Discuss the Statement ‘the Division of Labour Creates Solidarity in the Workplace’ with Reference to Ideas from Durkheim and Marx. Illustrate Your Answer with Contemporary or Historical Examples

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Discuss the Statement ‘the Division of Labour Creates Solidarity in the Workplace’ with Reference to Ideas from Durkheim and Marx. Illustrate Your Answer with Contemporary or Historical Examples

Discuss the statement ‘The Division of labour creates solidarity in the workplace’ with reference to ideas from Durkheim and Marx. Illustrate your answer with contemporary or historical examples. (1502125201)

Division of labour can be defined as the specialization of tasks within a process of production whereby each worker can focus on producing a particular thing they are good at. (What is division of labour? Definition and meaning, 2016). According to Merriam, Solidarity is ‘a feeling of unity between people who have the same interests, goals etc.’ (Merriam-Webster, 2016). This essay will highlight Marx and Durkheim’s different views on whether division of labour creates solidarity in the workplace as shown through their beliefs.

Marx was said to be concerned with social fragmentation, conflict, inequality as well as disintegration where he believed that capitalism was the domineering factor in the economy. He believed that the rich people in the economy were the ones who owned the means of production. Workers have to sell their labour power for wages in order for production process to take place although as a result of capitalism workers started feeling alienated in their workplace as they no longer felt part of the production process instead they felt the objects they were producing had control over them.

On the other hand, Durkheim was said to believe that work is organized the way it is due to industrial change i.e. technology and was more concerned with order, morality, regulation as well as integration. He was the one that came up with the key term ‘solidarity’ believing in equal opportunities and that through division of labour people in a workplace depend on one another to achieve their goals and believed that the society has been able to evolve from a mechanic to an organic type of solidarity. (Grint, 2005).

As seen from above, It is highly evident that these two theorists have different views on how work is organized where Marx believes that it is only through capitalism, production process can be achieved although exploitation is very high. Durkheim on the other hand believes that division of labour is what encourages production process and stands with order and believes in morals which is contrary to Marx that believes in exploitation.

Unlike Weber, one of the main distinctions between Marx and Durkheim is Marx’s rejection of industrialization. Though he supported Durkheim in believing that an industrial society is more progressive than an agrarian society but argued that a society was built based on capitalism and not industrial process. (Grint, 2005).

Marx argued that capitalism leads to alienation and broke it down into four stating that one of the forms of alienation is from the increased division of labour. He believes that this labour is forced and that the production process here is broken down into meaningless and unrelated tasks which is in contrast to Durkheim’s view that division of labour does not create alienation in the workplace and does not consider division to be meaningless. (Grint, 2005:88).

In contrast to Durkheim’s view that division of labour in the labour process causes individuals to depend on one another, Marx contrasted this by stating that workers become alienated from themselves and are in an instrumental relationship to one another that is, they do not exactly depend on one another but due to the fact that they have a product to produce, they are forced to be in co-operation to achieve that goal. (Rhodes and Fincham, 2005).