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Individualiseringen och det fackliga kollektivet: En studie av industritjänstemäns förhållningssätt till facket
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is based on a research project focusing privately employed industrial white-collar workers in Gothenburg, Sweden. The project was initiated due to signs of changes in the way employees perceive and act in relation to the union. The aim of this thesis is to study the causes behind individual patterns of action in relation to union membership and activity. My ambition is to increase our knowledge of the conditions of unions in contemporary working life, as well as of organisations of interest more generally. The problem is tackled in two steps: First I describe and analyse the individual motives behind different patterns of action. Second I analyse contextual causes, both in the workplace and in society at large, behind changes in motives evidenced today. My point of departure is theories about value change and individualization. The concept of value is here used to analyse how the individualization process changes the conditions for organized collective behaviour.

My methodological approach is multistrategic. The main component of the approach is qualitative interviews. I interviewed employees at seven different companys during the period of 1993-1995. 1997 these were complemented with a postal survey to a representative sample of the target group in Gothenburg.

The analysis reveals a distinctive generation gap in motives in relation to union membership and activity. Group-utility based instrumental views about the union, often in connection with "solidarity" and other traditional union values, was quite common among the older employees. These views were related to "security-based" materialistic value patterns. Instrumental considerations based on personal utility were mote frequent among the younger employees and coexisted with "private post-materialistic" value patterns. The private postmaterialist is fairly open-minded, critically reflexive and ambivalent. He/she gives priority to "libertarian" values, such as personal development and self-fulfilment. Situationally bound activities and objects ate not evaluated in relation to any deeper ideological convictions. As a result of this peripheral values, attitudes and actions adapt rapidly to situational changes and opinions are easily altered. This is a "risk-group" for unions and other established organizations of interest. They are not against organized collectives as such. To participate though, they demand direct personal influence and benefits. To attract them unions has to revaluate both how activity is carried out and what issues to give priority. Private postmaterialism is, along with the more principled and ideologically based "social" variant of postmaterialism, a reflection of increasing individualism. Causes for value change and individualisation can be accounted for by changes in the socialisation process and the growing differentiation and fragmentation in todays complex society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Univ. , 1999. , 390 p.
, Örebro studies, ISSN 0280-9605 ; 15
Keyword [en]
Sociology, white-collar workers, union membership and activity, motives, attitudes, values and value change, individualization
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-726ISBN: 91-7668-207-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-726DiVA: diva2:169190
Public defence
1999-03-10, hörsal D, Örebro universitet, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 1999-02-17 Created: 1999-02-17 Last updated: 2009-03-19Bibliographically approved

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