Quality of work life on participant workers employed in social enterprises in Jamaica and its impact on experiences of social inclusion

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Myers-Davis, Erica (2017) Quality of work life on participant workers employed in social enterprises in Jamaica and its impact on experiences of social inclusion. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


This research examines participant workers’ experiences of social inclusion and quality of work life while employed at social enterprises in Jamaica. Social enterprises have been promoted as a panacea for society’s ills, such as social exclusion. Jamaica has limited safety nets, high rates of poverty and an inadequately funded public education and healthcare system. There are some 4,000 social enterprises in operation, focused on community empowerment, economic prosperity, community safety and stewardship. To explore this issue, the research develops a theoretical framework, the access-participation-empowerment model (APE), based on Gidley et al’s (2010) model of social inclusion interventions nested within the ideological underpinnings of neoliberalism, social justice and human potential. This thesis takes a case study approach. The data sources comprise semi-structured interviews, examination of company documents and articles, a review of the literature and direct observations. Interviews were conducted with 16 participant workers, management and stakeholders of two social enterprises located in urban and rural Jamaica. This thesis takes a novel approach in engaging with marginalised participant workers. Their lived experience is recorded and shared, with the intention to expose the structural inequalities they face and to enable academics, practitioners and policymakers to inform, modify or restructure their practices and policies. The research explains that social inclusion and quality of work life is experienced in three ways. First, access means being financially independent, and having control over one’s finances, regardless of how little is earned. Second, it is experienced through participation in community activities, the ability to make decisions in the workplace and improved personal relationships. Finally, it is experienced by engaging with exclusionary agents on an individual level and having one’s voice heard. The research did not find that social enterprises challenge or remove structural exclusion or institutional barriers.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/36950
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
Keywords access-participation-empowerment model; APE; social exclusion; social inclusion intervention; economic inclusion; work integrated social enterprises; WISEs; marginalised communities
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