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Title: Environmental changes within British workplaces, 1979-1997 : their impact on management
Author: Mearns, Susan Lesley
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2005
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Despite the wealth of research which has been gathered, studied and documented with regard to a range of workplace industrial relations issues it is believed that a comprehensive analysis of the employment relationship has not been conducted for the period 1979 to 1997. Therefore, the thesis aims to add to the body of knowledge by providing an analysis of the changes which occurred within organisations and how these brought about a transformation of the employment relationship in the U.K. It explores two seemingly contrasting viewpoints which debate the extent to which change has occurred in the workplace between 1979 and 1997. The study has asserted that these two theories cannot be directly compared with each other as they are drawn from very different sets of data i.e. the argument which states that radical change occurred in the management of labour was founded on data gathered nationally whereas the opposing stance was based on information drawn from individual workplaces. The study is, on the whole founded on data gathered from five large multi-site organisations. This is justified as large organisations still employ a majority of the workforce and thus offer an opportunity to examine the impact of the various changes to workplace management at both individual site level as well as national level enabling a comparison to be made of the two opposing viewpoints outlined above. A pragmatic-critical realist approach which used a case study methodology was adopted throughout the thesis. This enabled the data to be inductively accessed from various sources. It is argued that the methods used complemented each other thus providing a solid framework within which to undertake the study. It should be noted that the research tended to be drawn from qualitative methods which concentrated on interaction between external and internal variables in order to enable an analysis of the data. The thesis concludes that although change occurred in the working relationship it was not driven by any single factor between 1979 and 1997. It is influenced by a number of factors such as the level of competition, the nature of the business, the geographical location of each site, leadership style, industrial relations legislation and theemployment relationship. It further highlights that unless insecurities and fears of the workforce are addressed by British corporate management employees will be drawn back towards traditional patterns of behaviour thus 'forcing' management to reexamine their styles and practices yet again.
Supervisor: Clark, Murray Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available