Visions of the Future of Employment: A Critical Overview
10 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2008
This paper provides a critical overview of the diverse visions of the future of employment. Approach:
To do this, a conceptual framework is presented for understanding the common narrative structure which underpins a multitude of contrasting visions on how employment will be organized in the future.
To show how the diverse stories about the future of employment adopt a similar storyline, this paper reveals how most visions firstly squeeze all forms of employment into one side or other of some dualism, secondly, order the two sides into a temporal and/or normative sequence in which one side is seen as universally replacing and/or more progressive than the other and third and finally, represent this one-dimensional linear trajectory by concocting some label to represent their vision, which usually involves using some –ism, -ation or post-something-or-other. Research implications:
The result is that visions of the future of employment are shown to be grounded in some binary hierarchy (e.g., from Fordism to post-Fordism, bureaucracy to post-bureaucracy), all of which over-simplify lived practice. To offer a way forward that transcends these one-dimensional and linear stories, this paper argues for a more kaleidoscopic understanding that recognises the heterogeneous and multiple directions of employment and opens up the future to new possibilities.
This paper highlights how a common storyline underpins a diverse array of competing visions of the future of employment.
Keywords: employment, economic development, Fordism, post-Fordism, bureaucracy, post-Bureaucracy
JEL Classification: A14, J2, P1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation