Why does work matter to modern societies? Essay Example

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Why does work matter to modern societies?

Work and Employment

The issue of work and employment is not new to humanity and has been there since its inception. Tracing humanity throughout history, it is evident that work has been there as a survival routine and was deeply embedded even in pre modern times. What has changed is the dynamics of working environments and its purposes too. In the past issues like unpaid work through slavery were common but in the modern world it is all about paid employment. There are many forms of work that can be associated with people. It does not have to be paid as there is personal work such as family, parental or volunteer work. Work plays a key role in society and humanity at large (Beck, 2000, p. 10). There are varied reasons why people work which range from making a living to self evaluation and actualization. This reflection will in depth why work matters in the modern societies

Why work and employment matters in modern societies

The issue of work can be looked at from a perspective of organisations, institution and individual perspectives. Work matters to all these entities by ensuring that development and productivity in society are substantiated. Work and employment can be viewed as a form of interaction between members of society and as a special relationship between specific individuals and societies they are associated with. Hence, the key reasons that can be attributed to the importance of work are differentiation and incorporation in society. Differentiation in the work context means how individuals respond to work and challenges by developing better and easier ways. Incorporation on the other hand is all about the participatory and contributive aspect individual play in a productive and developing society.

According to Emile Durkheim (Durkheim, 2012, p. 171), to identify why work matters to society, division of labour or differentiation and changing forms of solidarity can explain this. This means that, in order to understand the role of work and employment in a particular society, we need to critically look at the division of labour within that specific society. Secondly, we need to look at the transition of integration as a result of division of labour this depends on the sociological timeline which has work, education, society, gender roles and patriarchy.

The transition from traditional to more advanced working societies has also seen transition in how labour is divided. This change has also facilitated change work integration. Work matters to people in the family setting as the basic social unit. In the traditional settings work most people had to deal with similar challenges and had the same religions and education in societies. In the modern world, people are different and interdependent. Even though people exhibit differences in problems, challenges and religion, work makes them interdependent and thus matters to them.

In the modern society, belief, norms values and sentiments are differentiated to large extents compared to pre modern societies. Due to the interdependent aspect in the modern societies, the removal of one element from the work system would affect the whole working system. For instance, if you remove those who have specialized in the energy sector then, almost all other work would malfunction. Work, therefore, matters as entities in society need each other in the modern to survive and be productive.


Beck U, 2000, ‘The Brave New World of Work’, Polity Press, Berlin.

Durkheim E, 2012, ‘The Division of Labour in Society’,Martino Fine Books, Eastford.