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Title: Home-working, power and the governance of BT : the techniques and practices of corporate change
Author: Turner, Graham Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3538 3695
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis examines the evolution of home-working within British-based telecommunications giant, BT; looking at the evolution and effects of this policy on both the management practices of the corporation and the working practices of home workers. It is argued that essential to understanding homeworking in BT is an analysis of the changing nature of corporate culture and governance within the organisation. These issues are analysed through both a detailed examination of BT policy documents and in-depth semi-structured interviews with28 home workers at various levels within the organization. The thesis examines why senior management has thought it necessary to change corporate culture within BT since privatization, the numerous manifestations of these changes, and the role of home working within these transformations. The study examines whether there is a distinctive culture associated with home working and the effect of this on individual's identities. A central concern of the thesis is to understand how it is possible for a corporation to maintain control over a workforce that is geographically dispersed and no longer within its direct scrutiny. What forms do resistance to change take and how can these be overcome? Whilst Foucault's notion of surveillance and its development into the concept of the e-Panopticon, were found to be wanting as an explanation for control, other notions of Foucault's combined with the insights of Allen were found to be useful. In particular, the Foucauldian notions of governance highlight the techniques used to drive change within BT. In addition, the analysis reveals how trust is central to running a 'flexible' organization. Finally, a synthesis of Foucauldian ideas on ethics and Allen's work on the spatiality of power is used to formulate notions of 'ethical modes of power' and understand the ways in which employees come to accept corporate change. It is argued that identity and governance interact in such a way that modes of power can have an effect on the employee wherever they may be based.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available