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WORK AND EMPLOYMENT

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Introduction

THE CHANGING NATURE OF WORK INTRODUCTION A range of commentators now accept that there have been considerable changes in the nature of work in contemporary society. Ransome (1999: 50) notes that all economic relationships are circumscribed by the wider, social political and cultural context within which they take place. In order to understand properly the nature of economic relationships it is also necessary to understand the complex ways in which these various contexts interact with one another. Current changes in work can be attributed to a combination of factors:- (Ransome 1999: 6) 1. Widespread restructuring and re-organization of industry 2. The development of powerful technologies 3. The displacements of established patterns of work by new occupations and new ways of working 4. Important changes in the composition and distribution of the workforce 5. New pressures from the increasingly global character of economic planning and practice. To examine changes in the nature of work we need to understand the political and economic context and how this influences changes in the nature of work. 1) THE CONTEXT OF WORK a) Political Context The political context is multi-layered, comprising of National, European and International governments. b) Economic Context The economic context considers three important themes- 1) The rise in significance of the global economy 2) ...read more.

Middle

Millward et al's (2000: 44) research identifies that part-time work is the most established and widely used form of non-standard employment. Service sector employment has spawned a major increase in flexible working practices, such that a great extent of the growth in employment has been in the shape of non-standard labour. a) Part-time working - Approximately 6 million people work part-time in Britain and the incidence of part-time working is increasing. Consecutive WERS studies reveal that although part-time staff constituted a quarter of the workforce in 33% of workplaces during the 1980s, this figure increased to 44% of workplaces by 1998. Millward et al (2000) noted that this increase was mainly due to a rise in the proportion of workplaces with very high numbers of part-timers (over 50%). They noted that the increase in part-time working was most evident in the private service sector this was particularly evident among workplaces engaged in distribution, hotels, catering and repairs. Research has identified that this work often results in inferior pay, promotion and benefits for women that work part-time compared with their full-time counterparts. * Female Participation Women's economic activity rates have increase considerably in the past 30 years. Women now constitute nearly 50% of all those in employment. However, the rises in female employment can mainly be attributed to women's involvement in part-time work. ...read more.

Conclusion

Specifically the emphasis on 'new management practices' have tended to focus on how management have been able to initiate widespread changes in the workplace. However, the course will focus o whether management have been able to achieve their aims un-hindered by employee actions. Therefore, we will assess the extent to which employees develop strategies to survive as well as to resist in the new workplace. CONCLUSION Political and economic considerations are crucial for understanding the context of work; these include the rise of globalisation and the liberalisation of capital, deregulation of employment and the growth in the service sector. These developments have impacted upon the organisation and nature of work in contemporary Britain; these involve the growth in a more flexible labour market with the increased participation of women. Further, as organisations have searched for ever greater ways to develop competitive advantage this has implications for the content and management of work. The nature of skill development and the kinds of work required in the service sector have been the source of much debate, as have management attempts to control the contemporary workplace. However, many commentators and journalists have portrayed a very one-sided view of the changing shape of work in which all developments are represented as a rupture with past practices. This course shall evaluate some of these competing views and as Thompson and Warhurst (1998: 19) highlight also recognise that continuity is as pervasive as change. ...read more.

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