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In general, two elements are pushing toward the workforce crisis. The advancements in technology are the fundamental of changing workers with the skills required for tomorrow. These skills are widening the gap between expectations and present what we have. The companies are focusing on adopting technologies like Artificial Intelligence according to the recognized need for development. The companies which are performing according to the industry demands are expected to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage over others. The gap of growing skills is directly related to major technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Technology, and mobile applications in heightening the customer expectations (Peng, Wang & Han, 2018). In this essay, the discussion will be focused upon the effect of the fourth industrial revolt on the upskilling and deskilling of the work.

Paid Work in Industrial Society and Deskilling

The introduction of machinery is the major destruction for the rise of industrial capitalism as a major consequence. The concept of skill has been at the forefront due to the start of capitalist industrialization in work (Kunst, 2019). Technological advancements have upgraded the use of computers to design, production, and control to ensure the concept of skill is followed in the sociology of work. There are two types of people pessimists and optimists, who have defined skills in different ways (Edgel, 2006). Such as pessimists emphasize skill content of the job and practical training as per task, whereas idealists concentrate on shift from instruction manual dexterity to the use of accountability and improved learning skills to exercise new abilities. The capitalist mode of production involves the unequal relationship between employer and employee to examine the way the labor force should be shaped and dominated as per industry requirements (Martinaitis, Christenko & Antanavičius, 2020).

Braverman analyzed the development of the capitalist mode of production by producing intelligent and skilled employees. Braverman also discussed white- and blue-collar work about skilling and deskilling of work which was aided by mechanization. The mechanical processes involved the maintenance of good working order, machinery, and labor as the advantages to workers (Kovacs, 2018). The process of machinery describes that the same actions are performed without physical involvement. Thus, the mechanization process cheapens the labor by deskilling it with the interests of capital. Bright also in his theory gave a similar analysis on the point of automation as this results in higher workforce skills by reducing the expenses on training and skills. Eventually, this will be reduced with operator contribution in reduction and elimination (Avis, 2018).

While Bright and Blauner in theory theories stated the consequences of modernization of factory work. However, Braverman analyzed factory work, department work, and other work as a part of service work about mechanization and skill development (Beer & Mulder, 2020). He stated that in the twentieth century that twin forces have reduced office work to steam of paper. The debate was held in which Braverman noted two things such as the first one was the shift of employees from lower to higher industrial types and second the median quantity of period expended in teaching has been improved. Braverman was not the first man who gave views on deskilling, but he had comprehension and commitment towards deskilling and upskilling theory (Lööw, Abrahamsson & Johansson, 2019).

Critique of Braverman’s Deskilling Theory

Braverman was the major contributor in the debate of deskilling theory who accorded the status of a classic book on the transformation of both sociology of class and sociology of work. The criticism was done on the definition of skill, gender-blindness, and powerful and nom-powerful managers who have the responsibility of upskilling. Braverman theorized the talent from a art standpoint. He stated the mixture of understanding of tools and procedures with the practical measure to carry out natural dexterities for production. The major trouble with the deskilling theory was on imagining the pre-modern skillful employee. Braverman stated that art workers are a crucial part of the construction process in the nineteenth century that alters skilled labor did not represent the margin of the labor force (Edgel, 2006).

In the case of the middle twentieth century, data development and data processing came into a new division. This upgraded computer hierarchy from a small number of technical specialists with simplified, routinized, and measured work at the station (Edgel, 2006). Braverman supported this point with the view that computerization of office work has led to less consumption of office work. This has a great effect on communication and communication and the ability to learn new skills. The advanced use of technology is associated with hiring candidates who have experienced skill requirements (Brougham & Haar, 2017).

Secondly, the criticism was done on the picture of powerful managers and powerful workers that had led to deskilling (McGuinness, Pouliakas & Redmond, 2019). Braverman stated that the capitalist class is omniscient to the capitalist who is capable to implement Taylorism and underestimate the power of workers. Taylorism was embraced in the theories on three major points about deskilling (Avis, 2018). Thompson tried to convince on this as he stated that the implementation of scientific theory needs two to four years of experimentation. Secondly, the implementation of theories has a great chance of arising conflicts due to the jeopardization of workers. Thirdly, the position of manager is in danger with the introduction of scientific management. Taylorism was the concept that came into theories for the opposition of deskilling and skilling (Avis, 2018).

The third one was gender-blindness that contaminates the definition of skill as the combination of knowledge and skills are practiced carrying out specific branches of production. This approach of skill is called as technicist and technique of skills that manipulate tools and objects (Martišková, 2020). The fourth one is underestimating the power of manager and skill in upgrading the work. Braverman was known for the unevenness of the deskilling process with the result of the deskilling process in the organization and mechanization of production (Martišková, 2020).


Hence, the industrial society is the part of deskilling process in profit-making. The transformation of theories with work has been explained in the essay. The concepts that have been shared in the discussion are a model of skill, task-specific training, and the combination of Taylorism with technology. According to Braverman, deskilling is the inherent process of industrial capitalist society.


Avis, J. (2018). Socio-technical imaginary of the fourth industrial revolution and its implications for vocational education and training: A literature review. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 70(3), 337-363. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820.2018.1498907

Beer, P., & Mulder, R. H. (2020). The effects of technological developments on work and their implications for continuous vocational education and training: A systematic review. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 918. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00918

Brougham, D., & Haar, J. (2017). Employee assessment of their technological redundancy. Labour & Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 27(3), 213-231. https://doi.org/10.1080/10301763.2017.1369718

Edgel, S. (2006) Paid work in industrial society and deskilling? In Sociology Work and Industry: Continuity and change in paid and unpaid work. Routledge Press: London, pp. 48-60. https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-sociology-of-work/book253988

Kovacs, O. (2018). The dark corners of industry 4.0–Grounding economic governance 2.0. Technology in Society, 55, 140-145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2018.07.009

Kunst, D. (2019). Deskilling among manufacturing production workers. SSRN https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3429711

Lööw, J., Abrahamsson, L., & Johansson, J. (2019). Mining 4.0—The impact of new technology from a workplace perspective. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, 36(4), 701-707. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42461-019-00104-9

Martinaitis, Ž., Christenko, A., & Antanavičius, J. (2020). Upskilling, deskilling, or polarisation? Evidence on change in skills in Europe. Work, Employment and Society, 0950017020937934. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0950017020937934

Martišková, M. (2020). The transformation of jobs and working conditions: Towards a policy response. The Challenge of Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry, 153. https://www.etui.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/The%20challenge%20of%20digital%20transformation%20in%20the%20automotive%

McGuinness, S., Pouliakas, K., & Redmond, P. (2019). Skills-displacing technological change and its impact on jobs: Challenging technological alarmism? https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3445807

Peng, G., Wang, Y., & Han, G. (2018). Information technology and employment: The impact of job tasks and worker skills. Journal of Industrial Relations, 60(2), 201-223. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0022185617741924

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