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Title: Reconsidering the superstore workplace : a Sheffield case study of segmentation and technology
Author: Samuels, Mark Lee
ISNI:       0000 0001 3548 3493
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2002
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Retailing is back on the research agenda and the analysis of consumption processes is providing a fertile source of insightful geographical literature. Yet despite this interest, the retail workplace remains on the margins of disciplinary concerns. Given this situation, it is time that the retail workplace was reconsidered. The reconsideration within this thesis concentrates on the superstore workplace and attempts to challenge existing applications of labour market segmentation theory. This challenge is driven by an interest in information and communication technology (ICT) and a realisation that these technologies must be understood with reference to human interaction. The empirical analysis centres on one case study, a food-selling superstore in Sheffield. As an empirical link between theory and qualitative analysis, secondary human resource statistics are analysed to provide a guide to segmentation within the store. Qualitative research techniques are used to build an in-depth understanding of different employees activities and experiences. The secondary data suggests that segmentation remains an important framework for organisation within the retail superstore. However, qualitative research illustrates how existing theoretical conceptualisations of the segmented superstore might be problematised by a series of power relationships (dictation, delegation and authority) that are, in part, facilitated by the use of ICTs. These power relationships are in turn reinterpreted within individual worker strategies of manipulation and resistance. Here, workers regularly use ICTs in different ways than the remote head office might have originally intended. It is also suggested that the consent to work for many disadvantaged workers has to be understood by reference to a series of social concerns from outside the workplace (childcare, other domestic relationships, financial survival, lifestyle choice, social experience and self-esteem). These findings suggest a rich vein for additional research and the retail workplace should be pushed to the centre of geographical debate for further analysis.
Supervisor: Dabinett, Gordon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available