Should all work be paid?

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(Anh) Duc Nguyen - 110053752 Should all work be paid?



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Name: Anh Duc Nguyen

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Course code and title: Business and Society - BUSS 1057

School: School of Management

Program Code: DBTM

Course Coordinator: Sukhbir Sandhu & Howard Harris

Tutor: Janine Pierce

Day, Time, Location of Tutorial/Practical: Wednesday 5PM - 7PM (Tutorial)

Assignment number: 1

Due date: Sunday 22nd August 2010

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Date: 22nd August 2010

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Should all work be paid?

It is not easy to answer the question above as 'work' is not always the same thing to people. Svendsen (2008, p. 5) describes 'work' as an "expenditure of energy, striving, application of effort or exertion to a purpose". The key to the question is that whether people are satisfied with what they achieve from the efforts they made and from that point of view, perhaps not everybody is willing to get paid if they lose their interests in what they are doing.

It is unquestionable that most people do their jobs for money and how much they get paid is a central idea of work. However, some are not happy about the job they do such as prostitutes or criminals, who are usually held in low esteem (Svendsen 2008, p. 89). There also remain gender inequalities in terms of wages. Regardless of measurement, women consistently earn less than men across numerous demographic variables (Powell 1999, p. 96).

Obviously people are not very happy either if they do not get paid. Unpaid work can be many things, not only work placements and internships that many school-leavers and graduates work for free in the tight job market nowadays, but also any other activity that involves physical or mental effort carried out by a person who clearly does not receive any money for it, such as housework, parenting, nursing elderly people, and voluntary work. Doing housework and raising children, mostly by women, involves a vast range of activities that consumes a huge of amount of time from those housewives. These works are certainly unpaid and their potential earnings therefore decrease significantly, resulting in higher levels of stressful lives. Levels of stress caused by the conflict between work and family is likely to reduce if "there is less discrepancy between choice and necessity" whether or not to participate in paid work to be able to cover the cost of their daily lives (Wolcott 1993, p. 5).

However, not all unpaid work is a curse; much of it is actually meaningful and quite enjoyable. Preparing good food for the family after a hard working day, or simply putting the children to bed and reading them a bedtime story are a few examples of family activities that bring much happiness to the members, especially the woman, a happiness that some people are dreaming of in the contemporary society. Svendsen (2008, p. 89) states that people, who do something as their hobbies, tend to become less satisfied if they get start getting paid although it could take the same amount of efforts as a paid work. He further argues that getting paid for these kinds of work transforms "an inherently meaningful activity to a poorly paid job" (Svendsen 2008, p. 89). He is probably right, such as in the case of a good housewife and a nanny. In terms of job activities, they basically do the same thing: take care of the children's physical and mental development and make sure no harm comes to them. The real mother finds great joy in looking after her own children whereas the nanny's motivation for doing her job is primarily - but not all - money.

Work, whether it is paid or unpaid, should bring joy and happiness, which may be different things to different people in different societies.


Powell, GN 1999, Handbook of gender & work, SAGE Publications, California USA.

Svendsen, L 2008, Work, Acumen, Stocksfield UK.

Wolcott, I 1993, Work and family, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra Australia.

Word count: 548 (including in-text reference and NOT including the Reference list & Assignment heading)�




Assessment feedback

BUSS 1057 Business and Society Assignment 1: Essay

Student's name

ID number

Key Assignment criteria

Performance on this component


Very Poor





Body of knowledge 5 marks

Identify values and common assumptions about the nature of work

Clear conclusion demonstrates ability to apply theoretical knowledge

International perspective 5 marks

Identify ways values are contextual, ambiguous

Convey an understanding of history of ideas

Academic literacy 5 marks

Proper referencing using the Harvard (UniSA) system

Basing the assignment principally on material from the allocated source

Summary comment

Assignment grade/mark

GQ5: are committed to ethical action and social responsibility