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Durham e-Theses
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The Cinderella’s of industry: the occupational and trade union identity of clerical workers

Shaw, Monica P (1977) The Cinderella’s of industry: the occupational and trade union identity of clerical workers. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The main objectives of this thesis are to explore the occupational and trade union identity of clerks and to develop a theoretical perspective through which clerical workers' views of their situation can be examined. For this purpose the perspectives of action theory and reference group theory are revised and integrated. The central argument is that a logical extension to the focus upon actor definitions of reality lies in the investigation of key reference groups which actors themselves select. This is of particular importance in relation, to clerks, since their attitudes to work and to trade unionism have traditionally been explained in terms of their middle-class aspirations and their identification, with management. In this study of a hundred-and-sixty-five clerks drawn from six organizations in the North of England, representing mining, shipbuilding, engineering and civil air transport, a major finding is that clerical workers reject both management and manual workers as significant identification, referents. They perceive the clerical occupation as separate and distinct. They accept trade union membership as vital for the representation of their distinctive interests. However, within the broad acceptance of trade union membership, variations in trade union identity emerge. These are related to the specific concerns of clerks in different firms. Intra-occupational analysis demonstrates that trade union membership varies in meaning according to the degree to which clerks define management in oppositional terms and perceive their occupational, rewards as having fallen too far behind those of production workers. However, the clerks in this study, whatever their differences, do not strive to be better off than manual workers or aspire to the ranks of management, nor do they perceive their status concerns to be discordant with trade union membership,.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1977
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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