Conceptual and theoretical issues in the study of labour and work

study of labour

Labour studies quintessentially cover the relationship between work, organization, and workers juxtaposed against both contemporary and historical contexts. One needs to have a firm grasp on History, Sociology, Political Science, and Economics to concentrate on the different branches of labour study. Students and scholars always possess a kaleidoscopic view of labour laws across the globe to find similarities and differences essential to the wellbeing of workers. The subject makes sure to convey emerging and former trends in labour laws that might be of interest.

Today, the historical perspective is required while managing business organizations in an environment wrought with complex political influences. Labour relations are embedded within complicated scenarios and changing economic models. The study would take into account pertinent models and business relationships to make it lucid.

Theoretically, labour study would include

- Detailed case studies on social stratification and relationships amongst the class, gender, and race

- Philosophical perspectives to trace the influence of labour unions and workers’ movements. 

- Detailed analysis of short and long-term objectives of labour unions as found in historical records. 

- Different perspectives that have contributed to the flux in society in connection with the role of workers

- Analysis of political and social change to comprehend whether they had any effect on workers both nationally and globally

- Various methodological ways that might be relevant to the domain

- study of the history of labour unions and movements that have shaped past events and continue to do so. The study of labour and work would also examine how external and internal workers of labour unions have participated in harmony to fight for their welfare. 

· Strategies of defending, formulating, and extending their interests in the context of employer and government policies. 

· Role of social institutions and how they function about the labour organizations. 

What have been their roles in structuring labour movement over the decades? 

Labour economics provides a thoughtful insight into the labour market that is based on employee-employer interaction. It delineates the pattern of earning, kind of employment, and wages as determined. The key to understanding labour and work is by studying the development of labour-capital relationship through the years. Many researchers have expounded major theories on this; for instance, the significance of market contract towards the labour capital relationship. Cheap custom writing services offer assignments on all these topics.

Conflict Management Theory

A thorough analysis of the reasons behind strikes and deliberate pause in work is not uncommon in organizations. This could stem from varied purposes such as conflicts, communication gaps, and disregard of workers’ interests. The study has five steps that enunciate measures on avoiding conflict, eliminating the frequency of destructive conflicts, figuring out critical solutions to conflict, assisting both parties in resolving the conflict are some of the vital points.


A conflict that forms a core area of labour study could arise among both skilled and unskilled workers. The difference in interests, understanding, and approach could lead to clashes and fallouts between employer and worker(s). Every organization tries to forge some sort of negotiation to sustain a harmonious relationship and maintain efficiency. Conflict management mechanisms are adopted to reduce disruptions and disengagement that could hurt factory output. Additionally, while studying labour and work, it is imperative to take into consideration the broader picture of aggregate production, inflation, and booms and busts. 

Alienation Theory

In Marxist literature, alienation is keeping the produce aloof from the labour or the worker who had produced it. It renders the production as a fictitious material subsequently resulting in exploitation of workers. In a capitalistic society, this calculated separation is prevalent. Within this framework, the worker, far from feeling a sense of contentment, feels depressed and unhappy. Labour becomes external to the worker and somewhat forced. The worker induces within an animalistic attitude since the labour appears to be offered by someone else, an outsider. Interestingly, this disengagement is also apparent in religion- between man and the priest. It imparts a deep understanding of the concepts of private property and the gap between labour and capital. 

Labor Mobility

The concept comprises of the dynamics of changes in geographical mobility and occupational mobility of workers. What propels labour mobility and how it affects politics, results in coalition formation, and changes a country’s economy are significant. 

The study could be done country-wise juxtaposed against its society and history. It would help scholars of labour and work explore prominent features typical to employment. In the U.S, for instance, labour mobility resulted in two-thirds of lesser-skilled adult males migrating to other countries. Geographic movement aggravates the supply of labour and productivity. The migrants might replace unskilled or inferior local workers who have proven to be less productive in the past. Renowned theorists such as Selig, Marx, Thernstrom, and Frederick Jackson Turner have elaborated on this concept to throw light on the lesser-known consequences of labour mobility.

On the other hand, occupational mobility could smoothen the process of entering into a new zone for employment. However, it could also bring forth the problem of low wages. Since there will be a steady supply of labour, payments could fluctuate and disturb the equilibrium.

Furthermore, the migrant workers might be subjected to unfair and biased treatments at their workplaces. Often they might be denied access to essential utilities. Historically, this is evident with the migration of black slaves in 1680s to work in rice fields and tobacco units. There are various perspectives on the phenomenon of labour mobility one being its contribution towards economic prosperity. The social contribution is unmistakable, resulting in high efficiency and innovation in the destination country. 

The emergence of the study of labour and work has gained immense importance in business and international relations and therefore, is seen as a viable course. Companies are willing to hire candidates who have an excellent grasp on theoretical framework labour laws, employee benefits, subtle signs of victimization, and implementation of new rules that would promote success. Labour relation practitioner usually possesses expertise in the entirety of labour studystudy of labour, which also includes human resource management. 


1005 Words


Feb 20, 2020


3 Pages

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