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The Modern Workplace Characteristics

This paper aims to discuss the peculiarities of the modern workplace. Moreover, it will describe the challenges faced by employers and employees. Overall, it is possible to single out the following characteristics of the contemporary workplace:

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  1. Increasing emphasis on autonomy and creativity of employees as well as the flexibility of their schedule;
  2. Increasing job insecurity among workers;
  3. The growing role of freelance workers and the slow decline of full-time employment;
  4. Work stress is an inherent part of the job.
  5. Elimination of national borders by the Internet
  6. Denial of Fordist approach which stresses standardization and automation of work. This method is often regarded as dull and dehumanizing.
  7. The rise of “cognitariat” or those employees who create or develop different types of content.

This environment gave rise to many companies. One of them is oDesk which acts as an online job marketplace. This company helps both employees and employers in the following way:

  1. It provides contact information about the workers and companies;
  2. This company enables both sides to make financial transactions;
  3. This organization offers tools for the management and monitoring of employees’ work.

One can distinguish several principles on which the work of oDesk is based.

  1. Transparency. This company ensures that employees that they receive compensation for their work.
  2. Flexibility. oDesk allows employers to hire cognitariat workers on a part-time basis as this strategy can reduce the cost of the labor force.
  3. Visibility. oDesk enables companies to monitor the work of their freelancers.

Overall, it is possible to single out the following conflicts between the employees and employers.

  1. Employees’ desire for autonomy or independence on the one hand and willingness of the management to monitor their work on the other.
  2. The companies’ intention to maximize productivity on the one hand and lack of creativity and innovation on the other.
  3. The worker’s desire to protect their rights and their increasing isolation, especially if we are speaking about online employment.

These conflicts are inherent to post-Fordism companies and workplaces. These changes pose a great number of questions. Yet, the most important one is how modern cognitariat workers can organize themselves to protect their rights. Furthermore, it is particularly interesting to know how modern employers will respond to these changes if they do occur.

Works Cited

Brophy E. Creative Industries and Precarious Employment. Blusson Hall 2011. Power Point presentation.

Caraway Brett. Online labour markets: an inquiry into oDesk providers. Work organisation, labour & globalization 2010 4 (2). Pp 111 – 126.

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Witheford. N & de Peuter G. “M.ULE Kicks Back”. In Games of Empire pp 65-68 London: University of Minnesota Press. 2009. Print.

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