This week’s instalment of Labour & Pop Culture explores the issue of discretionary effort and the wage-effort bargain. Basically, every job has components that are voluntary—where workers go above and beyond what is required because they are intrinsically motivated to do a good job.
Discretionary effort is one part of the wage-effort bargaining—how hard employees will work given prevailing wages and working conditions. When employers change wages or working conditions, this often violates the psychological contract employees have with their boss.
The clip above (from Christmas Vacation) humorously illustrates how workers view such violations. A violation, in turn, can trigger a re-evaluation of the wage-effort bargain and perhaps a reduction in discretionary effort.
Which brings us to today. Athabasca University is being pretty terrible to its faculty members at the bargaining table. There isn’t much individual workers can do in terms of withdrawing their labour without engaging in an illegal strike. But we can individually withdraw voluntary services.
For me, that is the Labour & Pop Culture component of this blog. These posts have always been something I did on my lunch hours to add some levity to the more serious posts I make about labour issue (which stream into my courses for pedagogical purposes).
I just can’t justify doing extra work for an employer that talks about respect and then advances proposals like company doctors. So I've decided to start actually taking my lunch hour. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed offering it.
-- Bob Barnetson