Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


← Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 2/2015

Zdeněk R. Nešpor:
Batov 1940 – The First Empirically-Grounded Czech Research in the Sociology of Work [279]

Nešpor, Zdeněk R.. 2015. „Baťov 1940 – první český empiricky podložený výzkum v oblasti sociologie práce.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 51 (2): 279-298,

There is a forgotten chapter in (history of) the Czech sociology of work. In the early 1940s, an empirical study was conducted by Otakar Machotka among employees of the Bata company in Batov (today Otrokovice). One of the leading figures of early Czech sociology, Machotka saw the closure of Czech universities during the Second World War as an opportunity to carry out original empirical research devoted to the sociological analysis of the workforce and consisting of a study of the social determination of work efficiency. This was the first Czech, and one of only a very few European, empirically-grounded research projects in the sociology of work and occupation that had been conducted to that time. Machotka statistically analysed the vast data sets collected by the company’s personnel department and provided a detailed interpretation of the outcomes, while remaining very much aware of the limitations of the results and the methods employed. He formulated hypotheses about how the age gap between spouses, the number of children in family, and other characteristics might impact (various aspects of) work efficiency, and reformulated existing hypotheses about the impact of siblings, marital status, and parental profession. Machotka also helped to theoretically and methodologically (re)orientate the sociology of work and occupations. Machotka subsequently abandoned this topic and quantitative sociology in general, perhaps in part as a result of the above-described research, which, the author suggests, led him to realise that ‘abstract empiricism’ was not the only method on which to base social studies.

Keywords: sociology of work, work, work qualification, sociological research, Otakar Machotka, history of Czech sociology

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