This first major empirical work on the semiotics of social action goes a long way toward answering substantive, theoretical and pragmatic questions on how codes actually operate in a specific social setting. It underscores the important yet often ignored role of the police as "sign" or "information workers."
Raymond Friedman approaches labor negotiations with a conviction that negotiators are situated in a social network that greatly influences bargaining styles. In this carefully detailed and rigorous study of the social processes of labor negotiations, he uncovers the pressures and motivations felt by negotiators, showing why the bargaining process persists largely in its traditional form despite frequent calls for change. Friedman first focuses on the social structure of labor negotiations and the logic of the traditional negotiation process.
In this revealing study, Larry Hirschhorn examines the rituals, or social defenses, organizations develop to cope with change. Using extended ease studies from offices, factories, and social services, he describes why these often irrational practices that fragment and injure individuals within the workplace exist, how they operate, and how they can be reshaped to enhance people's work experience.
"The central problem facing modern business is the impossibility of abolishing the conditions which create conflicts in the workplace without destroying the present form of the economy."
This is the author's controversial conclusion to a wide-ranging study that draws on historical and comparative studies of labor and managerial organization, modern theoretical and empirical accounts of class structure and the role of the state in the economy, the economic literature dealing with trade unions, labor markets, and certain aspects of economic theory.