“How much does he earn? Really?” Relational wages Comparison as a Stratification social process on the Labor market
Penalva-Icher, Elise (2016), “How much does he earn? Really?” Relational wages Comparison as a Stratification social process on the Labor market, Sunbelt Conference, INSNA, 2016-04, Newport Beach, United States
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference titleSunbelt Conference, INSNA
Conference cityNewport Beach
Conference countryUnited States
MetadataShow full item record
Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales [IRISSO]
Abstract (EN)In the USA, The National Labor Relations Act(NLRA) guarantees most employees in the private sector the right totalk about working conditions, including remuneration, with coworkers. Besides, Internet offers apps and quizzes toguess coworkers’ salary. Why is there a need to do so? What is at stake in outing coworkers’ wages? The NLRA is,in that case, a tool to fight gender or race discrimination; it stands against pay secrecy clause that helps shadowinginequalities. But beyond legal prosecution, theses wages comparisons are an indicator of a broad phenomenon. Theyreflect a social process of stratification on the labor market. This process is a relational process as the comparison takesplace in the relational structure and egos’ network. Indeed, former categories to say who you are in the organizationand how much you earn due to your position are nowadays undermined: one life job become scare, mobility is moreand more experimented in one’s career, competition has increased on the labor market. Consequently, workers lookfor signals to interpret their position in their organization or at an inter-organizational level, comparing to other firms.We argue that they find these signals through their personal networks. People look for information about how muchtheirs coworkers, brothers or sisters, former schoolmates, that is to say in a more general way peers, are paid. Todo so, they use their personal network to make an homophilious relational comparison (Festinger, 1954; Cartwright,Harary, 1956; Heider, 1946). We offer to examine this social process on a specific fieldwork: bonus and variableremuneration accorded to managers in the private sector in France. Indeed, since the 1990’s, those kinds of bonuseshad been increasingly in used in France, introducing market competition between workers, as they are legitimated byand calculated with the performance of individuals or teams. We collect with an Internet survey a sample of 1195managers gathering information about their careers, bonus (amount, structures, uses etc.) and their remunerationsatisfaction. We also ask them with whom they are discussing about how much they are paid, and if these contactswere in contact together to retrace their personal network (direct and indirect contacts). We have data about thestrength of the tie and the characteristics of the contact (who is it?). First results show the importance of thecomparison, people not comparing are more satisfied (half of the sample). With comparison, satisfaction reduce,but the more you compare (many direct contacts), the less unsatisfied you are. These first results underlines thenecessity to understand who are the people comparing and those who are not, and the importance of examiningwho are the significant peers you compare to.
Subjects / Keywordsrelational comparison; bonus
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