Man’s dependency on family has passed over into dependency on employment, which is aimed toward orientation to patterns of life. Work, perceived in this perspective is a social demand. Work not only provides economic return, and becomes an economic necessity, but apart from its being a source of income and means toward eking out a livelihood, work regulates the activities of individuals. It ties the individuals into a network of social relationships, provides anchorage, and by being a central social process, and a major social device vouchsafe for the individuals’ identification. It helps the individuals to derive content and meaning in life by providing experience in work. The social standing accredited to an individual in his own eyes and in the eyes of others is decided by the work one performs. (Slocum 1966; Mores et al 1962;Levinson 1970). Since work experience is so fateful a part of every man’s life (Hughes 1952, 1970), our work-oriented society calls for work being used as one of our main laboratories (Hughes 1952). Work is important as a source of interesting, purposeful activity and a source of intrinsic enjoyment. (Friedmann and Havighurst 1962). Seeing in work a therapeutic value, Sigmund Freud (1961) considers that work can be a source of special satisfaction. Work is an activity that can be invested with something more than survival value. The chances of achieving a measure of well-being increase with the extent to which individuals engage themselves in ‘validating activities’ (Rainwater 1974). Work being the purveyor par excellence of man’s social status and prestige among his fellows, it is to be considered as a social catalyst. Apart from being a social activity affording recognition, security and a sense of belonging, which are crucial determinants of workman’s morale and productivity, the routine keeps the mind well grounded and keeps the individuals a stable citizen (Blum 1953).
Work resolves the crisis of integration of an anomic society (Silverman 1970) by satisfying the social needs of man. Work, therefore, prevents the possibility of an individual being thrown on the job market.
In other words, unemployment or the state of not being employed, not only involves relative monetary deprivation and leaves a social scar, but also results in invidious epithets being hurled at the individual remaining ‘off the job’. Decreed to win his bread by the sweat of his brows through labour, man is caught in the web which is the creation of his work. Work becomes a problem for the workers when work is perceived to be unsatisfying. When prideful identity is lost in work, work becomes a social problem. Work is all the more a major problem, for whatever happens in work has wider ramifications and it percolates down to other activities and affects other parts of the society. The uneven distribution of opportunities may have consequences and therefore work becomes a social problem. Against the vicissitudes of life, the quest for continued tenure and protection derives individuals to associate themselves with organizations. Industrial problems, therefore, are moulded by the character of the economy and the social structure.