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Article

Sunrita Dhar-Bhattacharjee and Helen Richardson

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the situation of women working as information technology (IT) professionals in different regions of India within multi-national…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the situation of women working as information technology (IT) professionals in different regions of India within multi-national enterprises (MNEs). The research is part of a cross-national study that compared gendered relations in the UK and Indian IT sectors. The complex roles that region, class and caste and gendered values and norms have in shaping women’s work and lives in India are discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

The cross-national research assumed common themes as part of a programme of in-depth interviewing and observations during site visits. The “safari method” was adopted with research conducted by a sole fieldworker with intimate knowledge of the languages and cultures of both India and the UK. The research considered intersectionality and difference and aimed to understand material structures and cultural meanings evident from the research process.

Findings

There are significant differences in organisational culture even within MNEs sharing common legislative and policy environments. The IT sector in India offers opportunities for middle- and upper-class women professionals and the cultural – including identity – barriers to working in technical areas often experienced in western countries are not replicated in India. Nevertheless, this has not meant any significant improvements in gendered relations at work and in the Indian society. There are also particular influences of regional, class and caste differences manifested in IT workplaces, contributing to inequality.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the understanding of the situation of women in IT sector including within MNEs giving insights into the workings of global capitalist enterprises. The research offers appreciation of the complexity of social differences and whether opening up opportunities for women professionals in India can contribute to the inclusive growth or will maintain the current patterns of inequality.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Book part

Paul W. Richardson and Helen M.G. Watt

Educational psychologists have, over the last half century or so, directed their attention to the study of student motivation. While teachers have not entirely been…

Abstract

Educational psychologists have, over the last half century or so, directed their attention to the study of student motivation. While teachers have not entirely been ignored, there has been little inquiry into teacher motivation that has been systematic and theory-driven. The concentration on students has tended to overlook the centrality of teacher motivations as integral to teachers’ goals, beliefs, perceptions, aspirations, and behaviours, and thereby to student motivations and learning. It is perhaps not surprising that those motivation researchers who have developed robust theories in relation to student learning in educational contexts would begin to turn their attention to teachers, to see whether those same theories might have explanatory power with regard to teacher motivations. Teacher self-efficacy research (e.g., Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2007; Woolfolk Hoy & Burke-Spero, 2005) has made important contributions to the study of teachers. Motivation researchers are now beginning to turn their attention to other aspects of the complex of motivational factors which demand greater attention and exploration. Robust theoretical frameworks already exist in the motivation literature, which can be applied to guide future research in this area. There has recently been a surge of interest, or what we have elsewhere described as a “Zeitgeist” (Watt & Richardson, 2008a) in applying well-developed theories in motivation research, to the domain of teaching.

Details

The Decade Ahead: Applications and Contexts of Motivation and Achievement
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-254-9

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Book part

Paul W. Richardson, Helen M.G. Watt and Christelle Devos

Teaching is increasingly recognised as a complex, demanding career. Teachers experience higher levels of stress and burnout than other professionals. The career is subject…

Abstract

Teaching is increasingly recognised as a complex, demanding career. Teachers experience higher levels of stress and burnout than other professionals. The career is subject to heightened levels of public scrutiny and yet offers only modest rewards in the form of social status and income. Drawing on a typological model of coping styles among a diverse sample of German health professionals, we identified six types of emotional coping (Good health, Sparing, (healthy) Ambitious, (path to) Burnout, Diligent, and Wornout) among a longitudinal sample of 612 Australian primary and secondary teachers. A significant outcome of our study was the empirical differentiation between burned out and wornout teachers. This extends the literature on teacher burnout and offers new directions to the study of ‘at risk’ beginning teachers.

Details

Emotion and School: Understanding how the Hidden Curriculum Influences Relationships, Leadership, Teaching, and Learning
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-651-4

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Article

Helen Richardson

This paper aims to contribute a personal account of doing critical research that uses the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu and also that takes a feminist approach to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute a personal account of doing critical research that uses the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu and also that takes a feminist approach to research. It aims to reflect on what this might mean in order to understand information systems and their uses at work and in everyday life.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is confessional and describes the way in which critical qualitative research was undertaken in specific areas – that of call centres in Northwest England, gender and the UK ICT labour market and PhD research into issues of gender and home e‐shopping.

Findings

The findings as such suggest that social theory and critical approaches to research can contribute to understanding of IS at work and in everyday life. The account discusses the complexity of applying social theories and how difficult theoretical tomes are to understand, especially for the novice researcher.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the importance of hearing the silent or silenced voices and letting stories be told. A theme throughout is how theory is linked to practice.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the special issue call for reflexive essays written in simple terms with details about how and why particular social theories or approaches were adopted. This will be of value to PhD and IS researchers whose work is informed by social theory.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article

Lynette Kvasny and Helen Richardson

The purpose of this article is to reflect on the development of critical research in information systems and give an overview of the papers chosen for this special issue.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to reflect on the development of critical research in information systems and give an overview of the papers chosen for this special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

To set the scene by discussing the origins and the developing field of critical research in information systems and to analyse each paper, suggesting ways in which it relates to the chosen themes.

Findings

The papers chosen address theoretical foundations, paradigmatic and methodological issues, empirical studies and praxis and reflexivity in critical information systems research.

Originality/value

Highlights the growing interest in critical research in the information systems discipline and enables reflection on the difficulties, barriers and opportunities for development.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article

Eileen M. Trauth and Debra Howcroft

This article aims to add to the growing number of critical empirical studies and to reflect on the process of conducting this type of research, thereby addressing the lack…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to add to the growing number of critical empirical studies and to reflect on the process of conducting this type of research, thereby addressing the lack of exemplars for those engaged with critical empirical information systems research.

Design/methodology/approach

Applies the critical lens to a multi‐year examination of variation in the career narratives of women in the American IT labor force. While an interpretive epistemology was initially chosen for this research project, over time, analysis of interview data took on an increasingly critical orientation. This, in turn, influenced subsequent fieldwork to become critical in nature.

Findings

One theoretical contribution is highlighting the role of power dynamics in understanding what sits beneath the surface of observations about these women's experiences in the IT workforce. The second theoretical contribution is helping to shift the focus away from predominantly essentialist theories that dichotomize men and women and toward a recognition of the diversity among women in the IT field.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should include additional critical empirical studies of women in the IT field in other countries.

Practical implications

This research project can serve as a useful example for other critical IS researchers about to embark on empirical fieldwork.

Originality/value

This paper provides a concrete illustration of the way in which empirical research is altered as the epistemological lens shifts from interpretivist to critical.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article

Jenny Collins

This article examines the national and international connections made by women graduates of the School of Home Science in their efforts to develop the scholarly expertise…

Abstract

This article examines the national and international connections made by women graduates of the School of Home Science in their efforts to develop the scholarly expertise and professional capacity that would enable them to pursue academic careers and to improve the position of women in universities. It argues that despite the obstacles, many women were able to pursue academic pathways and to establish their own authority. By undertaking a transnational analysis, this article examines webs of influence that linked women scholars in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States as well as those in the so called “centre” (Europe and the United Kingdom). It explores the networks formed by a select number of middle class women ‐ scholars such as Ann Gilchrist Strong, Elizabeth Gregory and Neige Todhunter ‐ as they attempted to expand the range of their scholarly work beyond national borders. It considers the influence of appointments of women academics from the United States and the United Kingdom on; the significance of post graduate study opportunities for home science graduates; and the role of scholarships and awards that enabled two way travel between the southern and northern hemispheres. A number of tensions are evident in the way women scholars located their work in new and emerging fields of academic knowledge within the university. This article explores interrelationships between women academics and graduates from the School of Home Science at the University of Otago and academic women in the United Kingdom and the United States. The final section of the paper examines the academic and scholarly life of Catherine Landreth who exemplifies the experience of a select group of women who gained personally, culturally and professionally from their international opportunities, experiences and networks. It considers Landreth’s transnational travels in search of scholarly expertise, the influence of her personal and professional networks, the significance of her pioneering work in the emerging field of early childhood education and the constraints experienced in a highly gendered academic enclave. To begin however it gives a brief overview of the introduction of Home Science at the University of New Zealand and the influence of initial international appointments on the expansion of women’s academic work at the University of Otago.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Article

Paul Jackson, Hosein Gharavi and Jane Klobas

This paper seeks to develop insights into control, power, consent and commitment with virtual knowledge workers who are removed from the immediate sphere of influence of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to develop insights into control, power, consent and commitment with virtual knowledge workers who are removed from the immediate sphere of influence of management and co‐workers.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is a detailed case study of a highly successful Scandinavian engineering company. A post‐structuralist approach is used to understand how the modes of influence on knowledge worker productivity within the organisation come into being and operate across boundaries of time, space and organisational structure. The notion of the panopticon is used to identify and characterise forms of control and undertake interpretive and critical analysis of interview data and staff behaviour.

Findings

It was found that the totality of the modes of power relations operating upon virtual knowledge workers in this case study comprises a complex and sophisticated ensemble of control and constraint. Whilst initial observations indicate that control is restricted to a small set of direct controls, the research led one to observe a complex, pervasive web of integrated and overlapping constraints emanating from the external and internal panopticon.

Originality/value

The critical approach leads one to a pragmatic understanding of the range of influences which keep virtual knowledge workers “on task”. Also a better understanding of the “network effect” of these constraints and their co‐reinforcement is reached, which may well further understanding of managing the performance of virtual knowledge workers.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article

Alison Adam and David Kreps

The purpose of this article is to analyse the continuing problem of web accessibility for disabled people as a critical information systems issue.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to analyse the continuing problem of web accessibility for disabled people as a critical information systems issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The ways in which the web is used by disabled people, and problems that can arise, are described and related to the development of critical disability theory from older models of disability, including the medical and social models, noting that the social construction of disability model may tend to mask the embodied, lived experience of disability.

Findings

The lack of interaction of the critical disability approach and dominant discourses of web accessibility and internet studies, particularly in relation to embodiment, is a major contributor to the continuance of an inaccessible Worldwide web.

Research limitations/implications

The paper does not offer a comprehensive set of web accessibility issues, concentrating instead on the most common problems as exemplars.

Practical implications

The paper raises awareness of web accessibility.

Originality/value

The paper brings the topic of accessibility of technology by disabled people into the critical information systems arena and also incorporates social construction of disability and theoretical considerations of embodiedness in its analysis.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article

Marlei Pozzebon, Ryad Titah and Alain Pinsonneault

Proposes the concept of rhetorical closure to address the phenomenon of pervasive IT “fashions”. Suggests that prevailing discourses surrounding IT are dominated by the…

Abstract

Purpose

Proposes the concept of rhetorical closure to address the phenomenon of pervasive IT “fashions”. Suggests that prevailing discourses surrounding IT are dominated by the rhetoric of closure and that such closure, although mutually constructed by suppliers, consultants and managers, has had several adverse consequences in terms of organizational change and results. Stimulates a critical thinking regarding the persistence of successive waves of new IT fashions and the consequences of closure on practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical framework informed by political views within the social shaping school combined with Habermas' theory of communicative action. Illustration of the argument is based on 22 semi‐structured interviews (senior practitioners from client‐firms, software suppliers and consulting‐firms working on ERP projects).

Findings

Outlines the nature of the “chain reaction” produced by rhetorical closure from individual practices to the segment level. Identifies occasions for breaking down rhetorical closure at the three levels of analysis. At the individual level, opportunities are related to daily users' practices. At the organizational level, opportunities are related to ongoing organizational decisions and negotiations regarding IT adoption. At the segment level, opportunities are related to forming coalitions, networks and groups of users.

Originality/value

Adopts an original perspective, examining the concept of rhetorical closure from a combination of two approaches: social shaping of technology and communicative action theory. Connects different types of closure to different types of rationality, and recognizes the specific validity claims underlying them. Calls into question current decision‐making processes that sustain IT pervasiveness and taken‐for‐granted assumptions of inevitability associated with new IT fashions.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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