To what extent can a managment let approach lead to reducing alienation in the workplace be effective?

Essay by Guvna23 June 2003

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In this essay the writer will be analysing the main theories of both Marx and Blauner in order to see to what extent can a management-led approach to reducing alienation in the workplace can be effective.

According to Karl Marx alienation arises from capitalism. Alienation comes part and parcel with the labour process of the capitalist society and cannot be separated. It is a situation that all workers find themselves in once they have agreed to sell their labour to the capitalist. While agreeing to sell their labour they have also agreed to sell other aspects of work such as the right to control their own work or have any say in the final outcome. All of the decisions of the labour process and everything else are made by the employer. Because the worker has sold himself to the employer and has lost all of the natural right of the labour process making work a difficult and painstaking process.

In the working environment, workers undertake tasks because they are instructed to. They are given a specific method to carry out the tasks leaving very little room for ingenuity. Because they are separated for the their own work, this leaves the worker with a sense of alienation. Workers become distant form the product that they produce because the ownership of the product belongs to the employer. This leaves a further sense of alienation because the product becomes an alien object the to worker.

It is through work that man has the opportunity to truly express himself through their creativity. Marx says that creativity is one of two central purposes of life, production and reproduction - yet under capitalism work becomes not a form of creative freedom but a form of compulsion.

Robert Blauner had a slightly different approach to alienation. According...