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Adler's theory of the capitalist labour process: a pale(o) imitation

Thompson, P. (2007) Adler's theory of the capitalist labour process: a pale(o) imitation. Organization Studies, 28 (9). pp. 1359-1368. ISSN 0170-8406

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Abstract

Adler's paper raises a host of pertinent theoretical and empirical challenges for anyone interested in contemporary trends in work and organization. A version of 'paleo' Marxism is invoked to correct the supposed anomalies of labour process theory and the limits of critical management studies. The theory relies on a notion of the progressive socialization of the productive forces in order to assert a positive conception of Taylorism and lean production, as well as a long-run upskilling trajectory. It is argued in this commentary that it is flawed theory and skewed empirics. Adler's perspectives result in a de-politicized workplace by removing any source of conflict over work relations between capital and labour. His evidence of skill upgrading relies overwhelmingly on a series of unreliable proxies that do not deal with actual work relations. In contrast, the commentary defends the record of labour process theory on issues of skill formation and the workplace as a contested terrain.

Item type: Article
ID code: 7708
Keywords: labour process theory, skill formation, politics of production, Marxism, capitalism, Management. Industrial Management, Political theory, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Strategy and Management, Management of Technology and Innovation
Subjects: Social Sciences > Industries. Land use. Labor > Management. Industrial Management
Political Science > Political theory
Department: Strathclyde Business School > Human Resource Management
Related URLs:
    Depositing user: Strathprints Administrator
    Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2009 16:48
    Last modified: 04 Sep 2014 18:16
    URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/7708

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