Operating the production calculus: Ordering a production system in the print industry

Graham Button, Wes Sharrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The topic of shop-floor work has been extensively examined within sociology. However, the organizational structures within which this work takes place have, in the most part, been taken as unexamined givens. Yet, their operation is also the shop-floor work of some people. This paper examines the way in which the stable organizational structures within which shop-floor work takes place are achieved. It is based upon a fieldwork investigation of a large commercial printer and focuses upon the collaborative work of those who are involved in scheduling the production of ajob and their use of 'the production calculus' in planning the work of the site. The print industry is undergoing considerable technological change and scheduling technologies have been developed to automate this work. However, there has been little take up of these technologies and the paper also considers how the characteristics of operating the production calculus in practice may account for this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-289
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002


  • Effort bargain
  • Organizational structures
  • Planning
  • Practical calculi
  • Production scheduling
  • Shop-floor work
  • The print industry


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