Good Example Of Article Review On Softball Solution
Type of paper: Article Review
Topic: Workplace, Women, Human Resource Management, Employee, Company, Labor, Interview, Management
The observations resulting from the interviews conducted on the female workers at Peterborough clock factory give the basic characterizations of women at the workplace. The collective analysis is in the context of the paternalism operation in the industry for over a period of three decades. The Westclox Company is used as the company under study. Within the small manufacturing city of Ontario, it is the only company that has employees that claim to experience an effective management strategy characterized by a loyal and respectful task force. The statistics used are not object-oriented and thus, aspects such as longevity are not put into consideration. However, the statistics are subjective and are drawn from the memories constructed by Westclox workers.
The main concern for the author is the rise and decline of paternalism in Westclox. Also, an exploration of worker response and managerial intentions is addressed in the article. The article emphasizes on how women understand workplace hierarchy. There has been a long chronology of varying paternalism that has been founded on race, class, and gender, which have been documented in the labor history of North America. There has been convincing need for a close analysis of historical specificity of setting and time in the analysis of paternalism in the industry. However, local studies give clues on creation of a consent at the working place leading to a tenacious persistence of gender and class inequalities.
The economic pressures and material contexts in conjunction with ideological mechanisms that sustain paternalism are vital when it comes to addressing broader ideas on the rise and decline of paternalism in the labor sector for all the industries. The article shows how memories of women during their working period at Westclox illuminate the way in which paternalism was negotiated, utilized, understood and renounced. The reflections of these workers prove that there was a complex relationship between the managers and the workers. It is unlike other settings, where there exist mere rebellion and sycophantic acceptance of the objectives set by the company. Oral history is used in an attempt to capture the responses by workers to paternalism. It is used as a means of probing the areas that are subjective in terms of feelings and past experiences. The article reveals that it is on the basis of memory and emphasis, tone, and language used in interviews that ideologies and experiences shaped the choices and outlooks of female workers.
The article on Softball Solution is a section of a larger study on the labor services from the women in Peterborough. The research methodology used comprises of manuscript collections, documents from the government and newspapers. Worth noting is the methodology where oral histories from former managers and workers were used as the basis for the articles conclusions. The method of consulting the former employees was appropriate in cases where companies denied access to their records such as in Westclox.
The interviews conducted at Peterborough were a major component of the research methodology. They took over two hours and some were followed by phone conversations. The conversations on the phone were meant to clarify on issues. A larger sample of the interviews was with the Westclox employees where 29.21% of the interviewed employees were female. The percentage was of those with white and blue collar jobs (Sangster 199). The remaining percentage comprised foremen, male workers, and managers. Women in the blue-collar jobs comprised an approximate of two-thirds of the female group. However, it was difficult to characterize women by occupation with a high precision due to the movements from the offices to the office floor.
The interview was a snowball sample. Many of the male and female workers interviewed were either referred to the writer or individually called after the writer’s research featured in the local newspaper descriptions. Other interviewees resulted as a response to the flyers posted in museums and local libraries. There was also a group of interviewees that resulted from members of the labor movement that were in support of the writers work.
Statistically, the interviewed female group had worked at Westclox for a period of twenty years. Half of them before the World War II and the other fifty percent after 1940. Also, half of this group worked as long-term employees while the other half worked as short-term employees. However, most of the men were long-term employees. The interview sample is in favor of the long-term employees. The long-term employees were in a position to give the history and company occurrences in a periodical manner.
Since the beginning, paternalism was part of a conscious strategy to avoid the formation of unions. The company was not able to defeat the postwar trend after several unions chose a bargaining agent, which was the Union of Electrical Workers. There was a persistent resistance to unionization from office workers. However, workers at the plant became sympathetic to the unionization when the material benefits resulting from paternalism began eroding. Unionization was an indication that the negotiated paternalist and partnership reconciliation had started facing eradication. The women in the Westclox used the rhetoric of paternalism for obtaining maximum rewards from the company. Also, the women resorted to the use of paternalism to alter their working conditions; making them flexible as well as humane. In conclusion, though paternalism was aimed at symbolizing deference to the employers, a more reconciled approach was used. Nonetheless, paternalism resilience in the Westclox still has to be explained. Its strength is attributed to certain conditions and the economic pressures encouraging conformity while people are at work turned into ideologies to offer a meaningful understanding of the justice and natural hierarchy of paternalism (197).
The paper is significantly applicable to modern day labor unions and people in different working professions. It triggers the most sensitive issues in workplaces such as paternalism and lays down the bare facts that result from different trends in the working environments. The article uses simple English, and it is readable. The method used in the paper makes it easy for referencing especially its division into different sections. In addition, the figures used by the writer are explicitly explained.
Sangster, Joan. “The Softball Solution: Female Workers, Male Managers and the Operation of Paternalism at Westclox, 1923-60.” Labour/Le Travail 32 (1993): 167-169.
I want to thank Joan Sangster for the insights provided in the article and for an article that can provide a reviewing platform for both workers and students doing case studies.