Management

Later decades making jobs disappear

To whatever extent scientific management caused the strengthening of labor unions by giving workers more to complain about than bad or greedy managers already gave them, it also led to other pressures tending toward worker unhappiness: the erosion of employment in developed economies via both offshoring and automation. Both were made possible by the deskilling of jobs, which was made possible by the knowledge transfer that scientific management achieved. Knowledge was transferred both to cheaper workers and from workers into tools. Jobs that once would have required craft work first transformed to semiskilled work, then unskilled. At this point the labor had been commoditized, and thus the competition between workers (and worker populations) moved closer to pure than it had been, depressing wages and job security. Jobs could be offshored (giving one human's tasks to othersЧwhich could be good for the new worker population but was bad for the old) or they could be rendered nonexistent through automation (giving a human's tasks to machines). Either way, the net result from the perspective of developed-economy workers was that jobs started to pay less, then disappear. The power of labor unions in the mid-twentieth century only led to a push on the part of management to accelerate the process of automation, hastening the onset of the later stages just described. A central assumption of Taylorism was that "the worker was taken for granted as a cog in the machinery." The chain of connections between his work and automation is visible in historical hindsight, which sees that Taylorism made jobs unpleasant, and its logical successors then made them less remunerative and less secure; then scarcer; and finally (in many cases) nonexistent. Successors such as 'corporate reengineering' or 'business process reengineering' brought into sight the distant goal of the eventual elimination of industry's need for unskilled, and later, perhaps even most skilled human workers in any form, all stemming from the roots laid by Taylorism's recipe for deconstructing a process. As the r sultant commodification of work advances, no skilled profession, even medicine, has proven to be immune from the efforts of Taylorism's successors, the 'reengineers', whose mandate often comes from skewed motives among people referred to as 'bean counters' and 'PHBs'. Offshoring describes the relocation by a company of a business process from one country to anotherЧtypically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Even state governments employ offshoring. More recently, offshoring has been associated primarily with the sourcing of technical and administrative services supporting domestic and global operations from outside the home country, by means of internal (captive) or external (outsourcing) delivery models. The term is in use in several distinct but closely related ways. It is sometimes used broadly to include substitution of a service from any foreign source for a service formerly produced internally to the firm. In other cases, only imported services from subsidiaries or other closely related suppliers are included. A further complication is that intermediate goods, such as partially completed computers, are not consistently included in the scope of the term. Offshoring can be seen in the context of either production offshoring or services offshoring. After its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the People's Republic of China emerged as a prominent destination for production offshoring. Another focus area has been the software industry as part of Global Software Development and developing Global Information Systems. After technical progress in telecommunications improved the possibilities of trade in services, India became a country leading in this domain though many parts of the world are now emerging as offshore destinations. The economic logic is to reduce costs. If some people can use some of their skills more cheaply than others, those people have the comparative advantage. The idea is that countries should freely trade the items that cost the least for them to produce.