Jan 4, 2018 in Sociology

Sociology of the Workplace

Sociological Implications of the Modern Economy and the Workplace Environment

sociology-of-the-workplace

Structural functionalists believe that workers have minute or no power on the proceedings of the work environment. They value employees on the grounds of their social positions. Individuals are ranked according to the extent in which they donate to the existence of a particular enterprise. Individuals with higher positions in the work environment are accorded higher rewards. The higher rewards compensate for their extra time and efforts to the success of the enterprise. Gender inequality is exercised. Women are perceived to be subordinate to men. This is seen in distribution of work. Men are given the top positions in the job, while women are given the inferior duties. Consequently, women get little pay compared to men. Structural functionalists analyze the social order as determined to be in a status of balance. This indicates that individuals have to come together and adjust with the current economy. This is reflected by the extra efforts in producing more products that can match the existing rate of expenditure (Heath, Knoblauch & Luff, 2000).

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The structural functionalist account of operation has for long been disapproved. It is considered that its way of operations are not consistent with the current economy, whereby men and women strive to achieve their many responsibilities in the society. In efforts to adjust with the modern economy, individuals work hard regardless of their sex or ethnicity. This is explained by the notion that any potential individual can hold the top positions in an institution. Institutions should find numerous ways of motivating employees (Heath, Knoblauch & Luff, 2000). When the persons with higher ranks are rewarded, those with lower ranks are discouraged leading to poor performance, and hence a backward step in the economy. The society should not overwork the employees in efforts to adjust with the economy. Instead, they should find alternative ways of attaining a higher output, such as increasing the number of employees. This option will create jobs for many individuals, thereby boosting the economy through taxation.

Employees in a working environment are joined by a goal of economic action. However, when distinct actions are brought into the workplace, the growth and development of the institution is affected. It is noted that every organization has a set of norms and behaviors’ that are to be emulated by every member in order to achieve the organizations objective. Symbolic interactions in a working environment are the key elements of failure or success in an organization. These interactions are based on the theory of differential association, control theory and labeling theory. In the theory of differential association, employees interact and obtain bad behavior, leading to slowed action on the organization’s activities. Control theory is reflected when organizations lack control over deviant behavior. For example, in a case where absenteeism is not fought with, there are very high chances of economic downturn (Black, & Lynch, 2001).

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On the other hand, behavior change and deviance from the organizations norms is said to bring about poor relations in the working environment. Such problems  are faced by organizations that initiate weak methods of selecting workers. Subsequently, the economy such organizations goes down due to lack of measured principles of development. Labeling theory holds that defiant is a result of the deviant. Positive deviant behavior, taken by leaders helps in moving the economy forward, through emulating actions of progress to the organization (Black, & Lynch, 2001). Some of the actions are; ways of increasing the level of competition, imitating a moving product, among others. Employees express negative deviant behavior due to job dissatisfaction. Leaders force employees to the inhuman root, hence allowing such kind of negative deviance.

The decline in the economic growth of an organization has been brought about by the social conflicts in the workplace. First, the socialization of the workers enables them to adopt norms of different cultures. For example, the leader may force employees to carry out an activity that is against their religion. This may result in conflicts, as the worker feels disrespected by the rules of the organization. Consequently, deviance of the activity may result in a low output, hence a greater impact on the economy. It is noted that employee harassment by the leader is the major cause of conflicts. A lot of time is thereby spent on solving the conflicts. The time that could be spent on production is instead spent on resolution. This affects the economic growth of the institution (Heath, Knoblauch, & Luff, 2000).

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Improved technology has brought about changes in the normal proceedings of many institutions. For example, the introduction of computers in the work environment has eliminated the employees without computer knowledge, leading to job dissatisfaction. The employees are either subjected to other areas of work or terminated from the institution. This means low pay compared to the previous one. Alternatively, the arrival of automation in most companies has left many individuals jobless. Although, this has led to improvement in the financial system of the organization, it has also led to personal dissatisfaction (Seibert, Kraimer, & Liden, 2001).

Managers and employees are obligated to acquire new skills to be able to cope with the modern technology. To achieve this, they end up going back to school. Individuals pay high amounts of cash to get the new skills when at the same time they are not being paid. This becomes a major problem since they have to attend to their normal household activities. On the other hand, change in technology has brought good communication network. Due to this, clients do not have to cover long distances in order to get the products of their choice. They only make calls and the preferred products are delivered to them. Advanced technology has led to more job opportunities leading to personal growth (Appelbaum, Iaconi, & Matousek, 2007).

References

  • Appelbaum, S. H., Iaconi, G. D., & Matousek, A. (2007). Positive and Negative Deviant Workplace Behaviors: causes, impacts, and solutions. Corporate Governance, 7(5), 586-598.
  • Black, S. E., & Lynch, L. M. (2001). How to Compete: the Impact of workplace practices and information technology on productivity. Review of Economics and statistics, 83(3), 434-445.
  • Heath, C., Knoblauch, H., & Luff, P. (2000). Technology and Social interaction: the emergence of ‘workplace studies’. The British journal of sociology, 51(2), 299-320.
  • Seibert, S. E., Kraimer, M. L., & Liden, R. C. (2001). A Social capital theory of career success. Academy of Management Journal, 44(2), 219-237.

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