Changing Career Structures in Small IT Firms
Edited by Julie Ann McMullin and Victor W. Marshall
Chapter 10: Work and the Life Course in a New Economy Field
Victor W. Marshall and Julie Ann McMullin In this chapter we draw selective insights from the preceding chapters to discuss life course issues of work and aging in the New Economy field of information technology. We consider lives as they unfold in time and we also consider the social structures which provide the opportunities and constraints that shape individual biographies. The life course perspective is one of the key resources guiding the work of WANE investigators, the others being explicit attention to gender issues and to framing the issues in a global perspective. People age as they work, and they work as they age. Thus, one of the major research areas in life course studies has been work, aging and the life course, largely pursued from a social psychological perspective. However, the age distribution of a firm’s employees can be a major feature of the firm’s social structure, one that can become a focus of managerial attention and a basis of patterned social relations within the firm. As we have noted in our introductory chapter, the transformations that have produced the new global economy have coincided in time with the demographic changes that have led to workforce aging. While the chapters in this volume for the most part focus on either social psychological issues or social structural issues, they at least implicitly, and often explicitly, deal with the relationships of individual lives to social structure. Thus, as we also noted in Chapter 1, in the global economy, viewed as a...
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