Handbook of Research Methods on the Quality of Working Lives
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Handbook of Research Methods on the Quality of Working Lives

Edited by Daniel Wheatley

The growing diversity of contemporary paid work has provoked increased interest in understanding and evaluating the quality of working lives. This Handbook provides critical reflections on recent research in the field, including examining the inextricable links between working life and well-being.
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Chapter 8: Using discursive methods to research the quality of working lives

Cath Sullivan


This chapter considers the potential for discursive research methods for understanding quality of life and well-being within organisations. Micro forms of analysis, such as Discursive Psychology, and also more macro level approaches, such as Critical Discourse Analysis are described and some theoretical and methodological differences between these approaches are considered. The chapter goes on to consider examples from published research including the use of discourse analysis to explore the International Labour Organization’s concept of Decent Work (Di Ruggiero et al., 2015) and conversation analysis to research the structure and organisation of interactions in performance appraisals (Sandlund et al., 2011). These examples illustrate how these methods can explicate the way that interactions in organisational settings are organised and managed and illuminate how language use challenges or supports powerful social understandings that shape and influence our working lives.

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