be more important, but they also make attributions that in retrospect seem unwarranted, if not biased. That is, they reflect reality of the past that may not accurately represent the current or future nature of work. For example, Steinberg (1992) has shown that current systems for classifying occupations, such as the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the Hay System, not only use managerial work as a baseline for assessing the complexity of other jobs, but they also tend to rate occupations traditionally filled by men (e.g., zookeeper) as more highly skilled than occupations traditionally filled by women (e.g., child care provider).
Unfortunately, outdated systems of occupational analysis and classification hamper more than the ability to assess the changing nature of work; they also create serious practical problems. As noted earlier, they are used by educators, employment counselors, military planners, policy makers, and parents.
Given the uncertain and multiple directions in which the nature of work may be changing and the fact that research on the topic is both scarce and diverse, determining whether and how work is changing and then recommending an approach for mapping an occupational structure carries risks. Particularly important is the failure to consider a sufficient range of perspectives and types of evidence. As a result, we have attempted to incorporate the contributions of a variety of disciplines.
Research on work and the workplace is found in many disciplines, including economics, labor relations, sociology, organization studies, anthropology, industrial and organizational psychology, and ergonomics. The methodological and substantive differences among these disciplines are useful for developing a broad understanding of how and why the nature of work may be changing. As changes occur, they must be examined and understood at three levels of analysis: (1) work and the individual practitioner, (2) organizations and other institutions in which the work is embedded, and (3) the economy and society as a whole. The different disciplines typically have more to say about one level of analysis than the others. In general, anthropology, industrial and organizational psychology, and ergonomics focus on the