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Durham e-Theses
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Quality of Working Life In Sociological Perspective,

Du Gay, Paul Laurence John (1988) Quality of Working Life In Sociological Perspective,. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Although the economic and political climate has changed dramatically since the early 1970s, when the 'Quality of Working Life' (QWL) movement was officially 'born', such that QWL has now been effectively marginalised as an issue of public concern, the basic problems at the heart of this movement, and that of both its predecessors and ostensible descendents, are still very much alive. Indeed, it is argued throughout the present thesis that QWL theorists and practitioners have rarely recognised the nature of the problems at the heart of their own project, nor have they traced thoroughly the genealogies of their own theory and practice. Amongst many other things, the QWL project lacks sociological perspective. It is this particular criticism that formed the focus of the present thesis. In approaching the subject matter of the thesis, a deliberate decision was made to locate discussion of QWL within a broader sociological context than its advocates were willing, or able, to do. Thus, it was hoped to show that mainstream approaches to QWL had either Ignored completely, or inadequately conceptualised and treated, issues of key importance to a fuller understanding of the problems at the heart of QWL concerns. The main areas chosen to highlight the weaknesses of QWL theory and practice, and to provide necessary sociological perspective, were those of structural contradiction in the relations between capital and labour; management; work; and worker participation, In addition, an attempt was made to map out and criticise both the homogeneity and diversity of QWL theory and practice. It was subsequently argued that whether considered as one homogeneous perspective, or as a number of divergent, though still related, perspectives, QWL theory and practice lacked soclologiacl perspective, and, that such a lack of perspective had detrimental consequences for the intellectual validity (and, indeed, for the practical utility) of QWL initiatives. Overall, it was concluded that the Inherent limitations of the discourse of QWL precluded deployment of the 'sociological imagination'. However, without the deployment of such a perspective, attempts to comprehend the nature of the problems which lie at the heart of the QWL project are doomed to failure.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:41

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