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Despotism on DemandHow Power Operates in the Flexible Workplace$
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Alex J. Wood

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748875

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748875.001.0001

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Limits of Control and Spaces of Resistance

Limits of Control and Spaces of Resistance

(p.120) 6 Limits of Control and Spaces of Resistance
Despotism on Demand

Alex J. Wood

Cornell University Press

This chapter evaluates the limits and contradictions of control at PartnershipCo and ConflictCo. The findings demonstrate that while flexible scheduling represents a source of managerial control, it also, paradoxically, provides fuel for resistance. At PartnershipCo, this resistance was found to be hidden as a result of the union's individualized and integrated tendencies toward collective resistance. At ConflictCo, however, few examples of hidden resistance were identified, owing to the high level of surveillance and fear that marked the workplace regime. For the majority of workers, the same was also true for open resistance. However, a relatively small number of workers managed to overcome this fear and joined a worker association that used social media networks and the symbolic power of direct actions to successfully challenge employer control at ConflictCo. These findings suggest that, even when only small numbers of workers are able to carve out spaces of resistance within the flexible workplace of the twenty-first century, they may nevertheless be able to harness social media-based networks in order to successfully raise labor standards through threat of reputational damage.

Keywords:   PartnershipCo, ConflictCo, flexible scheduling, managerial control, collective resistance, worker association, employer control, flexible workplace, labor standards

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