The original stimulus for this research was a deep sense of personal dissatisfaction with the way in which women had been represented in the literature of industrial sociology. I was dissatisfied not only with the evident neglect of female participation in the labour market, but also with the simplistic way in which it was customary to interpret their work behaviour. The area of study in which both weaknesses were particularly manifest was the sociology of clerical occupations. First, women clerical workers appeared as a residual category in the relevant literature, despite the fact that they constituted a numerical majority of clerical employees. Secondly, their inferior rewards and status were held to be the inevitable outcome of an attenuated ambition, imposed by socialisation and later reinforced by domesticity. This assumption seemed highly questionable since one was informed elsewhere that depressed levels of pay and prestige among male workers should be examined in relation to prevailing structures of power. It also seemed to be at odds with the important principle, established by studies of orientations to work among male employees, that work attitudes should be regarded as mutable. It seemed appropriate, therefore, that one should attempt to redress the balance in favour of those who constituted the majority of persons working in this sector of the labour force, and that in so doing one should utilise those theoretical frameworks which had proved to be useful in the study of male employment.
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Notes and References
- 1.See, for example, D. Lockwood, The Blackcoated Worker (London: Allen and Unwin, 1958) p. 125, andGoogle Scholar
- E. Mumford and O. Banks, The Computer and the Clerk (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967) p. 21.Google Scholar
- 2.D. Silverman, The Theory of Organisations (London: Heinemann, 1970).Google Scholar
- 3.Women’s Studies Group, Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Women Take Issue (London: Hutchinson, 1978) pp. 65–6.Google Scholar
- 4.D. Morgan, Social Theory and the Family (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975) p. 168.Google Scholar
- 5.S. Rowbotham, New Society, vol. 44, no. 813 (4 May 1978) p. 267.Google Scholar