Individen stämplar in. Arbetet, facket och lönen i sociologisk belysning

by Bengtsson, Mattias, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation comprises a sociological analysis of processes of individualisation in Swedish working life during the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. It also deals with the distribution of individualised conditions and individualistic attitudes among various categories of employees. The point of departure is various theories of individualisation and not least their lack of empirical validation. As society is depicted as individualised, the structural conditionings of peoples’ lives tend to be made invisible. Individualisation is seen as a process whereby traditional collective solutions and identities lose their impact upon people, leaving greater freedom of action and scope for decision-making, in which the situation of the individual is linked to his/her characteristics, capacities and achievements. The primary empirical material is survey data of employees 16-64 years of age. The survey was conducted in 2003 with 3286 respondents and a response rate of 72 percent. Also other types of surveys and statistical material are referred to. The degree of individualisation, as well as individualised conditions and individualistic attitudes, are analysed in relation to three main areas of investigation: work, the trade union and pay. The structural transformation of the labour market during the last decades of the 20th century gave an increased proportion of the employed freedom of action. On the other hand, it is not empirically supported that the content of peoples’ jobs has been individualised. Regarding attitudes towards the trade union, individualisation is opposed by the fact that the Swedish level of union membership is very high in an international perspective and many employees agree that the union is needed in negotiations with their employer. On the other hand, many are positive towards individual nego-tiations, and union membership has fallen since the middle of the 1990s. There is empirical support for an individualisation of wage determination, although wages are still collectively agreed upon on a national level. There is strong support for a structural conditioning of individualised conditions and individualistic attitudes, and the two are in some ways related. They are clearly class-based; the service class being more individualised and individualistically directed than the working class. The degree of self-directedness in work, an indicator of individualised conditions, is important not least for explaining class differences. Finally, age, sex, sector of employment and size of establishment are other factors that clearly have an impact on the distribution of individualised conditions and individualistic attitudes.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Göteborgs universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Sociology; individualisation; work; trade union; pay; self-directed work situations; organisational commitment; non-unionisation; non-standardised wage forms; individual wage influence; individualised wage culture


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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