Rationalisation, Technical Change and Employee Reactions

Part of the Explorations in Sociology book series (EIS)


The effects of the economic recession and organisational restructuring on working conditions have been significant since the mid-1970s in West Germany as in other Western countries. In particular, the new microelectronic information technologies have proved to be powerful instruments for the rationalisation of work. Employee resistance has been minimal and this widespread acquiescence is surprising in the face of such drastic restructuring of the labour process. In terms of macro-level analysis which focuses on the structural features of society, why do large groups of wage workers apparently not act according to the interests derived from their class position? The micro-level of group behaviour and individual action attuned to the social system inside the firm to which radical writers in the USA and Great Britain are increasingly returning, has largely been omitted in the critical (structural Marxist) debate in Germany. A major theme of this chapter will be the need to reinstate it as crucial to an understanding of class and employment relations.


Organisational Change Technical Change Work Rationalisation Labour Process Economic Recession 
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© British Sociological Association 1986

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