Management, control, ethnicity and the labour process : the case of the West Midlands' clothing industry
Ram, Monder, 1961- (1992) Management, control, ethnicity and the labour process : the case of the West Midlands' clothing industry. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1410968~S1
This study explores workplace relations in the small-firm-dominated West
Midlands clothing sector. Using a combination of direct observation,
survey work and my status as an. 'insider', the thesis examines three major
issues. Firstly, the processes involved in the negotiation of order in
small firms. Secondly, the role of management in shaping work relations.
Thirdly, the extent to which ethnicity is a significant factor in
determining shopfloor behaviour. Despite the recent interest in industrial
relations in small firms, the debates on management strategy and the
various studies on 'ethnic enterprise', these issues have received little
It is commonly believed that employers in this sector respond to the
uncertainties of operating in a volatile market by casualisation and the
intensive use of familial labour in the management of the firm. Although
widespread, such practices were shown to be not entirely 'rational' and, in
certain circumstances, important constraints upon management.
The pressures emanating from the market were compounded by uncertainties
on the shopfloor. Rather than managerial autocracy, the organisation of the
workplace was characterised by informality, unpredictability and struggle.
The contested nature of the workplace thus highlighted the contradictory
position of management; having to accommodate market pressures on the one
hand and the need to negotiate on the shopfloor on the other.
Ethnicity further mediated shopfloor relations. The gendered basis of
ethnicity, together with its capacity to 'work' to the advantage of
minority women as well as migrant men highlighted the multi-faceted nature
of the concept. Moreover, the relationship between ethnicity and the
labour process is demonstrated.
In conclusion, the findings establish the 'relative autonomy' of the
labour process, the pattern of control in the West Midland clothing
industry and provide concrete empirical support for the conceptualisations
of management provided by Hyman (1987) and Edwards (1986).
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Clothing trade -- England -- West Midlands, Industrial relations -- England -- West Midlands, Small business -- England -- West Midlands|
|Official Date:||May 1992|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||School of Industrial and Business Studies|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Edwards, Paul ; Phizacklea, Annie|
|Sponsors:||City of Birmingham Polytechnic (Birmingham, England)|
|Extent:||v, 238 leaves|
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