The World of Work: Industrial Society and Human Relations

The World of Work: Industrial Society and Human Relations

The World of Work: Industrial Society and Human Relations

The World of Work: Industrial Society and Human Relations

Excerpt

This book concerns American industry and commerce. It is based on the conviction that knowledge comprises facts, and ideas about how the facts relate to one another. The facts we call empirical knowledge; the ideas we call theoretical knowledge. Knowledge is not complete without both. I have given prominence to ideas about work in our society because I think in the analysis of this important aspect of social behavior we have been singularly naive about the theory we have used. At the same time, I have sought diligently all the facts I could accumulate from studies and observations of working behavior, to maximize the practical knowledge about which the theory makes sense.

This entire volume is devoted to what people do while they are working, and the reasons for their behavior. The world of work is given more extensive coverage, and intensive analysis, than in any comparable volume. I have purposely minimized the treatment of union-management relations in this book in order to be able to include the scope and depth of materials covered. This does not mean I consider union and company relations unimportant. The opposite is true. In my opinion, industrial relations are so crucial for the economy that their analysis has been reserved for a companion volume, Robert Dubin, Working Union-Management Relations (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1958). The two volumes together analyze the major facets of American industrial society. They share a common theoretical framework, and can be read in sequence or independently.

A supplementary bibliography is included at the end of the volume. It should prove useful, in addition to the chapter citations, as a guide to the extensive literature in this field.

This book should prove valuable as an attempt to make systematic sense out of work in our industrial world. The balance of fact and theory is useful to those interested in understanding this complex world for the knowledge it brings, and the value of its future application.

To men and women doing the work of our society -- management and workers, specialists and line executives, union officials and government functionaries dealing with industry and commerce -- this book should prove helpful for its organizing ideas about working behavior. Most of you have vast practical knowledge. I hope this volume helps make sense of the fund of facts . . .

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