al 1973). Coser (1968) and Dahrendorf (1959) hold that the chances of incidence of conflict are less in a system where conflict interaction gets regularized through legal norms and other mediation agencies. is can be seen as forging its compromise in response to the pressures in order to ensure that the differences are kept within the limits of broad patterns of common purpose. Seen in this perspective. The bureaucratic measures may be seen as a response to breakdown in social relationships (Gouldner 1955). reduction of conflict below the level which is disruptive. In that way. where power differentials help confer greater benefits through the adoption of cooperative methods. the ‘collective worker’ would not have emerged. It is therefore material rewards which bring them in conflict with one another. However conflicts in work situations are a consequence of the breakdown in the standard mechanism of decision making (March et al 1965). Industrial conflicts take place within the basic social consensus (Coser 1968. and certainly not because of a misunderstanding of interest (Tawney 1920). Conflict in work situations takes the form of ’antagonistic cooperation’ (Sumner 1907). However. The sources of discontent. But for the ‘hidden injuries of class’ (Sennett et al 1977). competing with one another. conflict may be taken to be a motivating factor in obtaining or making concessions (Zeuthen 1930) or forcing one into decision making. Elridge (1973) . we should not lose sight of the fact that it is because of a better understanding of diversity of interests that disputes are caused. For a successful functioning of any organization. bilateral dissensus (Carchedi 1977) help the unions and management to come to terms. Crompton et al 1977) or within the framework of shared values reflected in procedure (Dubin 1960). Since the organization is entrapped in a series of constraints upon action (Dunlop 1955). lies in the material aspirations. Organizational members are cooperators in a common enterprise in pursuit of material and intangible rewards. and provision of ways and means to enhance sufficient satisfaction to individual members is essential ( Caplow 1953). organizational members may be perceived to be in a situation marked by ‘antagonistic cooperation’.‘psychological contract’ coming within the ‘economic exchange’. which the employees were unable to put up with. conflict which is a ‘vivid form of interaction’(Coser 1968) cannot be taken to be peripheral to the functioning of an organization.
d) the manner of interaction. Conflicts can be conspicuous by their presence in withholding efforts. . In the course of interaction. Several of these forms such as sabotage. Industrial conflict cannot be understood without being placed in the institutional context. b) their goals and standards. c) the structure of the interaction. of restriction of output. These include. or of personal turnover. e) the substantive rules. of sabotage. of boycotts. For Clark Kerr. ‘the means of expression of industrial conflict are as unlimited as the ingenuity of man’. The parameters within which the study of conflict process takes place are the organizational context and structure. and paves the way for better interactional situations. of absenteeism. arbitrary. labour turnover.claims that he has not come across such a succinct statement as the one provided by Clark Kerr (1964) on the variety of forms which industrial conflict can take. It may even involve such rigid adherence to rules that output is stifled. f) the attitudes and satisfaction of the parties. 170-171) provides a vivid definition of industrial conflict which reads as follows: Industrial conflict has more than one aspect: for the manifestation of hostility is not confined to one single outlet. of political action. from the side of the management (Kornhauser et al 1954). waste. conflict emerges as a counteracting force to be reckoned with. inefficiency. or only key men. absenteeism from the workers’’ side and bureaucratic rigidity. restriction of output. Even the strike itself is of many varieties. It may involve all the workers. a) the parties and their functions in the context of the plant. capricious and discriminatory dismissals etc. absenteeism and turnover take place on an individual as well as on an organized basis and constitute alternatives to collective action. and g) the environment both within and outside.Clark Kerr in his essay ’Industrial Conflict and its Mediation’ appeared in Labour and Management in Industrial Society (1964 . But conflict with the employer may also take the form of peaceful bargaining and grievance handling. The strike is the most common and visible expression. It may take the form of refusal to work overtime or to perform a certain process. Its means of expression are as unlimited as the ingenuity of man.
Building on the classic work of Max Weber. This social process. The social distance between the ranks that comes to be institutionalized has divisive consequences (Crozier 1964). but it holds out threat and engenders conflict. Etzioni (1960) introduced the concept of effects of exercise of power as one of the classifying types of authority. TECHNOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS Many a Sociologist concedes that technological transformation has signalled the ‘dehumanization of work’ on account of massive simplification of job tasks (Hughes 1980). The division of labour stemming from the organizational needs to control workers by increasing their dependency. which means a ‘crisis of disqualification’ has been identified as one of the major sources of conflict (Thompson 1960). a sense of individual powerlessness cuts across the hierarchical grading and culminates in dissatisfaction (Aiken et al 1966).Goode 1960). or process of exchange (Blau 1964). even in any single status the possibility of conflict which is inherent in such role-set is expected (Merton 1959). intrinsic cooperation demanded by division of labour is essential. a change in one will tend to alter the others in the same direction and this change in others serves as a feed-back to further move the first changing condition in the same direction and so on as the variables interact. It has to be seen in specific situations and the forces at work which produce compliance. consequently becomes a protective device to escape responsibilities (Merton 1959). over-time payments. Work ideology with its constant emphasis on work ethic and work based values engender alienation (Daniel 1973). is after all. labour turnover and so forth. As division of labour rules the roost. conflict engendered by interaction. or intense pressure for deviation. Francis and Stone (1956). Gouldner (1955). Specialization. a transaction (Dunlop 1958. For an organization to be effective. the modern urban dweller might . In the course of interaction of two or more variables. commonly referred to as ‘vicious circle’ (Bredemeier et al 1970) may be seen to be in operation in work organizations in matters of absenteeism. while raising the problem of compliance with the rules see the conditions obtaining outside the organization as determinants of workers’ orientation to rules. Coser 1968).within which the interaction takes place. Though conformity is seen to be an interaction. Argyris (1957) sees division of labour as placing constraints on the individual’s natural skills. Since authority is centralized. Since the individual is involved in a whole set of role relations which are made up of role-transactions (Merton 1957.
We are labouring under an illusion that unmitigated transfer of technology for developing Nations like India is the right and only answer to alleviate the sufferings of the teeming millions. which Dickson (1974) calls the ‘ideology of industrialisation’. changes for which we. Emery et al 1960. When . while their constant endeavour to turn dead matter go out from there improved continues (Schumacher 1977). In answering the crucial question as to why the organization structures vary. and especially our industrial relations system are not adequately prepared to respond quickly (Barrett et al 1979). namely. Urbanism. but of technological success. and political independence coupled with industrialism have effected many changes in our values and ways of life. failure to catch up with the advancing and imposing technological change in time might have equal consequences for the labour. Burns et al 1966. If this argument is taken to its logical end. size. Technological solutions imprison the social structures and open-up the floodgates of new problems. the Aston Researchers (Pugh et al 1976) focus upon three factors. In all its vicissitudes there is nothing more perceptible than that of sudden change wrought by the new industrial revolution sweeping the developing countries like India. On a re-examination of the findings of Aston Group.perhaps be the first man in history to starve even with the appropriate tools in a fertile land (Caplow 1970). due to the sudden ’import of technology’. Many of our primary social institutions are caught in the vortex of change. The new problems are not consequences of incidental failure. Technology with a human face (Schumacher 1977) is thought of as a possible solution to bring to halt the saddening trend of men working in factory remaining corrupt and degraded. Technology in disguise plays an exploitative and alienating role and proves to be a ‘blessings in disguise’ for the organization to increase the amount of control. despite the other contextual contraints Eldridge (1973) referring to persisting. Woodward (1965) and Blauner (1964) finds technology as a contextual independent variable. location and technology as the key variables. The Industrial relations system remaining at the cross roads is a symptom of the strains attendant on the sweeping process of change that has overtaken the Indian society. and to raise those who are below the poverty line. ‘Technological implications’ approach to industrial sociology (Woodward 1965. The new automated technology is capable of halting reversing the trend toward alienation (Blauner 1964). Technology reduces a luxury into a necessity and vice versa. Aldrich (1972) in line with Lawrence and Lorsh (1967). Blauner 1964) is getting an important place accorded to it in shaping the industrial relations at the work place.
Why not? What does the mechanical engineer do with friction? Of course. Troubled by stress embedded in their roles and relationships. In defense of conflict she writes that ‘we should set it to work for us. maturity and decline. Litter 1978) or ‘trained incapacity’ (Veblen 1959) cannot be overlooked. As a consequences of these. As products go through the life cycle of introduction. As new technology ushers in all around. consumer preferences to new product technology becomes crucial to success. reluctance on the part of the workers and executives to opt for another employment becomes evident. and due to ‘executive menopause’ (Saunders 1962). such of those workers whose ‘exit’ does not materialise. and may have important consequences for the workers. provided the external labour market is kind. Workers therefore prefer to voice dissatisfaction in search of improvement (Hirschmann 1970). raise their ‘voices’ and when once the ‘voice’ option is exhausted. The transmission of power by belts depends on the friction between the belt and the pulley. such a situation may create frustrations. Epitomizing the infallibility of the customers’ decisions in the slogan ‘the customer is always right’. Such situations further generate a desire on the part of the workers to seek improvement within the organization without leaving it for elsewhere.technology becomes obsolete. there is a potential for labour conflict as the organization has to operate in a competitive environment relegated from a monopolistic situation. life cycle squeeze’ (Mann 1973) or ‘fear of the unknown’ (Mann 1973). modernisation becomes a luxury on account of the product life cycle (Wells 1972) affecting the organization. the skills of the personnel and also industrial relations. Braverman 1974. and persisting with an obsolete technology may have unintended consequences. conflict and failure for the workers. then the question of ‘exit’ begins to surface. When technology is seen as essential to the success of the organization. In other words. proper handling of conflict may lead to more appropriate and effective arrangements (Kelly 1970) Mary Parker Follet (1940) recognized the possibilities of ‘making conflict work for you’.It may be seen that the overall impact of technology upon the social structure becomes nobody’s business through default (Merton 1959). The . Though conflict is an unstabilising process inimical to the existing social agreements. Enforced obsolescence of skills reduces the alternative for employment outside. The ‘zeigarnick effect’ (Merton 1959) which surfaces due to ‘deskilling’ (Friedmann 1952. but it is true that he capitalizes friction. The friction between the driving wheel of the locomotive and the track is necessary to haul the train. All polishing is done by friction. a potential for production switching may exist. key decisions concerning new technology are admittedly strategic decisions. his chief job is to eliminate friction.
wherein the freedom to negotiate is not only retained among the negotiating parties. Gouldner (1955. While the ‘frozen fruits of industrial conflict are thawed’ (Dahrendorf 1959). thou for wages followest thy master. As Max Weber (1976) observes. the coming into being of collective worker is a culmination of the desire to usher in an era of distributive justice and also to ensure the freedom of workers from irrational controls. it is considered more fruitful to expend efforts towards promotion of collective bargaining. which would not destroy. Scene I) portrays the plight of wage earners being looked down upon thus: The sheep for fodder follow the shepherd. unnecessary irritations.We have to know when to try to eliminate friction and when to capitalise it. We left the savage state when we discovered fire by friction.collective bargaining provides ‘drainage channel’ (Harbison 1954) for workers’ dissatisfaction. the modern capitalism would not encountered the immensely stubborn resistance of employees had it not begun its work of increasing productivity of human labour merely by increasing its quantum and intensity. In a similar vein. the shepherd for food follows not the sheep. TRADE UNIONS The creation of a class of wage earners has resulted in the emergence of trade unions (Webb et al 1902) with a view to extinguish grief and sorrow embracing their hearts. quoting Karl Marx. and acknowledging their mutual dependence upon each other. Conceived as a device to constrain unilateral decision by the management. intended at accommodation of conflict .. thy master for wages follows not thee: therefore thou art a sheep. but rather improve the opportunities of the other ( Bakke 1946). Besides this. and injuries for their self respect. 163) in his work on ’Wildcat Strike’ opines that the tensions arose when the employer attempted to transform ‘labour power’ into ‘labour‘ in the absence conclusive bargaining in respect of actual amount of work to be done. ’labour power’ represents the ’ability to work’ whereas by ’labour’ it is meant the ’real output’. We talk of friction of mind on mind as a good thing….music of violin we get by friction. Propelled by a philosophy of mutual survival. Instead of sharpening the tools of repression. collective bargaining. but the freedom is also not surrendered at the altar of a third party when outside intervention at conflict resolution is not sought for. differences existing between labour and management are sought to be sorted out by methods. when to see what work we can make it do’. William Shakespeare speaking for Proteus in his work on ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ (Act I. For Marx.
the development of social skills among the citizenry (Chester Bowles 1963)might ensure that peace does not see a return of conflict. managerial skills are the anti-dotes to the potential pathologies of urban industrial civilization (Watson 1980).it makes a faint attempt at ‘work humanization’ (Harbison 1954). Tamilnadu. However. thereby heighten the tempo of conflict and take conflict resolution several distances away (Sheppard 1954). Publication Division. India) authored by Dr. Emerging as a counter-force to corporatism (Panitch 1980). is identified as the main determinant of union behaviour where it is the predominant mode of job regulation (Clegg 1976). many aspects of organizational decision-making may have to yield to joint decisionmaking. Besides good communication. Though collective bargaining can be seen as providing one of the most important bulwarks for the preservation of private enterprise (Harbison 1954). Though conflict cannot be wished out of existence. miscommunications lead to misunderstandings. When decisions remain without being communicated. University of Madras.Rangarajan.through institutionalization.S. Trade Unions through collective bargaining help re-establish industrial order based on ‘negotiated consent’ and seen from this perspective a ‘firm foundation of consensus’ (Harbison 1954) is laid to resolve ‘family quarrels’ (Tannenbaum 1964). to accept the compromise that may be necessary for a consensus while maintaining a sense of personal independence and to cooperate with others for the improvement (Chester Bowles 1963) of one’s organization might be the open sesame to industrial harmony. they provide the recipe for ‘administrative paralysis‘.C. With a view to obviate the emergence of such a situation. The possession of such a skill as to dissent without revolution. Chennai 600090. ************* ============================================= ============ Note: Relevant portions are extracted from the Book entitled ‘ The Worker and the Bureaucratic Structure in Industry’ (1997. ================================================= ======== .
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