Anthropologists and ethnographically oriented sociologists are primarily concerned with describing the practices associated with specific types of work and the meaning that those practices have for the individuals who perform them.
This vision, however, is mostly speculative at this point in time and, as we note in the final chapter, stands as one clear implication and need for future research and experimentation. Moreover, dynamism and flexibility have arguably facilitated the ability of the United States to adapt to past periods of rapid technological change.
Most anthropologists argue that work and its meaning are culturally and socially constituted and, for this reason, are likely to vary across contexts. For example, Steinberg has shown that current systems for classifying occupations, such as the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the Hay System, not only use managerial work as a baseline for assessing the complexity of other jobs, but they also tend to rate occupations traditionally filled by men e.
The content and structure of jobs, in turn, dictate the kinds of knowledge, skills, and abilities that employees are likely to require and also affect important outcomes, such as the quantity, quality, and efficiency of work; the performance of organizations; and the psychological, social, and economic rewards people achieve through work.
Sociologists tend to conduct studies in both areas. A broader definition of contingent work, including part-time, self-employment, and other nontraditional work arrangements, would place the estimate at more than one-third of the workforce. That is, the dominant image of work embedded in most of these laws and regulations carried over from that era—the unemployment compensation system, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, etc.
That is, by their very nature these systems are backward-looking, since they describe jobs at the point in time when data on them were collected. By ruling home and volunteer work outside the scope of our inquiry, we have no intention of implying that such activities are not crucial to the economy.
Unfortunately, outdated systems of occupational analysis and classification hamper more than the ability to assess the changing nature of work; they also create serious practical problems.
Industrial and organizational psychologists also study individuals and the jobs they perform. Hierarchies are being replaced by cross unit organizational groupings with fewer layers and more decentralized decision making.
Frequently, these conflicting images arise because researchers have used different methods or have studied different types of work Spenner, but in some cases researchers have reached conflicting conclusions after studying similar occupations using similar methods Kuhn, As collaboration and collective activity become more prevalent, workers need well-developed social skills—what the report calls "emotional labor.
Thus, although beyond the scope of our analysis, these issues may warrant a study of their own at some point in the near future. The latter can be high for certain firms and individuals who experience the most change.
For example, the wealth gap between racial and ethnic groups has widened since the Great Recession; the Pew Research Center estimated that the median net worth of white households was 13 times that of African American households up from a factor of 10 inand a factor of 6 from and 10 times that of Hispanic households up slightly from a factor of 8 in Anthropologists and some sociologists tend to view skill and knowledge as properties of communities.
We consider such a stance to be required because one of our primary findings, emphasized throughout this report, is that there is no singular deterministic trend in how work is changing. The use of IT-based platforms to access contingent work adds a new dimension to this category of employment.
Conflicts often occur about group goals, work methods, assignments, workloads, and recognition. Rather, we have attempted to provide a framework that will help individuals and organizational leaders to make more informed choices about issues concerning labor markets, work, and careers.
The Changing Workplace The changing workplace is driven by the organizational issues described above and enabled by technologies that support mobility and easy access to information. In general, anthropology, industrial and organizational psychology, and ergonomics focus on the Page 24 Share Cite Suggested Citation:.
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