While recent Labour and coalition governments have insisted that many unemployed people prefer state benefits to a job, and have tightened the rules attached to claiming unemployment benefits, mainstream academic research repeatedly concludes that only a tiny minority of unemployed benefit claimants are not strongly committed to employment. Andrew Dunn argues that the discrepancy can be explained by UK social policy academia leaving important questions unanswered. Dunn presents findings from four empirical studies which, in contrast to earlier research, focused on unemployed people's attitudes towards unattractive jobs and included interviews with people in welfare-to-work organisations. All four studies' findings were consistent with the view that many unemployed benefit claimants prefer living on benefits to undertaking jobs which would increase their income, but which they find unattractive. Thus, the studies gave support to politicians' view about the need to tighten benefit rules.
Chronicling the lives and career choices of a dynamic group of women, this book provides a comprehensive and unique glimpse into the intricate balance of work and family. Women's Employment and Homemaking Careers is based on three surveys, the first conducted while the women were attending university and the second and third conducted one and two decades later. The surveys provide quantitative data that supplements the qualitative material gained from final interviews conducted at the end of the 25-year longitudinal study. The book is based on two comparisons - first, examining how women change in the quarter century following university and the second comparing the lifestyle choices of career women, homemakers, part-time employees and entrepreneurs - and uses those comparisons to build in-depth analyses of the pivotal importance of women's employment and family decisions. Cherlyn Granrose interprets her findings using lifespan development, decision-making and gender role theories and outlines lessons for women, their counselors and employers as well as other scholars. Women learn there are many different means by which to create satisfying family and working lives; employers learn the importance of positive supervision and flexible family support policies; and scholars learn the necessity of using multiple methods and perspectives to understand the complexity of modern women's lives. Scholars and students of sociology, psychology, business and women's studies will find this volume as informative as they will find it interesting.
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