What is job quality, and what are the main factors which cause “good” and “bad” jobs to exist in developed economies? Your answer should draw on theories, concepts and empirical evidence from the module.
REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE WORD-COUNT
INTRODUCTION: (~ at least 200 WORDS)
It is very important that you attempt to define the terms you are using. What do you understanding job quality to be? (Cite your sources). What are work pressures, how do they connect to job quality? (there is significant overlap here. Again cite your sources). You do not have to blindly accept the definitions in the literature – what are the strengths, weaknesses, limits (are they dated, one-dimensional, gender-blind etc.)
What is meant be developed economies? How do you define a developed economy, in particular when looking at work and employment? Is there any problem with examining or using the term ‘developed economy’? (opportunities to engage in more critical approaches here. Economies may be developed in one respect but not in others. And why does such primacy and focus get given to the economy?)
Be explicit early on exactly what you will be arguing in the essay. Do you fundamentally agree or disagree with the statement, or is the statement completely flawed and something else vastly more important when looking at work and employment studies (you can’t go completely off-tangent and write about your holiday plans, I’m afraid). It is always important to think about what might not be looked at, what is being ignored or downplayed.
CORE: (~ at least 1400 WORDS)
Your answer should give an overview – effectively a detailed literature review – of job quality research based on what you have learnt in the module and form your own readings. You need to define the terms, as already stated. You can then explore how job quality manifests in different areas of work and employment based on the different topics covered in different lectures (skill and skill formation, working time and intensity, job in/security, power, control and autonomy, workplace representation, pay and wages, labour markets). This different areas of job quality can be used to assess how “good” or “bad” a job is, although there is no “one size fits all” measure of job quality, the literature explores this idea.
Job quality is a holistic concept and they are a lot of different types of literature you can draw upon. Make use of the reading list in the course guide and some of the additional readings I have provided on the MOLE site. Also, you need use academic search engines and databases. A key way I find specific articles is by looking at the bibliographies of articles I have read on a topic, and by using the ‘cited by’ function on google scholar.
Your answer should describe the who, what, when and where of job quality and work pressures. It should be critical and thoughtful, and therefore not totally descriptive. Do not simply repeat what articles have said – think about them, say what is significant and important, highlight weakness or point you have disagreed with. If different articles say different things, highlight this and offer you own assessment of which offers a better explanation of job quality and working conditions.
When using empirical evidence in this section you can use secondary data which you find in the articles you read. You can also find data from the statistical websites of different countries (Office for National Statistics in the UK, Bureau for Labor Statistics in the USA, Eurostat for EU countries). All countries have similar websites, will some comparable data (but remember, all data is political to some extent). Some key statistics you may want to look at are: employment rates, levels of over- and under-employment, average wages, National Minimum Wage rates, average amount of hours works, average skills utilisation and educational qualifications, levels of trade union membership (you will need to look at trade union websites for this), numbers of strikes (and whether successful or not).
You can choose to focus entirely on one country, or compare different countries. As the question asks about advanced economies then it is best if you focus on these (rather than Antarctica, for example). You can refer to less developed economies if you wish, and even criticise the dichotomy between advanced and un/less-advanced countries as well (or perhaps say why some countries are more advanced than others, or even they are/on what measures are they judged)
It is important you do not just describe variations in job quality – you also need to try and explain why these exist. To do this, think about the ideas we covered when we had the lecture on political economy, in particular a) the employment relation b) capitalist accumulation and c) power in society. You cannot cover everything in an essay of this length, but you need to make an effort to critically explain why job quality varies.
CONCLUSION: (~ at least 200 WORDS)
Make sure you have a conclusion - Keep it brief – bring you answer together, answer the question fully, thoroughly and finally, and highlight any areas which you have not been able to mention due to reasons of limited space (so the reader knows you have not been completely blind to, or disregarded, them). If you have space, mention what you think will be important to look at in future.
Job quality is a multifaceted concept, encompassing both objective and subjective measures, and is determined by various factors including working conditions, pay, benefits, opportunities for skill development, and job security. While some factors such as economic growth, technological change, and globalization have contributed to the creation of "good" and "bad" jobs in developed economies, government policies, labor market institutions, and collective bargaining can play a crucial role in improving job quality. In developed economies, job quality has emerged as a significant issue for policymakers, employers, and workers alike. The quality of jobs has implications for economic growth, productivity, social welfare, and individual well-being. Despite its importance, job quality is a complex and multidimensional concept that can be challenging to define and measure. This paper aims to examine the meaning of job quality, the main factors that cause "good" and "bad" jobs to exist in developed economies, and the potential solutions to improve job quality.
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