It is the application of sociological approach to the reality and problems of industry. The importance attached to the subject can be gauged to the fact that India has committed to the industrial development as a necessary means to solve its economic and social problems. Here, we have to understand key terms: ‘industry’ and ‘sociology.’
Industry- Industry may be understood as, ‘the application of complex and sophisticated methods for the production of economic goods and services’.
These complex methods, implying use of machinery, have been devised to improve quality and quantity of production.
To shine, enter into industry. From food gatherer to food producer, man has always been industrial, i.e., hard-working. Coming together and start living in a group, man always tried to develop. He has always used tools to get food and satisfy his needs. To get his daily breads, pre-literate man used digging stick, hoe or bow and arrow. Anthropology and History show that man has always been not only user of tools but also maker of tools, i.e., homo Faber. Adjustment, one of the characteristics of man, makes man move from means to ends, to achieve his objectives. That is why man is also called homosapiens (intelligent man) and so homo industrialise (industrial man).
From French Industrie or Latin industria, here group of diligent and hard-working men came together and formed a unit to carry economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories.
Sociology- The Science, dealing with the behavior of man living in group, which developed over a period of time, is known as Sociology or Science of society. Society itself consists in the web of social relationships with the combinations and complexities arising from them, as clique (a small group of people who spend time together and do not allow others to join them), groups, associations, institutions, systems, etc.
The root or beginning of society is the social relationship which essentially develops on mutual awareness, followed by reciprocal interrelations and interactions. Thus, we may say that strangers do not make society. Like, two students come to college from different areas, different backgrounds and never seen each other in past. Though physically present in college, they have not found occasion to start talking. But when they come close to each other on introduction, the social relationship begins to emerge and may even become more complex when they begin to deal with each other or talk business.
Generally, sociology is restricted to the field of study of social institutions or social systems as the family or state, the village or factory etc. The objectives are undoubtedly legitimate, but there does not seem to be any cogent reason to exclude other social realities, such as group or social relationship itself.
Any reality, especially a complex reality like industry, can be studied from various points of view, such as technological, physical, psychological etc. But we must give emphasis to the sociological aspect or social element that manifests itself in industry.
1) “Industrial Sociology is concerned with industry as a social system, including those factors (technical, economic, political) which affect the structure, the functions and the changes in that system.”- Smith J.H., Industrial Sociology, UNESCO Publication
2) “Industrial Sociology is a substantive area of general sociology which might more accurately be termed the sociology of work organisations or sociology of economy.”- D.C. Miller and W.H. Form, Industrial Sociology, New York
3) “Lupton has been more specific and advanced the study of the social system of the factory and of the influences external to the factory which affects that system.”- Ibid
4) “Industrial Sociologists centre their interests upon the social organisations of the work place, including the pattern of interaction among people who are responding to one another in terms of their roles in work organisations or whose behaviour is being affected by those roles.”- Charles B. Spaulding
5) “Industrial Sociology is concerned with how the economic subsystem is related to other sub-system, how the sub-system is structured in terms of particular work organisation and roles and how persons fit into these roles.”- Parker S.R., Brown R.K. and others.
Scope of Industrial Sociology
Every science has its own areas of inquiry. It becomes difficult for any one to study a science systematically unless its boundaries are demarcated and scope determined precisely. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the part of Industrial sociologist with regard to the scope of Industrial sociology. V. F. Calberton comments. "Since sociology is so elastic a science, it is difficult to determine just where its boundaries began and ends, where Industrial sociology becomes social psychology and where social psychology becomes Industrial sociology, or where economic theory becomes sociological doctrine or biological theory becomes sociological theory something, which is impossible to decide.
Significances / Value of industrial sociology in India
Industrial Sociology has acquired values in progressive society where industrial revolution played great role which was necessitated to cater the growing demands of ever increasing population.
Following benefits increase the values of Industrial Sociology:
1. Use of Scientific Methods
Industrial Sociology acquires great value in view of scientific methods adapted to study. To understand it by establishing cause-effect relationship, scientific knowledge helps. All round progress of mankind depends upon moving up the ladder of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, i.e., food (bottom-most need).
With the onset of industrial revolution, development of industries took the center stage. Industrial development in any nation became a key factor in deciding the progress of that nation. As science helped in industrial development, the systematic knowledge acquired using scientific methods human behavior became very handy. Thus industrial sociology as a subject of study gained currency. Various institutions dealing with industrial society, its social control, social dynamics, social change, problems and their remedies came up and thereby widened the scope of industrial sociology. It would not be exaggeration to say that without knowledge of industrial sociology industrial progress could not have been achieved. The importance of industrial sociology made the premise of setting up Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.
2. Understanding the Social Aspect of Industry
The orderly movement of things based on certain rules takes any work to logical conclusion. That is the importance of science and that is why it is called specialised knowledge. To gauge the development of any nation, the position of its industries plays a great role. The contribution of industries to the well-being of citizens of its country and humanity at large has become now predominant in the index of development of any nation. That is why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a buzzword in developing country like India. Industrial Sociology has added new dimension to the knowledge of humanity. The workmen, who do work, execute the design that is taken from drawing board to floor, are vital link between theory and practice. So called labour class, workmen are to be trained, taught and toughened so that they become finest craftsmen. The social strata, importance of roles and problems of workmen are to be addressed in such a way that there ever remain cordial industrial relations and industrial peace should bring development in industries.
3. Solutions from Industrial Society to the Problems of Industry
Based on knowledge and experience people are employed in industries leading to formation of various layers taking care of different job roles and responsibilities. Industrial Revolution gave birth to industries which were organised to achieve its objectives. Job roles decided expertise, division of labour and degree of responsibility and thus created vertical and horizontal set up in the organisation. Occupation hazards are associated with industries which require matching counter balance in the form of money, perks, glamour and other welfare measures.
As workmen, supervisors, executives, policymakers are associated with any industry, a stratum is formed which gives feeling of differentiation, status-consciousness, inferiority-superiority complex etc.
4. Industrial Relations
Industrial relations play vital role in development of industries in any country. The management policies, its objective, long-term and short-term goals decide its working environment. In-short, we can say the mission and vision of any company in theory and practice speak about the company. The relationship between workman and management has to be harmonious for industrial rest and once that is there, industrial progress is bound to happen. Production has to multiply. The production coupled with quality is the need for growth of any industry. Industrial Sociology helps in achievement of this objective. Important factors playing great roles in good industrial relations are rates of wages, working conditions, welfare measures, recruitment policy, job-security etc. Welfare measures are widely covered under the heading of food, cloth and house. Industrial Sociology is gaining importance due to its role played in taking care of all these discussed matters. Mutual trust, sense of belonging, feeling of ownership, team spirit are knitting social industrial fabric which ultimately result into higher quality production and give sustenance and thus growth is achieved. Initial steps of ladder of hierarchy of needs of Maslow viz. food, safety and security are very important to be given top-most priority to make workmen take their duty seriously.
5. Division of Labour
Every one cannot do everything. In India, caste system worked well earlier. In fact, people were easily adopting family profession. However, with good progress in education people started coming out of family business. The sharpening of mind, learning skills of other’s profession and zeal and zest make people go for the occupation which make them happy.
Thus caste system, which earlier caused impediment in economic progress, is losing its effect. Not by design but by default, industrial progress caused mingling particularly in industrial society. Thus caste-system is being eliminated and division of labour is made based on certain other factors viz. innate ability, training, choice etc. Now scientific division of labour in industry demands good knowledge as per profession. Here, role of industrial sociology comes to play.
6. Economic Planning
After India gained freedom, the progress of nation was to be carried out on solid foundations and thus it adopted Five-Year Plan growth approach. Called temples of modern India by first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, industrial growth was aimed in five-year plan to solve many problems arisen mainly out of population. Illiteracy, low level of wages, corruption, lack of trained people and professional approach are some of the problems which require intervention of industrial sociologists.
7. Industrial Automation
Industrial revolution came with onset of mechanisation. The increased requirements of people necessitated invention of steam engine to mechanise processes such as cloth weaving in England. More automation means less manual work and in turn less employment. It gave more profits to industrialists and so more automation was opposed by workmen’s unions. Here role of industrial sociologist brings solution to the dispute.
8. Industrial Management
Industrial management requires scientific approach to take care of turnover, sustenance of activity, quality and other variable factors. Human approach is given in industrial management where all elements of production are most efficiently employed without any exploitation.
9. Integration of Family
The unit of any society is family which requires special attention. Any disturbance caused due to any social evil such as alcoholism, insufficient housing, bad recreation, uncontrolled media, and print as well as electronic would disorganise industrial society in particular. Disintegration of family is bound to happen. Industrial Sociology gives insight leading to solutions of many problems arisen out of progress in industries.