Training in the Workplace: Continuity and Change Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Rapid changes are occurring in the organization of production in advanced industrial societies. These changes result from new technologies, increased competition, and new production techniques. Increased training for workers has been identified as essential for remaining competitive in this rapidly changing environment. Research on the organization of work suggests that training is most likely to occur where workers are organized into internal labor markets that cultivate and retain their skills and is less likely to occur in organizations which rely on secondary labor markets. Our study of 20 manufacturing plants supports the hypothesis that approaches to training are strongly differentiated by the division between enterprises with and without internal labor markets. Training for advanced technologies and contemporary production techniques appears to grow out of existing institutionalized internal labor markets. Where such labor markets do not exist, training is less likely to occur or is superficial in nature. The effects of increased training thus do not appear to have “trickled down” into production systems employing less-skilled labor. Institutional strategies associated with a reliance on a low-wage labor force create barriers to the extension of training into new sectors of production. The effects of increased training thus may be quite localized and may serve to increase rather than diminish existing divisions in the labor force.

publication date

  • March 1994