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Durham e-Theses
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Conflict and consensus in industry: the analysis of control in a steel plant

Bowen, Peter (1972) Conflict and consensus in industry: the analysis of control in a steel plant. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study is concerned with the application of key perspectives in industrial sociology to the problem of the social control of work in industrial organisations, a problem central to many issues affecting the quality of industrial relations in our society. It is argued that the achievement of effective plant systems of social control depends upon the compatibility of decisions taken by management and trade unions with both the system requirements of industrial organisations and the social requirements of employees whose consent to these decisions is crucial. In the first part of the work an attempt has been made to demonstrate how a balanced treatment of systems, order, conflict and social action perspectives in industrial sociology can be used in the consideration of what constitutes the concept of control. A model of control is outlined which emphasises the necessity of exploring the nature of managerial and labour values and decisions as these define the scope and content of the control process over a period of time. The model also illustrates the sensitivity of these values and decisions to system and social influences surrounding the organisation and its participants, and which set constraints within which the control process must move if it is to remain stable. Aspects of the model are applied to the analysis of control in an integrated steel plant. This analysis constitutes the second part of the thesis. The emphasis is upon the determinants of stable control, but the model is also applied to indicate the sources of instability and strain. Ultimately the thesis draws together within one framework concepts derived from the separate but interrelated analytical areas of systems and social integration. In this way, it is envisaged that the work as a whole makes some contribution to a more systematic study of social problems in the world of work.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1972
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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