Goldstein, Bernard
May 1959
Social Forces;May59, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p323
Academic Journal
The purpose of this article is to examine the perspective from which professional employees view their union, using as a starting point, Tamotsu Shibutani's discussion of reference groups as perspectives. Shibutani suggests that in current usage there are three referrants for the concept of reference groups: groups which serve as comparison points; groups to which men aspire; and groups whose perspectives are assumed by the actor. The contention here is that unionized professions have a unique definition of important features of trade unionism, and that a potentially useful explanation for their perspective lies in an awareness of the groups in the community to which the professionals are responsive. They are white-collared, salaried employees, with above average income, who tend to own their own homes in the suburbs. Their definition of various aspects of trade unionism, and the role of unions in general is based on the perspective gained in responding to the expectations of the middle class members with whom they work and among whom they live.


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