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Low-Autonomy Work and Bad Jobs in Postfordist Capitalism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-612
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

King's Authors


In this article I present a critical reconstruction of the concept of postfordism, arguing for a regulation-theoretic approach that views Fordism and postfordism not in terms of production models based on a particular labour process but as institutional regimes of competition, within which there are one of four types of generic labour process: high-autonomy, semiautonomous, tightly constrained and unrationalized labour-intensive. I show that over one-third of US employment is in low-autonomy jobs and sketch an analytical framework for analysing job quality. Contrasting the four labour processes with various measures of job quality produces 18 job types that reduce to one of three job quality categories: good jobs, bad jobs and decent jobs. The typology provides a framework for analysing upgrading or downgrading of four aspects of employment quality within and across the four generic labour processes.

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