Socialisation into a trade: A study of craft apprentices

Ryrie, Alexander C (1975) Socialisation into a trade: A study of craft apprentices. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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It is widely known that craftsmen in British industry tend to have distinctive attitudes amounting to an ideology. It is also widely assumed that new entrants to a trade acquire these attitudes during and as a result of the period of apprenticeship. Little attempt, however, has been made to look at apprenticeship as a socialisation process or the development of attitudes in the minds of apprentices. This study is designed to make a contribution in this field. The first chapter contains a brief description of the traditional craft system in British industry, drawing on the literature of industrial relations and labour history, and serving as a background to the study. The craft system is summarised as a system by which craftsmen exercise control over the right to perform the work of their trade, the opportunity to perform the work of the trade, and the methods of performing the work of the trade. This is followed in the next chapter by a description of the attitudes of craftsmen, in the form of an ideal type, with reference to the literature of industrial sociology and industrial relations. Ten points are made under three heads: a) The nature of work: 1. A craftsman expects to be able to control his method of working, and to take pride in his work. 2. A craftsman is interested in his work and expects to get satisfaction from it. 3. A craftsman regards his work as part of the exclusive preserve of the members of his trade. b) Social and industrial relations; 4. A craftsman maintains solidarity with his fellow-tradesmen, and gives loyal support to his trade union. 5. A craftsman regards his status as distinct from and superior to that of labourers and less-skilled workers. 6. A craftsman understands and accepts the importance of management, though he may also see himself as standing on the opposite side from management. 7. A craftsman legitimates the authority of supervisors on the grounds of job-knowledge and competence. c) The future, security and change; 8. A craftsman is less concerned with job-security than with the security that comes from the transferability of skills, ('trade-security'). 9. A craftsman is resistant to change if it threatens his trade-security, but in favour of change which promotes efficiency without threatening his trade-security. 10. A craftsman rejects the idea of a promotion-ladder based on seniority within a firm, but sees promotion as appropriate if it is related to experience and technical knowledge of the trade. A summary of the findings of other research into the attitudes of school-leavers entering employment is presented in Chapter 3, to enable comparison with apprentices in this study. The findings are summarised under three heads - attitudes to work, attitudes to industrial organisation, and attitudes to the future. On all these topics the evidence about young people generally is mixed and points in different directions. But there is some reason to think that apprentices may represent a distinct group from other young people. This leads to a brief discussion of apprenticeship as a process of secondary socialisation, and to the suggestion that assumptions have been made about this process without research or enquiry being carried out. This provides reason for the following survey. The second part of the thesis consists of a presentation of the results of a survey of three groups of apprentices. Selected apprentices in three industries were interviewed in training centres during the first few months of apprenticeship, before they commenced work in the industry, and again a year later after experience of work with tradesmen. The methodology of the survey is discussed briefly, under the headings of meanings, rapport, attitudes, and quantification. The results of the interviews are presented in the next three chapters. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: J ET Eldridge
Keywords: Labor relations
Date of Award: 1975
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1975-72332
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12

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