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Workers and Machines: Dimensions and Determinants of Technical Relations in the Workplace
James N. Baron and William T. Bielby
American Sociological Review
Vol. 47, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 175-188
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094961
Page Count: 14
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This paper examines the relationship between work organization and stratification processes, specifically, the dimensions and determinants of workers' technical roles. Four dimensions of worker-technology relations emphasized in previous research are analyzed: skill and variety, diversity, technical interdependence, and control over work pacing. We find pervasive gender differences in the forces affecting worker-machine relations: ascriptive characteristics and schooling are more decisive for women; and, because there is a more rigid differentiation among women's technical roles, occupational and job characteristics exert a greater influence on relations to machines and technology than is the case for male workers. Results indicate that individual attributes minimally affect workers' positions within the technical division of labor; factors governing the organization of jobs and firms are more decisive. The implications of these results for theoretical debates and future research concerning work and inequality are discussed.
American Sociological Review © 1982 American Sociological Association