Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia

By Patricia Marchak | Go to book overview

9
Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction

To argue that the causes of unemployment are structural is not to argue that the nature of work itself and workers’ reactions to job conditions are of no importance or that workers do not exercise choice when possible. This chapter is concerned with what those reactions are and particularly with whether subjectively rated levels of job control are related systematically to job satisfaction.

The guiding question of much of industrial sociology has been “what makes workers happy at their jobs?” Researchers have been concerned with productivity, assuming that satisfied workers are more productive. The most persistent argument in this tradition has been that satisfaction is a function of job control. Job control is then perceived as having something to do with management styles and the organization of workers within plants. The recommendations of researchers have to do with ways of exercising authority so that workers will find plant life more pleasant or varying the composition of work groups and timing of tasks so that they will not become bored. The 1974 B.C. Research study cited earlier was in this tradition.

Despite some eighty years of experimentation with management styles and worker organization, no conclusive evidence has been provided that any relationship actually exists between these and either productivity or workers’ satisfaction. (for review of the literature see Marchak, 1979, chapter 5). This would be understandable given the evidence on job conditions so far presented in this book. If workers are in industries that regularly lay them off or provide unstable job conditions, changes in ways of exercising authority or plant-floor organization would not substantially alter the stability of the work-force. At the same time, if the differences in employment conditions between one company and another consist entirely of authoritarian versus less

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Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Part One- Capital xxi
  • 1- A Staples Economy 1
  • 2- History of a Resource Industry 29
  • 3- "Partners with Industry" 55
  • 4- The Structure of the Industry 82
  • Part Two- Labour 113
  • 5- Class and Human Capital 115
  • 6- Markets, Technology, and Employment 156
  • 7- Patterns of Employment and Unemployment 181
  • 8- Employment Conditions for Women in Resource Towns 213
  • 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 249
  • 10- Job Control and Ideology 269
  • Part Three- Communities 301
  • 11- The Instant Town 303
  • 12- At the End of the Forest 323
  • 13- Policies for Change 348
  • Appendix A- Methodology and Samples 381
  • Appendix B- Tables Accompanying Chapter 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 389
  • Appendix C- Tables Accompanying Chapter 10- Ideology 399
  • Bibliography 416
  • Index 437
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