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Labor Process Theory - Meaning & Definition

Published by MBA Skool Team in Human Resources Terms Last Updated: April 27, 2023Read time:

What is Labor Process Theory?

Labor Process Theory is the one the popular theory on management of labor and its value addition. This theory relates to many subjects of study- Economics, industrial relations, labor management, etc. It has also taken many forms and has been modified and quoted differently in different domains.


It was first talked about by popular socialist leader, Karl Marx, in describing the work organization of capitalist model. He divided the labor process into 3 parts – work, the object used on work and the end result of it. He talked about the value being added by the process and want of human being for value addition. The difference between the initial product and final product after being worked upon is something that is the value addition and everyone is working after.


The theory was modified by the 20th century industrial worker. A new perspective was given by him to this theory. He observed the fact that while all work is being done by the skill workers, it is the management who controls it. The original pleasure of working for making something valuable out of nothing is lost by all the controls and regulations by the authority of the management. Skill workers have been lowered in the stature and are comparable to the unskilled labor that is also controlled by management. These observations were being made in monopoly economy.


He put the blame on the government regulation and their planning. There are many critiques of this new theory who do not feel that this could be taken up as universal and other factors are needs to be factored in. Present day situation shows that there is certainly a dichotomy between the management and labor workforce. However the theory is set to take another modification with labor being included in management decision making. It’s time to wait and observe how this goes.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Labor Process Theory along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team which comprises of MBA students, management professionals, and industry experts. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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