wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Harry Braverman (1920-76)Harry Braverman


American Marxist (pictured right) who worked in publishing, editing The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Braverman is famous for his deskilling hypothesis – that management deliberately deskills jobs to increase their control over employees (see below).


Key book


Labour and Monopoly Capitalism (1974)Harry Braverman

Employers exploit employees by minimizing wages to maximize profit.

So they deskill jobs (through mechanization and dividing skilled work into simplified, repetitive tasks),

This deskilling is

  • proposed by F.W. Taylor’s (pictured right above) scientific managementHarry Braverman
  • applied in mass production assembly lines (like Henry Ford’s ,pictured right).



By selling their labour for wages, employees give to employers control over the “labour process” - Karl Marx’s (pictured right below) term for converting inputs of materials into a final product.Harry Braverman

Management has a monopoly of information and complete control over people’s jobs, leaving no room for individual initiative and creativity.

So employees become “alienated” (i.e. degraded and unfulfilled), because they aren’t given the opportunity to think.


Key quote on human resource management

The pivot upon which all modern management turns: the control over work through the control over the decisions that are made in the course of work.

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