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To What Extent Do Survival Strategies Help Counter Worker Alienation.

3193 words - 13 pages

To what extent do the 'survival strategies' counter work alienation?This title is self-explanatory and can lead into discussions about the many types of survival strategy and the theory of work alienation. Throughout the first part of this essay I will be defining and giving brief information on such issues, and will identify many of the studies and theorists that have been concerned with the notion of survival strategies and alienation. However, my main arguments will not be centred around these individual phoneme, but whether or not they interact and whether workers use survival strategies to help cope with and reduce alienation at work, and if so how and why they participate in such activities.The theory of alienation is one that has been the subject of many debates over the past century, two of the most influential theorists in this field are Karl Marx and Robert Blauner. Although there have been many different arguments about if, how and why alienation exists, still no common definition has been agreed upon. This is due to the fact that both Marx and Blauner view the origin of alienation differently, For example Marx argues that alienation is purely an objective experience that is suffered by all workers, as a direct consequence of the emergence of the capitalist society. Whilst Blauner believes that it can be subjective as well, and does not necessarily effect every worker the same way. However, one definition that has been given by Blauner is that alienation is "a general syndrome made up of a number of different objective conditions and subjective feeling-states which emerge from certain relationships between workers and the socio-technical settings of employment" (Blauner, 1964, pg 15). However as mentioned above Karl Marx would disagree with this statement as he believes that subjectivity is irrelevant as alienation is the 'norm' of capitalism.The cause of alienation has been stated by Marx as "when employees relinquish the right to control their own labour" (Noon & Blyton, 1997, pg 141). Although differing views occur over the origin of alienation, this cause also seems to be re-enforced by Blauner's view that alienation exists "when workers are unable to control their immediate work processes" (Blauner, 1964, pg 15).The study in 1964 by Robert Blauner led him to believe that there are four different types of alienation that exist, these are;1.POWERLESSNESS - this occurs when employees are controlled and manipulated by others or by technology and can not change this domination.2.MEANINGLESSNESS - Occurs where employees lack understanding of the whole work process and lacks a sense of how their own work contributes as a whole.3.ISOLATION - Where employees experience no sense of belonging in the work situation, and can not identify with the organisation and it's goals.4.SELF-ESTRANGEMENT - Occurs where employees gain no sense of identity or fulfilment from work, and work and the product becomes detached from them.(Noon & Blyton,...

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