Job control and the institutionalisation of labour relations in the workplace : a study of two engineering firms in England
Bélanger, Jacques (1985) Job control and the institutionalisation of labour relations in the workplace : a study of two engineering firms in England. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1445508~S15
This thesis is based on observation and interviews carried out in two engineering firms in the West Midlands between October 1978 and May 1980. Besides presenting and analysing a core of empirical material, it seeks to develop a general argument concerning the material and social bases of control over labour in the workplace. In doing so, this research points out some of the ways to link two major trends in the literature: the institutional approach to the study of labour relations and the more recent studies of the labour process. During the 1970s, the two companies studied implemented a reform of labour relations which appears to be typical of developments which took place in engineering and, more generally, in the manufacturing sector of British industry over the decade following the publication of the Donovan Report. The problem under study is the impact of this institutionalisation of workplace labour relations on the control workers have over the utilisation of their labour power in the work process. The fieldwork showed that, behind similar organisational and institutional features, sharply different work relations had developed. The degree of control imposed by manual workers over issues such as assignment of labour, labour mobility, manning levels, job demarcations, immediate intensity and distribution of effort, was significantly higher in one of the two case studies. At Firm A, the institutional reform helped management to confine job control within narrow limits while, at Firm B, similar changes did not help management to reduce worker control over effort but rather contributed to stabilise it. In seeking to explain this social process, attention is given to management strategies and to the strength of workers' organisations. It is also argued that the nature and contours of the work process sets the material basis for control over labour utilisation, the pattern of control also being shaped by social relations in the workplace. The main implications of the research for theory and policy are discussed in the final chapter. It is suggested that although job control resisted changes in the structure of labour relations, in a context of economic recession, it might be more vulnerable to market pressures.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Industrial relations, Industrial management, Engineering firms -- Great Britain -- West Midlands -- Case studies|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||School of Industrial and Business Studies|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Clegg, Hugh Armstrong ; Bain, George Sayers|
|Sponsors:||Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ; Québec (Province). Ministère de l'éducation|
|Extent:||v, 320 p.|
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