Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

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Work and Lifelong Learning Resource Base

Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

Principal Investigator: David W. Livingstone
Team Members: M. Raykov, K. Pollock, F. Antonelli


Section 1.3 [PDF]

Case Studies of Learning and Work



1. Beaud, S. (2000). Young workers. The social class decline of the "children of the era of school democratization". Lien Social et Politiques, 43, 103-112.


            Through interviews with twenty-five young people from an industrial region in eastern France in the late 1990's, the social decline of young people of working-class origin who participated in the wave of school democratization for ten years between 1985-1995 is analyzed. Case studies of students expose their failure to pass the examinations that were formally opened to them, and their self-perceptions as only temporary workers in factories, because family members who attended a professional lycee may have done better. Findings show feelings of low self-worth connected to the return to factory work they had sought to avoid by undertaking longer studies.


            KEY WORDS: France; Young Adults; Youth; Working Class; Education Work Relationship; Democracy; Academic Achievement; Educational Inequality; Case Studies.


2. Blouin, C. (2004). Engendering Canadian trade policy: A case study of labour mobility in trade agreements. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada.


            Canada's commitments under labour mobility agreements associated with the N.American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade in Services are examined from a gender equality view. In this study a gender analysis framework is created to examine the agreements and the content of the agreements and immigration data are analyzed to identify differences in access to and use of, the agreements by women and men. Study provides a detailed examination of the agreements through case studies of 2 groups; nurses and women business owners. The case studies highlight differences in participation in, and impact on, government policy making by the 2 groups and discrepancies in the various data sets needed to evaluate the impact.


            KEY WORDS: Labor Mobility; Canada; Commercial Policy; Labor Mobility; Case Studies; Nurses Supply and Demand; Women Employment.



3. Blustein, D. L., Kenna, A. C., Murphy, K. A., DeVoy, J. E., & DeWine, D. B. (2005). Qualitative research in career development: Exploring the center and margins of discourse about careers and working. Journal of Career Assessment, 13(4), 351-370.


            This article explores the contributions of qualitative research to the study of career development and the psychology of working. Epistemological perspectives (logical positivism, postpositivism, and social constructionism) are discussed as they relate to historical context, career theories, and the various methods used within qualitative research. Prevailing qualitative methods within career development and the psychology of working, such as consensual qualitative research, grounded theory, and narrative analysis, are reviewed. The article examines exemplary lines of qualitative research on women's achievements, school-to-work transitions, work and relationships, and the constructions of school and work. Finally, the article concludes with an example of an assessment tool that is derived from research on constructions of work and school.


            KEY WORDS: Psychology; Career Development; Qualitative Research; Evaluation Methods; Education Work Relationship; Females; Psychological Patterns; Constructivism (Learning); Social Influences; Interpersonal Relationship; Personal Narratives; Case Studies.



4. Bron, A., & West, L. (2000). Time for stories: The emergence of life history methods in the social sciences. International Journal of Contemporary Sociology, 37(2), 158-175.


            This article considers the reemergence and development of life history/biographical research methods across the social sciences, together with the impact of feminist ideas. A reference is made to the study of adult learning and processes of constructing and reconstructing biographies in changing times, and when moving between different cultures. The article provides examples of the unique contribution such methods can make to enlighten the complexities of human experience. The article also challenges positivistic criteria of validity as well as the absence of the researcher's story from conventional research texts.


            KEY WORDS: Life History; Research Methodology; Social Science Research; Methodological Problems; Research Ethics; Case Studies.


5. Burgoon, B., & Baxandall, P. (2004). Three worlds of working time: The partisan and welfare politics of work hours in industrialized countries. Politics and Society, 32(4), 439-473.


            Annual hours per employed person & per working-age person capture important dimensions of political-economic success. This article also argues that partisan-driven work-time policies and welfare-regime institutions result in the development of three diverging "worlds" of work time: Social Democratic, Liberal, & Christian. Descriptive statistics for eighteen OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development) states highlight broad clustering and trends suggestive of the Three Worlds, while panel estimation suggests the influence of partisan and welfare-institutional conditions underlying them. To further illustrate the political process and sequence of the Three Worlds, case studies of Finland, the United States, and the Netherlands are included.


            KEY WORDS: Political Economy; Working Hours; Social Policy; Time; Industrial; Societies; Employment; Wealth; Democracy; Welfare State; Case Studies.


6. Chan, D. C., Marshall, J. G., & Marshall, V. W. (2001). Linking technology, work, and the life course: Findings from the NOVA case study. In V. W. Marshall, W. R. Heinz, H. Kruger & A. Verma (Eds.), Restructuring work and the life course (pp. 270-287). Toronto: University Toronto Press.


            This case study of the Canadian utility & petrochemical firm, NOVA Corp. depicts the link between technological change & work restructuring. NOVA Corp. is experiencing swift change in both its adoption of new technology and its organizational structure. The case study finds that most female employees are comfortable with technological change, particularly computer usage and that younger employed men are more technologically adept than their older counterparts. In spite of minimal computer skills, older men experience upward career mobility while linear progression is notably associated with computer competency. Though there exists some negative attitudes toward older workers at NOVA Corp, most are generally positive. Younger workers (under age 35) are more likely than those over 45 to see older workers (age 50+) as averse to attaining new skills.


            KEY WORDS: Technological Change; Computers; Occupational Achievement; Worker Attitudes; Work Skills; Canada; Corporations; Age Differences; Adoption of Innovations; Organizational Change; Sex Differences; Case Studies.


7. Colson, M. A. (2000). A qualitative case study of Montgomery GI Bill education benefits and the paradox of underachievement in the U.S. Navy. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 61(4), 1619-A.


            This case study explores the Montgomery GI Bill & its role in supporting the pre-enlistment career and education goals of active duty military volunteers. Using research methods including surveys, field research, review of current literature, and an in-depth exploration of the MGIB program a data record was created and analyzed. Emerging trends and patterns came together into two larger themes: the paradox of under-achievement by military members in spite of well defined pre-enlistment education goals and the sociological factors that inhibit that personal & professional development within a benefit-laden system. The study's implications and conclusions call for a review of MGIB and a re-design of how this once significant social change program is implemented.


            KEY WORDS: Military Personnel; Adult Education; Benefits; Higher Education; Educational Attainment; Academic Achievement; Case Studies.


8. Curry, M. W. (2004). Critical friends: A case study of teachers' professional community in a reforming high school. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 64(9), 3239-A-3240-A.


            This dissertation explores how teachers' professional inquiry communities at the secondary level represent a resource for school reform and professional development. This study, through video-based, qualitative methods and a multi-case case study design, investigates the situated practices of teachers as members of Critical Friends Groups (CFGs) - school-based, cross-disciplinary, oral inquiry groups. The research of these CFG case groups looks at how and to what extent participating teachers influenced instructional improvement and school reform. Findings show that these professional inquiry communities promoted teachers' ongoing instructional improvement, reflective practice, collective responsibility for student learning, and collegiality. At the school level, curricular coherence, interdisciplinary cross-fertilization, and a shared awareness of the school's reform progress/philosophy may be attributed to these CFGs. At the same time however, these CFGs provided limited opportunity for teachers' professional growth in their subject matter areas, exaggerated micro-political reform debates and divisions, and restricted systematic organizational learning.


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


9. 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.


10. 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.


11. 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.


12. 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.


13. 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.


14. 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.


15. 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.


16. 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.


17. 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.


18. 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.


19. 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.


20. 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.


21. 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.


22 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.


23. 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.


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


24. 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.


25. 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.


26. 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.


27. 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.


28. 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.


29. 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.


30. 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.


31. 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.


32. 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.


33. 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.


34. 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.


35. 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.


36. 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.


37. 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.


38. 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; Literature Review.



39. 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.


40. 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.


41. 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.


            KEY WORDS: India; Working Women; Sex Roles; Family-Work Relationship; Family Roles; Sexual Division of Labor; Housework; Opposite Sex Relations; Family Power.


42. Tapia, J. (2000). Schooling and learning in U.S.-Mexican families: A case study of households. The Urban Review, 32(1), 25-44.


            This case study uses a household analysis to depict how students' schooling and academic achievement are influenced by the activities of household members at home, in the community, and in the schools. Prior research suggests that learning and the academic performance of Mexican American students are influenced by the relationship between economic, cultural, linguistic, and educational aspects. Article shows that a household analysis can aid in understanding the relative weight of these aspects in shaping the school performance of students, and that it also accounts for the differences in academic achievement in any Mexican American community. This household analysis indicates that the strongest factors affecting students' learning & academic achievement are the level of family stability and the social and economic conditions of poor communities.


            KEY WORDS: Mexican Americans; Academic Achievement; Home Environment; Households; Social Conditions; Economic Conditions; Arizona; Case Studies.


43. Theodosius, C. (2004). Developing the sociology of emotion and emotional labour: A case study of nurses. Dissertation Abstracts International, C: Worldwide, 65(2), 344-C.


            This theoretically informed empirical study uses Hochschild's (1983) concept of emotional labour to explore emotion as observed amongst a group of nurses. This research contributes to the sociology of emotion in 5 areas. (1) It advances understanding about the relevance of emotional labour to nursing by introducing a typology of emotional labour, therapeutic, instrumental and collegial. (2) It provides a critique of Hochschild's theory of emotion and emotional labour thereby developing a more comprehensive, theoretical approach to emotion. The study advances the notion of emotional labour by analysing its interactive, relational character, both identifying its relationship with self identity and developing Hochschild's use of surface and deep acting. (3) It develops and provides a critique of Archer's (2000) theory of emotion as a tool in the analysis of empirical data. (4) It introduces the use of audio diaries as a useful and valuable tool in the empirical research of emotion. (5) Vignettes are used in a distinctive way - treating them as narratives - that encapsulate and project the experiences of the nurses' emotion within the text.


            KEY WORDS: Nurses; Job Characteristics; Emotions; Psychoanalytic Interpretation; Case Studies.


44. van Jaarsveld, D. D. (2004). Collective representation among high-tech workers at Microsoft and beyond: Lessons from WashTech/CWA. Industrial Relations, 43(2), 364-385.


            Industrial relations literature documents the obstacles that discourage organization among high-tech workers whereas discussions on the factors that help workers overcome these obstacles is minimal. Interviews and other evidence are used to analyze how high-tech workers formed the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech/CWA). Findings show that WashTech/CWA improved working conditions of employees through attempts to engage in collective bargaining, mutual benefit activities, and political action. The WashTech/CWA's use of mutual benefits, such as information and training services, and political action strategies is being met with success. This is due in part to the obstacles workers encountered when trying to access collective bargaining.


            KEY WORDS: Collective Bargaining; Professional Workers; High Technology Industries; Unions; Political Action; Case Studies.


45. Witzel, A., & Zinn, J. (1998). The role of vocational training in reproducing social inequality. The interaction of social structures and individual activities in the transition from school to work. Diskurs, 8(1), 28-39.


            Based on questionnaire and qualitative (problem-oriented) interview data collected in a research project combining numerous methodological approaches, this work traces the mechanisms responsible for reproducing and timing social inequality to the school-work transition period. Besides educational attainment, origin, and gender which are traditional factors of inequality, the actual choice of vocation is an additional inequality factor over the course of one's career because most people stay in the same line of work, even if they do seek further training to gain promotion. This model is exemplified through the case studies of 2 bank employees and 2 retail employees. Through their working lives, people develop typical modes of action in their vocational biographies, here termed "vocation-biographic design modes." Varieties of coping with career chances and risks are characterized. Individual self-placement is adapted to the selection experiences made in the company on the one hand; and scopes of action are identified and used to fulfill individual interests and claims on the other.


            KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Vocational Education; Social Reproduction; Social Inequality; Educational Attainment; Sex; Retail Industry; Banking.




About the CFI Project

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    for Work & Learning

   1.1 Research Methods

   1.2 Compendium

   1.3 Case Studies

2. Work

3. Learning

4. Work & Learning

5. Other Topics in
Learning & Work


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