Forms of Control and Resistance

  • Paul Thompson


Under all systems of social production, management of physical and human resources is necessary. Within capitalism, the managing of resources has become management, a specialised function with two dimensions. Co-ordination is necessary to avoid the haphazard and wasteful use of the instruments of labour, and to meet the requirements of purchasing, finance, marketing and other factors. Exercise of authority over the labour of others is, however, a means of obtaining ‘the desired work behaviour from others’ (Edwards, 1979: 17). Edwards goes on to clarify the components of any system of control.1 These consist of the mechanisms by which employers direct work tasks; the procedures whereby they supervise and evaluate performance in production; and the apparatus of discipline and reward (1979: 18). Of course, such means of coercive workplace power are not limited to capitalism, but are characteristics of any class-divided society.


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Copyright information

© Paul Thompson 1989

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  • Paul Thompson

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