Attityder till arbete i Västeuropa och USA. Teoretiska perspektiv och analyser av data från sex länder Attitudes toward Work in Western Europe and the United States - theoretical perspectives and empirical analyses of data from six countries

Detta är en avhandling från Göteborg : Göteborg University

Sammanfattning: This thesis studies attitudes toward work, the structural and culturai factors which are important for how individuals regard work, and the psychological processes that can generate different attitudes toward work. The empirical material analysed consists of two questionnaire surveys (Work orienta­tio n 1997 and 1989) under the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). The countries stud­ied are Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA. By factor analysis, four attitude patterns are identified. The first, called an altruistic attitude, emphasizes the social value of work. The second is called a materialistic attitude and values career opportunities and high salary. In the third, an instrumental attitude, work is seen primarilyas ameans of sustenance. The fourth attitude pattern is called an individualistic attitude and values independ­ence in work. These attitude patterns are established with varying strength in different countries. An explanatory model is tested that combines two social dimensions: hierarchy and social integra­tion. The model forms four situations in which the different attitudes are assumed to be common. The model is tested empirically and has greatest relevance in Sweden, Germany and Norway. The altruistic attitude is most common in a situation of subordination and high loyalty toward the organization. The instrumental attitude is commonest in a subordinate position where the employee feels low loyalty toward the organization. The individualistic attitude is most widespread among pro­fessionals with low loyalty toward the organization. The materialistic attitude is commonest among managers with high loyalty toward the organization. In the other three countries, the expected pat­terns occur only for the instrumental attitude toward work. The thesis investigates whether three psychological processes are active in the mode!. The first process emphasizes learning: an individual draws lessons from his/her working situation and expresses perceptions that are realistic in it. The general empirical result is that the attitudes are expressed in working situations which have the characteristics that are valued by those attitudes. The instrumental attitude deviates in exhibiting a negative connection with favourable working condi­tions. The second process concerns the importance of identifYing with the organization's values and norms for the attitudes expressed by the individual. This is studied empirically by analysing the connections between loyalty and the different attitudes. Public employees in several countries show a strong link between loyalty to the organization and an altruistic attitude toward work. For the instrumental attitude, there is a dear negative connection with loyalty. The third process involves the significance of contradictory working situations for the individual's attitudes. These situations are defined by conflict between the individual's lhner values and his/her knowledge of externai condi­tions. In Sweden and Germany, the altruistic attitude is of ten expressed by private employees who are anxious about losing their jobs and, at the same time, feel highly loyal toward the organization. The individualistic attitude is expressed by individuals who have career ambitions and simultaneously feel dissatisfied about their present work. The results indicate that the altruistic and individualistic attitudes may be expressed in order to cope with contradictory working situations.

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