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Politics, commitment and the re-inclusion of collective narratives in the contemporary study of work: the New Management Practices debate

Stewart, P. and Martinez Lucio, M. (2011) Politics, commitment and the re-inclusion of collective narratives in the contemporary study of work: the New Management Practices debate. Work, Employment and Society. pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

In seeking to meet the challenge to include worker voice and experience in researching the labour process, we draw on what is termed 'new-management-practices' debate (NMP) from the 1980s. This concerned the way work organisation changed and the manner in which trade unions and worker activists responded. An important exemplar, it was driven largely by collective and organised worker voices, organic intellectuals at local level. This approach has been diminished in recent years as a consequence of the changing nature of academic and union research reflecting a shift away from the concerns of labour. A response to this requires greater inclusion of more active worker voices and narratives, as in the early NMP discussion. While articulating individual voices and experiences is vitally important these be placed in the context of collective endeavour and narratives. This is a fundamental part of democratic research anticipating a new methodology of engaged research.