"Occupational structure and alienation"
by Kohn, M L (1976)
This paper appraises two related hypotheses suggested by Marx's analysis of the occupational sources of alienation-one emphasizing control over the product of one's labor, the other emphasizing con- trol over the work process. Using data from a sample survey of U.S. males employed in civilian occupations, it concludes that, in this large-scale, capitalist system, control over the product of one's labor (ownership and hierarchical position) has only an indirect effect on alienation, whereas control over work process (closeness of super- vision, routinization, and substantive complexity) has an appreciable direct effect on powerlessness, self-estrangement, and normlessness.
The intent of this analysis, then, is to appraise two related hypotheses suggested by Marx's analysis of the occupational sources of alienation. One hypothesis, emphasizing loss of control over the products of one's labor, posits that ownership and hierarchical position are of crucial im- portance with respect to alienation (and also ascribes an important, if secondary, role to division of labor). The other hypothesis, emphasizing loss of control over the process of labor, suggests that (at least within an industrialized, capitalist society) such determinants of occupational self- direction as closeness of supervision, routinization, and substantive com- plexity overshadow ownership, hierarchical position, and division of labor in their effects on alienation. (p.113)
KeywordsMarx, Alienation, Organisational Structure, Organisational Theory, Hierarchy, Ownership, Psychology, Capitalism
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