Tong, Kay (2014) The forgotten workforce: clerical and administrative staff within British Higher Education. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the employment conditions for clerical and administrative staff within the British Higher Education Sector. For this analysis a national questionnaire was distributed and 747 responses were returned and analysed. In order to further enrich the qualitative research data, 30 interviews were also conducted, mainly with clerical and secretarial staff but also with management staff who had progressed from clerical grades.

The main focus of the research was to examine inequalities within the higher education sector that impinge particularly on the clerical and administrative workforce. The thesis develops an analytic framework based on dual systems theory to show how clerical occupations have developed into highly segregated female-dominated occupations. The dual influences of capitalism and patriarchy in the development of female disadvantage is illustrated in the historical sections of the thesis. Inequality regimes which operate within hierarchical organisations such as universities are then used to explain how these class and gender-based disadvantages are replicated and reinforced through organisational structures and processes.

The conclusions drawn by the thesis demonstrate that class and gender discrimination is entrenched within the British Higher Education system. This institutionalised discrimination continues to work to the disadvantage of women in all occupational groups across the sector. However, clerical and administrative staff, as a predominately female. 2 group of workers, are particularly vulnerable to inequalities and lack of opportunities, both because of their gender and also their class position within the organisational hierarchy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Michael Debenham
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2015 12:38
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2015 12:38
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/620

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