The Value of Work

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Welcome to The Value of Work interdisciplinary research and publications project home page. Work has pervasive influence on human life. Where we live, how we live, how we learn and see the world is strongly shaped by the work we do. Since the industrial revolution some of the expected benefits of the implementation of technology, and contemporary management have not been realised.

While working hours are generally not what they were in the Industrial Revolution, actual working hours for many people have not decreased in the last 10-15 years. This is because many people work more than their formally specified hours in order to meet their job requirements. A common feature of contemporary management is an ongoing expectation of ‘doing more with less’. This means many people are working at an increased pace of work, and or are working longer.

The shift from more coercive and authoritarian to management to ‘self policing’ where workers individually and collectively internalise responsibility for there work can lead workers to be overly preoccupied with work. Work concerns may play on peoples minds 24/7. Work may also have detrimental effects on family, our social and national culture, and global cultures.  This project seeks to gain an understanding of the nature work and the specific nature of its impacts. It is also seeks perspectives and understanding that break from the logic of how work is often done.

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The project will explore and assess a number of core themes:

~ the concept of work
~ the history of work
~ understanding work
~ harmful work: the rise of the ‘workplace’, the systematic (over)valuing of work
~ work beyond work: the spread of work
~ new definitions of work, home-working
~ work-associated technologies: mobile phones, computing, wireless technologies
~ the effects and implications of work for individuals, quality of life, impact on the family, the impact on our social and national culture, the impact on global cultures
~ the beginning and end of work
~ work and education
~ flourishing work, regaining control over and of work; fostering valuable work; and regaining the notion of personal space liberated from work.

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.