- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Contributors
- Texts and Times Mapping the Changing Study of Work and Organizations
- Labor Markets and Flexibility
- Organizations and the Intersection of Work and Family: A Comparative Perspective
- Gender, Race, and the Restructuring of Work: Organizational and Institutional Perspectives
- Skill Formation Systems
- Technology and the Transformation of Work
- Groups, Teams, and the Division of Labor: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Organization of Work
- Introduction: Unmanageable Capitalism?
- The Diffusion and Domestication of Managerial Innovations: The Spread of Scientific Management, Quality Circles, and TQM between the United States and Japan
- Managers, Markets, and Ideologies: Design and Devotion Revisited
- Human Resource Management
- Knowledge Management
- Industrial Relations and Work
- Labor Movements and Mobilization
- Resistance, Misbehavior, and Dissent
- Manual Workers: Conflict and Control
- Service Workers in Search of Decent Work
- What we know (And Mostly Don't Know) about Technical Work
- The Changing Nature of Professional Organizations
- Ports and Ladders: The Nature and Relevance of Internal Labor Markets in a Changing World
- Introduction: The Reorganised Economy
- Organizations and Organized Systems: From Direct Control to Flexibility
- Interfirm Relations as Networks
- Changes in the Organization of Public Services and their Effects on Employment Relations
- Understanding Multinational Corporations
- Corporate Restructuring
- Beyond Convergence and Divergence: Explaining Variations in Organizational Practices and Forms
Abstract and Keywords
This article begins by reviewing two major clusters of research on technical work, both developed after World War II when the employment of scientists and engineers began to attract attention. The first cluster, called the Weberian literature, emerged in the 1950s when industrial sociologists were actively exploring the implications and limitations of Weber's theory of bureaucracy. The second cluster ascended during the 1970s, drew its inspiration primarily from Marx and later Braverman, and focused on questions about the place of technical occupations in the class structure. This article shows how sociology's tendency to place theory before description has left anemic images of technical work. It lays out a research agenda for the development of substantive knowledge of technical work and its social organization, drawing eclectically on more recent studies that have taken steps toward a more comparative, grounded, situated and emic understanding of what technical work entails.
Stephen R. Barley is the Charles M. Pigott Professor of Management Science and Engineering and the Co-Director of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization at Stanford's School of Engineering. He has written extensively on the impact of new technologies on work, the organization of technical work, and organizational culture. In collaboration with Gideon Kunda of Tel Aviv University, Barley has recently completed a book on contingent work among engineers and software developers, entitled Gurus, Hired Guns and Warm Bodies: Itinerant Experts in the Knowledge Economy, which will be published in July by the Princeton University Press. He is the former editor of Administrative Science Quarterly and current editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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