Faraday, Judith (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
During the interwar period, a radical departure from earlier traditional management practices in British department stores can be identified. Increasing trade, combined with the introduction of new systems and stock, required a dramatic increase in the number and calibre of managers employed to run the shops. Using a case study approach, this thesis will identify the reasons for the implementation of a new recruitment and employment strategy. For the John Lewis Partnership, it considers how this translated into jobs and opportunities for middle-class educated women, a group of workers whose experience of the work place has previously received little academic attention. It assesses the contribution the women made to the overall development of the company. Addressing the social and practical issues which surrounded their employment, with specific reference to staff turnover, pay and conditions, the thesis considers how these recruits were perceived by their employer, their peers and by themselves. It presents a group of workers who entered and often left the workplace after achieving levels of managerial status. It identifies the influence these women were able to exert on their employers, creating and retaining their position within specialist fields of employment and dominating the middle management of the John Lewis Partnership during the period 1918 - 1950.
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