Work Inc.: A Philosophical Inquiry

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 97%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $16.00   
  • Used (8) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2006

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

1990 Hardcover New 877226881. New; 1 x 9.5 x 6.5 Inches; 360 pages.

Ships from: Northbrook, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Many workers today feel that the longstanding social contract between government, business, and labor has been broken. This book examines legal and philosophical problems that must be addressed if there is to be a new social contract that is fair to workers. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, from the popular press to technical philosophy, Edmund F. Byrne brings into focus ethical issues involved in corporate decisions to reorganize, relocate, or automate. In assessing the human costs of these decisions, he shows why, to a worker, "corporations are not reducible to their assets and liabilities any more than a government is merely its annual budget. That they are organizations, that these organizations do things, and that they are socially responsible for what they do."

In support of this assignment of responsibility, Byrne seeks to demythologize corporate hegemony by confronting a variety of intellectual "dragons" that guard the gates of the status quo. These include legal assumptions about corporate personhood and commodification, private property and eminent domain; management ideas about the autonomous employee and profit without payrolls; technocratic dreams of a dehumanized workplace: ideological belief in progress and competition; and philosophical arguments for libertarian freedom, liberal welfare, and global justice.

Because of these and other mainstream perspectives, workers today are widely perceived, in law and in common parlance, to be isolated atoms. But, Byrne emphasizes, work. including work done for a transnational corporation, is done in a community. Since corporate leaders make decisions that have an impact on people’s lives and on communities, involvement in such decisions must be not only corporate or governmental but community-based as well.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A major contribution by a philosopher to our understanding of everyday life. Byrne's deconstruction of 'work,' his demonstration of how the word and the common-sense conception of the activity carry a heavy freight of concealed ideological premises, is completely original and badly needed. The 'work ethic' will never again look the same."
Philip Green, Smith College

"An important gathering of ideas and information on an extremely pertinent topic. Byrne's style and language are generally suitable for a non-academic audience, while his references and argument are thoroughly competent."
Peter d'Errico, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

"An interesting, stimulating, and very readable book."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877226888
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/1990
  • Pages: 360

Meet the Author

Edmund F. Byrne, Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University, Indianapolis, is the author of Philosophy of Work: A Study Guide and co-author of Human Being and Being Human.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Corporations and Communities
Corporation and Community in America • The Reign of “Business Necessity” • Indiana: A Crossroads of Corporate America • Corporations and Communities Abroad

Part I: Worker and Community

2. Work and Play: The Obscurity of Obligation
Forced Labor in Fact and in Philosophy • Work Ethic and Social Contract • Work in Utopia

3. Whose Work? Which Ethic?
“The Work Ethic”: Weber’s Managerial Myth • Work and Duty: Is Work Obligatory? • Work and Virtue: Craft Pride • Work and Pleasure: The Quest for Leisure

4. Work and Welfare: A Crisis of Responsibility
Work and Benefits • Responsibility for the Unemployed

Part II: Worker and Corporation

5. “Meaningful Work”: A Two-Edged Sword
Meaning or Manipulation? A Question of Control • The Politics of Job Classification • Organization of Work • Work Rules and the Division of Labor • Job Control • Work and Creativity

6. Worker Organizations
Worker Organization and Liberty • Whether Unions Unduly Restrain the Liberty of Employers • Whether Unions Unduly Constrain the Liberty of Employees • Worker Organization and Power • The Economic Power of Guilds • The Economic Power of Unions

7. Equal Opportunity Employment?
Toward Getting a Job and Keeping It • Preemployment Testing • Seniority Rights • Employment Rights • Taking on the World • What Ever Happened to Meritocracy?

8. Automation: Laborsaving or Dehumanization?
The Robot Revolution • The Impact of Microelectronics on Employment • Engineering Unemployment: Motives in the Madness

Part III: Corporation and Community

9. Corporation and Community in American Law
Private Property and Corporate Property • Who Controls Corporate Property? • Community Control over Corporate Property

10. The Ideology of Corporate Autonomy
Unilateral Justifications of Development • The Mythology of Progress • Progress and Social Welfare • Rawlsian Justice: A Liberal Dose of Social Welfare

11. Global Justice and Corporation-Community Relations
The Dramatis Personae • Global Justice: An Offer That Can’t be Refused? • Community: If Not in Cities, Where?


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)