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Market, Class, and Employment$
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Patrick McGovern, Stephen Hill, Colin Mills, and Michael White

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213375.001.0001

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Inequality at work

Inequality at work

(p.69) 3 Inequality at work
Market, Class, and Employment

Patrick McGovern

Stephen Hill

Colin Mills

Michael White

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the work of Sorensen and Russell regarding the changing employment relationship. Both claim that traditional class-based forms of social inequality have either attenuated or taken on an entirely different form. They say this is due to recent changes in employment practices. However, the two authors differ because Sorensen's argument is essentially a variation on the idea that the employment relationship is being subjected to a process of marketization while Russell's history of the harmonization of employment conditions is consistent with the notion of a long-term trend towards the internalization of the employment relationship. The chapter also investigates whether Goldthorpe's conception of social class has any correspondence with the kind of variations in work organization that he proposes. It is shown that conventional Goldthorpe class categories can be mapped into a simple two-dimensional space defined by axes that index the severity of two problems that bedevil all organizations: the ease of collecting information about how well an employee is performing and the extent to which the employee has knowledge and skills that are not easily replaced by external hire.

Keywords:   social inequality, work, marketization, employment relationship, social class

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