Occupational Work Ethic Inventory

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  1. 1. Exercise 2: Occupational Work Ethic Inventory by William Adkins for SOC-323 Sociological Theory Instructor John Rick Johnson Saint Leo University July 12th , 2015
  2. 2. 2 INTRODUCTION After industry and frugality, nothing contributes more to the raising of a young man in the world than punctuality and justice in all his dealings (Benjamin Franklin as quoted by Max Weber in Allen 2014:99). This quote from Benjamin Franklin frames the concept of the work ethic of the Calvinist faith and is included in the introduction of Max Webers The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Allen 2014). To Weber, religion was the largest influence of capitalism; he said, it provides us with certain principlesthat act as guideposts telling us how to live (Allen 2014:98). RATIONILISM OF CAPITALISM A work ethic is defined by Dictionary.com as a belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character. Max Weber said that this precondition of the spirit of capitalism as how a person exalts work as a moral attitude (Allen 2014:99). The Occupational Work Ethic Inventory (OWEI) has presented us with a test that will measure a persons work ethic: scoring interpersonal, initiative and dependability characteristics on a scale of one through to seven. The following table represents the mean scores of the three aforementioned categories split by gender as presented on the OWEI website Interpersonal Skills Initiative Dependability Female 5.67 6.00 6.34 Male 5.52 5.72 6.07 These scores show (quantitatively) that the average female* is about 2% more social, 4% more creative and almost 4% more dependable than the average male.* My mean scores, shown below, show that I am .7% more social, about 1.5% less creative and 1% less dependable than the men surveyed. *Regarding the 1133 people sampled per the OWEI website
  3. 3. 3 Interpersonal Skills Initiative Dependability Adkins, W. 5.75 5.62 6.00 The question presenting itself here is this, what does that mean? Well, according to Max Weber, interpersonal skill would not have been extremely beneficial unless they were necessary for me to live my life with a specific purpose (Allen 2014:99). Having initiative or being able to come up with creative solutions to assist the means to that purpose would be more important because those qualities would help you acquire wealth (read: money) and in the world of rational capitalism (Allen 2014) the acquisition of money became its own end. Dependability, the final of the three characteristics, would have been weighted the heaviest because, as was stated in the opening quote from Benjamin Franklin, your ability to remain trustworthy and reliable were ultimately the best possible means to acquire the self-confidence that one belonged among the elect (Allen 2014:101). These quantitative legitimations delineate an individualistic nature of capitalism that is seen in modernity through Marxs theory of alienation, the division of labor (both as described by Marx and Durkheim) as well as the Durkheimian theories of social diversity and morality (Allen 2014) specifically the mechanistic and organismic analogies. With Marx, the proletariat being beholden to the bourgeois was forced to take vocations that they neither had the skill nor the desire to perform (forced division of labor) due to the cyclical nature of capitalism (industrialization, markets and commodification) and it was that simple (in a manner of speaking). For Durkheim, the effects on society began with social solidarity (Allen 2014), which, in its most basic terms, is the degree to which social units are integrated (P.138). In a closed system of social solidarity (mechanistic), there is a sense of existing as cog in a machine:
  4. 4. 4 your relationship to others is compulsory, your degree of solidarity is very high and [e]ach individual units actions are absolutely constrained by and coordinated with the whole (Allen 2014:139). Conversely, the open system of solidarity (organismic) consists of varied parts; each part has a different job and they relate to one another in a more distinct manner. As society moves from being more similar to more diverse there is a tendency to move from a mechanistic solidarity to an organismic solidarity and the familial bonds give way to mutual need and abstract ideas and sentiments (Allen 2014:139). In contrast to that Marx, Durkheim points to these issues of modernity as the cause for forced division of labor (Allen 2014). As our populations gather and increase in dynamic density, we further internalize the culture of our in- groups what Durkheim called social differentiation (Allen 2014) and our mechanistic solidarity shifts to an organismic solidarity even though mechanistic solidarity and similarity never actually vanish. It is in this state we become less focused on our class consciousness we move away from Marxs ideal of species-being and become more and more concerned with our specialized in-groups (Allen 2014). CONCLUSION Based on the information provided from our text thus far, coupled with my scores for the OWEI, it is clear that my socialization has been and continues to be more specialized, individualistic and focused on Durkheims theory of organismic solidarity. My function in life has been to acquire a means to wealth; to practice frugality (to reciprocate those ideals), to place emphasis on the intrinsic value of hard work - a strong work ethic as Allen (2014) states and to be as competent and proficient in those endeavors as possible. I am to demonstrate the ideals of rational capitalism and take advantage of every opportunity to increase my own wealth even while recognizing that, America may be the land of opportunity, but it is not the land of equal
  5. 5. 5 opportunity (Allen 2014:147). It becomes clear, then, that although Protestantism did not directly produce capitalismit did create a culture thatinfluenced its rise and its reign (Allen 2014:100).
  6. 6. 6 Reference Allen, Kenneth. 2014. The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory 3rd Ed. Los Angeles: Sage. Occupational Work Ethic Inventory. 1993. Retrieved on July 12th , 2015 (http://workethic.coe.uga.edu/cgi-bin/new_owei/owei.pl).

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