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Behaviour and imagery of a "traditional workforce" : the case of the Southampton dockworker

Behaviour and imagery of a "traditional workforce" : the case of the Southampton dockworker
Behaviour and imagery of a "traditional workforce" : the case of the Southampton dockworker

A quantitative description of attitudes and behaviour amongst dockworkers is presented. Dockers have been grouped with miners and shipbuilders as 'traditional proletarians' whose social perceptions are conditioned by a supposed close connection between work and community environments. Previous evidence has suggested that the description is less than satisfactory and questions have been raised concerning changes in the original conditions forming the basis of the typology. A range of factors associated with both work and community settings is examined within a labour force which contains a substantial proportion having experience only of the 'modernised' industry. Two different sources of information are used: employment records and the responses at interview of a random sample of the workforce. A first stage of the analysis presents basic demographic data, a study of the 'attachment' of the workforce as reflected in absence behaviour and an examination of effects related to geographical location. A second stage establishes the nature and extent of out-work associations; attitudes to, and behaviour in, work; views of employment relations and of organisational structures; and perceptions of the nature of society. The results are taken to indicate that the suggested description is largely inappropriate. Overall perceptions of work, prior orientations and motivations do not seem to differ greatly from national norms within the manual working class. Whilst levels of work-based associations are certainly higher no important consequences are found to arise from this in terms of work experience or behaviour and no relationships are established between the pattern of social perceptions and any of the supposedly related characteristics. It is suggested that the special features of the workforce are limited to the industrial context and are best categorised as adaptation to variations in structural conditions.

University of Southampton
Allen, Peter Thomas
Allen, Peter Thomas

Allen, Peter Thomas (1981) Behaviour and imagery of a "traditional workforce" : the case of the Southampton dockworker. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

A quantitative description of attitudes and behaviour amongst dockworkers is presented. Dockers have been grouped with miners and shipbuilders as 'traditional proletarians' whose social perceptions are conditioned by a supposed close connection between work and community environments. Previous evidence has suggested that the description is less than satisfactory and questions have been raised concerning changes in the original conditions forming the basis of the typology. A range of factors associated with both work and community settings is examined within a labour force which contains a substantial proportion having experience only of the 'modernised' industry. Two different sources of information are used: employment records and the responses at interview of a random sample of the workforce. A first stage of the analysis presents basic demographic data, a study of the 'attachment' of the workforce as reflected in absence behaviour and an examination of effects related to geographical location. A second stage establishes the nature and extent of out-work associations; attitudes to, and behaviour in, work; views of employment relations and of organisational structures; and perceptions of the nature of society. The results are taken to indicate that the suggested description is largely inappropriate. Overall perceptions of work, prior orientations and motivations do not seem to differ greatly from national norms within the manual working class. Whilst levels of work-based associations are certainly higher no important consequences are found to arise from this in terms of work experience or behaviour and no relationships are established between the pattern of social perceptions and any of the supposedly related characteristics. It is suggested that the special features of the workforce are limited to the industrial context and are best categorised as adaptation to variations in structural conditions.

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Published date: 1981

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Local EPrints ID: 460555
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/460555
PURE UUID: 41a1653b-cbde-4fca-90d8-a549f36aef23

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Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 18:24
Last modified: 04 Jul 2022 19:34

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Contributors

Author: Peter Thomas Allen

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