Tag: work

A really interesting BuzzFeed article about the use of smart phones on building sites to increase efficiency (the 30% of on-site time that is regarded idle, for reasons attributed to ‘miscommunication and disorganisation’) and their implications for workplace surveillance. What’s particularly striking is that inefficiencies are often the result of the complex subcontracting arrangements now […]

In The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, there’s a great discussion of the expansion of bureaucracy in American healthcare. From loc 1728-1737: Between 1968 and 1993, the number of managers and administrators tors in U.S. health care rose fourfold from 719,000 to 2,792,000, outstripping the growth in the number of physicians, which less than […]

From The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, loc 1209. I wonder what ‘innovations’ have emerged in the ten years since this was book was published? There are at least five distinct types of monitoring software. First, there are what might be called “classic” monitoring products, software that embodies the Taylorist preoccupation with timing and […]

From The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, loc 630-647. Taylor’s  experience of industrial resistance to his methods led him to replace this participatory aspect with an elaborate system of inspection and control: But perhaps the most important portant contribution of Japanese manufacturers to the theory and practice tice of scientific management has been to […]

From The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, loc 704: Soft flexibility ibility involves changes to the appearance and styling of a product, such as occurred on the auto assembly line at Nissan, with its variety of dashboards, boards, seats, radios, and carpets. This flexibility can easily be accommodated modated by a work regime that […]

This extremely useful little book introduced me to this consideration recently. It’s very important to my developing argument about the intensification of work: the escalation of demands placed upon workers, their mediation through the internal conversations of individual workers and its implications for how they exercise their reflexivity in the workplace. Here’s the data I’ve just been […]

From The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, loc 149-164 From the early 1990s onward, the twin phenomena of”reengineering” and “enterprise resource planning” (ERP) have been prime examples of workplace practices built around new information technologies. Relying ing on computers and their attendant software, reengineering and ERP automate, simplify, join together, and speed up business […]

From Elon Musk, by Ashlee Vance, pg 125: Some members of the Texas crew honed their skills to the point that they could build a test- worthy engine in three days. These same people were required to be adept at software. They’d pull an all- nighter building a turbo pump for the engine and then […]

Since first encountering the notion of discretionary effort, I’ve been fascinated by it. This is a definition I found on page one of Google: Discretionary effort is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, but above and beyond the minimum required. Many organizations manage performance in such a way that motivates […]

From Liquid Surveillance: a conversation by Zygmunt Bauman and David Lyon, pg 22-23. I heard Bauman make these arguments at re:publica earlier this year and was rather impressed. As ever with him, it’s immensely impressionistic but I think he identifies something important that has been substantiated by other work, most obviously Alice Marwick’s ethnography of […]

The idea that a part 2 to yesterday’s post would be less rushed seems rather naive in retrospect. Feeling rushed in the morning is different to feeling rushed in the evening but it is nonetheless feeling rushed. Much of my motivation for the Accelerated Academy project comes from a desire to understand this aspect of […]

From this article (don’t read it yet though!): “barely capable of distinguishing themselves from the consuming desire to work at all times” “neurotic people who deploy a series of practices that coincide quite neatly with the requirements of the neoliberal, predatory, continually mutating capitalism of the every moment” “people who behave, communicate, and innovate in […]