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Title: An analysis of the acceptance of low pay
Author: Thozhur, Sumeetra M.
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2005
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The aim of this research is, through empirical analysis, to understand the acceptance of low pay and low paid employment. The research is the first of its kind to look at people in low paid jobs through the framework of acceptance. The study builds upon the economic arguments of need and the psychological explanations of satisfaction by attempting to capture the effects of both. In doing so, the research employs new ways of looking at why people stay in low paid employment thus contributing towards advancement in pay research. The research was carried out in two phases. First, a review of literature was conducted that looked at both the economic and psychological explanations of acceptance. Second, an empirical analysis was undertaken based on a guiding proposition that was informed by the literature review and two preliminary studies. The empirical study tackles two difficult problems: namely, having to first define and measure the concept of acceptance and then collect data in the sensitive area of pay. The study uses a rough measure of acceptance that of 'not searching for a better job '. This is supplemented by data on extended effort, which is seen as additional evidence of acceptance. Information on pay and opportunity is collected through self-descriptive means using a questionnaire. Based on the understanding of the research question, a proposition was created that guided the study: 'The acceptance of low pay is conditioned by the need to extend labour supply and by low horizons engendered by perceived self evaluation and perceived opportunity' A questionnaire was distributed through trade unions by post and distributed by hand to occupations identified as low paid by the Low Pay Commission (1998). The resulting sample represented three major occupations including hotel, transport & communications and retail. In all 267 complete questionnaires were received and used in the study. The portrait of the 'working poor' which emerged during the study was of extended hours and low pay. The levels of pay were so low as to make individual differences hard to locate. The sample was working hard to maintain its income. There was evidence of limited aspirations in the unconfident perception of opportunities and in the low levels of target earnings, which were lower than national averages by occupational group. Although there was circumstantial evidence that organisational variables were at work, satisfaction levels were so extreme as not to differentiate the sample. Even though the measure was rough some differences were found between those searching and those not searching for a better job. From the results some key variables that influence the acceptance of low pay were identified as working in combination. These were multiple jobs, low perceived opportunities and limited horizons. In short although the results were too extreme to differentiate the sample in important respects, the study justifies the central proposition of examining pay through the concept of acceptance. The use of 'searching for a better job' as a methodological concept requires further investigation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available