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Organisational Behaviour Notes

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ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR - FINALS 2011 READINGS Week 1 - What is work?


'Bringing work back in' Barley & Kunda 2001 o 'eras of wide spread change in the nature of work in society should lead to the emergence and diffusion of new organisational forms and institutions' o US - 'blue collar employment has fallen steadily since the 1950s, while white-collar work has expanded' o 'stable employment is declining and contingent work is on the rise' o 'computers and other digital technologies seem to be eliminating some types of work, creating others, and transforming a significant proportion of what remains' o 'boundaryless organisations' (strategic alliances, extended supply chains etc.)
 'Although these trends are reasonably well-documented, the claim that they yield organisations without boundaries seems overstated'
 'issue is not whether boundaries do or do not exist, but how and where people draw boundaries, in the world of work, and whether the nature of the boundaries they draw has somehow changed' o 'the issue if not whether environmental conditions play a role in the rise and spread of new forms of organising. They most certainly do' o 'organisations do not respond to their environments like billiard balls struck by a cue stick' o 'organisations are composed of people who react or fail to react to perceived changes in the environment, it is the activities of people that determine how organisations become structured' o 'human action generates organisational variation' o 'distancing produces images of organising that rest more on the persuasive power of metaphor than on data' o 'our images of work have failed to keep pace with the changing division of labour' o 'in preindustrial societies, work was unremarkable: it was woven seamlessly into the fabric of everyday life' o 'During the Industrial Revolution, however, people began to segregate work from other spheres of life' o 'By the mid 20th century a 'job' meant 'an ongoing stream of activities attached to a role in a division of labour that was held for an indefinite period of time' o 'organisations, rather than tasks, now gave jobs their warrant and integrity' o Images of work:
 'worker-on-the-assembly-line'
 But 'when the nature of work changes, the continued use of an ideal type may obscure more than it reveals' o 'bringing work back into organisations studies may focus more sustained attention on the dynamics of organising' o 'non-relational elements of a work role can be viewed as a set of recurrent activities that do not involve interpersonal interaction' o 'changes in the nature of work should, therefore, affect the structure of an organisation primarily by altering or reinforcing role relationships'


'The Sociology of Work' Grint 1998 o 'no unambiguous or objective definition of work is possible' o 'work tends to be an activity that transforms nature and is usually undertaken in social situations' o 'whether any particular activity is experienced as work or leisure or both or neither is intimately related to the temporal , spatial and cultural conditions in existence' o 'work has been imputed with transformative capacity - an activity which alters nature - while an occupation is something which locates individuals within some form of market'

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'are activities which are not essential to societal survival non-work?' 'it is not that the activities remain the same but that our viewpoints are different' Informal/black economy 'most sociological accounts of 'work' actually concern themselves with paid employment' 'in some senses work is the opposite of leisure' 'we often avoid the term 'work' to describe activities involving children' ''going to work' is one thing, having to work when you get there is a separate matter altogether' 'what counts as work cannot be severed from the context within which it exists' 'between 20 and 70% of the urban workforces in major third world cities are informal, that is without fixed places of work, occupation or income' 'the connection between work, pain and the absence of freedom is hardly coincidental' 'work, for Carlyle (1977) then, was 'natural' in so far as it demonstrated the spiritual side of human nature' Marx - 'work was the medium through which humans realised their potential and created the cornucopia of communism' 'if you had to work you were excluded from the aristocracy'
 'work became associated almost wholly with economic incentives' 'little evidence that, at least until very recently, work was anything other than something 'to be endured rather than enjoyed'
 'the idle rich had better things to do than work' 'self realisation through work was at the heart of Marx' 'capitalism with its degradation of work' 'there are limits to the amount of 'interesting' work any individual can cope with' 'work -its meaning is socially constructed' 'workers may appear to work primarily for extrinsic rewards, rather than intrinsic rewards, this is not foredained'
 'workers with heavy family responsibilities tend to be more concerned with extrinsic rewards' For privatised worker 'work is a means to an end' For bureaucratic worker 'consider employment as a service to an organisation' Solidaristic worker - 'moral involvement in the firm' 'employment is a form of work but not all work is employment' 'almost every activity undertaken without payment in the home is also undertaken for money in the formal economy' therefore 'distinction between work and non-work is seriously flawed' 'they are so intimately connected' 'the effects of unemployment are a clear indication that work is a central social institution and an essential part of most people's lives' Homeric society (e.g. Ancient Greece) 5th century 'concept of work underwent fundamental changes with a developed division of labour, specialisation of trades, and a widespread use of slavery'
 'necessity for the abstention from work as the precondition for the good life'
 'contempt for all those who worked for others'
 BUT Greece & Rome 'objective evidence of self-pride of craftsmen' 'concept of calling as a Christina duty':
 'emphasised work and gave religious sanction to the pursuit of profit'
 'value and dignity of work' A Smith 'treated all matters, including individuals, in terms of quantification, profit, and loss' - 'work and workers were now a means to an end' 'work was elevated by Marx to a position of absolute importance' Work no longer seems to be 'seen as central to the lives of individuals and familys'

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