From email@example.com Sat Oct 21 13:27:15 2000
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 00:16:38 -0500 (CDT)
From: MichaelP <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Keeping order in the workplace (sic!)
Subject: Bus admin course - keeping order in the workplace
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 07:01:55 GMT
From: "Mari Vagg" <email@example.com>
Bus admin course - keeping order in the workplace
Lecture outline, 21 October 2000
The following is part of some lectures given to final year business
administration students at Macquarie Uni, NSW Australia. I thought people
may be interested to know what the future managers are being taught - what
we're up against. (i've summarised some of it but not changed the words he
THE PROBLEM OF ORDER
The purpose of organisations is profit. In a business, as soon as you have
employees you have heirarchy. This leads to the problem of keeping order
in the business. The site of conflict is the profit recieved by the
business above the amount paid to the employee ('ee). - level of wages v.
level of value creation.
What can mgt do to keep order?
DIRECT CONTROL MECHANISMS:
heirarchy; issuing orders; monitoring the 'ee
(cameras, supervisors ...) This is an oppressive form of control.
Assertion of managerial control over the 'ee. The separation of conception
The dialectic of control and resistance: Any type of control strategy will
stimulate resistance: workers reaction to the new form of control. The
more direct the control, the stronger the reaction.
Direct controls have a high cost because they will be resisted.
INDIRECT CONTROLS (A more economical way)
The purpose of organisational culture is to promote blind, unthinking,
herd-like loyalty, to get the poor dumb bastard to actually think that
what's good 4 the co is good for him.
the genius of effective culture and informal controls is because they dont
feel like controls - hence less likely to invoke resistance.
Teams: Have the 'ees monitor each other. If someone drops the ball, all
the other 'ees on the team get pissed off. Mgt doesn't do it - this is very
smart because it eliminates the direct supervisory level which is very
TECHNOLOGY (monitoring & surveillance, info tech)
these are indirect
because the worker is interfacing with technology, not a person. The best
way to get resistance is to have a person supervising.
If you imbed controls in culture/tech, you make the control an arms
distance away. People often dont make the link between mgt & the use of
tech as a control.
Tech appears neutral, but mgt decides which tech's to implement - to
further mgt's goals (cash to productivity outcomes). Not to make peoples
jobs more interesting/ liberating. (If this occurs it's because mgt has
decided - due to links b/w job satisfaction & performance.) If 'ees chose,
would make job less stressful, more interesting & would want a voice in
setting targets. By & large (unless unionised) 'ees have no voice.
'ees give up thier citizen rights & submit to authoritarian env't when
they go to work. Organisations are fundamentally top-down, anti-
democratic and heirarchical.
FACTORS IN THE EXTERNAL ENV'T WHICH ASSIST MGT IN SECURING CONTROL
if high, people will take more shit. If low, people will just walk. (In
the US at present, the rate is too low to establish effective control.)
NATURE OF IR LAW, STATUS OF UNIONS, CONTRACT LAW
pariticular alignments can be more favourable 2 mgt/'ees. Cant be
favourable for both. If IR law undermines or weakens unions, this
increases managerial power. if 45 workers are unionised, they're a group,
if individuals, 5 mgrs have more power. (additionally, unions inhibit
SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM
if elaborate, no incentive to take crappy jobs. Reganism/ Thatcherism -
cut down on basic wage and create incentives to work.
if you want to partake in consumerism, must have money - incentive to
work hard. People work because they have to due to capitalism and
expectation pressure (move up status level)
Fundamental pressures which impose a certain amount of discipline
Is work a right or a privilege?
The company owns the jobs. The worker has no right to their job. Another
form of discipline is that we're pre-socialised to work. External
conditions impose work ethic & desires impose discipline.