scribed as "high-performance work systems." Moreover, in these settings blue-collar and managerial jobs are undergoing significant changes that are blurring the traditional lines of demarcation that separated these traditional categories. The autonomy of blue-collar workers has increased and some of the responsibilities traditionally reserved for supervisors, such as quality control, scheduling, and other operational responsibilities, have been delegated to nonsupervisory workers. This does not mean that blue-collar workers have gained significant control over what work is to be performed. Instead, their new authority involves greater discretion over how to do their work.
Although the trend in organizations that have adopted high-performance work systems is toward greater operational discretion, the trend is not universal. Discretion has been reduced in some service and manufacturing jobs that are designed to serve mass markets using more rational processes and information systems that management uses to monitor and control the pace and quality of work.
Because of the foregoing changes associated with increasingly decentralized autonomy and control, the scope of blue-collar jobs is expanding, particularly in settings that make use of teams or other high-performance features to improve quality, innovation, and customer responsiveness. At the same time, the growth of specialized scientific knowledge has increased demand for specialists with state-of-the-art technical knowledge. Furthermore, professionals and technicians with specialized knowledge are more frequently working in interdependent, multidisciplinary, and cross-functional teams.
The cognitive complexity of work appears to be increasing for blue-collar and service workers as a result of the technical and the organizational changes discussed above. The dominant trend is toward work that mixes physical and sensory skills with higher-level cognitive skills required by information processing technolo-