Employment : A Key Idea for Business and Society book cover
1st Edition

A Key Idea for Business and Society

  • Available for pre-order on April 25, 2023. Item will ship after May 16, 2023
ISBN 9781032247250
May 16, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
200 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Employment: A Key Idea for Business and Society introduces a topic that many of us take for granted yet is central to how we understand business and management. Most people work for the majority of their lives and in recent years, employment has become a topic of popular debate, particularly asking what the future of work could be. Much of this has focused on the role of technology and automation, as well as the growth of the gig economy and new forms of work.

This book provides new ways to think about our own experiences of work and debates on employment. The book covers the history of employment, key changes to work, and a global perspective. The major debates in employment are introduced, providing theories for readers to develop their own perspectives. In particular, the book reappraises management theory, the role of workers’ agency in changing work, surveys the state of current research and methods, and sketches out the key changes on the horizon for employment.

This book will provide students with a critical introduction to employment, equipping them with the resources to research, understand, and rethink the topic.

Table of Contents

Table of contents

Table of contents


Introduction: What is Employment and Why Does it Matter?

What is Employment?

Chapter 1: A Critical History of Employment

The Beginnings of Work

The Industrial Revolution


Scientific Management

The Labour Process Theory

Struggles Over Employment in Britain

The Employment Relationship Today

Chapter 2: The Global Division of Labour

Employment Across the World


Reshaping Global Employment


Informal Work

Unpaid Labour

A Global View of Employment

Chapter 3: The Management of Work

Human Resource Management

Recruitment and Selection

Pay and Rewards

Retention, Engagement, and Turnover

Employee Voice

Management in Practice

Chapter 4: Key Dynamics of Contemporary Employment

State Regulation and Employment Rights

The Public Sector and the State as Employer

Post-Industrial Employment

Emotional Labour

Precarious Work

Platforms and the Gig Economy

Trade Union Decline and Renewal

Chapter 5: Researching Employment

A Brief History of Researching Employment

Research Questions for Understanding Employment

Research Ethics

Collecting Data

Quantitative research



Why Research on Employment Matters

Chapter 6: Future(s) of Employment

The Different Futures of Work?

Academic Exercises

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Dr Jamie Woodcock is a senior lecturer at the University of Essex and a researcher based in London. He is the author of The Fight Against Platform Capitalism (University of Westminster Press, 2021), The Gig Economy (Polity, 2019), Marx at the Arcade (Haymarket, 2019), and Working the Phones (Pluto, 2017).

His research is inspired by workers' inquiry and focuses on labour, work, the gig economy, platforms, resistance, organising, and videogames. He is on the editorial board of Notes from Below and Historical Materialism.