Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Globalization; Automobile Industry; Unions; Labor Relations; Mexico; Global Local Relationship; Power; Case Studies.

Merrick, Z., & Reeves, S. (2006). Knowledge translation and interprofessional collaboration: Where the rubber of evidence-based care hits the road of teamwork. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26(1), 46-54.


Regarding health care processes and outcomes, knowledge-translation interventions and inter-professional education and collaboration interventions are all used to improve practice. Knowledge-translation interventions aim to advance evidence-based practice by a single professional group but may not take into account barriers from difficulties in relationships between and among professional. Inter-professional education and collaboration interventions aim to improve inter-professional relations, working to facilitate knowledge translation and, subsequently, evidence-based practice. Knowledge regarding the impact on care and outcomes and the extent to which the interventions increase the practice of evidence-based care remains limited. The article describes a Health Canada-funded randomized trial in which quantitative and qualitative data is being gathered in twenty general internal medicine units in five Toronto area teaching hospitals. The project examines the impact of interprofessional education and collaboration interventions on interprofessional relationships, health care processes (including evidence-based practice), and patient outcomes.
KEY WORDS: Interprofessional Education; Interprofessional Collaboration; Randomized Controlled Trials; Multimethod Evaluation; Knowledge Translation; Evidence-based Care; Continuing Education.

Meyer, C. B. (2001). A case in case study methodology. Field Methods, 13(4), 329-352.


A view of the case study process from the researcher's perspective, emphasizing methodological considerations is comprehensively outlined in this article. Unlike existing qualitative or quantitative research strategies, case research has virtually no specific guidelines or requirements. An advantage to this is that it allows the researcher to tailor the design and data collection procedures to the research questions. A disadvantage to this approach is that many poor case studies have resulted, opening it up to criticism, especially from the quantitative research field. Argued here is the need for researchers involved in case studies to be explicit about their methodological choices. The wide range of decisions concerned with design requirements, data collection procedures, data analysis, and validity and reliability are discussed.
KEY WORDS: Case Studies; Qualitative Methods; Methodological Problems; Norway; Mergers; Case Studies.

Meyer, D. (2001). Building union power in the global economy: A case study of the coordinated bargaining committee of General Electric Unions (CBC). Labor Studies Journal, 26(1), 60-75.


This case study examines the ongoing strategic campaign of the Coordinated Bargaining Committee of General Electric and Westinghouse Unions (CBC) which was designed to promote the economic and political power of General Electric (GE) internationally. A historical review of GE and its relationship with North American unions is provided. Although new breakthroughs in the area of international labor rights were not achieved, substantial wage and benefits improvements were. The progress in the relationships CBC maintains with other unions from around the world is slow and difficult due to economic, cultural, and language differences.
KEY WORDS: Unions; Labor Relations; Electricity; Political Power; Case Studies.

Mirchandani, K. (1999). Legitimizing work: Telework and the gendered reification of the work-nonwork dichotomy. La Revue Canadienne de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie/The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 36(1), 87-107.


Based on interviews with 50 teleworkers in Ontario and Quebec this article investigates why employees who do professional work at home (telework) continue to need to maintain a boundary between their public and private lives. The article discusses the impact of gender differences on how people organize their lives in terms of the public /work-private/nonwork dichotomy. In addition, mechanisms that necessitate the reification of this dichotomy are explored.
KEY WORDS: Sex Differences; Home Workplaces; Public Sphere; Private Sphere; Reification; Boundary Maintenance; Legitimation; Work Environment; Quality of Working Life; Family-Work Relationship; Telecommunications; Ontario; Quebec

Moule, P. (2006). E-learning for healthcare students: Developing the communities of practice framework. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 54(3), 370-380.


This paper examines the ability of healthcare students to develop characteristics of communities of practice when engaged in an online module. The capacity of communities of practice framework to be to applied online learning remains under-researched, including its potential use within healthcare education. This study, completed in 2004, employed a two-phase case study. Phase one involved a questionnaire answered by 109 healthcare students. Phase two employed three strands of data collection: five students completed an online diary, the online interactions of seven students were captured on a discussion board, and three students were interviewed. Data analysis involved using a form of pattern matching, with findings suggesting that students were able to develop essential elements of communities of practice. This included mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire. The author advises that the framework can be applied to supporting online learning internationally amongst students and has applicability to professional groups.
KEY WORDS: Case Study Research; Communities of Practice; E-learning; Higher Education.

Nelson, R. E. (2001). On the shape of verbal networks in organization. Organization Studies, 22(5), 797-823.


Based on social network data gathered over a number of years from 52 US organizations, the shape of informal or "realized' personal networks in organizations, focusing on regularities in the structure of verbal networks (face-to-face or telephone contact) across hierarchies of diverse organizations, are examined. The data shows that the verbal networks of the upper echelons of organizations rarely follow a classic hierarchical pattern. Surfacing instead are numerous different morphologies, including the most common of these regularities, the center-periphery pattern. This pattern has been commonly observed in large human systems, including tribal & modern societies, national & international economies, industries, & political systems, but has not been studied inside organizations. Suggested due to the prevalence of the center-periphery shape & its variations is that this is a robust & dynamic form. The verbal network groups studied always involved people from diverse hierarchical levels & none of these verbal networks shared all the attributes of classical formal hierarchies. Conclusions indicate that organizational hierarchies do not shape informal or emergent processes in their own image.
KEY WORDS: Employee Interaction; Oral Communication; Organizational Structure; Social Networks.

Olmedo, C. (2004). Labor-capital relations under neoliberal reforms. The role of the state in the regulation of informal-precarious labor: A case study in Chilecito, a town in the Northwest of Argentina, 1991-2001. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 64(11), 4226.


This ethnographic study of the labor market of a town (Chilecito) in northwest Argentina, focuses on the state's role in the process of informalization of employment experienced under neoliberalism and the respective reforms in labor legislation through the 1990s. The study demonstrates deficiencies in the analysis of conventional understandings of formal and informal labor when addressing markets which have been subjected to deregulation and flexibilization policies. Policies have caused Argentina to become a promoter of precarious employment that resembles informal markets. Flexibilization policies have also limited the state's finances through the reduction of labor taxes. On the contrary, traditional theories consider precariousness and reduction in tax revenues effects of informal-unregulated markets. In the conventional frameworks, the analysts have established a formal-regulated-protected vs. informal-unregulated-unprotected duality, where regulations by the state divide these two dimensions.
KEY WORDS: Neoliberalism; Argentina; Labor Relations; Informal Sector; Employment Changes; Labor Market; State Role; Labor Policy; Case Studies.

Paige, H. (2002). An exploration of learning, the knowledge-based economy, and owner-managers of small bookselling businesses. Journal of Workplace Learning, 14(6), 233-244.


A qualitative study of six owner/managers of small Australian bookselling businesses elicited these themes: participation in learning is largely informal or incidental; interaction with information/communication technologies is less than optimal; and small business management relies on personal and business networking. Ways to develop a more active learning culture and skills for the knowledge-based economy were suggested.
KEY WORDS: Continuing Education; Foreign Countries; Information Technology; Networks; Participation; Small Businesses; Telecommunications; Training; Case Studies.

Pellegrino, G. (2003). Representations and uses of the Intranet: A comparative case study. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 23(4), 281-296.


Case studies of two companies in Italy and the United Kingdom are presented to analyze practices and processes of implementation and use of the Intranet. The focus is on Intranet technology resulting from overlapping negotiations among social actors within organizations. The goal of these negotiations is to establish and embed specific relations and representations of work, communication, and learning into the technological artifact. This study highlights how specific contexts and organizational histories can affect these processes. In spite of the "optimistic" imagery linked with Intranet technology and its touted communicative and economic efficiency, the article points out many limitations in the process of implementation and use. Relevant factors accounting for the current use of the 2 systems and their low degree of integration into everyday working and communicative practices are company history and culture, skills and work groups, and use of other technologies and media.
KEY WORDS: Internet; Adoption of Innovations; Organizational Structure; Italy; United Kingdom; Case Studies.

Perlesz, A., & Lindsay, J. (2003). Methodological triangulation in researching families: Making sense of dissonant data. International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory & Practice, 6(1), 25-40.


Article explores the ontological, epistemological and methodological tensions that must be negotiated when working with triangulated data. Triangulation has paid minimal attention to the problematic of 'making sense of dissonant data' and the use of the technique when researching families. Through research findings obtained from self-report questionnaires and in-depth interviews with couples and families, the possibilities of convergent, complementary and dissonant data and their interpretation are discussed. Due to the multi-faceted context and intimate subject matter, it is argued that there is a high likelihood of dissonant findings when researching family and couples. It is recommended that family researchers interested in using the technique of triangulation consider the context and process of their research in the interpretation of their data. In spite of the challenges that researchers face through triangulation, it is argued that working within a post-positivist paradigm, this technique enables a more complex and more meaningful analysis.
KEY WORDS: Data Collection; Experimentation; Family.

Perrons, D. (2003). The new economy and the work-life balance: Conceptual explorations and a case study of new media. Gender, Work and Organization, 10(1), 65-93.


Provided is a critical evaluation of some conceptualizations of the new economy and an exploration of how the new media sector has materialized and been experienced by people working in Brighton and Hove, a new media hub. Based on 55 in-depth interviews with new media owners, managers and some employees in small and micro enterprises, this article evaluates the claim that new technologies and patterns of working allow the temporal and spatial boundaries of paid work to be extended, potentially allowing more people, especially those with caring responsibilities, to become involved, possibly leading to a reduction in gender inequality. Article makes reference to gender-differentiated patterns of ownership and earnings; flexible working patterns, long hours and homeworking. Consideration about whether these working patterns are compatible with a work-life balance is also addressed. Indications are that while new media offers new opportunities for people to combine interesting paid work with caring responsibilities, a notable gender imbalance still exists.
KEY WORDS: Sexual Inequality; Family-Work Relationship; Economic Systems; High Technology Industries; England; Case Studies.

Pynes, J. E., & Newman, M. A. (2001). Nonprofit sector unionization and gender equity: Learning lessons from a case study of a teacher organization in the St. Louis Archdiocese. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 21(1), 5-26.


This case study examines issues raised between a large Catholic archdiocese and its elementary school teachers when the teachers formed a union to negotiate over wages, benefits, working conditions, and grievance procedures. The St. Louis, MO, story highlights the inherent gender inequity in this area of nonprofit organizations' labor relations. The reoccurrence of similar tensions in archdioceses across the US is likely as the number of nuns continues to decline forcing parochial schools to hire lay teachers. Similar gender equity-oriented developments are likely to factor into labor relations in the nonprofit sector which is expanding its role due to the contemporary hollow state of US government.
KEY WORDS: Religious Education; Teachers; Nuns; Unionization; St. Louis, Missouri; Working Women; Nonprofit Organizations; Sexual Inequality; Elementary Schools; Roman Catholicism; Case Studies.

Quilgars, D., & Abbott, D. (2000). Working in the risk society: Families' perceptions of, and responses to, flexible labour markets and the restructuring of welfare. Community, Work & Family, 3(1), 15-36.


Based on 90 qualitative interviews with members of 50 employed households in England, this article explores the response of individuals and families to the increasing flexibilization of the labor market and the restructuring of the welfare state in the risk society. Findings show that individuals and families make complex assessments of labor market risk that do not necessarily correspond with more objective measures and assumptions made at a policy level, and that they are not always willing or able to protect themselves. Conclusions indicate that due to current labor and welfare policies, many families, particularly those in lower socioeconomic groups, are vulnerable to the impacts of a flexible labor market. A greater incorporation of these realities into the risk society thesis is needed.
KEY WORDS: Risk; England; Unemployment; Welfare Reform; Labor Market; Employment Changes; Economic Problems; Welfare State; Households.

Raza, A. (2003). Downsizing: A case study. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 64(1), 300-A.


This case study focuses on one organization's rationales for downsizing, the process of downsizing, and the immediate effects of downsizing on the day to day working of the organization and its long term effects. Many questions arise, including: What is the rationale behind an organization's decision to reduce its workforce? What are the advantages that it can get through downsizing? Is it possible for an organization to restructure itself through downsizing and adapt to the environment? Also explored is how an organization prepares to downsize, how it chooses whom to let go, the procedures followed, and how employees are told they are no longer needed and may not come to work anymore. The final area explores the feasibility for an organization to efficiently plan work redistribution among employees left behind, the downsizing effect on the day to day working of the organization and long term effects on the organization.

KEY WORDS: Organizational Change; Employment Changes; Dislocated Workers; Organizational Structure; Case Studies.
Ross, J., & Wright, L. (2000). Participant-created case studies in professional training. Journal of workplace learning: Employee Counselling today, 2(1), 23-28.
Although case studies have long been a main feature of professional training, among the challenges of using them are the difficulty of ensuring that their situations and elements accurately reflect the complexity of current case reality, achieving acceptability across networking agencies, and the time they can take to create or obtain. The Center for Child and Family Studies has taken to having participants create their own case studies for use in ongoing professional training. There are several advantages to this method. From a theoretical standpoint, it is true to constructivist values and the principles of adult learning. Although this method is not a perfect fit in every training situation where cases may be used, it can greatly enhance training and training outcomes where it is practical.
KEY WORDS: Case Studies; Professional Training; Multiagency Networking.
Royster, D. A. (2003). Race and the invisible hand: How white networks exclude black men from blue-collar jobs. Berkeley: University of California Press.
In this book, Royster exposes the subtleties and discrepancies of a workplace that favors the white job-seeker over the black. The study essentially asks: Is there something about young black men that makes them less desirable as workers than their white peers? And if not, then why do black men shadow white men in earnings and employment rates? Royster examined the educational performances, work ethics, and values of 25 black and 25 white men who graduated from the same vocational school and sought jobs in the same blue-collar labor market in the early 1990s. Her findings suggest that the greatest difference between young black and white men is their access to the kinds of contacts and networks that significantly help in the job search and entry process.
KEY WORDS: African Americans; Employment; Discrimination in Employment; Blue Collar Workers; United States.
Schultze, U. (2000). A confessional account of an ethnography about knowledge work. MIS Quarterly, 24(1), 3-41.
Information systems research has normally focused on information as an object that serves as input to decision making. Such a perspective examines the use of information. Increasingly though, organizations are concerned about the production of information. This article focuses on the work of producing informational objects, an activity central to knowledge work. Based on data collected during an eight-month ethnographic study of three groups of knowledge workers—computer system administrators, competitive intelligence analysts, and librarians— the author explores the informing practices they relied upon. Common to these informing practices is the knowledge workers’ ability to balance subjectivity and objectivity, where subjectivity is a necessary part of doing value adding work and objectivity promises workers authority and a sense of security. Recognizing that researchers are knowledge workers too, the author draws on his own experiences as an ethnographic researcher to identify parallels between my informing practices and those of the knowledge workers studied in the past.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge Workers; Knowledge Work; KBE; Ethnography; Lit Review.

Shifley, R. L. (2001). Constructing work: Creating an alternative organizational structure. A case study of the role, purpose, and effects of work in a producer cooperative. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 62(5), 1958-A.


A transition in work systems has occurred due to increased international & domestic competition, evolving technological change, & the intensifying globalization of world markets. Related to these innovations in the organization of work have come changes in personal responsibility & control, interpersonal interactions, & changes to personal & family life. These changes related to the nature of work itself are often not analysed. When the nature of work is looked at, the parameters are generally restricted to such extrinsic concerns as rate of pay or benefits. In order to better understand how the organization of work affects workers & their families this case study of a worker-owned & managed producer cooperative (a highly participatory organization where equity & control elements differ from conventional employee roles) was undertaken. Findings indicate that the organization of work is a potentially pivotal aspect of one's quality of life & that the organization of work affects personal choice. When creating the cooperative, members were concerned with enhancing their choices in a context of income security & absence of formal hierarchy. Through this process, members realized that the organization of work impacts the quality of their work life as well as the quality of their family's lives.
KEY WORDS: Organizational Structure; Work Organization; Worker Ownership; Family-Work Relationship; Quality of Working Life; Family Life; Cooperatives; Case Studies.

Sims, L., & Sinclair, A. J. (2008). Learning through participatory resource management programs: Case studies from Costa Rica. Adult Education Quarterly, 58(2), 151-168.


Based on an ongoing qualitative case study in Costa Rica, the article tracks the participatory work that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) is doing with farmers to protect watersheds. ICE uses collaborative and hands-on activities to raise awareness and promote alternative environmentally sustainable farming practices and technologies. The resulting instrumental and communicative learning is linked by the researchers to transformative learning theory.
KEY WORDS: Transformative Learning; Environment; Qualitative methods; Case Studies; Costa Rica.
Smith-Maddox, R., & Solorzano, D. G. (2002). Using critical race theory, Paulo Freire's problem-posing method, and case study research to confront race and racism in education. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 66-84.
This article introduces an alternative instructional and pedagogical methodology for teacher education using critical race theory (CRT), Paulo Freire's problem-posing method, and case study research. Through these approaches a space for teacher candidates in a social foundations course is created which tries get at deep-rooted ideologies and promote the unlearning of stereotypical knowledge of race while analyzing and theorizing the meaning of teaching a diverse population of students. Using this methodology, it is recommended that teacher candidates access a variety of cultural immersion and field experiences in communities of color.
KEY WORDS: Social Theories; Teaching Methods; Teacher Education; Race; Cultural Sensitivity; Racism; Case Studies.
Soni-Sinha, U. (2001). Income control and household work-sharing. In R. M. Kelly, J. H. Bayes, M. Hawkesworth & B. Young (Eds.), Gender, Globalization, and Democratization. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
The machine-made jewelry production sector of the Noida Export Processing Zone near Delhi, India is the location of this case study involving 16 married female employees. These reports were part of a larger study conducted in 1996-1997. The focus of the interview data was on the impact of waged work on income control & the sharing of domestic work. Findings include: 3 women of the 16 stated that men control income & never share in household chores; 3 indicated that their spouses control income but share in household chores; 2 reported that they control income but their husbands never help with chores; & 8 said there is joint control of income & chores are shared. Results indicate that women's wage employment leads to changes in traditional gender regimes & the negotiating ability of women in order to strike a "better bargain." The research runs contrary to prior research which suggests minimal sharing of household work by men once women enter into waged work & suggests that waged work opens spaces of empowerment for women.

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