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The Ethnographic Contribution to Understanding Co-worker Relations


  • Randy Hodson


Relations among co-workers are becoming both more important and more complex in modern workplaces as authority over job decisions is shifted from supervisors to quasi-independent teams. The author develops a model of co-worker relations that recognizes these changes and evaluates this model using data content coded from the full population of published book-length workplace ethnographies ("N =" 204). Confirmatory factor analysis techniques support the existence of three distinct aspects of co-worker relations: cohesiveness, conflict and peer supervision. The most important determinants of co-worker relations are employee involvement programmes and management behaviour. Returning to specific case studies allows a theoretical elaboration of how employee involvement and management behaviour condition co-worker relations. The author concludes by noting the importance of intellectual exchanges between qualitative and quantitative methods for generating new advances in the study of work and employment relations. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2008.

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  • Randy Hodson, 2008. "The Ethnographic Contribution to Understanding Co-worker Relations," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 169-192, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:46:y:2008:i:1:p:169-192

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beynon, Huw & Grimshaw, Damian & Rubery, Jill & Ward, Kevin, 2002. "Managing Employment Change: The New Realities of Work," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248704.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schieman, Scott & Reid, Sarah, 2009. "Job authority and health: Unraveling the competing suppression and explanatory influences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 1616-1624, December.
    2. Stephen J. Deery & Roderick D. Iverson & Janet T. Walsh, 2010. "Coping Strategies in Call Centres: Work Intensity and the Role of Co-workers and Supervisors," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(1), pages 181-200, March.

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