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Intergenerational Transmission of Occupation: A Qualitative Inquiry into Frontline Factory Workers in China

Ye Ye (), Rosmini Omar (), Binyao Ning () and Hiram Ting ()
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Ye Ye: Azman Hashim International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 54100, Malaysia
Rosmini Omar: Azman Hashim International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 54100, Malaysia
Binyao Ning: Azman Hashim International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 54100, Malaysia
Hiram Ting: Department of Leisure and Recreation Management, School of Tourism, Ming Chuan University, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 20, 1-17

Abstract: The intergenerational transmission of an occupation between two generations of frontline workers in Chinese factories shows a copy–paste phenomenon, whereby a new generation of workers not only undertakes the same work as their parents but also remains at the same level of technical ability. This phenomenon runs contrary to the literature on the intergenerational transmission of occupations and is unsuitable for China’s national conditions. More importantly, it restricts the sustainable development of the manufacturing industry in China. This study used a grounded theory approach to interview 30 workers to identify and analyze the factors and influences that created this new generation. The results show that the workers’ drawing of comparisons between and within generations not only limits their technical skills but also affects subsequent generations of workers through the intergenerational transmission of occupation. We draw on our findings to discuss the reasons for and impacts of these comparisons and make suggestions for future research.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission; occupation; comparisons; Chinese frontline workers; factories; grounded theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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