Sociology, Work and Industry: Fifth edition, 5th Edition (e-Book) book cover

Sociology, Work and Industry

Fifth edition

By Tony Watson, Tony J. Watson

© 2008 – Routledge

392 pages

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This popular text effectively explains and justifies the use of the sociological imagination to understand the nature of institutions of work, occupations, organizations, management and employment, and how they are changing in the twenty-first century.

With outstanding breadth of coverage, it provides an authoritative overview of both traditional and emergent themes in the sociological study of work; explains the basic logic of sociological analysis of work and work-related institutions and provides an appreciation of different theoretical traditions. It considers:

  • the direction and implications of trends in technological change, globalization, labour markets, work organization, managerial practices and employment relations
  • the extent to which these trends are intimately related to changing patterns of inequality in modern societies and to the changing experiences of individuals and families
  • the ways in which workers challenge, resist and make their own contributions to the patterning of work and shaping of work institutions.

New features include an easy to read layout, key issues questions, mini case studies, chapter summaries, and a fantastic Companion Website which is packed full of useful resources (for students and teachers). All of these elements – and much more – provide the reader with a text unrivalled in the field.


"As a young researcher exploring shopfloor dynamics in the early 1980s, the first edition of this book was an invaluable source of ideas. In the intervening years, Tony Watson has continued to improve his analysis of the multi-facetted, changing and contradictory nature of work and organizations. This excellent updated edition provides a lucid theoretical overview and numerous contemporary examples. As an introductory text, this book is still very hard to beat." David Collinson, Professor of Leadership and Organisation, National Research Director for The Learning and Skills Improvement Service, Founding Co-Editor of 'Leadership', Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK

"Tony Watson's book has been the best book around for students of the sociology of work and industry. This fifth edition consolidates its position. Not only has he updated much of the material that has previously been covered, but with this new edition new areas and developments have been included. The best has got better!"Alan Bryman, Head of School, Professor of Organisational and Social Research, University of Leicester, UK

"Who better to guide us through the complexities of work and organization in contemporary society than Tony Watson? And to do so in ways that examine, explain and put to use key theoretical concepts and resources. This latest edition continues to demonstrate the breadth, depth and insight that have made this book so popular with both teachers and students." Rick Delbridge, Professor, Chair in Organizational Analysis and Senior Fellow of the ESRC/EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management Research, Cardiff Business School, UK

"I have used Sociology, Work and Industry as a core text for Business and Management students over the last decade. It is a rare book as it combines both theoretical insights and considerable academic scholarship with a lightness of touch which renders it accessible for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students." Darren McCabe, Professor of Organisational Analysis, Keele Management School, UK

"Tony Watson’s Sociology, Work and Industry is a long-standing classic in the field. This new edition draws the reader in, with the elegantly constructed, and now louder, authorial voice pointing out how the sociological imagination can allow us to see the contemporary workplace afresh. Up-to-date and well-informed, this new edition is particularly impressive in the way that it helps the reader look across debates to see connections and commonalities. The book will be eagerly recommended by lecturers and well-received by students." Marek Korczynski, Professor of Sociology of Work, Loughborough University, UK

"This nicely crafted textbook by one of the leading and most experienced scholars of sociology of work and organizations provides an excellent coverage of the entire field, combining a historical perspective with a strong awareness of contemporary developments in working life and theory."Mats Alvesson, Professor of Business/Management; Sociology Lund University, Sweden

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Studying Work and Society 2. The Sociological Analysis of Work and Industry 3. Work, Society and Globalisation 4. Work Organisations 5. The Changing Organisation and Management of Work 6. Occupations, Inequality and Varieties of Work 7. Work Experiences, Identities and Meanings 8. Conflict, Challenge and Resistance in Work

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Methodology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General