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ERIC Number: EJ784184
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 19
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 81
ISSN: ISSN-1363-9080
Braverman, Foucault and the Labor Process: Framing the Current High-Skills Debate
Lewis, Theodore
Journal of Education and Work, v20 n5 p397-415 Nov 2007
This article examines the current high-skills discourse against the backdrop of labor process theory. It draws on the theoretical debate between Harry Braverman and Michael Foucault, supplementing the traditional treatment of the labor process with Foucauldian insights. The primary argument is that especially in the market-led economies, current work organization methods militate against the optimization of skill, and that the current high-skills debate does not dwell sufficiently upon this. The workplace-based research and issues literature is examined, especially from the standpoint of factors that influence the lived experience of workers in untoward ways, the focus being upon high-performance workplaces. The evidence is that a host of factors issuing from the flexibility quest of firms (such as intensification, the transparency of teamwork and computerized work environments, the erosion of discretion and autonomy and segmentation of workers into core and periphery categories) cause workers to be put upon in ways that are not consistent with skill optimization. The article concludes that in keeping with what new models of high-skills formation tell us about nations that are high-skills exemplars, there is need for policymakers in market-led economies of the UK and USA to call capital to account by rejecting a dualism that envisages states as producers and firms as consumers of skill. Rather, employers must be called upon to participate on the supply side, through engagement in training; to create a higher volume of intellectually challenging jobs; and to adopt work organization methods that can optimize the use of skill.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United States