University of Tasmania

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Under investigation : the women and work literature

posted on 2023-05-27, 17:55 authored by Richards, Eve
This thesis addresses the issue of the quality of the women and work literature. Major changes have taken, and still are taking, place in the workplace with respect to women workers; affirmative action progran-1s ate !Ju L 011e example. The literature has been instrumental in securing some of these changes for three inter-related reasons. The literature is used as a medium by those who wish to push the women's cause; it is used as part of a frame of reference by some who are in a position to effect significant change; and it has an effect on the perceptions of some of the general readers who may subsequently modify their behaviour, expectations and demands in the workplace. The quality of the literature is therefore of fundamental importance. In looking at the quality of the literature, the thesis takes into account the visibility or profile status of the contributions arguing that the more visible, high profile items are more likely to influence perceptions than contributions which are located towards the other end of the visibility spectrum. The thesis demonstrates that there is cause for concern about the quality of the literature contributions which are most likely to affect perceptions, and by extension, behaviour. It is argued that such contributions tend to be simplistic, impoverished, to be clothed in emotive language, and fail to reflect reality. It is argued that many of the authors of the visible literature contributions do not have as their prime objective the pursuit of the search for knowledge and truth but that their concern is to secure the social changes which they deem to be necessary. It is shown that such authors use a restricted data base, emotive language and manipulation, statistical manipulation, selectivity and publicity to achieve their goal; they rarely choose and use the tools of critical evaluation, a broad knowledge base, formal research methodology, comparative analysis, testing opinions against the differing opinions of others and against the workscene, and qualifying statements which remove ambiguities. The thesis concludes by acknowledging that little can be done about the quality of the literature which has already been written and expresses the hope that in the future the soundly based contributions will begin to challenge those which are not. The initial problem of selecting a research method which would allow the quality of the literature to be investigated was solved by stepping outside the traditional academic research methods and using the ombudsman's investigative model. It is an unusual approach but the results have vindicated the decision to adopt it.


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Copyright 1989 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 340-373

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