Numerically controlled machine tools and worker skills
This study investigates the impact of the spread of numerically controlled machine tools on the average skill level of workers in the nonelectrical machinery industry in the United States. Analyzing data from the Industry Wage Surveys of Machinery Manufacturers to trace changes in the skill levels of 57 machining jobs, the author finds that 30 years of the spread of numerically controlled machine tools has resulted in either a very small (1%) reduction in skill levels or no significant change at all, depending on the measure of skill change used. This result supports neither the position of the "post-industrialists," who have argued that this new technology raises overall machine shop skill levels, nor the position of "labor process" theorists, who have argued that it results in deskilling. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)
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Volume (Year): 44 (1991)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
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