Changing Career Structures in Small IT Firms
Edited by Julie Ann McMullin and Victor W. Marshall
Chapter 1: Introduction: Aging and Working in the New Economy
Julie Ann McMullin and Victor W. Marshall This book is about aging and working in the New Economy. It is about how individuals manage their paid work within firms that are struggling to survive and compete in global economies. It is also about the tensions that arise as workers and owners struggle for personal and firm survival, two processes that are often contradictory and result in paradoxes that occasionally produce conflict. For centuries, of course, tension, contradiction, paradox, and conflict have been used to describe the employment relations that exist between employers and employees. Yet, as this book will show, the specific character of employment relations and the tension, contradiction, paradox, and conflict that ensue, take on a somewhat different character in the small, New Economy firms in this study. Throughout the 1990s, the New Economy concept came to refer to the idea that old ways of doing business were waning, largely due to advances in information technology, the innovative implementation of these technologies in the workplace, and the commodification of knowledge (Castells, 1996; Ranson, 2003). Although there have been debates about how new the New Economy really is, the evolution of employment relations over the last several decades and the idea that ‘business is not being conducted as usual’ have policymakers, think tanks, and academics taking notice. Indeed, according to Chris Benner ‘it is not at all an exaggeration to say that we are in the midst of an information revolution as significant for changing economic and social structures...