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Unformatted text preview: SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Monday, 11 October 2010 Most important…
soc 313 Instructor: QUINCY EDWARDS • Do take ownership of your education in this class by completing all reading and writing assignments on time and participating in on‐line discussions. • Read each of the assigned textbook chapters before viewing the supplemental Powerpoint presentations.
• Laulima is the University of Hawai‘i on‐line course management system. Links to the discussion board and other salient features are provided at: https://laulima.hawaii.edu/ SURVEY OF
SOCIOLOGY OF WORK THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF WORK (4TH Online
Instructor: Quincy Edwards ED.) INDUSTRIES AND TECHNOLOGIES PART III SOC 313: SURVEY OF SOCIOLOGY OF WORK Chapter Outline…
• Competing View of High Technology
• Job Displacement and Job Creation • Changing Job Content
• Microprocessor Technologies and Skill Requirements CHAPTER • Working in High Technology 9 • New Frontier in High Technology The High‐Technology Revolution
…and other readings 1 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Monday, 11 October 2010 The High‐Technology Revolution…
Is it a Revolution? The potential of the computer chip has been compared to the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.
What are the consequences of new technologies for workers and for organizations? Competing Views of High Technology… Competing Views of High Technology Competing Views of High Technology…
High‐Technology Industries—Defined by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as those:
1. Employing 1.5 times the average proportion of technology‐oriented workers: • Silicon computer chip—at the heart of high technology.
• Beginning in late 20th C., entirely new industries sprang up.
• Electronic technology transformed traditional blue‐collar manufacturing and white‐collar clerical and professional work. • Engineers • Life and physical scientists
• Mathematical specialists
• Engineering and scientific technicians
• Computer specialists 2. Having research and development expenditures twice the average for all industries.
3. Being above average on both these criteria. Competing Views of High Technology…
Competing perspectives on influence of advanced technologies on work.
1. Emphasizes benefits resulting from technological advances. Economist Faye Duchin views technology as liberating individuals from necessity of performing undesirable work and as source of higher living standards. Key characteristics—conception of technology as neutral and inevitable feature of human existence. Competing Views of High Technology…
Competing perspectives (continued):
2. Identifies technological growth more as a cause of current problems (e.g., unemployment) than as solution to these problems. Sociologist David Noble argues there is nothing automatic about either the development or the consequences of technology. Technology is neither neutral nor inevitable but is, instead, a tool to increase management’s leverage in bargaining with workers. When options exist, employers systematically select the technologies that weaken workers’ autonomy and solidarity. Systems that rely on expensive automated machine tools, for example, are selected over less expensive machine tools requiring more skill to operate. In this view, selection of new technologies reflects and reinforces the unequal distribution of economic and social power. 2 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Competing Views of High Technology…
Competing perspectives (continued):
3. Computers and other forms of automation in the workplace can have negative effects on the experience of work. Sociologist Mike Cooley faults new technologies for reducing workers’ skill and dissipating their motivation. Two negative changes may occur when control is removed from workers and placed in computers and other advanced forms of technology:
(1) Work may become less diverse and less rewarding. (2) Automation may actually decrease efficiency and quality because achieving high quality requires skilled human input—excluded in automated systems.
Without monitoring by a skilled and knowledgeable worker, machines may turn out junk rather than precision manufactured products. Monday, 11 October 2010 Competing Views of High Technology…
Competing perspectives (continued):
Although competing views—consequences of new technologies for work and for workers—there’s a reasonable degree of consensus on at least two aspects of high technology:
1. Major effect of new technologies is to transform existing jobs rather than to create new ones. 2. Technological innovations can increase productivity, product quality, and ability to customize products, thus improving competitive position of those organizations that use them effectively. Competing Views of High Technology
Consequences of High Technology:
Three core issues:
1. What is the balance between job displacement and job creation resulting from high‐technology production? More specifically, what new occupations are created and what jobs are eliminated? 2. How are new technologies transforming the skill requirements of different occupations? 3. Job Displacement and Job Creation How are working conditions being modified by new technologies? How are new technologies affecting the nature and meaning of work? Job Displacement and Job Creation…
• Elimination of jobs resulting from new technologies is called technological displacement.
• Clerical workers—often identified as group most affected.
• Robotics—make manufacturing labor redundant.
• Introduction of computer‐controlled machine tooling systems—
displacement of machinists, tool and die makers, metal workers. Job Displacement and Job Creation…
JOB DISPLACEMENT (CONTINUED) Is the High‐Technology Revolution Really Different?
1. Microchip applications have capability to transform the production of much wider range of products than continuous‐
2. This wave of automation occurs at a time when economic growth can no longer be taken for granted.
Key difference between electronic technology and automation of 1950s—the consequences of microcomputers are at least as significant for white‐collar work as for blue‐collar work. 3 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Monday, 11 October 2010 Job Displacement and Job Creation… Job Displacement and Job Creation… JOB DISPLACEMENT (CONTINUED) JOB DISPLACEMENT (CONTINUED) 1960 1955 213,000 telephone operators 1,000,000 railroad workers 2005 2005 telephone operators virtually gone 215,000 railroad workers Employment Losses in White‐Collar and Management Occupations
As more information processing is built into technological systems and centralized under control of top management—threat to middle managers. The printing industry, too, experienced advances in productivity along with dramatic declines in employment. Also, as their operations and accounting systems are increasingly automated, retail trade, hotel management, libraries, and many other white‐collar, trade, and service industries are undergoing similar transformations. Job Displacement and Job Creation… Job Displacement and Job Creation… JOB DISPLACEMENT (CONTINUED) JOB DISPLACEMENT (CONTINUED) Robotics
• Growth of robotics applications in manufacturing—dramatic job displacement.
• By 2000, robots displaced 35% of welders; 60% of production painters in automobile industry.
• In 1980 to 2000—estimated 90,000 new jobs created in robotics Robotics (Continued)
• One of newest frontiers in robotics is in medical surgery.
• Miniaturized optical and cutting devices—remotely operated.
• Can even be used to allow specialized surgeons in one location to participate in a surgery at a remote location in another state
or another nation. industry, but displaced 300,000 production workers.
• Costs slow deployment of robots and narrow their displacement effects. Job Displacement and Job Creation… Job Displacement and Job Creation… JOB CREATION JOB CREATION (CONTINUED) Displacement often moderated by techniques used to prevent layoffs—providing notice and retraining and reassigning employees to new jobs.
New occupations—computer technology—such as systems analyst, programmer, web master. Internet
• Has potential to lower costs of marketing and sales.
• Has potential to increase competition among sellers—lower prices and stimulate demand.
• Savings—reduced costs for transactions. Expanded job opportunities—engineers and research‐and‐
development scientists. • Increased efficiency through better management of supply chains, and better communication within firm, with customers, partners. Technology—increased demand for machine maintenance—increase in employment. • Savings can also accrue to “old economy” industries that take advantage of Internet for managing information. 4 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Job Displacement and Job Creation… Monday, 11 October 2010 Job Displacement and Job Creation…
INCREASING SEGMENTATION? JOB CREATION (CONTINUED)
Long‐Term and Indirect Effects • In the labor force as a whole—positions requiring highest and • Problem in determining bottom line effect on employment due to difficulty in calculating long‐term and indirect effects of new technologies.
• Job displacement outweighs job creation, but:
a) If robotics leads to higher productivity, lower prices—may stimulate demand, create significant number of jobs throughout economy.
b) Internet‐based informational efficiencies can cause increase in sales lowest level of skill decreased. Result—broadening in middle.
• Increasing use of educational credentials as screening device—heightens barriers to mobility between non‐
connecting career lines (e.g., CPA certification).
• Only 25% of jobs in high‐tech industries classified as truly high‐technology occupations. and trade. • However, these consequences are difficult to verify. Job Displacement and Job Creation… Job Displacement and Job Creation… INCREASING SEGMENTATION? (CONTINUED)
• Many newly‐created jobs in high‐tech industries will be in traditional “low‐tech” occupations—less than average earnings.
• In Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County, CA), jobs in semiconductor industry show:
in top 1/3 of national earnings distribution 9%
in middle 1/3 of
income distribution INCREASING SEGMENTATION?
The International Division of Labor
Strong possibility that advanced technology contributes to increasingly unequal occupational distribution—few highly paid jobs, and increasing number of poorly paid, relatively alienating jobs.
Example: Six major high‐tech companies in Massachusetts employ 28% of workforce overseas. Workers’ pay ranges from average of $1.26 in Mexico to as low as 21 cents in India (United Nations, 2000). 63%
in bottom third of
income distribution Job Displacement and Job Creation
PUBLIC POLICY AND EMPLOYMENT
Local Impact of High‐Technology Development • Many community planners believe development policies stressing recruitment of high‐tech industries are ill‐conceived.
• Programs narrowly targeted to attract high‐tech business may actually be detrimental to states’ long‐run economic interests.
• Substantial outlay of public funds often required to attract high‐tech firms—have limited employment‐creating potential. Changing Job Content • Likely that development funds—more effective if targeted to help existing businesses become more technologically advanced.
• Important requirement—Companies receiving publicly subsidized financing give advanced notice of plant closures, major layoffs, agree to refund public investments made to attract company. 5 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Changing Job Content…
• Unlikely that creative aspects will be automated away.
• Engineers—10% to 15% of workforce in electronics (3.5% in U.S. economy as a whole).
• In robotics engineering—23.7%, with additional 15.7% of workforce employed as engineering technicians.
• Robotics—Well over 50% of jobs in robotics require two or more years college training (compared to less than 20% in rest of manufacturing).
• In 2000, salaries for computer programmers averaged $36,000 compared to $29,000 for labor force as a whole. Changing Job Content…
• Skilled machinists make tools, patterns, molds, machine parts that make modern industrial production possible.
• Today, jobs transformed by use of numeric control (NC) and computer‐aided numeric control (CNC)—metalworking lathes, drills, cutting tools operate automatically.
• Central issue in CNC production—The right to program the control device: To be done by machinists after training in programming? Or to be done by computer programmers after training in machine tooling? • Rapid pace of technological change—trend for maintenance worker toward multi‐role, polyvalent craft worker who is simultaneously machinist, electrician, and computer programmer. Changing Job Content…
• Dramatically transformed—computers most suited for basic task of handling information.
• Two stages of computerized office automation:
1. Individual workstations automated through introduction of personal computers—increases individual production.
2. Individual workstations eliminated—entire information accounting system fully automated. • Development of voice recognition software may further displace clerical and data entry workers.
• Office automation removes repetition and drudgery from clerical work, but likely to intensify stress and pace of clerical work. Monday, 11 October 2010 Changing Job Content…
• Often boring, repetitive, poorly paid, and hazardous. Many exported overseas to countries with large pools of labor.
• Partially assembled electronic components—easy to export by jet.
• North American, European workers compete with lower‐paid workers world‐wide—availability of cheap labor places strong downward pressure on wages, conditions, in industrially advanced nations.
• Some assembly work can be automated through use of robotics— productivity gains not immediate or assured due to expense and inflexibility of robotics applications relative to human workers. Changing Job Content…
Since Zerodur is one of the most expensive materials in the world, technologies such as ultrasonic machining are used to prevent a part from turning into scrap by loose tolerances. Siemens CNC Changing Job Content…
• Increasing resistance to automated production systems among some middle managers—group normally identified with eager compliance to organizational goals.
• Reason—Middle management’s job (traditionally to search out, compile and digest production and marketing information, and pass to top management) is most easily automated through computerized management information systems (MIS) that tally inventory, handle payroll, and print schedules.
• Such systems allow closer monitoring of workers and middle managers—
thus eroding their traditional power and autonomy. 6 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Changing Job Content…
• New technologies—creating new occupational specialties, and expanding others.
• Many jobs being created—in rapidly growing high‐tech industries.
• Examples of rapidly growing technical support occupations: Nurse anesthetists, radiologists, dental hygienists, biological and chemical laboratory technicians. Monday, 11 October 2010 Changing Job Content…
By 2005, estimated 10% of labor force was telecommuting at least part time.
Increased flexibility of working hours. Reduced commuting time. Work at home during evenings or on weekends. NEGATIVE
Allows work to invade home 24 hours/day and 7 days/week. Reduced personal contact
Isolation, diminished visibility can affect promotion, upward mobility. Home‐based workers may find problems compounded by trying to work at home and take care of children at same time. Changing Job Content
• Most large companies—send at least some of their routine clerical work overseas.
• Data electronically readily transmitted between countries—imminent threat to jobs and conditions of North American workers.
• More recently, many companies moved all or parts of their telephone‐ based services overseas. • India, especially, pursued public policy of providing education for information technology—English‐language technical colleges turn out more than 73,000 graduates per year. Microprocessor Technologies and Skill Requirements • India also invested in infrastructure—especially high‐speed links and informational gateways. Microprocessor Technologies, Skill Requirements…
Another major issue surrounding high‐tech work is its effects on the skill level of jobs: THE SKILL‐UPGRADING THESIS
• In membership poll by Communications Workers of America (CWA) — 78% of respondents indicated technological change had increased skill requirements of job.
• Automated systems—often require high levels of technical knowledge and skills acquired only through lengthy experience.
• High‐level maintenance skills requiring autonomous choices increase with advances in technology. (See Box 9.4, Computer Technology and the Flow of Information, on p.219 of text.) Microprocessor Technologies, Skill Requirements…
THE DESKILLING THESIS
• Professor Joan Greenbaum suggests that automation, while producing increasing levels of responsibility for some workers, overall, creates a tendency toward declining skill requirements.
• Under automation, initial changes that demand increased skills give way to progressive loss of skill—resulting in an inverted U‐shaped skill curve.
• Greenbaum questions whether growing demand for trained
technicians is not just a form of credential inflation rather than true upgrading of skills.
• Greenbaum also reports how all office work, including programming and web development, is being divided up into smaller parcels so that organizations can outsource divided jobs to new sources of cheaper labor. 7 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Microprocessor Technologies, Skill Requirements…
THE MIXED‐EFFECTS POSITION
• Some skill requirements increased; others reduced.
• Post‐high school math and science essential for robotics technicians.
• Many displaced by robots end up in low‐skill, low‐wage service jobs.
• Craft skills can never be eliminated from many manufacturing operations.
• Upgrading of skills occurs through creation of jobs that require more training.
• At same time, deskilling occurs through downgrading of job content over lifetime of many jobs. Microprocessor Technologies, Skill Requirements… Monday, 11 October 2010 Microprocessor Technologies, Skill Requirements…
THE MIXED‐EFFECTS POSITION (CONTINUED)
Variability in High‐Technology Effects • Some jobs upgraded; some deskilled; some experience changing skill requirements.
• Automation demands that some workers learn new skills to monitor sophisticated equipment. May increase their responsibility for complicated, expensive integrated production systems.
• In other situations, workers may labor under increasingly routinized systems, or find that their old skills are obsolete.
• Effects of high technology on skills often determined by social context in which technologies are introduced—and by relative power of the actors involved. Microprocessor Technologies, Skill Requirements TRAINING FOR CHANGING SKILL REQUIREMENTS TRAINING FOR CHANGING SKILL REQUIREMENTS (CONTINUED) Training existing workers to fill new jobs can be difficult. • Who pays for year’s leave for worker to learn new skill? • Retraining displaced worker for new job may not be realistic. Continuing Education
• Training for high‐tech jobs will become lifelong endeavor, with new training required as new technologies emerge. Example: Substantial training would be required to teach an assembly‐line welder to repair and maintain the welding robot that will be doing welder’s job in future. Liberal Arts Education
• Job seekers flooding highly focused technology training programs may create surplus of computer technicians and related specialists. Conversely, retraining skilled plant maintenance workers to maintain industrial robots is relatively simple. Training Options
• Formal, degree‐granting programs.
• Institute training programs as part of collective bargaining agreements. Working in High Technology…
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND THE MEANING OF WORK New technologies eliminate much tedious and dangerous work, but workers experience isolation and constant monitoring can create stress. Working in High Technology COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS Researchers argue that the introduction of computer technologies is fundamentally altering the nature of organizations. Two viewpoints: 1. Increasing availability of information—dispersing power throughout the organization.
2. Leading to a centralization of control. 8 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Monday, 11 October 2010 Working in High Technology…
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS (CONT’D) Dispersion of Information Advanced technology Working in High Technology…
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS (CONT’D) Centralization of Control Improves working conditions Disperses information and authority throughout organization. Technological determinism—a theory that points to technology as the force that shapes society. In contrast to belief that advanced technology lessens organizational inequalities:
• Natural tendency of automation—concentrates functions of control and decision‐making in upper levels of management.
• Flexibility of computer‐aided production systems is primarily flexibility in information retrieval and product design—not necessarily greater organizational, task, or interpersonal flexibility. • Management attempts to promote productivity through involvement of all employees. Working in High Technology…
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS (CONT’D) Working in High Technology…
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS (CONT’D) Electronic Surveillance Management from the Rear Routinely used (especially in large companies) to monitor work of many employees. One commonly cited problem—stresses caused by working on accelerated project schedules. • May include regular printouts for managers on keystroke rates, error Another problem—finding competent managers. Working under chronically incompetent managers can devastate worker morale and long‐run productivity. rates, break times.
• Combined with chemical surveillance (urine tests), electronic surveillance increases ability of corporation to intrude in employees’ lives both on and off the job. • Even if managers are promoted from within the production staff, rapid product changes can make their knowledge obsolete. (See Box 9.5, Internet Surveillance in China, on p. 224 of text.) • Managerial orientations toward short‐run profit—often in direct conflict with efficient operation of new production systems. Working in High Technology…
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS (CONT’D) The High‐Technology Life Cycle Working in High Technology…
Unions show concern on a range of issues associated with the introduction of new technologies:
1. • Characteristic of high‐tech industries—Rapid cycle of corporate birth and death, boom and bust.
• Frequently produce spin‐0ff companies—generally specialize in products either competing directly with or complementing the products of the parent company.
• High‐tech companies often pass quickly out of existence through corporate mergers.
• Problems increased by rapid changes in product lines as new products quickly replace older ones. Advance notice of technological changes is necessary to give unions time to study their impacts and develop reasonable strategies for accommodating these changes. 2. Unions need to be included on a consultation basis from the very earliest planning stages so that they can have a role in determining which new technologies will be selected. 3. It is important to initiate technological changes on a trial basis so that their unintended effects can be examined. 4. Workers need to be protected from reclassification to lower grades or pay scales. 5. Training programs for teaching existing workers the new skills required are strongly preferred over hiring new workers to displace existing ones. 6. Job security against technological layoffs is a particularly important issue and may be based on reduction of the work week, voluntary early retirements, or redeployment to other facilities. 7. Workers need to be protected from potential health hazards associated with new technologies and from electronic surveillance at work. So what have unions been able to achieve? Even when a high‐technology company has a union,
contractual provisions dealing explicitly with technological change are not common. 9 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Working in High Technology…
UNION RESPONSES (CONTINUED) Monday, 11 October 2010 Working in High Technology…
UNION RESPONSES (CONTINUED) New Technologies and Union Power International Agreements Labor’s ultimate bargaining weapon, the strike, is reduced due to: In Canada, Great Britain, and Europe—unions actively engaged in negotiating technological change. • Automated production—increasingly possible for managers to run production operations without workers (at least until repair/maintenance problems mount).
• Also, too many demands from North American workers may encourage companies to move production operations overseas. Greatest union successes—demanding training for existing workers so they can successfully utilize the new technologies. Most comprehensive technological agreements reached in Scandinavia:
• Sweden—largest number of industrial robots per capita in the world. Many of the Swedish provisions are legislative rather than contractual, including complete prohibition against electronic monitoring of individual worker’s output.
• Norway—creation of data stewards who keep abreast of latest technology considered by company, and consult and negotiate with company concerning its deployment, and protect workers’ legislative and contractual rights. Working in High Technology
UNION RESPONSES (CONTINUED) International Agreements (continued)
Bear in mind that high‐tech companies have the
ability to move production jobs around the world, so improved conditions for electronics assembly workers may increasingly depend on:
1. Organizing workers in newly industrializing countries, and New Frontier in High Technology 2. The ability of workers in different countries to coordinate their demands for better conditions. New Frontier in High Technology…
Biotechnology and nanotechnology—spurred on by new developments.
• Biotechnology—Application of biological knowledge and techniques pertaining to molecular, cellular, and genetic processes to develop new products and services.
• Nanotechnology—Chemical, electrical, and metallurgical techniques involving microscopic processes. (Involves positioning and alignment of chemically reactive molecules and electrically reactive atoms in order to build new products or improve old ones.) In next few decades, biotechnology and nanotechnology likely to produce important new products, and provide employment for large numbers of research scientists and technicians. New Frontier in High Technology…
Malaysia has identified biotechnology as a key technology to drive and support its evolution into a knowledge‐based economy. It is ready to learn from and emulate the best biotechnology R&D and industry practices and has set its sights on doubling the number of its biotechnology and biotechnology‐related companies to 400 by 2010.
—Timothy Siaw of Shearn
Delamore & Co. (Nov. 2008) 10 SOC 313: Survey of Sociology of Work Monday, 11 October 2010 New Frontier in High Technology
NanoTechnology and the Fight against Terrorism
—Directions Magazine: Kevin Coleman, Technolytics (June 11, 2003) Homeland Security Applications
With the broad reach NanoTechnology has in terms of capabilities, the direct applications for Defense and Homeland Security are only limited by our imagination and how rapidly the technology advances. From shape‐
shifting armor to fabric that can turn away microbes as well as bullets to new power sources, the defense industries are launching major initiatives and planning for NanoTechnology. The Government is the major source of funding for current NanoTechnology initiatives. Centers of Excellence in NanoTechnology have been established around the country. The basic research in NanoTechnology conducted at these centers will provide the foundation upon
which real world applications can be built. Other centers are already concentrating on military application of NanoTechnology. While there are efforts for new and improved weapons based on NanoTechnology, the vast majority of the NanoTechnology research and applied research fall into the support category. Quick Review From improved powers sources and batteries to advanced arming fuses the defense industry and homeland security has great interest in how NanoTechnology their capabilities. They believe that NanoTechnology will advance sensor and protective equipment and will greatly assist them in their mission. Review… At this point, you should be able to: New technologies create new occupations, destroy old occupations, and transform skill requirements.
• Produce changes in working conditions and organizational dynamics. Changes most apparent in area of skill requirements.
• Prevalence of deskilling or skill upgrading may depend on power of workers to demand preservation and extension of their skills, and on managers’ perception of the importance of preserving a skilled workforce.
• Technological displacement due to new technologies. Older workers especially vulnerable (outdated skills). • Prominent feature in electronics industry—dual occupational structure. Large numbers of lower‐level production workers needed along with smaller numbers of high trained engineers and technicians.
• Advanced technologies—produce new sources of alienation and stress for workers. Create few jobs in contrast to the number they eliminate. 1. Explain competing perspectives on the effects of advanced technology on skill requirements.
2. Explain the concept of a dual occupational structure and its relationship to advanced technology.
3. Explain how advanced technology produces new sources of stress for workers.
4. Contrast job displacement and job creation as effects of adopting advanced technology.
5. Outline and discuss ways in which advanced technology changes job content.
6. Describe options for training workers in a high‐technology environment. • Unions focus primarily on issues of job security and retraining programs. Ch.9 Discussion
Computers can allow both greater access to information and greater centralization of control. Which of these do you think will be their dominant effect? Consider how some people might benefit from greater access to information while others might suffer from additional control and surveillance.
Proceed to discussion link at Laulima and engage! 11 ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2010 for the course SOC 313 taught by Professor Edwards during the Fall '10 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.
- Fall '10