Picture of boy being examining by doctor at a tuberculosis sanatorium

Understanding our future through Open Access research about our past...

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare (CSHHH), based within the School of Humanities, and considered Scotland's leading centre for the history of health and medicine.

Research at CSHHH explores the modern world since 1800 in locations as diverse as the UK, Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe. Areas of specialism include contraception and sexuality; family health and medical services; occupational health and medicine; disability; the history of psychiatry; conflict and warfare; and, drugs, pharmaceuticals and intoxicants.

Explore the Open Access research of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Image: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Wellcome Collection - CC-BY.

Needing a new programme : why is union membership so low among software workers?

Hyman, J. and Lockyer, C.J. and Marks, A. and Scholarios, D.M. (2004) Needing a new programme : why is union membership so low among software workers? In: The Future of Worker Representation. Future of Work Series . Palgrave McMillan, pp. 37-61. ISBN 9781403917591

[img]
Preview
Text (strathprints007352)
strathprints007352.pdf
Preprint

Download (108kB) | Preview

Abstract

In terms of employee characteristics, software workers represent a particularly fascinating and important group of workers to explore in terms of their behaviour towards unions. They represent an expanding cohort of so-called knowledge workers in the UK and other countries, many possessing considerable latent power through their proximity to and involvement with electronic means of production and accumulation. An early study of technical workers' unionism by Smith (1987) provides evidence that computer personnel possess at least some of Batstone et al's (1978) four potential sources of industrial power, namely: skill scarcity, strategic position, immediate impact on production, and potential to create uncertainty (Smith 1987: 104). Other writers, however, have hinted that software workers are no less immune to management pressures to routinise and Taylorise their work than are any other group of skilled workers (Kraft and Dubnoff 1986; Beirne et al 1998). Software workers also enjoy familiarity with information technology, an increasingly effective tool in organising union membership both in the USA (Fiorito et al 2002) and the UK (Diamond and Freeman 2002).