Employees in a workplace are primarily driven financially (i. e. wages/salary), in order to satisfy their physiological needs. These may include food, water, clothing and shelter. This is as revealed by Maslow’s theory of Human Motivation: ‘We share the need for food with all living things’, (Maslow, A, 1987: pg 57). As human beings we all have the instinctive desire to survive. Employees’ wages therefore forms a vital aspect of their job and life, and so they tend to co-operate more when their wages are higher. However, on the other hand, conflict can occur depending on how self-seeking firm employers’ are.
If employees’ wages are reduced in order to help the firm get closer to achieving their profit-orientated goals, they begin to work up to standards that correspond with how much they are getting paid. Such standards tend to be below the expectations of the employer. As a result, there is a ‘seesaw’ action going on between both the employee and employer. For example, the employee wants more wages, meaning fewer profits for the firm. The employer wants more profits, meaning fewer wages for the employer. So there never seems to be a stable balance between the two.
This ultimately leads to conflict. At a retrospective, strikes have been high in the past. Wigham explains that ‘More workers were involved in stoppages in 1910 than in any year since 1893, though many fewer than in following three years’, (Wigham, E, 1976: pg 23). This suggests that conflict levels were higher in the past. Firm managers back then, were more bureaucratic. Thus they were more pre-occupied with maximising profits for the business, and less concerned about the employees’ working conditions and wages, for example, Hitler’s Death Camp.
Today employee strikes have significantly dropped since 1987. Theorists such as Mayo and Taylor have developed theories including ones that suggest that taking regular working breaks and improving working conditions can improve productivity. Therefore progressively conflict and strike activity has been removed from the workplace. However, it still remains in the British workplace this present day. Some employees engage in sabotage. Dissatisfied workers have a hidden agenda about their job and unleash their anger out on firm property such as equipment, machinery, and many more.
It may even be stress as the cause. On the other hand, managers want their employees to confront them one-on-one, if they have any problematic issues regarding their jobs. This prevents further conflict from arising in the future Some employees refuse to contribute ideas. This hints at job dissatisfaction. However, managers want their employees to operate as one large team so they now involve all employees in the firm’s decision-making process. Employees still want higher wages, especially when we live in an economy which is progressively becoming expensive to live in.
The world is also becoming more and more materialistic. Thus the demand for more things that we want but don’t necessarily need such as satellite navigation systems is higher than ever. As a result, employees want more income in order to be able to cover these additional costs. On the other hand, most firms now generously pay employees above the national minimum wage. It is not required by law to do so. However managers of today’s British workplace are aware that by providing good working conditions, fringe benefits and high paid wages, employees get job satisfaction.
This implies that conflict has disappeared from the workplace. Employees fiddle, suggesting that they are not completely satisfied with their job. They believe their asset income falls below what they anticipate to get. As a result, employees resort to petty theft to compensate for this. Today managers of the British workplace have a Post-Fordism method of management. As a result, they are aware that higher wages equate to higher productivity. The meaning of work has evolved over the centuries. This may be because their primary motive may not be financial.
Some people get jobs for reasons other than to receive their wages and put food on the table. They seek something else, which may be something like social contacts, self-actualisation. For example, teachers get a great deal of satisfaction by watching their students grow and develop academically. This gives such people a ‘feel good’ sensation of achievement within them. In fact, most people who are unemployed feel that there is no structure to their lives because simply they don’t have a substantial reason to wake up for. In this case, it is to socialise with fellow colleagues at work.
Therefore poor working conditions and high wages can put off such workers with alternative motives for working. Conflict can kick in as a result. In contrast, some employees are what are known as ‘Capitalists’ (Marx, K. ). Such people want to be able to afford far more than the average ‘blue-collar’ proletarian. They seek high wages and materialistic possessions. Such people get egotistical in their own pay. Thus capitalism breaks up family and friend social connections progressively. This is to the extent where these capitalists become alienated from people in the circle of friends and family.
As a result, it does not permit you to achieve your maximum potential and self-actualise, because you gradually find yourself by your own. Therefore conflict has gone away. The British workplace has a high rate of absenteeism. This suggests job satisfaction and strike defiance. People do not want to return to the same old boring job routine. Therefore they avoid it for pretending to be sick for as long as they possibly can. Furthermore, the employee may find their job boring and repetitive (Blauner, R, 1964) However, employees are provided with plenty of socialising opportunities.
Managers enable workers to work together at times. This enables more social contact. In addition, they occasionally organise social events like Christmas parties to get all the employees together. Works Cited (Maslow, 1987) (Wigham E. , 1976: p23) (Marx, K. ) (Blauner, R, 1964)
Maslow, A. (1987). Motivation and Personality. Waltham, MA: Longman . Watson, T. (1995). Sociology Work and Industry. London: Routledge. Thompson, P. And McHugh, D. (2002). ‘Work Organisations’. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Ditton, J. (1977). Part-time Crime: An Ethnography of Fiddling and Pilferage. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.