Future work and its
The Empower Group, London, UK
There appear to be two ways in which this chapter title might be addressed. The first would elaborate the trends in the nature of work which have been identified recently, assume their continuance to yet more pronounced forms, and draw some implications for the likely emotional impact upon employees. So, for example, the increasing variety and flexibility of employment contracts might be argued to likely result in increased feelings of job insecurity. The second approach, which is the one I will take, is to reverse the order of the elements of the title. In other words, I intend to take a particular stance on the nature of emotions and then look at some fundamental issues in the employment relationship of the future in the light of this analysis.
Emotions are dependent upon social relationships; that is, they are “socially constructed” (Harré, 1986). They originate with others, refer back to the self, and always take others into account (Denzin, 1984). This general statement is not intended to deny that emotions have biological and physiological substrates. Rather, it affirms that the meanings which we put on this substrate, the way we experience it, and, indeed, its very activation, are the result of our social relationships.