New Forms of Work Organization in Europe
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A remarkable development in the sociology of work in recent years has been the explosion of brilliant cross-national and cross-cultural studies in Europe examining the conditions of labor against the background of different economic systems, and differences within each of the major free market, mixed welfare, and planned economic systems that dot the European landscape. In Vienna and Budapest in particular, a group of intellectual workers have gotten together for what can only be described as breakthrough studies in the conditions and purposes of work in post-industrial society.The question of new forms of work organization focuses on job satisfaction, participatory democracy in the work place, levels of productivity, and issues of health and safety in the occupational environment. That these elements are important have long been known. But what this collection of studies emphasizes is the specific mix that produced specific outcomes. It does not shy away from dangerous and tough questions: worker control and control of workers, political participation in contexts of authoritarian regimes, and personal rewards in contexts that once frowned upon private acquisition of capital.The volume is rich in empirical studies and draws the theoretical implications that can and already have had vast policy consequences for workers in the modern " context. Issues relating to job rotation, enrichment, enlargement and autonomy, and others related to new forms of organization starting with the shop floor and extending throughout the management of the enterprise as a whole are dealt with candidly. The social character of labor, long frowned upon as a mechanism for evading bread-and-butter issues, is now recognized, East and West, as a dimension of concern that is growing precisely as the size and character of the labor sector is diminishing. This is must reading for those interested in new forms of social and policy synthesis, and ways of meliorating competing claims of different sectors in modern societies.