Also found in: Financial, Wikipedia.
industrial sociologyThe study of work as paid employment, and of industry. The chief concerns of this subdiscipline have been the division of labour, both social and technical (see also OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE); the experience of work; and the role and consequences of TECHNOLOGY within industry. In addition, the subject includes the study of industrial bureaucracies and INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS (see Burns, 1962). see also ORGANIZATION THEORY.
Industrial sociology has its roots in the analysis of INDUSTRIALIZATION provided by MARX, WEBER and DURKHEIM and has involved comparative studies between advanced industrial societies. However, much of industrial sociology has been concentrated on studies of the workplace, with cross-cultural issues dealt with implicitly by reference to North American texts (e.g. Blauner, 1964), leaving more explicit comparative analysis to ECONOMIC SOCIOLOGY or COMPARATIVE SOCIOLOGY. In consequence, the subdiscipline has been particularly concerned with the impact of industrialization in terms of the issues raised by worker attitudes and motivation, through a consideration of SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT, HUMAN RELATIONS and ALIENATION and POWER relations within industry.
This preoccupation with social relations and worker morale within the factory came under pressure with the development of the postindustrial thesis (see POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETY) in the 1960s and the emergence of the SERVICE SECTOR as a major employer of labour. More serious criticisms, in terms of their impact on the integrity of the subdiscipline, came in the 1970s. following, firstly, the rediscovery of the LABOUR PROCESS (P. Thompson, 1989) and, secondly, the development of FEMINIST THEORY. The common point of the criticisms was that industrial sociology was too limited in its major focus on factory work. The two critiques, however, differed markedly in their emphases. The labour process critique was more concerned with the POLITICAL ECONOMY and the relationship between, on the one hand, the organization and control of labour and on the other, the appropriation and realization of SURPLUS VALUE. The feminist critique was concerned with extending the domain and discourse to cover the following: the interrelationship between paid and unpaid work; gender issues; and the relation between work and society. In consequence of these criticisms, the focus of industrial sociology has changed recently from ‘industry’ to ‘work’ (see also SOCIOLOGY OF WORK).