New books


The politics of working life

Paul Edwards og Judy Wajcman

Oxford University Press 2005, 336 s. ISBN 0199271917

An informed account of modern working life: lively and authoritative
Relates social and organizational issues to the experience of the individual
Looks at what is happening to careers, issues of power in organizations, and the impact of globalization

How does the politics of working life shape modern organizations? Is our desire for meaningful, secure work increasingly at odds with corporate behaviour in a globalized economy? Does the rise of performance management culture represent an intensification of work, or create opportunities for the freewheeling individual career?

This timely and engaging book, by leading authorities in the field, adopts the standpoint of the 'questioning observer'. It is for those who need an informed account of work that is accessible without being superficial. The book is unique in its multi-dimensional approach, weaving together analysis of individual work experience, political processes in organizations, and the wider context of the social structuring of markets.

The book identifies central questions about working experience and answers them in a direct and lively manner. It has a strong analytical foundation based on a political economy framework, giving particular weight to the contradictory character of organizations. These contradictions turn on the competing demands placed on organizations and the different political projects of groups within them. This perspective integrates the chapters, and permits numerous scholarly debates to be addressed - including those on identity projects, gender and work, power and participation, escalation in decision-making, and the meaning of corporate social responsibility.

This book is suitable for undergraduate and graduate classes in Organizational Behaviour, Business Strategy and the Sociology of Work and Employment. It will also appeal to the general reader interested in grappling with the complexity of the changing environment of work.

Readership: Undergraduate and graduate students, academics and scholars of Work, Employment, Human Resource Management and Organization Studies, the Sociology of Work and Employment and Industrial Sociology.

1 Introduction: Why and How Should We Think About Work?
2 What is Happening to Jobs?
3 Has it Become Harder to Balance Work and Family Life?
4 Is the Organizational Career and Out-dated Concept?
5 How is Performance Defined, Measured, and Rewarded?
6 Why is Empowerment Hard to Achieve?
7 Why do Disasters Happen?
8 Is Decision-making a Rational Process?
9 How are Markets Constructed?
10 How is Globalization Affecting Work?
11 What are the Opportunities and Responsibilities of Organizational Life?

Authors, editors, and contributors

Paul Edwards and Judy Wajcman, Professor of Sociology, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University