How the Other Half Works: Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor

By Roger Waldinger; Michael I. Lichter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Diversity and Its Discontents

Bosses select workers, but not always as they wish. For all the importance of employers' preferences and prejudices, other considerations frequently come into play. The nature of the hiring process may preclude, or at least limit, the ability to act on one's desire for workers of one type, or one's discomfort with workers of another. In small shops or factories, where the lines of authority are clear and influence is tightly controlled by a single boss, preferences can be translated into action with relative ease. In larger organizations, the matter is more complicated, as more players and views require accommodation. True, the sentiments of the highest-ranking relevant boss are likely to be material, but they may not prove decisive, especially for a low-ranking job. Moreover, where the wages are so miserable, the conditions so poor, or the stigma so high that no preferred groups apply, the distaste for hiring an out-group member is unlikely to be as strong as the aversion to spending more money. Thus even a strongly prejudiced employer unburdened by dissenting supervisors may hire workers whom he or she would otherwise avoid.

Employers may also take into account the views of their employees or customers, which, for simplicity's sake, can be characterized as preferences for interactions with like others (“own-preferences”) or aversions to dealing with outsiders (“other-aversions”). Economic theories of discrimination suggest that these preferences are exogenous: they originate at home or in the street and are imported to work without change. But this view provides less help today than in the “bad old” b/w days, when

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How the Other Half Works: Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Part One - How the Other Half Works 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Part Two - The Social Organization of Labor 29
  • Chapter 2 - What Employers Want 31
  • Chapter 3 - Doing the Job 42
  • Chapter 4 - The Language of Work 63
  • Part Three - From Market to Work 81
  • Chapter 5 - Network, Bureaucracy, and Exclusion 83
  • Chapter 6 - Social Capital and Social Closure 100
  • Chapter 7 - Bringing the Boss Back In 121
  • Part Four - Prejudice, Preferences, and Conflict 139
  • Chapter 8 - Whom Employers Want 141
  • Chapter 9 - Us and them 155
  • Chapter 10 - Diversity and Its Discontents 181
  • Part Five - Ethnicity at Work 203
  • Chapter 11 - Black/immigrant Competition 205
  • Chapter 12 - Conclusion 218
  • Appendix - The Local Context 235
  • Notes 253
  • Index 277
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