“Re-working the Work Ethic’ and ‘Democracy at Work,” [PDF], Contemporary Sociology, vol. 16, no. 4 (July 1987), pp. 497-98. (Reviews of Re-working the Work Ethic by Michael Rose and Democracy at Work by Tom Schuller.)
Although each of these books is concerned with the role of values in the workplace, one belongs to the tradition of anomie, the other of alienation. Michael Rose’s study could only have been written in the contemporary atmosphere of economic crisis and perceived break-down in values. Its purpose is to provide a critical assessment of the commonplace assertion that the current economic difficulties of Britain and the United States can be traced to a decline of the Protestant work ethic; in addition, Rose questions the closely related claims of self-proclaimed “conviction politicians” like Margaret Thatcher that working people are finally beginning to respond to the call for a restoration of Victorian values by adopting a “new realism” in their expectations about labor and its rewards.