contracts and conditions of employment in the civilian sector. Some of these effects were discussed earlier, and it is worth summarizing the key changes identified in previous chapters that bear on the nature of work and occupational structures. Wage inequality has increased and, for our purposes, it is important to note that a considerable portion of the increase is observed within occupations. Although job security and job stability have declined, the decline in job stability in recent years has been relatively slightly increased because of hiring by smaller firms and the reduction in voluntary quits. Union membership, particularly among blue-collar workers, continued its long-term decline simultaneously with significant innovation within union-management relations. Nonstandard employment, particularly with respect to the use of temporary workers and independent contractors, has increased.
Whether the trends observed within organizations continue into the future, stabilize at their current levels, or reverse directions cannot be easily predicted since the direction and interaction of the forces acting on these trends (both exogenous and internal to the organization) are not easily predicted. However, taken together, the changes in the external and organizational contexts of work are having significant effects on the content of work. Indeed, the changes in work content summarized below are most profound in settings that are heavily exposed to or affected by the confluence of external and organizational contextual forces discussed above.
No single trend captures the changes in how work is done today. We characterize the dominant patterns observed by examining four aspects of work that are changing in significant ways in response to the changing contexts of work described above.
The vertical division of labor is changing in organizations that have flattened their hierarchies, turned to team forms of work organization, and adopted human resource policies often de-