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A longitudinal study of the influence of shop floor work teams on expressions of 'us' and 'them'

Coupland, Christine, Blyton, Paul Robert and Bacon, Nicholas 2005. A longitudinal study of the influence of shop floor work teams on expressions of 'us' and 'them'. Human Relations 58 (8) , pp. 1055-1081. 10.1177/0018726705058503

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Abstract

A discourse analysis of employee rhetoric before and after the introduction of shop floor work teams in a steel mill reveals important changes in expressions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitudes. The normative rhetoric of teamworking used by managers, insisting that all employees are working towards the same goal, raised an expectation of change in the traditional ‘them’ and ‘us’ divide between managers and workers. When workers detected little subsequent change they used the new language of teamworking to critique management in private although working in teams they reported pressure to behave differently. New working roles in teams did undermine traditional ‘them’ and ‘us’ loyalties, which fragmented to encompass finer distinctions (e.g. middle and upper management, workers and slackers) and employee attitudes became more individualistic.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rhetoric; us-and-them; work teams
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0018-7267
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:24
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/38433

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