is crucial and that the phenomena of interest are multifaceted, analyses have been guided by the following principles. First, we value and have drawn broadly on different methods and types of data, such as ethnographies, organization-specific case studies, surveys, census data, and other sources of information as a basis for suggesting emerging developments and potential trends. Furthermore, for purposes of illustration, we have relied on examples from field research and well-known events at specific organizations. When data are conflicting or ambiguous, the interpretation is based on our collective judgment. Our hope is that these judgments will encourage further research and debate.
Second, we have refrained from concluding that, because specific developments are occurring today, they will necessarily endure or spread across the economy. We have exercised caution about concluding that a given change represents a fundamental transformation in work structures, and we urge readers to do the same. In our view, fundamental transformation requires widespread breaks from past patterns on multiple, interrelated fronts. At the moment, it is difficult to make the connections necessary to argue how various developments are interrelated or whether they will have long-term consequences.
Third, we do not seek to predict the future. Rather, we have attempted to provide a framework that will help individuals and organizational leaders to make more informed choices about issues concerning labor markets, work, and careers. We consider such a stance to be required because one of our primary findings, emphasized throughout this report, is that there is no singular deterministic trend in how work is changing. Instead, there are systematic variations that can be influenced by choices.
Finally, we found it necessary to restrict the scope of our inquiry by limiting our analysis to paid work. We are acutely aware the large numbers of Americans, especially American women, work in the home or contribute to the larger good of society by working in volunteer positions. By ruling home and volunteer work outside the scope of our inquiry, we have no intention of implying that such activities are not crucial to the economy. They surely are. Rather our decision reflects the fact that there is almost no research on how new technologies and other social changes are altering the nature of home and volunteer work.