THE GOLD-COLLAR WORKER: Harnessing the Brainpower of the New Workforce by Robert E. Kelley

THE GOLD-COLLAR WORKER: Harnessing the Brainpower of the New Workforce

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Gold-collar workers are those who collect, process, evaluate, and disseminate information, according to management consultant Kelley. In this once-over-lightly survey, which cynics might construe as an effort to stake a claim on a megatrendy instance of future shock, he asserts that ""mental laborers"" will soon be the making or breaking of corporate America. By decade's end, the author reckons, the new breed--whose occupational specialties range from computer programming to pension-plan administration--will hold six of every 10 jobs in the domestic economy. Highly educated arrivistes who can ply their trades with a minimum of supervision are much less willing than their predecessors to subordinate personal priorities to the traditional values of most organizations, Kelley suggests. If employers are to make productive use of their elite hirelings, he concludes, they must adopt ""a new vision of corporate democracy."" Apart from the fact that the emergence of a service-oriented economy and contraction of the nation's industrial base is old news to most observers, the author offers mostly shopworn prescriptions for insuring assisting gold-collar workers to work up to their full potential. Along with sabbaticals, non-salary compensation plans linked to individual and/or corporate performance have become familiar perks for those who toil in high-tech vineyards; the same holds true on a broader front for cafeteria-style benefit programs. Further, the participatory one-for-all management styles probably required to cope with change in the so-called knowledge industries have been examined to more telling effect elsewhere--notably, in Ouiche's Theory Z (1981). As either reportage or analysis, Kelley's tract is a feeble, scantily documented, and frequently fatuous entry.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1985
Publisher: Addison-Wesley