Railway and grade : the historical construction of contemporary identities
This thesis attempts to understand the role and meaning of occupational identity in the contemporary British railway industry. It examines the way in which culture change initiatives and programmes have explicitly targeted an older 'railroad culture'. The study explores the way such a culture was portrayed by successive Conservative Governments and management as being a major obstacle to change, and a historic reason why the industry has under performed. The notion of the past failure of the industry, and a cultural analysis predicated on such assumptions, is challenged. Employing a historical and comparative research strategy, it is argued here that grade and industry culture is an emergent autonomous property of the workforce itself and as such attempts to change it are misguided, and at times positively harmful to the organisation. The research uses a variety of material collected from London Underground and former British Rail companies, including documentary sources, semi-structured interviews and non-participant observation techniques.