Production Regimes and Class Compromise Among European Warehouse Workers

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Abstract

The orderly functioning of global capitalism increasingly depends on the labor of logistics workers. But social scientists have yet to produce nuanced accounts of the labor process in the many ports, warehouses, and distribution centers that lie at the heart of logistics work. In this study, the authors seek to connect the nascent field of critical logistics studies to theories of the labor process in an effort to understand the production regimes that arise in warehouse work under different economic and regulatory conditions. Using qualitative data gathered at four European warehouses owned by the same third-party logistics firm, the authors identify several distinct types of production regimes at these warehouses and analyze the conditions accounting for each. Even in this globally oriented industry in which firms seek to standardize their international operations, locally rooted conditions play a significant role, generating sharply different forms of labor control even within the same firm.

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Dörflinger, N., Pulignano, V., & Vallas, S. P. (2021). Production Regimes and Class Compromise Among European Warehouse Workers. Work and Occupations, 48(2), 111–145. https://doi.org/10.1177/0730888420941556

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