Book of the Month Archive

Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States (Nov 2016)

Shannon Gleeson

Precarious Claims tells the human story behind the bureaucratic process of fighting for justice in the U.S. workplace. The global economy has fueled vast concentrations of wealth that have driven a demand for cheap and flexible labor. Workplace violations such as wage theft, unsafe work environments, and discrimination are widespread in low-wage industries such as restaurants, retail, hospitality, and domestic work, where jobs are often held by immigrants and other vulnerable workers. Despite the challenges they face, these workers do seek justice. Why and how do they come forward,and what happens once they do? Based on extensive fieldwork in Northern California, Shannon Gleeson investigates the array of gatekeepers with whom workers must negotiate in the labor standards enforcement bureaucracy and, ultimately, the limited reach of formal legal protections. Gleeson also tracks how workplace injustices—and the arduous process of contesting them—have long-term effects on their everyday lives. Workers sometimes win, but their chances are precarious at best. [from publisher web site]

This book is also available as an Open Access (OA) monograph.  See

Oakland, CA: University of California Press. 177 pages
ISBN: 9780520288782
Call number: HD8066 .G54 2017

Invisible Labor: Hidden Work in the Contemporary World (Oct 2016)

Marion G. Crain, Winifred R. Poster, Miriam A. Cherry (Editors)

Across the world, workers labor without pay for the benefit of profitable businesses—and it's legal. Labor trends like outsourcing and technology hide some workers, and branding and employer mandates erase others. Invisible workers who remain under-protected by wage laws include retail workers who function as walking billboards and take payment in clothing discounts or prestige; waitstaff at “breastaurants” who conform their bodies to a business model; and inventory stockers at grocery stores who go hungry to complete their shifts. Invisible Labor gathers essays by prominent sociologists and legal scholars to illuminate how and why such labor has been hidden from view. [from publisher web site]

Oakland, California : University of California Press. 311 pages
ISBN: 9780520286405
Call number: HD4855 .I58 2016

The Agenda Mover: When Your Idea is Not Enough (Sep 2016)

Samuel B. Bacharach

Organizations, institutions, and individuals get stuck in spite of their innovative ideas and ambitious agendas.

Never has the timing been better for a book that cuts through the theoretical jargon and delineates the exact political and managerial skills leaders need to move agendas forward. Whether you're a team leader trying to lead change and innovation in a large corporation, an entrepreneur trying to gain support, a politician trying to expand your coalition, or an individual trying to advance your career and build networks, The Agenda Mover will give you the political and managerial leadership skills necessary to achieve results.

Based on the premise that leadership competencies and skills can be learned, The Agenda Mover is the inaugural volume of the practitioner-oriented BLG Pragmatic Leadership™ Series published in association with Cornell University Press. Each volume emphasizes specific skills of execution that leaders at all levels need to master. [from publisher web site]

Ithaca, NY; London: BLG Books, an imprint of Cornell University Press. 168 pages
ISBN: 9781501710001
Call number: HD57.7 .B3215 2016

Third Wave Capitalism: How Money, Power, and the Pursuit of Self-Interest Have Imperiled the American Dream (Aug 2016)

John Ehrenreich

In Third Wave Capitalism, John Ehrenreich documents the emergence of a new stage in the history of American capitalism. Just as the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century gave way to corporate capitalism in the twentieth, recent decades have witnessed corporate capitalism evolving into a new phase, which Ehrenreich calls "Third Wave Capitalism."

Third Wave Capitalism is marked by apparent contradictions: Rapid growth in productivity and lagging wages; fabulous wealth for the 1 percent and the persistence of high levels of poverty; increases in the standard of living and increases in mental illness, personal misery, and political rage; the apotheosis of the individual and the deterioration of democracy; increases in life expectancy and out-of-control medical costs; an African American president and the incarceration of a large percentage of the black population.

Ehrenreich asserts that these phenomena are evidence that a virulent, individualist, winner-take-all ideology and a virtual fusion of government and business have subverted the American dream. Greed and economic inequality reinforce the sense that each of us is “on our own.” The result is widespread lack of faith in collective responses to our common problems. The collapse of any organized opposition to business demands makes political solutions ever more difficult to imagine. Ehrenreich traces the impact of these changes on American health care, school reform, income distribution, racial inequities, and personal emotional distress. Not simply a lament, Ehrenreich's book seeks clues for breaking out of our current stalemate and proposes a strategy to create a new narrative in which change becomes possible. [from publisher web site]


Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, an imprint of Cornell University Press. 244 pages
ISBN: 9781501702310
Call number: HC103 .E373 2016

See You in the Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (Jul 2016)

Ruth Sergel, Teresa Mangum and Anne Valk (Eds.)

In 1911, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City took the lives of 146 workers, most of them young immigrant women and girls. Their deaths galvanized a movement for social and economic justice then, but today’s laborers continue to battle dire working conditions. How can we bring the lessons of the Triangle fire back into practice today? For artist Ruth Sergel, the answer was to fuse art, activism, and collective memory to create a large-scale public commemoration that invites broad participation and incites civic engagement. See You in the Streets showcases her work.

It all began modestly in 2004 with Chalk, an invitation to all New Yorkers to remember the 146 victims of the fire by inscribing their names and ages in chalk in front of their former homes. This project inspired Sergel to found the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, a broad alliance of artists and activists, universities and unions—more than 250 partners nationwide—to mark the 2011 centennial of the infamous blaze. Putting the coalition together and figuring what to do and how to do it were not easy. This book provides a lively account of the unexpected partnerships, false steps, joyous collective actions, and sustainability of such large public works. Much more than an object lesson from the past, See You in the Streets offers an exuberant perspective on building a social art practice and doing public history through argument and agitation, creativity and celebration with an engaged public. 

Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press. 209 pages
ISBN: 9781609384173
Call number: F128.5 .S47 2016

Work and Sleep: Research Insights for the Workplace (Jun 2016)

Julian Barling, Christopher M. Barnes, Erica L. Carleton, and David T. Wagner (editors)

Sleep disorders and disruptions are commonly associated with negative mood, hostility, poor concentration, and ego depletion. And while researchers have long investigated the widespread negative effects of shift work on individuals, the knowledge derived from these studies is rather limited to those with non-linear work schedules. However, whether employees are clocking in a normal 9-5 or trudging through the graveyard shift, sleep is a crucial activity for us all. If the quantity and quality of our sleeping patterns are disrupted, the consequences affect not only the employee but for the organization they work for, as well.

Work and Sleep: Research Insights for the Workplace addresses the effects of sleep on employee and organizational functioning, and the impact of common work experiences on a night's rest. With a team of influential organizational psychologists at the helm, the editors lead a group of expert contributors as they each explore the issues that, regardless of industry, matter in work force well-being today.

New York, NY : Oxford University Press. 303 pages
ISBN: 9780190217662
Call number: HF5548.8 .W647 2016

China on Strike: Narratives of Worker's Resistance (May 2016)

Hao Ren, Zhongjin Li, and Eli Friedman (editors)

China has been the fastest growing major economy in the world for three decades. It is also home to some of the largest, most incendiary, and most underreported labor struggles of our time.

China on Strike, the first English-language book of its kind, provides an intimate and revealing window into the lives of workers organizing in some of China’s most profitable factories, which supply Apple, Nike, Hewlett Packard, and other multinational companies. Drawing on dozens of interviews with Chinese workers, this book documents the processes of migration, changing employment relations, worker culture, and other issues related to China’s explosive growth. [from publisher’s web site]

Chicago, Illinois : Haymarket Books. 224 pages
ISBN: 9781608465224
Call number: HD5430.A6 C36 2016

Disability and Employer Practices: Research Across the Disciplines (Apr 2016)

Susanne M. Bruyère (editor)

This book is about the employment of people with disabilities in the United States and the important role of employer practices. Nearly one in five people report some form of disability, and they are only half as likely to be employed as those without disabilities. With the aging workforce and returning military veterans both contributing to increasing number of disabilities in the workplace, there is an urgent need for better ways to address continuing employment disparities for people with disabilities. Examining employer behaviors is critical to changing this trend. It is essential to understand the factors that motivate employers to engage this workforce and which specific practices are most effective. Disability and Employer Practices features research-based documentation of workplace policies and practices that result in the successful recruitment, retention, advancement, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities.

The Cornell team whose work is featured in this book drew from multiple disciplines, data sources, and methodologies to learn where employment disparities for people with disabilities occur and to identify workplace policies and practices that might remediate them. The contributors include individuals with expertise in the fields of business, economics, education, environmental design and analysis, human resources, management, industrial/organizational psychology, public health, rehabilitation psychology, research methods, survey design, educational measurement, statistics, and vocational rehabilitation counseling. [from publisher web site]

Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 204 pages
ISBN: 9781501700583
Call number: HD7256.U5 D577 2016

Forked: A New Standard for American Living (Mar 2016)

Saru Jayaraman

An eloquent, highly researched argument for why restaurant employees' pay and benefits are a vital measure of quality in American dining.  Revealing interviews with well-known chefs and restaurateurs (including Craft's Tom Colicchio and Chipotle's Monty Moran) whose work is leading the movement to combine fair wages and restaurant success. Features 14 case studies of "high road" and "low road" employment practices, including McDonald's, Subway, Taco Bell, Chipotle, In-N-Out Burger, Olive Garden, and Denny's. Includes diners' guides to highest--and lowest--scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry.  Offers actionable ways for restaurant owners, employees, and diners to positively effect change in this massive sector of the American economy. [from publisher web site]

Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. 235 pages
ISBN: 9780199380473

Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries (Feb 2016)

Candace Jones, Mark Lorenzen, and Jonathan Sapsed (Editors)

The Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries is a reference work, bringing together many of the world's leading scholars in the application of creativity in economics, business and management, law, policy studies, organization studies and psychology. Creative industries research has become a regular theme in academic journals and conferences across these subjects and is also an important agenda for governments throughout the world, while business people from established companies and entrepreneurs revaluate and innovate their models in creative industries.

The Handbook is organized into four parts: Following the editors' introduction, Part One on Creativity includes individual creativity and how this scales up to teams, social networks, cities, and labour markets. Part Two addresses Generating and Appropriating Value from Creativity, as achieved by agents and organizations, such as entrepreneurs, stars and markets for symbolic goods, and considers how performance is measured in the creative industries.

Part Three covers the mechanics of Managing and Organizing Creative Industries, with chapters on the role of brokerage and mediation in creative industry networks, disintermediation and glocalisation due to digital technology, the management of project-based organizations in creative industries, organizing events in creative fields, project ecologies, Global Production Networks, genres and classification and sunk costs and dynamics of creative industries.

Part Four on Creative Industries, Culture and the Economy offers chapters on cultural change and entrepreneurship, on development, on copyright, economic spillovers and government policy. [from publisher web site]

New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 554 pages
ISBN: 9780199603510