front cover of Counterproductive
Time Management in the Knowledge Economy
Melissa Gregg
Duke University Press, 2018
As online distractions increasingly colonize our time, why has productivity become such a vital demonstration of personal and professional competence? When corporate profits are soaring but worker salaries remain stagnant, how does technology exacerbate the demand for ever greater productivity? In Counterproductive Melissa Gregg explores how productivity emerged as a way of thinking about job performance at the turn of the last century and why it remains prominent in the different work worlds of today. Examining historical and archival material alongside popular self-help genres—from housekeeping manuals to bootstrapping business gurus, and the growing interest in productivity and mindfulness software—Gregg shows how a focus on productivity isolates workers from one another and erases their collective efforts to define work limits. Questioning our faith in productivity as the ultimate measure of success, Gregg's novel analysis conveys the futility, pointlessness, and danger of seeking time management as a salve for the always-on workplace.

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Health and Efficiency
Fatigue, the Science of Work, and the Making of the Working-Class Body
Steffan Blayney
University of Massachusetts Press, 2022

A new model of health emerged in Britain between 1870 and 1939. Centered on the working body, organized around the concept of efficiency, and grounded in scientific understandings of human labor, scientists, politicians, and capitalists of the era believed that national economic productivity could be maximized by transforming the body of the worker into a machine. At the core of this approach was the conviction that worker productivity was intimately connected to worker health.

Under this new “science of work,” fatigue was seen as the ultimate pathology of the working-class body, reducing workers’ capacity to perform continued physical or mental labor. As Steffan Blayney shows, the equation between health and efficiency did not go unchallenged. While biomedical and psychological experts sought to render the body measurable, governable, and intelligible, ordinary men and women found ways to resist the logics of productivity and efficiency imposed on them, and to articulate alternative perspectives on work, health, and the body.


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Health and Work Productivity
Making the Business Case for Quality Health Care
Edited by Ronald C. Kessler and Paul E. Stang
University of Chicago Press, 2006
A recent study of productivity in the workplace revealed that workers spend on average eight percent of their workday doing nothing. This statistic takes on greater significance when we find that health problems impact employee productivity loss by an even greater percentage. In light of this discovery, a group of leading experts from the emerging field of health and productivity research argues that the expansion of health care benefits represents a substantial investment opportunity for employers.
Health and Work Productivity presents state-of-the-art health and productivity research that suggests interventions aimed at prevention, early detection, and best-practice treatment of workers along with an informed allocation strategy can produce significant cost-benefits for employers. Contributors cover all the major aspects of this new area of research: approaches to studying the effects of health on productivity, ways for employers to estimate the costs of productivity loss, concrete suggestions for future research developments in the area, and the implications of this research for public policy.

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Labor Statistics Measurement Issues
Edited by John Haltiwanger, Marilyn E. Manser, and Robert H. Topel
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Rapidly changing technology, the globalization of markets, and the declining role of unions are just some of the factors that have led to dramatic changes in working conditions in the United States. Little attention has been paid to the difficult measurement problems underlying analysis of the labor market. Labor Statistics Measurement Issues helps to fill this gap by exploring key theoretical and practical issues in the measurement of employment, wages, and workplace practices.

Some of the chapters in this volume explore the conceptual issues of what is needed, what is known, or what can be learned from existing data, and what needs have not been met by available data sources. Others make innovative uses of existing data to analyze these topics. Also included are papers examining how answers to important questions are affected by alternative measures used and how these can be reconciled. This important and useful book will find a large audience among labor economists and consumers of labor statistics.


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Making Value
Music, Capital, and the Social
Timothy D. Taylor
Duke University Press, 2024
In Making Value, Timothy D. Taylor examines how people’s conceptions of value inform and shape their production and consumption of music. Drawing on anthropological value theory, Taylor theorizes music’s economic and noneconomic forms of value both ethnographically and historically. He covers the creation and exchange of value in a wide range of contexts: indie rock scenes, an Irish traditional music session, the work of music managers, how supply chains function to create various forms of value, how trendspotters seek out and create value, and how musical performances act as media of value. Taylor shows that to focus on value is to attend to what is meaningful to people as they move through their worlds. Ultimately, Taylor demonstrates that theorizing value aids us in moving beyond the music itself toward understanding how musicians, workers in the music business, and audiences struggle to make and maintain what they value.

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Output Measurement in the Service Sectors
Edited by Zvi Griliches
University of Chicago Press, 1992
Is the fall in overall productivity growth in the United States and other developed countries related to the rising share of the service sectors in the economy? Since services represent well over half of the U.S. gross national product, it is also important to ask whether these sectors have had a slow rate of growth, as this would act as a major drag on the productivity growth of the overall economy and on its competitive performance. In this timely volume, leading experts from government and academia argue that faulty statistics have prevented a clear understanding of these issues.

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Pension Plans and Employee Performance
Evidence, Analysis, and Policy
Richard A. Ippolito
University of Chicago Press, 1997
In this provocative book, Richard A. Ippolito explores the relationship between employees' preferences for certain types of pension plans and their productivity. Ippolito begins by reviewing how pensions influence workers' behavior on the job, helping employers reduce early quit rates and increase early retirement rates. In a novel contribution, Ippolito then shows how pensions can assist employers in attracting and retaining workers who have personal attributes valued by the firm.

Challenging the accepted view of defined contribution plans, such as the 401k, as merely convenient tax-deferred savings plans, Ippolito argues that these plans can help firms select and pay their best workers without expending monitoring resources. Building on his proposals for managing private pension plans, Ippolito concludes with a blueprint for fixing the social security system that would promote incentives to work and save while at the same time improving the system's financial condition.

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The Production of Living Knowledge
The Crisis of the University and the Transformation of Labor in Europe and North America
Gigi Roggero
Temple University Press, 2011

Evaluating higher education institutions—particularly the rise of the “global university”—and their rapidly changing role in the global era, Gigi Roggero finds the system in crisis. In his groundbreaking book, The Production of Living Knowledge, Roggero examines the university system as a key site of conflict and transformation within “cognitive capitalism”—a regime in which knowledge has become increasingly central to the production process at large. Based on extensive fieldwork carried out through the activist method of conricerca, or “co-research,” wherein researchers are also subjects, Roggero’s book situates the crisis of the university and the changing composition of its labor force against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

Combining a discussion of radical experiments in education, new student movements, and autonomist Marxian (or post-operaista) social theory, Roggero produces a distinctly transnational and methodologically innovative critique of the global university from the perspective of what he calls “living knowledge.”

In light of new student struggles in the United States and across the world, this first English-language edition is particularly timely.


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Working Musicians
Labor and Creativity in Film and Television Production
Timothy D. Taylor
Duke University Press, 2023
In Working Musicians Timothy D. Taylor offers a behind-the-scenes look at the labor of the mostly unknown composers, music editors, orchestrators, recording engineers, and other workers involved in producing music for films, television, and video games. Drawing on dozens of interviews with music workers in Los Angeles, Taylor explores the nature of their work and how they understand their roles in the entertainment business. Taylor traces how these cultural laborers have adapted to and cope with the conditions of neoliberalism as, over the last decade, their working conditions have become increasingly precarious. Digital technologies have accelerated production timelines and changed how content is delivered, while new pay schemes have emerged that have transformed composers from artists into managers and paymasters. Taylor demonstrates that as bureaucratization and commercialization affect every aspect of media, the composers, musicians, music editors, engineers, and others whose soundtracks excite, inspire, and touch millions face the same structural economic challenges that have transformed American society, concentrating wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands.

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