Changes in the 19th century caused different views and
perspectives on the work and organisation. This essay pretends to discuss and
compare theories of Durkheim and Weber. These two great sociologists born in
the time of dramatic social changes. Before the industrial revolution work was
based on agricultural and craft work, where workers usually knew all aspects of
their production. (Giddens, Sutton, 2013, p. 264-265). People start to be
involved in labour for wages, business was based upon making a profit, but the
most significant that all these changes caused division of labour. (Haralambos,
Holborn, 2004, p. 2) From that time work became more specialised and
rationalised. What makes sociologists think about the influence of division of
labour.

   Durkheim lived at
the same time as Weber, but they view on a division of labour and influence of
that, differed significantly. Durkheim held a more optimistic view on the
division of labour. The division of labour in his opinion is a sign of a
developed society because there is a need to exchange results of the activity,
perform complementary functions. He thought that division of labour brings
diversity, and the more it is, the stronger the people’s desire for unity and
exchange. He argues that division of labour led from mechanical to organic
solidarity. Durkheim believed that pre-industrial societies were based on
mechanical solidarity when people feel solidarity because they are similar. When
society develops and work becomes more specialized people become different.
Despite that people still, need each other. Doctors need teachers to teach
their kids, and teachers need doctors to treat them. This mutuality Durkheim
describes as an organic solidarity. (Haralambos, Holborn, 2008, p. 667) How is
it possible to move from one form of solidarity to another? The sociologist’s
answer is unambiguous: on the basis of the emerging division of labour. And a
reason for the sociologist was the growth of population and the intensified
social life in connection with it. The division of labour is almost the only
means and factor of the preservation and consolidation of society, which is due
to the emergence of social solidarity of a new type – organic. The professionalization
of labour and the specialization of functions orient society as a whole and
specific social groups toward a desire for unity. Nevertheless, Durkheim saw
some concerns about the social change. 
Durkheim pointed that specialized division of labour can encourage
individualism and even normlessness. People develop unlimited desires and
feeling of constant dissatisfaction. This can lead to social problems and high
suicide rates. That what he called social anomie. (Haralambos, Holborn, 2008, p.
667)

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     Weber holds more
negative view than Durkheim, he pointed out the bad influence of specialization
and rationalisation. Weber argued that with industrialisation changed society
to become based on reason, pushing back emotions, cohesion and emotions. He
called this actions “instrumental rational action”. In a new world, science
became more popular than religion and reasons replaced the faith. Haralambos,
Hope, Timson, 2013, p. 14) Weber saw instrumental rationality most clearly in
bureaucracies. Bureaucracy is based on rules, goals and skills, bureaucracy is
also the system of control. (Haralambos, Holborn, Moore, Chapman, 2013, p. 973)
That is helpful in goal attain, but from, on the other hand, it can imprison
people in “iron cage”. From Weber point, people already born in structure and
the cannot change it, what makes them imprisoned. Weber also pointed out that
rapid changes in the 19th century lead to inequality of wealth and status in
society. This fact Weber called social stratification. Social stratification
makes people more alienated from each other. Marx saw that history final goal
is communist society where classes will be vanished, while Weber was sceptical
and argued that fact of social stratification will always exist. Taylor,
Richardson, Yeo, 2002, p. 36)

    There are
differences in the views of Weber on the one hand and Durkheim and Marx on the
other (Durkheim and Marx gave priority to society, but Weber put above the
individuals and argued that development of society caused by cultural values).
Weber understood the division of labour as a structure, in which people
performing narrowly specialized functions were frozen in their own workplace.
The division of labour is not the division of individuals and the distribution
of tasks; it is a way of social and economic interaction of people. Hence it
follows that such interaction has a highly indicative rational (realized,
planned, expedient) action, and secondly, that the division of labour as a
method interaction has a variety of forms and passes in its development a
variety of stages, thirdly, that the true subject of the division of labour is
not a separate individual, but only organized groups.

 

 

 

 

 

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