A concept developed by Carter Goodrich in his path-breaking studies of management-worker relations after the First World War. It expresses the view that there is a ceaseless struggle for control in the workplace, with managers seeking to extend the frontier by securing new powers to organize and control labour and workers reacting and developing counter-strategies to win greater freedom from supervision. The concept assumes, therefore, that there is a basic conflict of interest between managers and employees and has been used most frequently by researchers from a pluralist or labour process tradition in studies of shopfloor bargaining and workplace trade unionism. For many, the frontier of control has shifted decisively in management's favour since the late 1970s, as more intensive competition and higher unemployment have sapped the bargaining power of workers. [See industrial conflict, restriction of output, restrictive practice, and surveillance.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.