'Critically assess labour process theory'

Essay by gurugobinsinghB-, February 2003

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'Since the appearance of Braverman's Labour and Monopoly Capital, the impact of labour process analysis has been experienced in the fields of industrial sociology, organisational theory, industrial relations, labour economics, politics and business studies'

This is an excerpt from the introduction to a book, Labour Process Theory, which was written by David Knights and Hugh Willmott, these two men are very closely associated with UMIST and particularly the MSM. It is for this reason that I have decided to critically assess the labour process theory and see how my views will conflict with those who have gone before me.

This study of labour process theory will begin with the origins of the theory - Marx, it will go on to discuss the work of the key author in the field Harry Braverman. The discussion of the book 'labor and monopoly capital' written in 1974 by Braverman will be followed by analysis of this book and some of the key criticisms that have emerged.

An alternative to labour process, flexible specialisation will briefly be discussed and then conclusions will be made.

The works of Karl Marx begin to set the chain of labour process theory in motion although Braverman is most recognised as 'the father of labour process theory' It goes back to Marxist theories of alienation, Marx claimed that workers who were not in control of the work process were alienated and therefore also alienated with the products that they produced, they were also alienated with the workers that they worked with as they were unable to be suitably stimulated. This led to conflicts of interest between workers and management. Marx also highlight the difference between 'labour' and 'labour power' whereby the labour power was the total work that could potentially be performed by the employee and 'labour'...