As noted earlier, the committee's vision is of a forward-looking occupational analysis system that can be used by decision makers to monitor changes in work, design new jobs, formulate effective personnel policies, and provide timely career counseling. Advances in technology that allow for the consideration of large numbers of variables in a relational database have made it possible to include information not only about jobs and skills, knowledge and abilities, but also about the organizational and environmental forces that influence work. Furthermore, it is now possible to display and combine data to develop what-if scenarios as an aid to job design. In the committee's view, the use of occupational analysis tools to shape work is an extremely important and fruitful area for research and experimentation.
Throughout this study, we noted that the laws and institutions governing work and employment largely reflect their industrial-era origins. It goes well beyond the scope of this effort to suggest what changes are needed to update employment laws and institutions to better support work and employment relations today. As we note in the introduction, there are good reasons to believe that the current structures and content of workplace regulations may have two adverse effects. First they may force the organization of work into outmoded categories. Second, because of increased complexity, they may produce frustrations on the part of workers and employees. Thus, although they may be beyond the scope of this analysis, these issues warrant study of their own at some point in the near future. Furthermore, this book may provide a starting point for the analysis of the role of law by presenting data on how work has changed since the basic legal framework governing employment relations was enacted.