Work refers to any duty fulfilled for regular wages or salary. These duties don’t just happen by chance or at random but they have to be organized in a pre-determined manner. Otherwise there is no defined flow of events, then this leads to time and resource wastage. For instance, there must be set out rules on who does what, where, when, why and how. This is meant to ensure that there is accountability for every act done and also to minimize cases of blame games.
In the pre-industrial era, human societies mostly engaged in hunting and gathering activities. They had very limited technology and therefore used stones for tools and weapons. Work was done collectively by all people be it old or young, men and women, or even political and religious leaders. However, due to sex differences and age groups, adult males specialized in hunting and fishing while adult female participated in food gathering and preservation. Despite all these specializations, it was with no doubt the responsibility of all to actively participate in shelter preparations.
As time passed by, people slowly started doing some horticultural activities. This was mainly cultivation of crops and rearing of animals. During this period, there was some remarkably a notable improvement of technology as people now started using metal tools instead of the stones. This led to creation of more reliable economic surplus thus the level of trade also intensified. As a result, population got on the rise as well.
Next to this development was the widespread of plough and the intensive use of animal power for agriculture and transport. Animals were used to pull a plough rather than the human beings. All these activities also led to massive expansion of production which in return led to high population growth. People began to see the need to own their land so as to realize more incomes and as a result of this economic growth and diversity, urban centers emerged whereby money was now being used as the medium of exchange.
This more diversification brought in the aspect of industrial revolution. Here, energy sources e.g. electricity, gas, or nuclear power was used in production. New machine technology was now being applied. As a result of the high technology, there was establishment of large scale specialized work places like factories. These factories were majorly situated in the urban centers so as to solve the challenges resulting from accessibility to both raw materials and uninterrupted supply of machinery. Unlike in the earlier developments whereby labour was considerably for agriculture, here labour and technology were majorly on manufacturing. Another distinguishing feature associated with this stage of development was that it was profit – oriented besides private ownership of factors of production more so land. Again, as opposed to the earlier development of home or family ownership, this was associated with separation of home from home. This was made successful through creation of specialists to the different work stations. Workers were now being recruited on the basis of productiveness instead of parentage or how close one is attached to a family owning the factors of production. People began to move from homes in rural areas to urban areas to provide labour to the factories.
This massive movement and migration of people from the rural to urban areas created a pool of workers with different character traits, culture and also of different abilities. Due to these differences, the employees felt like their jobs were at risk and thus they saw the need to join hands and form what is commonly referred to as Trade Unions. These trade unions made the workers to be more aware of their rights and hence any attempt by the employees was highly met with so much resistance. They also teamed up so as to increase their bargaining power in terms of their welfare and salaries and wages. It’s also of great importance to note that, a lot of revolution was experienced here in that both male and females were no longer gender biased and anyone could do any job as long as they have the minimum qualifications and requirements and above all were competent.
Its therefore with no doubt that has gone through so much transitions up to the 21st century whereby employees now want more meaning from their work rather than just earning a livelihood and security.
A lot of differences can be drawn from the history of where work was invented up to the 21st century. Some may include the following:
• In terms of production, hand tools/ human energy were used but in the 21st century, machines tools instead.
• Family/ households was the unit of production unlike large- scale production in the 21st century.
• There was low degree of differentiation in terms of labour division but in the 21st century, division of labour was associated with high degree of differentiation.
• Production was done at random, meaning that there was no specific or regular time of operation but in the 21st century, there is regular and permanent time frame.
• Also, people worked for livelihood but in the 21st century, people are purposed to work for long term profits.