Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: High Schools; Educational Reform; Teachers; Professional Training; Professional Associations; Social Networks; Case Studies.

David, M. E. (2004). Feminist sociology and feminist knowledges: Contributions to higher education pedagogies and professional practices in the knowledge economy. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 14(2), 99-123.


This article uses feminist methodologies to explore the contributions made by feminist sociology and sociology of education to developments in the pedagogies and practices of higher education, particularly professional and postgraduate education. It considers how these developments around the notions of personal and political have become more complex over the last few decades as generations of women have entered the academy. These complexities are linked to changing forms of higher education and to wider social and economic transformations. The article also focuses on developments in higher education and the massification of postgraduate and professional education under neoliberalism. A case study of developments and changes in doctoral and professional education emphasizing the engagement of women in these practices is considered. The article outlines future prospects of these developments, the contribution of feminist pedagogies, and practices for the renewal of sociology and the sociology of education and forms of knowledge within the academy.
KEY WORDS: Higher Education; Doctoral Programs; Teaching; Feminist Theory; Sociology of Education; Neoliberalism; Case Studies.

DeLaat, J. (1999). Gender in the workplace: A case study approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Through a summary collection of cases, students and employees gain a hands-on understanding of gender issues in the workplace and learn useful tools to handle those issues. Case studies in Gender in the Workplace, which are based on actual legal cases, nationally reported incidents, and personal interviews, address a wide variety and types of gender issues in the workplace.
KEY WORDS: Sex Discrimination in Employment; United States; Case Studies; Sex Role in the Work Environment United States.

Esveld, L. E. (2004). A case study of senior students' perceptions of factors that shape aspirations in one low-income rural Iowa high school. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 65(2), 460-A.


Findings from a case study in one predominantly low-income rural Iowa district highlight that senior students are less likely to aspire to high levels of educational attainment than their more urban peers. They are also more likely to be economically disadvantaged as measured by eligibility for free and reduced cost meals. Using student focus groups, as well as interviews with parents and school personnel, seniors' perceptions regarding factors that influence their aspirations were gathered. Results highlight the significant role of rural culture and context in shaping students' sense of possibility and their plans for the future. The study also shows the ways in which rural values of place and connectedness collide with the national agenda of developing a competitive workforce ready for a global marketplace. Findings include: participants value hard work, responsibility, independence, and relationships; they view education primarily as a means to becoming credentialed; they lack knowledge about choosing, gaining entrance to, and paying for a postsecondary option suited to their needs and interests; and they see their parents as the most important source of support in choosing their postsecondary options.
KEY WORDS: Student Attitudes; High School Students; Aspiration; Rural Education; Iowa; Educational Attainment; Educational Plans; Higher Education; Case Studies.

Fisher, M. (2004). The crisis of civil service trade unionism: A case study of call centre development in a civil service agency. Work, Employment and Society, 18(1), 157-177.


Examines why and how British civil service agency management have sought to respond to the present Labour government's Modernising agenda, through the application of Taylorist principles of work organization to a complex form of administrative casework. This has led to the creation of a call centre within the agency. Discussed is the positive and cooperative response by the main trade union within the agency to this new call centre. The article argues that trade unionism in the agency is in crisis which consists of a too uncritical understanding of the potential that the increased development of call centre working has to further the degradation & devaluation of staff labour.
KEY WORDS: Civil Service; Unions; Taylorism; Government Agencies; Labor Relations; United Kingdom; Case Studies.

Flack, M. E. (2000). Working the family in: A case study of the determinants of employees' access to and use of alternative work arrangements, and their home-to-work spillover. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 60(11), 4200-A-4201-A.


Article investigates the adoption of work-home policies that offer alternative work arrangements (AWAs) to help employees juggle their work and home responsibilities while maintaining their productivity. Explored through qualitative, quantitative, and archival data collected in a case study of a financial services organization, are (1) employees' access to flextime, compressed work weeks, and telecommuting; (2) employees' use of the arrangements; and (3) their home-to-work spillover. Five conclusions are: (1) The context of employees work influences the managers' decisions to make AWAs options available and employees' decisions to use them. (2) The degree to which AWAs deviate from traditional work arrangements has implications for managers' decisions to make options available and the complexity of supervising employees using AWAs. (3) Managerial support for AWAs varies. (4) Telecommuting and use of compressed work weeks reduced domestic spillover. (5) Corporations with work-home policies based in considerations of productivity have difficulty evaluating the policies' effectiveness unless managers have measures of individual productivity, the information and skills to oversee workgroups using AWAs, and clear corporate support for the options.
KEY WORDS: Family-Work Relationship; Labor Policy; Working Hours; Telecommunications; Home Workplaces; Sex Differences; Case Studies.

Fuller, A., Munro, A., & Rainbird, H. (2004). Workplace learning in context. New York: Routledge.


As policy makers increasingly focus on workplace learning as a way of improving organizational performance, the debate about the learning organization has grown. Counterbalancing the often over-optimistic assumptions made about the future of work and learning, this volume argues that without a contextualized analysis of the field, our understanding of the learning environment is limited. It reconsiders the true role and nature of workplace learning in context. Grounded in original research, the volume features case studies which illuminate how the workplace environment can provide both barriers to and opportunities for learning. It explores learning in different organizational contexts and different countries, sectors, types of public and private sector organization, and by different occupational groups. This multi-disciplinary approach provides a coherent perspective of the institutional, organizational and pedagogical contexts of workplace learning, and as a result, policy-makers, trainers, trade unionists and educators alike will welcome this groundbreaking text, as it gives the intellectual tools required to understand how learning in the workplace can be improved.
KEY WORDS: Work and Learning; Workplace Environment; Public Sector; Case Studies.

Gabbay, J., Le May, A., Jefferson, H., Webb, D., Lovelock, R., Powell, J., et al. (2003). A case study of knowledge management in multi-agency consumer-informed 'communities of practice': Implications for evidence-based policy development in health and social services. Health, 7(3), 283-310.


This case study explores two multiagency Communities of Practice (CoPs) that are seeking to improve specific aspects of health and social services for older people. Through data collection including observing and tape-recording the CoPs, interviewing participants and reviewing documents they generated and used the authors analysed how the CoPs processed and applied knowledge in formulating their views. Sources were analysed to identify knowledge-related behaviours. The data highlighted four themes: (1) the manner that certain types of knowledge became accepted and privileged; (2) how CoP members transformed and internalized new knowledge; (3) the manner in which the haphazard processing of the available knowledge was dependent upon the groups' organizational aspects; and (4) how changing agendas, roles and power-relations had differential effects on collective sense making. Article concludes by recommending ways in which the process of evidence-based policy development in such groups may be improved.
KEY WORDS: Health Care Services; Social Services; Organizational Behavior; Organizational Structure; Evidence Based Practice; Knowledge; Health Care Services Policy; Social Policy; Case Studies.

Gallagher, S., Rocco, T., & Landorf, H. (2007). A phenomenological study of spirituality and learning processes at work: Exploring the holistic theory of knowledge and learning. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 18(4), 457-480.


The study invokes a holistic theory of knowledge and learning that the authors argue offers an integrative framework for understanding the interactions of cognitions, feelings, and behavior in learning. However, claim the authors, not enough is known about the nature of these interactions and the role of spirituality in learning. A phenomenological study of professionals' learning processes at work suggests that knowledge facets interact in learning through expressing, informing, changing, and guiding one another. Complex interactions within knowledge facets are identified as well as the dangers of learning using only one knowledge facet.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge; Learning: Spirituality; Professional Development.

Georgellis, Y., & Lange, T. (2007). Participation in continuous, on-the-job training and the impact on job satisfaction: longitudinal evidence from the German labour market. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(6), 209-235.


Many studies of human resources acknowledge the importance of workplace training for inducing organizational commitment on the part of workers. However, small sample sizes and the absence of relevant panel data have raised concerns about the general validity of results, highlighting the need for further research to explicitly include on-the-job training as an important facet of job satisfaction. Similarly, an empirical gap exists in the economics and industrial organization literature, where, despite the importance of both on-the-job training and job satisfaction to influence labour productivity, the relationship between the two has received surprisingly little attention. This paper aims to bridge this gap through an assessment of the impact of further training on job satisfaction in the western regions of Germany. The paper uses data from the German Socio-economic Panel (1984 to 2002), concentrating on full-time employed individuals and asking a number of questions on work-related training, type and duration of training received, and whether employers sponsored such training. Gender inequality issues in Germany's segmented labour market are explained by reference to discrepancy theory, equity theory, social exchange theory and the perception of a breach in the psychological contract between firms and female trainees.
KEY WORDS: Workplace Training; Job Satisfaction; Motivation; On-the-Job Training.

Geppert, M. (2000). Beyond the learning organisation: Paths of organisational learning in the East German context. Aldershot, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Gower.


This book builds on detailed comparative case studies to discuss the neglect of social institutions in common organizational learning approaches. It also reassess some neo-institutionalist arguments which overestimate the role of institutions at the expense of the role played by creativity and the emergence of strategic choices within the processes of organizational learning. By bringing together contributions from organizational learning and institutional analysis, it stresses the social embeddedness of organizational learning. The book concludes by cited the societal change in East Germany as being beneficial in helping others to study better the consequences of micro-level processes on the macro-level of society, and vice versa.
KEY WORDS: Organizational Learning; East Germany; Case Studies.

Hill, R., Capper, P., Wilson, K., Whatman, R., & Wong, K. (2007). Workplace learning in the New Zealand apple industry network: A new co-design method for government "practice making". Journal of Workplace Learning, 19(6), 359-376.


This paper describes how, from 2004 to 2006, a New Zealand research team experimented with the "change laboratory" learning process to create a new method of government policy development and implementation which the researchers describe as "practice-making". The apple industry in Hawke's Bay was chosen because of the level of tension among government agencies and small/medium-sized firms in the industry, particularly around the scarcity of seasonal labour, amid growing concerns about the possible collapse of the industry. The team stimulated a cycle of expansive learning among the network of activity systems in the industry. The expansive learning cycle is a core concept in developmental work research (DWR) and cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). Participants created a shared "object" for apple production and its government policy and regulation built around quality, making a substantive shift from adaptive learning to transformational learning, and creating a major redesign of the industry. Many of the new practices are now being implemented in the industry and government.
KEY WORDS: Activity Theory; CHAT; Transformative Learning; Workplace Learning.

Hodson, R. (2004). A meta-analysis of workplace ethnographies: Race, gender, and employee attitudes and behavior. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 33(1), 4-38.


Workplace ethnographies suggest many hypotheses about the effects of organizational characteristics on employee attitudes and behaviors. These hypotheses, however, are difficult to evaluate by considering each ethnography individually. The current article uses qualitative comparative analysis of content-coded data from the full population of workplace ethnographies to provide a fuller evaluation of the lessons these ethnographies have to offer. The hypothesis that women are happy and quiescent workers receives only limited support. Women actually evidence less satisfaction and pride in their work than men, but they are more cooperative and less conflictual than men. Autonomy is the most consistent determinant of positive workplace attitudes, a finding that is consistent with survey-based research. These findings thus both confirm and condition prior conclusions about the workplace and suggest the importance of systematically compiling the findings of workplace ethnographies to evaluate and benchmark conclusions based on ethnographic analysis.
KEY WORDS: Race; Gender; Organizations; Ethnography; Qualitative Comparative Analysis; Case Studies.

Holm, U. (2007). Lifelong learning and "time competence". International Journal of Lifelong Education, 26(1), 25-43.


The article examines the question of the strategies and responsibilities of employers and employees regarding investment of time into learning. The study focuses on medium-sized businesses in Thuringen in 2002 and 2003, where employees and human resources (HR) personnel from thirteen companies were surveyed about general and vocational training and asked how time for learning is integrated into commercial and everyday activities. The study critiques assumptions that lifelong learning can only be made possible if individuals are able to co-ordinate a number of different "time windows": work time, family time, free time and learning time. Past debates about lifelong learning have focused primarily on the points of view of finance, target groups and educational institutions while the time dimension has not been taken as seriously. The author argues, however, that the time dimension is an essential prerequisite and condition of vocational training and it is for this reason that a specific study dedicated to this issue was undertaken.
KEY WORDS: Work; Learning; Leisure; Labour Intensification.

Hunt, V. (2004). Call centre work for women: Career or stopgap? Labour & Industry, 14(3), 139-153.


This paper, through case study research on 5 best-practice companies chosen to represent the shape & diversity of the New Zealand call center industry, discusses initial findings & concerns affecting women & their career opportunities in call centers. This research contests international literature which asserts there are limited career trajectories for women in call centers. Suggested through exploratory research with key informants in New Zealand is that the call center work experience provides product or company knowledge and skills which may help women to gain promotion to management positions both in and outside the centre. The call industry in New Zealand is dominated by smaller call centers and government sector call centers which may explain why preliminary research findings for New Zealand on women and call center work contradicts claims made in international literature.
KEY WORDS: Service Industries; Telephone Communications; Working Women; Promotion (Occupational); Employment Opportunities; Career Patterns; New Zealand; Case Studies.

Illeris, K. (2006). Lifelong learning and the low-skilled. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(1), 15-28.


This article charts the results of a three year research project on low-skilled learners' experiences as participants of various kinds of adult training and education in Denmark, and the findings of a three years research consortium on workplace learning. The primary focus is how low-skilled adults function in relation to participation in training and education activities, how they feel about it, what is important to them, and consequently what works in practice in relation to this very important but often neglected group of adult learners.
KEY WORDS: Skill; Workplace Training; Education; Workplace Learning; Adult Education.

Isengard, B. (2003). Youth unemployment: Individual risk factors and institutional determinants. A case study of Germany and the United Kingdom. Journal of Youth Studies, 6(4), 357-376.


This case study of Germany and the UK highlights the individual risk factors related to youth unemployment during the mid-1990s. This is put into context through an overview of youth unemployment trends in Europe from mid-1980s. This two country case study highlights that the individual risk of (long-term) unemployment is not equally high for all young people, but is contingent on various socioeconomic and structural factors including gender, education, nationality, and region of residence. Although the main determinant of occupational success is the individual level of education, other factors include: the organization of educational systems and labor market institutions and the welfare state structures and policies in each country. To respond to the increasing problems of youth unemployment, Germany and the UK have implemented the active labor market programs 'JUMP' and 'New Deal for Young People.' Discussed are the concepts and results of these programs.
KEY WORDS: Youth Employment; Risk Factors; United Kingdom; Federal Republic of Germany; Unemployment; Socioeconomic Factors; Case Studies.

Kahn, W. A. (2004). Facilitating and undermining organizational change: A case study. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 40(1), 7-30.


This case study outlines a research-action project where the author acted as researcher and change agent. The author describes the research project and its success and failure which was related to finding and losing the balance of joining and remaining separate from a social system's dynamics. Reflecting on the research project's, the author illustrates the relationship between helping system members (and himself) get unstuck from their automatic, dysfunctional patterns of relationships. Described are the forces within him and in the system itself that caused him to lose his balance, such that he either fell into the system as a member or fell away from it altogether. What he learned through this research is discussed in terms of change agents creating or undermining the holding environment in which system members struggle to alter dysfunctional relationship patterns.
KEY WORDS: Social Systems; Researcher Subject Relations; Social Relations; Organizational Change; Organizational Research; Change Agents; Case Studies.

Knox, D. W., Jr., & Walker, M. (2003). Effects of leadership training on the manufacturing productivity of informal leaders. Workforce Education Forum, 30(1), 38-51.


Nonmanagerial manufacturing workers were placed in four groups (n=10, 11, 5, 11) using Solomon four-group experimental design; two groups received leadership training. Productivity in mold production was measured for all groups. Leadership training appeared to increase the manufacturing productivity of informal leaders.
KEY WORDS: Informal Leadership; Leadership Training; Manufacturing; Outcomes of Education; Productivity; Case Studies.
Kretsedemas, P. (2003). Immigrant households and hardships after welfare reform: A case study of the Miami-Dade Haitian community. International Journal of Social Welfare, 12(4), 314-325.
Welfare reforms in the US have resulted in steeper and more immediate caseload declines compared to countries like Canada and Australia. US immigrants, faced with a new set of service restrictions implemented under the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, experience these declines more profoundly. Through qualitative interviews with Haitian service professionals and a quantitative survey of Haitian immigrant households, this case study examines the service access for Haitian immigrants in Miami, FL, since the introduction of these reforms. Survey data indicates that many Haitians experiencing poverty and qualified to access services are not enrolled for government services. Some of the variation of these low enrollments for services (such as child health insurance and childcare) can be attributed to confusion over eligibility guidelines. This does not explain however, low enrollments for commonly used services such as food stamps and Medicaid. Also highlighted is that qualified immigrants living in households with unqualified persons are less likely to access services than are other qualified immigrants and are more apt to experience hardships that limit their ability to find stable work. The article's conclusion highlights the significance of the use of a household unit of measure to assessing immigrant enrollments and hardships.
KEY WORDS: Caribbean Cultural Groups; Immigrants; Welfare Reform; Social Services Utilization; Access; Miami, Florida; Case Studies.

Levesque, C. (2003). Globalization and the power of local unions: A case study of Mexico's automobile industry. Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations, 58(1), 60-84.


Resulting from 7 case studies in the automotive industry in Mexico, this document examines this power resource approach to local union action as it applies to the Mexican institutional context where globalization has exacerbated the imbalance of power between union & management.
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