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Academic Journal Articles

INSIGHT

 

Fevre, R., Robinson, A., Lewis, D and Jones, T. ‘The Ill-treatment of Disabled Employees in British Workplaces’, forthcoming in Work, Employment and Society

There are few quantitative studies which show the workplace is experienced in a different way by employees with disabilities. This article fills this gap using data from the British Workplace Behaviour Survey which found that employees with disabilities and long-term illnesses were more likely to suffer ill-treatment in the workplace and experienced a broader range of ill-treatment. Different types of disability were associated with different types of ill-treatment. The survey also showed who employees with disabilities blamed for their ill-treatment and why they believed the ill-treatment had occurred. Drawing on the existing literature, four possible explanations for ill-treatment are considered: negative affect raises perceptions of ill-treatment; ill-treatment leads to health effects; ill-treatment results from stigma or discrimination; ill-treatment is a consequence of workplace social relations. Although some of these explanations are stronger than others, the discussion shows that more research is required in order to decide between them.

 

Jones, T. Robinson, A., Fevre, R. and Lewis, D. ‘Workplace Assaults in Britain: Understanding the Influence of Individual and Workplace Characteristics’ British Journal of Criminology  51(1): 159-178, doi: 10.1093/bjc/azq064  (ISSN: 0007-0955) 2011.

Studies based on British Crime Survey (BCS) data suggest that the overall incidence of workplace assault is relatively low. However, these data have a number of limitations. They include only assaults carried out by clients or the public, provide limited information about the individuals involved and their workplaces, and tell us little about perceived causes of violence at work. The 2008 Workplace Behaviour Survey (WBS) presents a more detailed picture than has hitherto been available about the extent and nature of interpersonal assaults at work. This paper discusses in detail the WBS findings regarding the prevalence, frequency and patterns of workplace assaults in Britain.

 

Fevre. R., Grainger, H. and Brewer, R., ‘Discrimination and Unfair Treatment in the Workplace’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 49:S2 July  pp. s207–s235 doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2010.00798.x (ISSN: 0007–1080) 2011.

The difficulties of researching discrimination are often unacknowledged when policy makers draw on survey data. We explore these difficulties by means of a discussion informed by labour-market sociology and a subsequent empirical discussion that draws on the results of the first Fair Treatment at Work Survey (FTWS). The great majority of respondents to the FTWS appeared to trust instrumental rationality to ensure that there was no discrimination in the labour market or the workplace. Given what we know of the difficulties of establishing the existence of discrimination, this widespread belief in its absence is shown to be ideological. It is both a determinant of survey results and an obstacle to changes needed to address patterns of disadvantage.

 

Fevre, R., Robinson, A., Jones, T. and Lewis, D. ‘Researching workplace bullying: the benefits of taking an integrated approach’  International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Vol. 13, No. 1, February 71 – 85. 2010.

This paper explores the difficulties encountered by researchers attempting to measure the prevalence of negative workplace behaviours and how these might be overcome. Drawing on the first stage of a major ESRC-funded study of workplace behaviours in Britain, we demonstrate the importance of improved sampling and data collection methods. We show how judicious use of qualitative data derived from cognitive testing of survey questions can improve substantially the reliability and validity of data. In particular, we explain how a battery of questions devised by social psychologists and used as a standard measure in surveys was tested and revised following a series of 60 in-depth interviews. These revisions ranged from fairly minor changes in wording, in order to make questions better understood, to the elimination of questions which our qualitative work persuaded us were not capturing data in the way that other researchers might have assumed they did.