This qualitative case study examines the work life histories of 6 retired men who worked as papermakers in Fitchburg, Massachusetts from the 1950s to the 1980s. This group is part of a rapidly declining workforce engaged in industrial work in the United States. Using multiple in-depth interviews, the research focuses on the evolving meaning of work for the men, who were employed at the same company, in the same job group, for 25 years or more. This inquiry explores work values, from the men's initial decisions to join the mill, through their last days as a papermaker. Through the years their job became more than a paycheck, as the men developed awareness that papermaking was a craft, a personal outlet for creative expression. This sense of craft enhanced their daily roles at the mill and contributed to their understanding of work and it's meaning for them. The study also explores the pivotal importance of family in providing support to the papermakers as they met the demands of balancing life and work during weekly rotating shifts. The findings suggest that regardless of the type of work or conditions, work is invested with meaning through labor that provides a livelihood, craft that affirms contribution of skills, and activity that integrates work and family time.
|Advisor:||Barstow, Alan M.|
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Management, Occupational psychology, Individual & family studies, Labor relations|
|Keywords:||Craft, Industrial workers, Job satisfaction, Oral history(ies), Work & meaning, Work motivation|
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