Own their own tools and have a few people working for

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Managing Human Resources
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Chapter 3 / Exercise 4
Managing Human Resources
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own their own tools and have a few people working for them, but they have little in common with large- scale capitalists and do not share the interests of fac- tory workers. Wright (1979) argues that classes in modern capital- ism cannot be defined simply in terms of different levels of wealth, power, and prestige, as in the Weberian model. Consequently, he outlines four criteria for place- ment in the class structure: (1) ownership of the means of production, (2) purchase of the labor of others (em- ploying others), (3) control of the labor of others © AP Images Bill Gates (co-founder and head of Microsoft Corporation and the world’s wealthiest person) is representative of twenty- first-century capitalism, which increasingly is based on information techonology. 09656_07_ch7_p192_225.qxd 11/17/06 2:31 PM Page 206
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Managing Human Resources
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Chapter 3 / Exercise 4
Managing Human Resources
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Discussion Topic: How does Erik Olin Wright’s perspective on social class differ from the view of Karl Marx? How do these two perspectives differ from functionalist explanations of social class? Discussion Topic: Why do members of the managerial class occupy a contradictory class location? age about 40 percent less than businesses owned by men (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003). Throughout U.S. history, immigrants and people of color have owned small businesses (Butler, 1991), see- ing such enterprises as a way to achieve the American Dream. Over the past decade, the number of businesses owned by subordinate-group members has increased dramatically, but the share of such businesses owned by people of color is still not proportionate to their num- bers in the overall population. African Americans make up more than 12 percent of the U.S. population but own less than 4 percent of businesses; Latinos/as make up more than 13 percent of the population yet own slightly more than 4 percent of all businesses. Asian Americans are closest to being proportional in business ownership: They constitute about 3.6 percent of the population and own about 3.5 percent of all U.S. busi- nesses (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003). THE WORKING CLASS The working class is made up of a number of subgroups, one of which is blue-collar workers, some of whom are highly skilled and well paid and others of whom are unskilled and poorly paid. Skilled blue-collar workers include electricians, plumbers, and carpenters; unskilled blue-collar work- ers include janitors and gardeners. White-collar workers are another subgroup of the working class. Referred to by some as a “new middle typically through inheritance, marriage, or both. In 2003, only eight women were heads of Fortune 500 companies (Catalyst, 2003). THE MANAGERIAL CLASS People in the managerial class have substantial control over the means of production and over workers. However, these upper-level man- agers, supervisors, and professionals typically do not participate in key corporate decisions such as how to invest profits. Lower-level managers may have some control over employment practices, including the hir- ing and firing of some workers.

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