Work: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199699360

Stephen Fineman
160 Pages
138 x 156 mm
Pub date
Nov 2012
Very Short Introductions


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  • An authoritative but accessible short introduction to the concept of work
  • Explores the concepts that have shaped 'work' in different societies at different times
  • Considers the organization of working - from employment and labour - to their social class and power implications
  • Explores the types of work and their moral implications
  • Looks at the cultural aspects of gender issues and work
  • Highlights how the concept of work continues to change and how it will develop in future

The image of a job captures our imagination from an early age, usually prompted by the question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'. Work — paid, unpaid, voluntary, or obligatory — is woven into the fabric of all human societies. For many of us, it becomes part of our identity. For others it is a tedious necessity. Living is problematic without paid work, and for many it is catastrophic. 
Steve Fineman tells the fascinating story of work - how we strive for security, reward, and often, meaning. Looking at how we classify 'work'; the cultural and social factors that influence the way we work; the ethics of certain types of work; and the factors that will affect the future of work, from globalization to technology, this Very Short Introductionconsiders work as a concept and as a practical experience, drawing upon ideas from psychology, sociology, management, and social history.

"Steve Fineman tells the fascinating story of work - how we strive for security, reward, and often, meaning This looks like yet another interesting addition to Oxford's fabulous VSI series" - Grrlscientist, the guardian

"This book is a great read and has made me think deeper into the values I associate with work and human value." - Arthur Zetes, tiredoframen.wordpress.com


1: Why work?
2: A spectrum of jobs
3: Working a career
4: Men's work, women's work
5: Struggling, surviving, thriving
6: Emotion at work
7: Virtual work
8: Changes and transitions
9: Where does this leave work? A brief postscript
References and further reading

About the author: 

Stephen Fineman is Professor Emeritus at the School of Management, University of Bath, UK. He has a long and distinguished reputation in the field of organizational behaviour, publishing specialized monographs, edited books and textbooks, all directly or indirectly concerned with the world of work.

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