Management Divided: Contradictions of Labor Management

  • 16h 16m 27s
  • Matt Vidal
  • Gildan Media
  • 2022

One of the central dynamics shaping organizations today is a contradiction managers face between ensuring workforce discipline and harnessing worker creativity. In manufacturing, global best practice includes lean production with substantive worker empowerment; cross-training in enlarged tasks and inclusion in problem solving and decision making. Yet, many managers instead face these conflicting pressures by training workers in narrow tasks and using them exclusively for manual labor.

In this richly evidenced study of American manufacturing, Matt Vidal presents a synthetic theory called 'organizational political economy,' integrating concepts from organization theory into a classical marxist framework. This theory emphasizes how contradictory developments-conflicting pressures and competing logics of labor management-lead management to be divided. Some managers adopt best practice by substantively empowering their workforce while others settle for good enough. Capitalist management is increasingly a source of organizational inefficiency. This argument is not limited to manufacturing. Managers experience contradictory pressures-for standardization versus discretion, deskilling versus upskilling-in a wide range of occupations, including education, healthcare, software development, and many more.

About the Author

Matt Vidal is Reader in Sociology and Political Economy in the Institute for International Management, Loughborough University London. He is author of Organizing Prosperity (with David Kusnet) and editor of The Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx (with Paul Prew, Tomás Rotta and Tony Smith) and Comparative Political Economy of Work (with Marco Hauptmeier). He has published over twenty articles or book chapters on work, human resource management, employment relations, labor markets, comparative political economy, and social theory. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In this Audiobook

  • Chapter 1 - The Problem of Labor Management
  • Chapter 2 - Lean Management and Employee Involvement
  • Chapter 3 - A Theory of Organizational Political Economy
  • Chapter 4 - The Postfordist Field in American Manufacturing
  • Chapter 5 - A Typology of Approaches to Lean Production
  • Chapter 6 - Routine Politics of Production: Quality Not Quantity
  • Chapter 7 - The Workforce Contradiction
  • Chapter 8 - The Management Contradiction
  • Chapter 9 - Workplace Regimes: Valorization Logics and Organizational Logics
  • Chapter 10 - Capitalist Management and Routine Inefficiency