وبر، مارکس، و ارزش کار: شواهدی از اقتصادهای در حال گذار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21685||2013||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10582 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Economic Systems, Volume 37, Issue 3, September 2013, Pages 431–448
Are work values a cause (Weber) or consequence (Marx) of the economic environment? The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 provides a unique opportunity to investigate this link. Using data collected from an employee survey conducted in over 340 workplaces in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, we investigate generational differences in adherence to the Protestant work ethic (PWE). Our results indicate that Marx was ‘right’ about the link between work values and economic environment. That is, despite economic and cultural differences emerging during the transformation process, in all three countries, participating workers born after 1981 adhere more strongly to PWE than workers born before 1977. Moreover, the estimate magnitudes are very similar across these economically and culturally diverse countries. More generally, PWE adherence is stronger among participating workers with an internal locus of control and among supervisors. PWE adherence also tends to be stronger among participants with high relative earnings, as well as among those working in organizations that reward hard work with the chance to develop new skills or learn new things.
Prior to the publication of Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Rise of Capitalism (1904–1905/1958), one of the more detailed descriptions of the emergence of capitalism was found in Marx's Capital (1867/1976). Interestingly, although both Marx and Weber were influenced by German social thought generally, and by Hegel in particular (Birnbaum, 1953, Mommsen, 1977 and Mueller, 1986), they differed in their assessment of the role of values in a society. According to Marx, societies are in a continual, inevitable process of change. At any given time, a society is characterized by a set of economic institutions defined by that society's production technology, and one's position in the economic structure accounts for one's values. Thus, Marx implies that values depend upon and are defined by the existing economic environment (Anthony, 1977). In contrast, Weber focused on how values contribute to the emergence of a particular economic environment (Hill, 1996). More specifically, how the adoption of and adherence to the ‘Protestant work ethic’ (PWE) – where PWE encompasses a general orientation toward hard work, industriousness, individual gain, need for achievement, as well as a negative attitude toward time waste (Furnham and Rajamanickham, 1992, Johassen, 1947 and Jones, 1997) – contributed to the rise of the particular economic structure of capitalism.1 While recent studies provide mixed results regarding the causality suggested by Weber (Arrunada, 2010, Becker and Woessman, 2009, Becker and Woessman, 2010, Cavalcanti et al., 2007, Delacroix and Nielson, 2001 and Doepke and Zilibotti, 2008), no study examines whether Weber or Marx was ‘right’ in terms of the causal link between work values and economic environment. Somewhat ironically, the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 provides a unique natural experiment to investigate this link. Ideally, longitudinal panel data collected from a representative sample of workers in the pre-transition, transition, and post-transition economies which included information on a wide variety of worker characteristics and work-related values would be utilized to analyze the link. Since such data are not available, testing explicitly for a causal link between work values and economic environment is not possible. However, we are able to investigate in some detail whether differences in work ethic among those with and without work experience in the socialist economic system are consistent with results that would be predicted regarding the link between work values and economic environment if Marx were ‘right’ or if Weber were ‘right.’ Moreover, we document the extent to which our results have internal validity. Thus, while rather exploratory in nature due to the quality of the data actually available, this study takes a preliminary step in investigating the link between work values and economic environment by examining whether the results are consistent with the position held by Marx or the position put forth by Weber. The transformation of socialist economies to capitalist economies at the end of the 20th century was nothing like the rise of capitalism described by Marx and Weber. Their analysis relates to the gradual emergence of capitalism from a feudal society. Even though both socialist and feudal societies are considered collectivist in nature (Hofstede, 1980), the socialist economies that initiated the transformation to market-oriented economies in the early 1990s were not feudal societies when the transition began, nor was their transformation as gradual as the emergence of capitalism in the 17th century. However, given that transition economies are currently populated by individuals both with and without work experience in the former socialist economy, it is possible to empirically investigate the link between values and economic environment. If Marx is ‘right’, in transition economies, older generation workers (individuals who were trained and worked in the former socialist economy) would have a different work ethic than young generation workers (individuals whose training and work experience is limited to the market-oriented economy). In particular, older generation workers would likely adhere less strongly to a ‘capitalist’ work ethic, such as PWE, characterized by individual gain associated with hard work. Older workers’ experiences and values were formed in the socialist economy, where pay differentials were modest and opportunities to generate wealth severely restricted. In socialist economies, the economic and workplace environment is often characterized by “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us” ( Granick, 1987, Gregory, 1987 and Lane, 1986). Adherence to PWE among workers in socialist economies, and thus older generation workers in transition economies, would likely be low. 2 Continuing this logic and taking into account the wealth of studies that link PWE to capitalism, young generation workers, because they were trained and have work experience exclusively in the market-oriented environment, would likely adhere more strongly to PWE ( Halman, 1996 and Torgler, 2011). Indeed, the proposition that older and young generation workers in transition economies will have different work values is indirectly supported by survey results that indicate significant generational differences in attitudes about market institutions, transition outcomes, and nostalgia for the socialist era ( Denisova et al., 2007, EBRD, 2007 and Pew Global Attitudes Project, 2011). If we find that older generation workers do exhibit significantly weaker PWE adherence than younger generation workers, we believe this sends a relatively strong signal in support of our proposition. First, the generational differences in work values that we hypothesize among workers in former socialist economies are opposite to the results reported for developed market economies. That is, studies suggest that in developed market economies, work ethic is weaker among the younger generation (frequently referred to as Generation Y or Millenials) than among older workers ( Cennamo and Gardner, 2008, Gursoy et al., 2008, Keepnews et al., 2010, Macky et al., 2008 and Smola and Sutton, 2002). Second, if Marx is ‘right,’ older generation workers who remain employed in the emerging market-oriented economy are likely to adopt work ethics that tend to coincide with capitalist economies. 3 Since our employee survey was conducted more than a decade after the initial shock of the transformation process occurred, it may be that value adaptation among older generation workers had already taken place. Moreover, older generation workers with weaker PWE adherence may have dropped out of the workforce by this time. As mentioned previously, since we do not have comparable work ethic data collected from different age cohorts in the pre-transition or transition economies, we cannot directly partial out potential age effects in our analysis.4 We note, however, that panel data, even if available, would not be very useful for our purpose, because cohort (generation) status does not change over time: older generation workers had experience with the socialist economy, younger generation workers did not. While longitudinal panel data would allow one to trace the change in an individual's work values or work ethic over time, it is not possible to separate the age effect from any time effect (for example, workers adjusting their work ethic in response to changes in the economic environment) because age, like time, changes in annual increments. Do older workers in formerly socialist economies adhere less strongly to PWE than young workers? We analyze the link between work values and economic environment using data collected from employees in three transition economies: Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. All three countries were part of the former Soviet Union, and thus shared a common socio-economic environment. Since the early 1990s, however, the three countries have exhibited both economic and cultural differences (see Table A1). In 2008, Armenia and Azerbaijan had per capita income levels just over one third of Russia's; unemployment totaled some 6% in Russia and Azerbaijan, but reached over 28% in Armenia (World Bank). While Armenia and Azerbaijan each have ethnically homogenous populations, with more than 98% of Armenians adhering to the Christian faith and more than 93% of Azeris adhering to Islamic practices, Russia is populated by a greater diversity of ethnic groups, with about half of the population participating in either Christian or Islamic practices, and half who are either non-practicing or non-believers ( NationMaster, 2012). Thus, including employees from these three countries in our analysis allows us to assess whether the predicted differences between young and older generation workers in PWE adherence is sustained across different cultural and economic environments. Because financial constraints precluded selecting nationally representative samples in each country, we view this analysis as an exploratory effort to document generational differences in work values. Given our convenience rather than a random sample, we are careful to restrict our discussion and interpretation of results only to those workers participating in the survey. Knowing who adheres to PWE helps to shape managerial strategies to motivate workers. This is particularly true when the information is drawn from employees across a wide variety of workplaces in different sectors of the economy, rather than from students, or from a single workplace, as is the case in many work ethic studies. Indeed, one of the strengths of our study is the extensive set of worker and workplace controls we are able to include because of the detailed nature of our data. Knowing who adheres to PWE among employees in formerly socialist economies is important because capturing work ethic, even if only at one point in time, provides a foundation for better understanding the link between values and behavior. Similarities that emerge in these diverse environments likely signal results that will contribute to developing a more global perspective of factors influencing worker performance. Moreover, documenting adherence to PWE among employees in former socialist economies extends the work ethic literature to include countries that previously have been ignored, despite their growing importance in the global community. Our analysis of PWE adherence by young and older generation workers in three formerly socialist economies proceeds as follows: Section 2 summarizes characteristics of socialist and post-socialist economic and workplace environments. Section 3 describes the data and work ethic measure used in this analysis. The methodology used is presented in Section 4. Results and discussion are provided in Section 5. In terms of generational differences in work ethic, we find that in all three countries young generation workers participating in our study adhere more strongly to PWE than older generation workers and the magnitudes are similar across these three countries. More generally, we find PWE adherence to be stronger among participating workers with an internal locus of control, as well as among workers who hold supervisory positions. Gender differences in PWE adherence are evident, but not consistent across countries. Section 6 offers concluding remarks.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We use data collected from employees in over 340 workplaces in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia to investigate whether individuals who were trained and worked in the former Soviet economy (older generation workers) adhere more or less strongly to PWE than individuals with no work experience in the former socialist economy (young generation workers). We find PWE adherence to be most strong among young generation workers, with the estimate magnitudes very similar across these three culturally and economically diverse countries. Our results provide robust evidence for generational differences in PWE adherence among workers in formerly socialist economies, differences which cannot be explained either by worker personality or by various firm characteristics. Moreover, the result that young generation workers adhere more strongly to PWE than older workers stands in contrast to generational differences reported in studies conducted in developed market economies where older workers adhere more strongly to PWE ( Smola and Sutton, 2002 and Twenge, 2010). Thus, we view these results as evidence in support of the link between work values and economic environment described by Marx, noting that future research, using repeated cross-sectional data or panel data to directly estimate the potential dynamic response of PWE to economic transition, is certainly warranted.