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shift work[′shift ‚wərk]
Work paid for by day wage.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
shift workthe organization of work into relays. Most common, within the UK, is the double day-shift, but three and four continuous 24-hour shift working is carried out in about a quarter of all work places (Millward and Stevens, 1986). The main reasons for shift working are to maximize the utilization of plant and equipment and thereby reduce costs, and to meet production targets and deadlines. It is also the case that certain industrial processes are, by their nature, continuous. This is particularly so with the continuous process technology associated with the petrochemical industry Workers’ experience of shift work is that it is generally disruptive to their family and social life and deleterious to their health and physical wellbeing (Gallie, 1978). Shift work is also commonly found among professional and technical workers associated with human services, notably in health care, but also covering commercial activities such as air transport. Here the pattern of recruitment and promotion (i.e. ANTICIPATORY SOCIALIZATION) may alter the workers’ perceptions of the disruptions that shift work causes to their lives.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000