Book of the Month Archive
The Winding Road to the Welfare State: Economic Insecurity and Social Welfare Policy in Britain (Feb 2019)
George R. Boyer
How did Britain transform itself from a nation of workhouses to one that became a model for the modern welfare state? The Winding Road to the Welfare State investigates the evolution of living standards and welfare policies in Britain from the 1830s to 1950 and provides insights into how British working-class households coped with economic insecurity. George Boyer examines the retrenchment in Victorian poor relief, the Liberal Welfare Reforms, and the beginnings of the postwar welfare state, and he describes how workers altered spending and saving methods based on changing government policies.
From the cutting back of the Poor Law after 1834 to Parliament’s abrupt about-face in 1906 with the adoption of the Liberal Welfare Reforms, Boyer offers new explanations for oscillations in Britain’s social policies and how these shaped worker well-being. The Poor Law’s increasing stinginess led skilled manual workers to adopt self-help strategies, but this was not a feasible option for low-skilled workers, many of whom continued to rely on the Poor Law into old age. In contrast, the Liberal Welfare Reforms were a major watershed, marking the end of seven decades of declining support for the needy. Concluding with the Beveridge Report and Labour’s social policies in the late 1940s, Boyer shows how the Liberal Welfare Reforms laid the foundations for a national social safety net.
A sweeping look at economic pressures after the Industrial Revolution, The Winding Road to the Welfare State illustrates how British welfare policy waxed and waned over the course of a century. [from publisher web site]
How the European Union handles posted workers is a growing issue for a region with borders that really are just lines on a map. A 2008 story, dissected in Ines Wagner’s Workers without Borders, about the troubling working conditions of migrant meat and construction workers, exposed a distressing dichotomy: how could a country with such strong employers’ associations and trade unions allow for the establishment and maintenance of such a precarious labor market segment?
Wagner introduces an overlooked piece of the puzzle: re-regulatory politics at the workplace level. She interrogates the position of the posted worker in contemporary European labour markets and the implications of and regulations for this position in industrial relations, social policy and justice in Europe. Workers without Borders concentrates on how local actors implement European rules and opportunities to analyze the balance of power induced by the EU around policy issues.
Wagner examines the particularities of posted worker dynamics at the workplace level, in German meatpacking facilities and on construction sites, to reveal the problems and promises of European Union governance as regulating social justice. Using a bottom-up approach through in-depth interviews with posted migrant workers and administrators involved in the posting process, Workers without Borders shows that strong labor-market regulation via independent collective bargaining institutions at the workplace level is crucial to effective labor rights in marginal workplaces. Wagner identifies structures of access and denial to labor rights for temporary intra-EU migrant workers and the problems contained within this system for the EU more broadly. [from publisher web site]
Daniel J. Clark
It is a bedrock American belief: the 1950s were a golden age of prosperity for autoworkers. Flush with high wages and enjoying the benefits of generous union contracts, these workers became the backbone of a thriving blue-collar middle class.
It is also a myth. Daniel J. Clark began by interviewing dozens of former autoworkers in the Detroit area and found a different story--one of economic insecurity marked by frequent layoffs, unrealized contract provisions, and indispensable second jobs. Disruption in Detroit is a vivid portrait of workers and an industry that experienced anything but stable prosperity. As Clark reveals, the myths--whether of rising incomes or hard-nosed union bargaining success--came later. In the 1950s, ordinary autoworkers, union leaders, and auto company executives recognized that although jobs in their industry paid high wages, they were far from steady and often impossible to find. [from publisher web site]
This landmark book from an expert in dignity studies explores the essential but under-recognized role of dignity as part of good leadership. Extending the reach of her award-winning book Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, Donna Hicks now contributes a specific, practical guide to achieving a culture of dignity.
Most people know very little about dignity, the author has found, and when leaders fail to respect the dignity of others, conflict and distrust ensue. She highlights three components of leading with dignity: what one must know in order to honor dignity and avoid violating it; what one must do to lead with dignity; and how one can create a culture of dignity in any organization, whether corporate, religious, governmental, healthcare, or beyond. Brimming with key research findings, real-life case studies, and workable recommendations, this book fills an important gap in our understanding of how best to be together in a conflict-ridden world. [from publisher web site]
Adam Reich and Peter Bearman
Walmart is the largest employer in the world. It encompasses nearly 1 percent of the entire American workforce—young adults, parents, formerly incarcerated people, retirees. Walmart also presents one possible future of work—Walmartism—in which the arbitrary authority of managers mixes with a hyperrationalized, centrally controlled bureaucracy in ways that curtail workers’ ability to control their working conditions and their lives.
In Working for Respect, Adam Reich and Peter Bearman examine how workers make sense of their jobs at places like Walmart in order to consider the nature of contemporary low-wage work, as well as the obstacles and opportunities such workplaces present as sites of struggle for social and economic justice. They describe the life experiences that lead workers to Walmart and analyze the dynamics of the shop floor. As a part of the project, Reich and Bearman matched student activists with a nascent association of current and former Walmart associates: the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). They follow the efforts of this new partnership, considering the formation of collective identity and the relationship between social ties and social change. They show why traditional unions have been unable to organize service-sector workers in places like Walmart and offer provocative suggestions for new strategies and directions. Drawing on a wide array of methods, including participant-observation, oral history, big data, and the analysis of social networks, Working for Respect is a sophisticated reconsideration of the modern workplace that makes important contributions to debates on labor and inequality and the centrality of the experience of work in a fair economy. [from publisher web site]
The untold history of the surprising origins of the “gig economy” –how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 50s and 60s upended the stability of the workplace and the lives of millions of working men and women in postwar America.
Every working person in the United States asks the same question, how secure is my job? For a generation, roughly from 1945 to 1970, business and government leaders embraced a vision of an American workforce rooted in stability. But over the last fifty years, job security has cratered as the postwar institutions that insulated us from volatility–big unions, big corporations, powerful regulators–have been swept aside by a fervent belief in “the market.” Temp tracks the surprising transformation of an ethos which favored long-term investment in work (and workers) to one promoting short-term returns. A series of deliberate decisions preceded the digital revolution and upended the longstanding understanding of what a corporation, or a factory, or a shop, was meant to do.
Temp tells the story of the unmaking of American work through the experiences of those on the inside: consultants and executives, temps and office workers, line workers and migrant laborers. It begins in the sixties, with economists, consultants, business and policy leaders who began to shift the corporation from a provider of goods and services to one whose sole purpose was to maximize profit–an ideology that brought with it the risk-taking entrepreneur and the shareholder revolution and changed the very definition of a corporation.
With Temp, Hyman explains one of the nation’s most immediate crises. Uber are not the cause of insecurity and inequality in our country, and neither is the rest of the gig economy. The answer goes deeper than apps, further back than downsizing, and contests the most essential assumptions we have about how our businesses should work.
[from publisher web site]
When Steven Burd, CEO of the supermarket chain Safeway, cut wages and benefits, starting a five-month strike by 59,000 unionized workers, he was confident he would win. But where traditional labor action failed, a novel approach was more successful. With the aid of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, a $300 billion pension fund, workers led a shareholder revolt that unseated three of Burd’s boardroom allies.
In The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon, David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.
The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder is a rare good-news story for American workers, an opportunity hiding in plain sight. Combining legal rigor with inspiring narratives of labor victory, Webber shows how workers can wield their own capital to reclaim their strength. [from publisher web site]
Eva Paus (Ed.)
In Confronting Dystopia, a distinguished group of scholars analyze the implications of the ongoing technological revolution for jobs, working conditions, and income. Focusing on the economic and political implications of AI, digital connectivity, and robotics for both the Global North and the Global South, they move beyond diagnostics to seek solutions that offer better lives for all. Their analyses of the challenges of technology are placed against the backdrop of three decades of rapid economic globalization. The two in tandem are producing the daunting challenges that analysts and policymakers must now confront.
The conjuncture of recent advances in AI, machine learning, and robotization portends a vast displacement of human labor, argues the editor, Eva Paus. As Confronting Dystopia shows, we are on the eve of—indeed we are already amid—a technological revolution that will impact profoundly the livelihoods of people everywhere in the world.
Across a broad and deep set of topics, the contributors explore whether the need for labor will inexorably shrink in the coming decades, how pressure on employment will impact human well-being, and what new institutional arrangements—a new social contract, for example, will be needed to sustain livelihoods. They evaluate such proposals as a basic income, universal social services, and investments that address key global challenges and create new jobs. [from publisher web site]
Alan Bryman and David A. Buchanan (Eds.)
Most researchers in organization and management studies stick to two or three traditional research methods like surveys and interviews. Sticking with the familiar is seen as a safe bet, and innovation is discouraged by academic incentives and rewards. But research participants are now suffering from 'survey fatigue', and using the same old methods runs the risk of generating the same old findings.
This book describes twelve unconventional methodologies in organization and management research. These include unconventional research settings and data sources, unconventional research designs and data collection methods, unconventional analytic approaches, and designs and methods that exploit new technology developments. The aim is to encourage dialogue and experimentation with regard to the development of innovative, unconventional approaches to organization and management research. Several commentators have criticized the way in which research methods have become more formulaic, and have argued for greater diversity in research approaches. The methodological perspective that we adopt shapes our interpretation of the information that we gather. Different methods generate different kinds of information, leading to different ways of understanding the phenomena that we are investigating. Our methods influence our styles of theorizing, ways of thinking and reasoning, and forms of writing and reporting research.
This book will be of value to academic researchers in organization and management studies, Doctoral candidates, and Masters students on MBA and similar programs. [from publisher web site]
Tracing a new labor movement sparked and sustained by low-wage workers from across the globe, “We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now” is an urgent, illuminating look at globalization as seen through the eyes of workers-activists: small farmers, fast-food servers, retail workers, hotel housekeepers, home-healthcare aides, airport workers, and adjunct professors who are fighting for respect, safety, and a living wage. With original photographs by Liz Cooke and drawing on interviews with activists in many US cities and countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, South Africa, and the Philippines, it features stories of resistance and rebellion, as well as reflections on hope and change as it rises from the bottom up. [from publisher web site]