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Women in self‐organized groups at work: do they promote agency and reduce poverty?

Virginia E. Schein (Management Department, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA)
Anthony J. Marsella (Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)
Esther Wiesenfeld (Institute of Psychology, Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela)
Euclides Sánchez (Institute of Psychology, Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela)
Mary O'Neill Berry (Sirota Survey Intelligence, Purchase, New York, USA)
Walter Reichman (Sirota Survey Intelligence, Purchase, New York, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to reflect on the work of Virginia E. Schein and her paper “The functions of work‐related group participation for poor women in developing countries: an exploratory look.”

Design/methodology/approach

Professor Schein traveled to Nicaragua, to lower‐income settings, where she observed and recorded the experiences of women working in self‐organized groups, and used those observations to argue to the profession generally that self‐organized groups of women, however marginal the work itself, can be instrumental in developing the key sense of agency, and self‐efficacy. These are basic capabilities; the stuff of the Millennium Development Goals.

Findings

For this special issue, therefore, the authors have made Schein's 2003 study a focal point. To set the context they asked Dr Schein to reiterate the rationale for the research, and provide a brief overview of the original observations. To help expand the debate on gender, work and poverty reduction, the authors have asked noted colleagues to provide a series of Commentaries on the original article.

Originality/value

Women, especially those raising children alone, are among the poorest of the poor in developing and more developed economies. Research that is applicable and relevant to their work‐related concerns can and should be a larger part of worldwide efforts to reduce poverty. Organizational psychology has much to contribute to those long‐overdue efforts.

Keywords

Citation

Schein, V.E., Marsella, A.J., Wiesenfeld, E., Sánchez, E., O'Neill Berry, M. and Reichman, W. (2011), "Women in self‐organized groups at work: do they promote agency and reduce poverty?", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 508-521. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683941111154374

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited