ERIC Number: ED300548
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Dumbing Down or Smartening Up?
BCEL Newsletter for the Business Community, n16 p4-5 Jul 1988
Critics call computerized innovations and other changes in the workplace examples of the employers'"dumbing down" of jobs for illiterate workers. Others disagree and say the changes free workers from routine, monotonous tasks and permit them to learn more complex procedures and to take on more responsibility. Findings of a survey of business leaders, union officials, literacy researchers, curriculum and program designers, and others show a variety of opinions. Some see the changes as one more step in the process of "work simplification," some see them simply as labor-saving devices, and some see them as enabling companies to lower the job category to justify lower salaries. A trend toward visualization, compensation for the fact that there are fewer people to fill entry-level positions, and a process of "adjusting material to purposes" are among other theories advanced. Some argue that machines are making work more complex. The downside to all these innovations that reduce effort, increase efficiency and productivity, free the worker from repetition, and stand for general progress may be that it creates a "worker class society" of workers who cannot learn and advance. The other side argues that motivated workers can advance through management training programs. It is also argued that job simplification is useful in solving a company's short-term problem, but is a useful process only when used in conjunction with other training to reduce turnover and make maximum use of employees. (YLB)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Business Council for Effective Literacy, New York, NY.