Management and Marketing - Doctoral Theses

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    Labour market segmentation and change: the case of female workers in the higher education sector in Saudi Arabia
    (University College Cork, 2023) Alqurashi, Bayan Naif A.; Leka, Stavroula; O'Brien, Elaine; Beck, Matthias
    Research indicates that female workers in the Middle East experience barriers in their labour market access and mobility. However, little is known about the impact of labour market modernization on the job and labour market experiences of this group of workers. This qualitative study was designed to explore, with a sample of female academics, the impact of labour market change on their jobs and working conditions. The rationale for this research emanates from the researcher’s desire to understand labour market change and the ways this change is impacting the job and labour market experiences of female workers. It was the researcher’s assumption that gaining a deep and holistic understanding of female workers’ job and labour market experiences would support the development of effective policy interventions that are attuned to the reality of female works in a changing segmented labour market and mitigate unintended negative consequences on their wellbeing. The purposefully selected sample was composed of 30 Saudi-national female academics who were drawn from different higher education institutions across Saudi Arabia. The primary data collection method was in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data was systematically coded and thematically analysed. Analysis and interpretation of findings were based on the literature review and answering the research three questions: (1) female workers’ mobility patterns and the labour market structure for female workers, (2) the ways institutional factors shape and impact academic jobs, and (3) psychosocial working conditions in academic jobs, their impact by labour market change, and implications for faculty wellbeing. This research found that female workers face a structural obstacle of limited job opportunity upon their entry to the labour market which forces them to compromise on the quality of their early career jobs. However, institutional change in the labour market is expanding their labour market opportunity. Second, public higher education institutions constitute internal labour markets where access to employment is controlled whereas private higher education institutions operate in an external competitive labour market where employment is subject to market factors. Third, the relationship the higher education institution has with state funding and the employment system followed in the employment of female academics differentiate compensation, employment stability, and employee training for this group of workers across the higher education labour market. Fourth, academic jobs are meaningful, include social support, and provide opportunity for development while at the same time lack job clarity in some areas, include restriction in job autonomy as well as time pressure. Nevertheless, academic jobs are considered good jobs by labour market standards and resourceful by organizational psychology standards and these characteristics combined render them supportive of faculty wellbeing. Recommendations are offered for future research, policy, and practice. Given the institutional complexity of the research context and acknowledging that context varies across cultures and economies, the research findings should be transferred to situations sharing key characteristics and the recommendations considered for their appropriateness for the situation of interest.
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    Hedonistic deconsumption and upcycling: active, emotional and pleasurable engagement with waste
    (University College Cork, 2019) O'Rourke, Grace; O'Sullivan, Stephen; Buckley, Joan
    A global environmental crisis and climate emergency have been declared. The planet cannot sustain current levels of resource depletion and waste production. To address this emergency, it is critical that we understand how sustainable consumption can become more widespread. Previous sustainable consumption research has directed attention towards passive or arduous forms of sustainable consumption (e.g. recycling), however, alternative practices such as freeganism, dumpster diving, and upcycling in particular, show emotional engagement with waste is evident, but underexplored. Alternative practices, and their apparent emotional and expressive nature, could hold the potential for a more widespread, celebrated culture of sustainable consumption as they hold attractive consumption characteristics. To gain an understanding of the pleasurable reasons to engage with sustainable consumption, and specifically upcycling, hedonism was used as a lens for this study. To understand the intricacies of the active, emotional and pleasurable nature of upcycling, a longitudinal immersive study was required. A blended-ethnography, consisting of traditional ethnographic data collection, supported by netnography (to understand online support networks) and visual ethnography (to understand object meanings), was required to capture the hands-on nature of the upcycling process. This study found that the elicitation of positive emotions plays a central role in the upcycling process. A conceptual framework illustrating the upcycling experience was developed, contributing to the ongoing research in the field of sustainable consumption. In practice, this study proposes that the facilitation of hedonistic deconsumption has the potential to contribute to degrowth strategies, and act as a desirable stepping stone towards a cleaner environment.
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    The role of cognitive-motivational traits in leader identity development: an expectancy theory perspective
    (University College Cork, 2022-11) Greeley, Sarah Ashley; Carbery, Ronan; McDonnell, Anthony; Barrett, Gillian; Irish Research Council
    Leader identity is the aspect of the self that is viewed as being and behaving as a leader. The development of leader identity is an important process to understand as it guides multiple facets of an individual’s leadership from affect to cognition and behavior, ultimately influencing leader and leadership development. However, there is little knowledge of how leader identities develop. While motivation is theorized to be integral to catalyzing leader identity development, no research has yet viewed leader identity development through a motivational lens. In not discerning the essential role of motivation in this process, complete understanding of leader identity development remains unclear, disallowing the practical application of this foundational leadership phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to understand the role of cognitive-motivational traits in instigating leader identity development. To clarify the antecedent relationship of motivation on leader identity development, this study develops a conceptual expectancy model which posits that self-efficacy, goal orientation, and perceived prototypicality instigate leader identity development through enhancing the motivation to engage in identity work. The conceptual model is tested by employing a three-wave, longitudinal, quantitative research design to track the rates of leader identity development of 109 individuals engaged in leadership development programs. Utilizing structural equation modeling and cross-lagged panel analyses, the findings reveal that self-efficacy and perceived prototypicality are the most influential in the development of a leader identity. However, these relationships weaken over time, suggesting that leader identity development experiences a plateauing effect. This study makes a significant theoretical contribution by advancing understanding of leader identity development as a function of expectancy perceptions. Self-efficacy and perceived prototypicality predict individual expectancies, which motivate active engagement in identity work, resulting in leader identity development. A critical methodological contribution is made through identifying a new factor structure within the currently accepted global measure of leader identity. This study suggests that to harness the power of leader identity development, it is important for organizations and practitioners to approach every stage of designing and implementing leadership development initiatives from an identity perspective. In doing so, organizations can begin to develop more effective leaders through placing a greater focus on the foundational role of leader identity within the broader leadership development process. This will have effects from the intrapersonal level of leader identity to the collective level of organizational leadership.
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    Making sense of incentive experiences: a discourse analysis of middle managers’ accounts
    (University College Cork, 2021-06-03) Fives, Olive; Linehan, Carol; Pantidi, Nadia
    Incentives (inducements to motivate performance) are a pervasive and persistent feature of middle management compensation in spite of on-going challenges to their efficacy, cost, and more recently, their impact on employees. Most research to date focuses on the achievement of organisational outcomes with very little examination of employees’ experience of incentive policy, content or practice. This thesis presents an empirical investigation of employee experiences of financial incentives in the workplace to surface richer, more nuanced insights and specifically to explore middle managers sensemaking about their experiences of and reactions to incentive practices. Understanding more about middle managers’ sensemaking about incentives will contribute to our understanding of the effects of these instruments (and other HRM practices) on the employment relationship. This study adopts a social constructionist ontology, qualitative methodology and discourse analysis method to examine middle managers’ sensemaking of workplace incentives within the micro context of the organisation and macro context of wider managerialist discourses. Selected data from the transcripts of interviews with 17 participants from different organisations and sectors is subjected to discourse analysis. The research addresses the following questions: What are middle managers’ discursive constructions of incentives and how are these are drawn upon and deployed in sensemaking of incentive practices? To what extent do dominant incentive discourses of instrumentality, meritocracy, equity etc. feature in accounts and how are these discourses mobilised by participants? Looking inside the ‘black box’ of participant interpretations of and reactions to incentives, how do they think and feel about incentives and incentive events? How are these sensemaking constructions, perceptions and (re)actions mobilised in identity construction? viii This thesis presents five main findings. First instrumental motivation theories do not fully describe how middle managers experience incentives: while instrumental economic and psychological motivation theories can explain the effects of simple piece rate incentives for discrete independent tasks, this is less true for complex, multi-layered incentives for interdependent, difficult to measure tasks. Second, incentives affect employees’ interpretation of both explicit economic exchanges and implicit social exchanges in the workplace: although set up as a straightforward economic exchange of reward for goals reached, incentive experiences involve a reciprocal exchange of both tangible and intangible resources over time. Third, incentive awards and practices provide sensegiving and sensebreaking cues which contribute to identity related sensemaking, not only in relation to ‘who one is’, but more often ‘who one is becoming’ or ‘who one will/can be’. Fourth, identity sensemaking by middle managers features ‘sensescanning’ (i.e. scanning for cues and interpretation of observations) more than sense-demanding or feedback seeking. Finally, a combination of future orientation, equity considerations, morale costs and identity related sensemaking points to cumulative and enduring interpretations of and reactions to incentive policy and practice. The research contributes new, illuminating insights into the practice and experience of middle management incentives, with implications for management and HR practice. This research makes a conceptual contribution by adopting a sensemaking lens to the study of employees’ perceptions of and reactions (within and to) incentive experiences to explain how a specific HR practice affects employees. This approach advances our understanding of the ‘black box’ of employee sensemaking of HRM.
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    Multi-party working relationships in the gig economy: examining the experiences of app-workers and the role of algorithmic management
    (University College Cork, 2021-03) Duggan, James; Sherman, Ultan; Carbery, Ronan; McDonnell, Anthony; Irish Research Council
    The gig economy has emerged as a significant theme of debate in the world of work. Gig work is non-standard in nature and facilitated by digital platform organisations who use algorithmic technologies to intermediate between gig workers and customers. The aim of this research is to examine the nature of multi-party working relationships in the gig economy, with a specific focus on understanding app-based gig workers’ experiences with algorithmic management. As a publication-based thesis, this research draws on multiple theoretical perspectives from employment relations and human resource management (HRM) to examine the unique features of gig work. Adopting a constructivist approach, this study draws on semi-structured interviews with 56 gig workers to examine their role in the working relationship, their perceptions of algorithmic management, and career-related issues in this form of labour. Findings illustrate that the pervasiveness of algorithmic management results in significant fragmentation of the working relationship. While some workers are content with the arrangement, most report concerns over the intense labour process control enabled by algorithms. Findings also indicate that algorithmic management hinders workers’ abilities to develop transferable competencies useful in seeking more secure arrangements, potentially trapping individuals in the hyper-flexible work forms found in the gig economy. This research articulates several contributions. Conceptually, this study proposes a complete typology of gig work, thereby departing from monolithic conceptualisations and identifying the most significant HRM and employment relations implications of algorithmic management. Empirically, this thesis adopts labour process and boundaryless career perspectives to contribute novel insights on the role of algorithmic management in shaping workers’ experiences in an especially insecure work form. Practically, this research provides insights on the most complex and problematic aspects of app-work, which hold particular relevance given ongoing efforts to develop effective policy responses.