typewriter and the vertical filing system) had occasioned a chain of events that directly and indirectly transformed the nature of work in all four senses described above (Coombs, 1984; Hounshell, 1984; Yates, 1993). New occupations such as automobile mechanics and electricians were born, and existing occupations such as clerical work became increasingly mechanized and differentiated into such subspecialties as typist and filing clerk. The context of work was also irrevocably transformed by the advent of large corporations and urbanization that, in turn, created the milieu for unionization.
Several investigators argue that current changes in the nature of work driven by the multiple uses of digital technologies (digitization) are symptomatic of a third industrial revolution (Bell, 1973; Dertouzos and Moses, 1979; Nora and Minc, 1981; Perrole, 1986; Negroponte, 1995; Block, 1990; Stewart, 1997). They observe that the technology of microelectronics, robotics, and computer-integrated manufacturing, the advent of artificial intelligence, experimentation in electronic data exchange, and the explosion of digital telecommunications evidenced by the unprecedented growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web have brought the world to the verge of a transformation similar to the second industrial revolution.
Three other external forces are frequently identified as contributors to the changing nature of work. These are the demography of the workforce, the globalization of markets, and the laws and regulations governing work and employment relations. The changing demography of the workforce includes the growing presence of women, especially young mothers, in the labor Market; increasing racial and ethnic diversity, including a declining majority of white workers; an increasing number of dual-career families; increasing levels of educational attainment; and the aging of the workforce. These demographic trends are well documented; not only do they increase the heterogeneity of the working population, but they also create pressures for expanding existing lines of work and for creating new ones to address the needs of a labor force that were previously handled outside the paid economy, through the family and the community.
Globalizing product markets creates greater and more uncertain competitive pressures, larger labor markets, and the tendency to-