Myths at Work
January 2001, Polity
Global economic restructuring has brought about changes in the jobs we do, our labour market opportunities, and the shape of our individual career paths. These changes have been explained through a number of potent 'myths' (in the sense of widely-held bodies of ideas) including globalization, post-fordist production methods, and a new consumer-based form of capitalism. The authors examine these myths, explain how they have come about, and question their accuracy. While doing so they provide a more accurate picture of employment and the modern workplace. They also look at the 'myths' of the feminisation of the labour force, the skills revolution, lean production, non-standard employment, the death of class, the end of trade unionism, and the 'economic worker'.
The result is an illuminating and accessible teaching and research text that will appeal to students and academics in the sociology of work, organizational behaviour, business studies, and related areas.
Introduction: Myths at Work.
Chapter 1: The Myth of Globalization.
Chapter 2: The Myth of Lean Production.
Chapter 3: The Myths Of Non-Standard Employment.
Chapter 4: The Myth of the Female Takeover.
Chapter 5: The Myth of Technology and Science as the Solution to Workplace Problems.
Chapter 6: The Myth of the Skills Revolution.
Chapter 7: The Myth of the Death of Class.
Chapter 8: The Myth of the End of Trade Unionism.
Chapter 9: The Myth of the 'Economic Worker'.
Conclusion: Beyond the Myths?.
A The authors unravel these myths, explain how they have come about, and question their accuracy. In doing so they provide a more accurate picture of employment and the modern workplace.
A An invaluable teaching text for students, offering a lively and accessible approach.
"There is no better or more accessible guide to the debates
about work and employment than this volume. The strong emphasis on
well-grounded empirical studies - some carried out by the authors -
will help to keep students' feet on the ground and provide them
with the evidence to demolish some of the more egregious of
fashionable theories. This will surely be the best text in the
field for many years to come. This book brilliantly explodes the
fallacy that work and employment need not be a central component of
any sociology programme."Ray Pahl , Institute of Social and
Economic Research, University of Essex
"The authors examine changes at work and in industrial relations
in the light of some of the principal myths that have been used to
explain the changes ... The book deals very effectively with the
myth that trade unions are in permanent decline, concluding that
the UK continues to be typified by adversarial industrial
relations, giving the unions hope for recovery." Labour
"The overall selection covers the most prevalent and seductive
myths in an accessible and stimulating style. Consequently, I would
expect this book to appear on numerous undergraduate reading lists
... Myths at Work may signal the launch of a new genre in
the sociology of work in which academics willingly engage with the
claims advanced by contemporary management gurus and business
philosophers. If this makes it easier to capture student attention
and stimulate classroom discussion, then books like this will serve
an important ... function." British Journal of Industrial
"This is a useful text: it puts 'politics' and 'class' at the centre of the analysis of contemporary work and many of the individual chapters provide useful correctives to some of the more unthinking claims advanced on behalf of such phenomena as lean production, non-standard employment and the feminisation of work"Tom Keenoy, Labour and Industry