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Thao Tran

on 5 March 2014

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Transcript of Book

How, at the “point of production” itself, do employers entice people to sell their bodies and, increasingly, their souls?
Buying vs.
Making Dispositions
Hire better workers
Individuals presocialized or pliable to transform
Bourdieu - habitus; initial dispostions durable & influence how we act in professional roles
If disposition works, incentives & punishments unnecessary
More Than a Game
Beyond Sticks & Carrots
“Incentives are the lynchpin of much economic and managerial tough…People will repeat their actions when they are rewarded and cease them when they are punished. “ - pg. 113

Claudia Benitez,
Monika Herrera,
Erna Rivero, Thao Tran
Chapter 6: Controlling Labor
“We don’t quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
On Gratitude & Effort
Fredrick Taylor
American Engineer
Devised a systematic management by observing workers
Noticed that almost all workers worked at the same pace, and if one tried to work slower or faster it would be noticed by all the other workers
Systematic Soldiering : When workers are all paid a certain amount for doing one repetitive task and that pay remains the same, workers will not work at their best
Rather they will work slower and just try to get through the day
“ Hire simple people, simplify their work and motivate them via simple incentives.”
pg. 112

Inspired managers to train their employees
Done through instructions, manuals and tasks that kept all employees at one pace

The idea was to promote control rather than individualism, by equally dividing
Managemant and workers. This way management could keep an eye on workers
and workers would stay on task.

Fredrick Taylor believed that by providing rewards workers would do better.

Cons of this is that Taylor noticed that even with rewards some workers still
did not push to try their best or work hard.

• One mechanism of a labor process is a work-game
• The situational experience of workers at work:
o Management is the designer of a game
o Employees are the players

• Burawoy’s manufacturing consent was a great example to explain the experience at work.
Chicago engine factory
• Workplace was like a game, because everyone had their own meanings and challenges
Served as a powerful function.

• Game based study used to explain why regimes of labor control often failed
o Rewards & punishments not rational
• Example: some workers brought in better skills than others
o Managerial control is taken for granted
• Two kinds of techniques of control
o Dispositional- must obtain wage-labor in order to earn a decent living and have no control over their conditions of their work
• Doctrine of Calvinist: Individuals saw themselves as commodities that should maximize by their hard labor
o Situational control is regulated labor that allows preexisting dispositions to guide actions.
• It is seen as a continuum where one side there are the least free of jobs and on the other creative industries where work is autonomous
• Example: An artist painting in her studio

• The “Norm of Reciprocity”
• Example: A pan of brownies as a birthday gift
• The counter-gift dilemma: different and deferred

• The temporal structure of the gift-exchange.
• Receiver vs. Giver
• Emerson: “an act of forgiveness” and Bourdieu: “symbolic violence.”
• Unequal relationships e.g., (feudal lord and a serf, a village chief and a peasant, or a publicly traded firm and a low-wage worker.)

• How can reciprocity function as a mechanism for motivating work?
• Incentives vs. Reciprocity

• Pre-market society: basic agriculture tasks and reciprocity
• Modern Workplace and Reciprocity: mechanism in which employers control labor of employees
• There are three forms that reciprocity can take
o Extra monetary payment
o Employers’ gifts may take the form of tangible goods and services
o Employers give permission (usually implicitly) to break official rules

• Sallaz concludes that:
“Like selecting incentives, choosing dispositions, and generating games, gifting is a technique of power. And like all power technologies, its efficacy is never flawless.”

Hire based on habitus, preexisting dispostions
Immigrants over native-born
One's traditional habitus may not be able to adjust to new labor requirements
Women in emotional labor positions

Train new workers
Less on specific skills
More on tweaking existing dispostions to match company's values (ie. posture, appearance, tone of voice)
Members to acquire new habits of thought & attitude

Firms create symbolically dense cultures to inspire workers to subconsciously internalize the firm's goals

Mechanisms of Control
Full transcript