Dissertation Title: Commodification and Control: Tech Worker Responses to Mass Dismissals in Germany and the United States
Committee: Julia Lynch (chair), Rudra Sil, Jeffrey Green, Tobias Schulze-Cleven
Summary: My dissertation explains why job security in wealthy democracies is universally but not uniformly undermined as countries replace manufacturing with services-based growth models. I argue that tech workers can protect their job security if they mobilize against mass dismissals, even when managers claim that economic conditions demand workforce reductions. Comparing worker responses to mass dismissals at German and American multinational technology firms in the early 2000s, I show that workers were able to defend their jobs when labor organizers used data-driven arguments that challenged management’s economic rationale for dismissals. I argue that variation in workers’ beliefs about managers’ credibility accounts for firm-level variation in flexible, and hence precarious, employment.