13 results for Undergraduate, 2000

  • Corporate culture as normative control: A study of Hong Kong employees in a team-based organisation

    Lo, Wattle C W (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Corporate culture is a form of normative control (Fleming & Stablein, 1999; Kunda, 1992). Normative control can be described as a system of control that "works internally by engendering people with subjective attributes and dispositions, which are compatible with the maintenance of certain types of work organisation" (Fleming & Stablein, 1999:3). Since the early period of capitalist mode of production, corporate managers have been searching for effective techniques to control their workplace activities. Over the past two centuries, corporate control strategy had been changing according to economic conditions, technology, culture, and business nature. Edwards (1979) in his book Contested Terrain suggested that many large corporations had shifted their strategy from the simple forms of control to technical, and gradually bureaucratic administration, as a result of the growing need for efficiency and productivity (Barley & Kunda, 1992; Edwards, 1979). The use of assembly lines, cost accounting systems, and bureaucratic rules — in short, the utilitarian forms of control — were the key principles of organising production from 1900 to the 1930 (Barley & Kunda, 1992). Culture as a form of control strategy remained unfamiliar to many management scholars and practitioners until the late 1970s. Influenced by anthropology and sociology, corporate culture came to prominence in 1980, and entered into managerial discourse (Barley & Kunda, 1992). Thereafter, managerial interest in building corporate cultures caused a proliferation of organisation literature ranging broadly from popular business magazines to commercial management books (Barley & Kunda, 1992). Famous writers, such as Peters and Waterman (1982), Deal and Kennedy (1982), and Ouchi (1981), excitedly urged business managers to cultivate strong corporate cultures that harness loyal, committed, and hardworking employees (Barley & Kunda, 1992). They criticised that traditional forms of corporate control will eventually eliminate certain human attributes – for example, commitment, flexibility, creativity etc. – that are crucial for enhancing business performance in a fast-changing environment (Barley & Kunda, 1992). In In Search of Excellence, Peters and Waterman advised, "all that stuff you have been dismissing for so long as the intractable, irrational, intuitive, informal organisation can be managed" (Peters & Waterman, 1981:11). They argued that corporate cultures, which centre on principles such as cultivating workplace values, employee motivation, autonomy, organisational commitment, and team building, are the key to success in contemporary business (Peters & Waterman, 1982). Corporate culture is increasingly recognised as an important means of controlling workplace activities. The gain in popularity of cultural management' in recent decades has marked the point of departure from classical to contemporary management philosophy. As a novice researcher, my interest in corporate culture stems from two propositions. First, corporate culture as a form of normative control is amazingly effective for promoting teamwork2 in organisations. Proponents argue that culture building cultivates a shared meaning and purpose among team members (Fleming & Stablein, 1999), harnessing their commitment and energy towards efficiency and productivity. As a result, members are more willing to share their experience and knowledge with their counterparts, facilitating cooperation and mutual accountability (Cadwell, 1997). Promoting teamwork requires the manipulation of team values, norms, and beliefs, so that members become much more loyal and devoted to the team and organisation (Fleming & Stablein, 1999). This manipulation is achieved through designing workplace activities, ranging from daily communications to corporate meetings, training sessions, and peer gatherings. Managers design the ways in which these activities are performed and employees are responsible for the maintenance of those activities (Cadwell, 1997). They learn about team values through their participation in socialising with others. Once members have internalised these values, they come to discipline themselves in teams without the need for managerial control. Second, my interest in corporate culture also lies in the premise that this form of control is not as perfect as it has been generally envisaged. Although corporate culture is effective in fostering team spirit in organisations, members nonetheless experience intense peer pressure among themselves (Ezzamel & Willmott, 1998). Not only are members under constant supervision by their counterparts, but also are required to actively monitor their own team performance (Ezzamel & Willmott, 1998). Peer competition is intense. Some opponents, such as Kunda (1992) and Casey (1995), argued that team members, in fact, do not gain a sense of empowerment, ownership, and participation. Rather, they often experience negative emotions such as ambivalence, anxiety, fear, and pressure (Kunda, 1992; Casey, 1995). Further, employees' resistance to managerial practices of team building is a common phenomenon in the contemporary workplace (Collinson, 1994). Depending on different situations, the intensity of their resistance can range from a simple tactic of indifference to an active endeavour of manipulating critical information (Collinson, 1994). These issues challenge the utopian presuppositions of a team culture, and raise doubts about its effectiveness as a form of normative control. The two stories above have evoked my desire for thinking about team building in the context of Hong Kong — a place in which I grew up. As most current research on team culture is primarily conducted in large corporations in the U.S., such bias further stimulates my interest in finding out how Western knowledge may be applied to understanding Hong Kong people in the workplace. This is perhaps also due to the fact that I, as a research student from Hong Kong, recognise some irreducible differences between Western and Chinese cultures. Of course, these cultural differences cannot be simply reduced to a simple distinction between East and West. As it is well known, Hong Kong was a British colony with strong Chinese characteristics (which I will discuss in the second chapter). This uniqueness of Hong Kong raises questions about the typical Western view on the implications of a team culture for the employee. It forces me to ask: if Hong Kong is presumably neither a Western nor Chinese city, what are the likely problems when trying to make sense of the employee based on Western assumptions? Does a team culture have the same effects on the Hong Kong employee as those on the American? Is Western management knowledge universally applicable to every culture context? I attempt to address these questions by studying one of the branch offices of a leading British Insurance company in Hong Kong. My research study specifically focuses on both Quality Assurance and Corporate Culture as Normative Control Human Resource departments. The Quality Assurance department has a particular emphasis on teamwork, and is run by four Hong Kong staff. Three other employees of the Human Resource department are included in my study. They are the people who actively promote teamwork in the organisation. For convenience, I will call the Hong Kong branch office "ABI", the Quality Assurance department "QA", and the Human Resource department "HR".

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  • International trade and employment in French and West German manufacturing industries

    Chetwin, William (2000-10-09)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    The debate over the implications of international trade for the labour market is a prominent one both among economists and the general population. Because of that fact, and because of the absence of a comprehensive economic theory that explains the implications of trade for labour, empirical study is needed to provide a basis for the development of theory and to provide an objective basis for making policy decisions. This study aims to fill a gap in the literature by studying each of eight manufacturing industries individually, rather than pooling these together into an aggregate study as is the case in much previous work. Using data on two-digit ISIC (International Standardized Industrial Classification) manufacturing industries in France and West-Germany for the period 1970-1991, it estimates a labour demand equation for each of the eight industries and includes indicators of trade as explanatory variables. The first of the two main conclusions is that trade appears to have an effect on employment over and above its indirect effects through output, wages, and other variables. The second main conclusion is that this effect differs across industries. The implication of these conclusions is that previous studies which pool disaggregate data to look at the manufacturing industry in the aggregate may fail to provide important information about how individual industries adjust. This means that their predictions may not provide useful information on the partial equilibrium effects of trade and trade policy, and because they say little about how firms or industries adjust they do not provide useful information for the development of further theory in this area. The overall implication of this study is that more work should be carried out to ascertain the effects of trade on the labour market at a disaggregate level. Recommendations are made regarding the issues to be considered in undertaking further study in this area, and regarding approaches that should be taken in order to provide information for the development of theory, and in order to obtain results that improve the information sets of policy makers.

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  • The geology of the Round Hill area, upper Hakataramea Valley

    Falconer, Mark Lloyd (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    viii, 79 [7] leaves ; 26 cm. Bibliography: l. [84-86] University of Otago department: Geology.

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  • Falling branches, dying roots? : bank branch closure in small towns

    McKirdy, Callum Blair (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    iii, 140 leaves ; 30 cm. Bibliography: leaves 134-140. University of Otago department: Geography.

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  • Access to irrigation water : private property rights applied to water

    Milmine, Craig A. (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    58 leaves, [3] leaves of plates :ill., maps ; 27 cm. University of Otago department: Geography.

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  • "As easy as 1-2-3" : the introduction of TV3 to the New Zealand television industry

    McCauley, Craig (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    vi, 67 leaves :ill., maps, port. ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 64-67). Typescript (photocopy).

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  • Budget deficits and interest rates a bounds testing approach evidence from New Zealand

    McKenzie, Paxton L R (2000-10)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    This empirical study investigates the impact of budget deficits on long-term interest rates in a New Zealand context. Two measures of inflationary expectations are generated, one using the low frequency component of the CPI, provided by the Hodrick-Prescott filter, and the other using a survey based measure. To overcome unit root pre-testing uncertainty, a 'bounds testing approach' is employed to test for cointegration. A single-equation error correction model is then used to test the relationship. Evidence is found in favour of a positive long run relationship between budget deficits and long-term interest rates, suggesting a 'crowding out' effect.

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  • Online recruitment in New Zealand: An employers' perpective

    Breingan, Shelley (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    The aim of this research was to determine the effectiveness and future potential of online recruitment from an employers' perspective. The literature published has been restricted mainly to computer software developers and computer companies. As a result it is inherently biased. These authors seem to exaggerate the positives and only briefly mentioned the downsides of online recruitment. Consequently critical analysis is imperative. While the Internet is currently being used primarily by employers in the recruiting process many believe technology will soon allow for further expansion into the selection process and other HR functions. As a result the recruitment, selection and induction processes may be moving closer together towards a seamless integration of the hiring process. Although the Internet provides faster communication between organisations and candidates, it is however not face-to-face, which many organisations rely on for forming psychological contracts within the joining process. Employers will consequently need to address how best this issue can be resolved. Other considerations include the role of human resource practitioners in the expansive development of on-line recruitment and selection, and the part that traditional recruitment methods will play in the future. Finally, there is also the question of the extent to which small to medium sized companies will utilise this new form of recruitment.

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  • Reinstatement as a remedy for unjustified dismissal

    Mogensen, Patti-Jo (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    This study sets out to determine the factors associated with the decision by those who have been dismissed unjustly, to seek or not to seek reinstatement as a remedy. This paper explores the factors that are said to influence a grievants decision that is the influence of the size of the workforce, length of time since dismissal, trust in the employer, the expected level of tension in the workplace, the anticipated reactions of fellow employees, the immediate and or other supervisors as factors, and there influence on the decision to seek reinstatement. This paper also looks at the legislation, case law and scholarly literature as explanations to this research question. The results show that while the variables above are considered as factors it seems that the overriding consideration is the desire for the employee seeking reinstatement to consider the factors above, but to remain in employment often regardless of the hostility or resentment felt by those within the organisation towards the grievant.

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  • The professional body: How disciplinary mechanisms teach female university students a discourse of professionalism

    Chamberlain, Julie (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Popular culture and the family act as disciplinary mechanisms operating on female university students, disciplining and teaching them a discourse of professionalism prior to even entering the workplace. By way of interviews and discourse analysis, findings illustrate a contradiction in the 'professional discourse' articulated by female university students. It appears that disciplinary mechanisms operating through the family manipulate the docile female university student to describe a professional body as neutral and almost male-ish. Such attributes are conducive to male dominated bureaucracies that more than likely employ their professional parents. Popular culture on the other hand construct very sexual images and representations of professional women, which consequently sees the female university student tie an element of femininity into her conception and definition of a professional body.

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  • Data warehouses and data marts: Can these tools be implemented too early in the development of a company?

    Moyle, Sam A (2000-11)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    This document will discuss the small business and its particular needs when considering data warehouses or data marts in conjunction with business intelligence tools. We will discuss some of the history of the data warehouse genre, and how it relates to the small business. Issues of data model architecture and development strategies are also discussed with the purpose of discovering techniques that help the developer maximise return from their time investment. Proposed or expected benefits should be ascertained before the data warehouse is built. This provides management with information upon which to base decisions, particularly important where resources are tight. Especially important is time till cost recovery, which allows financial benefit to be calculated. The process (or methodology) by which data warehouses are developed is discussed. Current practice is shown, and it is noted that there are no real ‘hard and fast’ rules that govern this process. Industry-accepted ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ are listed for discussion. There are two questions being asked by this document. The first, “Can these tools be implemented too early in the development of a company”, is answered by implementing a pre-packaged data warehouse, with associated business intelligence tools, as a pilot project for a small company. From this implementation conclusions will be drawn about whether the company is mature enough to warrant such a tool. The second question asked is “Can we generate heuristics that will enable small business to assess the value of a data warehouse, before implementation?” Through this implementation it will be established that heuristic rules may be derived to guide small-business people in their pre-implementation decision making. However, a number of implementations will need to be completed before similarities can be accurately identified and rules derived.

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  • Came a hot Friday

    O'Sullivan, Dena (2000)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    `Casual Fridays' are an increasingly popular phenomenon, which allows employees to lose the suit, ties and other corporate wear to don more relaxed attire. However it appears to have differing affects on individuals as well as the organisations involved. Research was conducted to investigate the notion of 'casual Fridays', more specifically how members of one local Dunedin organisation perceive it. Is it enjoyed and willingly practiced? What are the reasons for its enjoyment or objection? Have `casual Fridays' been beneficial for the organisation and the employees? And do these benefits outweigh the problems for all those involved? Each of these questions were addressed throughout this dissertation. Through the use of qualitative analysis, four main themes were discovered which helped explain the 'casual Friday' concept. These broad themes were; Definition Discrepancies, Image, Social Issues and Practical Implications. Each of these themes helped illustrate the tension between agency and structure as well as gaining an understanding into the overall impression of the 'casual Friday' concept. On the whole members of this organisation appeared to enjoy the 'casual Friday' policy.

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  • Taking a trip : A critical analysis of the discourse of workplace drug testing

    Lynch, Alena (2000-11)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    The argument at the centre of this dissertation is that dominant discourses inform the practice of workplace drug testing. These discourses produce drug-testing knowledge in specific ways that impose restraints on the way in which this topic is constructed. Assumptions that render managerial prerogative, scientific rationality and the disciplining effects of the body unproblematic inform particular dominant truths about drug testing. Advocates of workplace drug testing primarily argue on the grounds of increasing productivity and ensuring a working environment free from health and safety risks. Among these advocates is the New Zealand Employers Federation who published a drug-testing guide for employers, stipulating the legal responsibilities New Zealand employers have under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. It is this guide that forms the analytical focus of this dissertation. The practice of workplace drug testing does have opponents however who argue that it is an infringement of employees' right to privacy. Within New Zealand legislation such as the Privacy Act 1993 and the Human Rights Act 1993 are commonly cited both by advocates and opponents of workplace drug testing; advocates claim that if drug-testing programmes are introduced and administered according to clear guidelines these Acts need not be contravened; opponents argue that drug-testing programmes, sophisticated as they might be, cannot ensure a healthy and safe working environment and by the very nature of drug testing, i.e. urinalysis, it is an unnecessary intrusion into the private lives of employees. Although these arguments are compelling in terms of the legal obligations of employers, they fail to critically analyse the assumptions that provide the foundation to the framing of drug-testing discourse. Cavanaugh & Prasad offer a critical perspective on workplace drug testing, arguing that it is a symbolic form of managerial control. Their argument is, however, simplistic and does not address the types of control that drug testing imposes, nor does it offer a convincing argument of the historical precedents that implicitly allow organisations to introduce drug-testing programmes. By employing a Foucauldian perspective, critical analysis illustrates the way in which language structures the discourse of workplace drug testing within a historical context.

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