Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Supporting individuals' transformation of the self at work during recovery from alcoholism
by Iversen, Chris, Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2011, 357; 3439698
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to understand the process of transforming the self during recovery from alcoholism and to identify the characteristics of work life that support an alcoholic’s transformation of self at work. Problems with alcohol affect productivity and morale in the workplace. An individual’s recovery from alcoholism can be dramatically affected by his or her work life. In this context, work life refers to how one lives and makes a living. The recovering worker is embedded in a community or system of work life, although it has been unclear how one’s work life can be adapted to support the transformation of self.

This study utilized a conversational hermeneutic inquiry design. Twelve participants in addition to the researcher and his wife were involved in the study and engaged in two rounds of research conversations and a follow-up conversation to confirm the researcher’s interpretations and understanding. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and the creation of an interpretative spiral for each participant.

Regarding participants’ changes in their work-related self-awareness, participants reported becoming aware of their perfectionist tendencies as well as becoming aware of their fear and anxiety. Regarding participants’ changes in their work-related behaviors, they reported developing work life boundaries and work-life balance, a servant model of work-life roles, and greater resilience for work challenges.

Participants reported that the factors that support recovery include establishing clear polices that allow people to pursue transformation, allowing employee autonomy and self-expression, avoiding a drinking culture, and aligning with principles of recovery. Factors that obstruct recovery include supervisors’ and coworkers’ misperceptions about alcoholism and recovery, poor support for and discouragement of recovery, and lack of support for individual needs.

The key practical recommendation emerging from this study is to discuss issues of recovery in the workplace. One recommendation for research includes studying the factors that support and obstruct recovery across industries—especially those known for high and low rates of alcohol abuse and recovery. A second recommendation for research is to develop a cultural assessment that helps determine how recovery supportive (or inhibitive) an organization is.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jaffe, Dennis
Commitee: Adams, John, Southern, Nancy L.
School: Saybrook University
Department: Organizational Systems
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Occupational health, Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Addiction, Alcoholism, Recovery, Self, Transformation, Work life
Publication Number: 3439698
ISBN: 978-1-124-45124-4
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