The examination of supply chain pressures and worker agency in job quality : the case of Scottish spirits industry

  • Jose Mendonca Cardoso

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examines the impact of supply chain pressures and workers' agency on job quality in the Scottish Spirits Industry. The examination of these issues is achieved through exploring how supply chain dynamics influence employers' behaviours, and how these in turn shape job quality at the workplace level. Moreover, this thesis looks at the active role of workers, through collective and individual means, in shaping job quality.The empirical evidence draws on qualitative research from three organisational case studies,in Scottish Spirits Industry, that operate in the same production network. This study reports on 67 semi-structured interviews and three focus groups with senior managers, supply chain managers, site managers, line managers, HR staff or managers,shop-floor workers, and union representatives. Moreover, document analysis and long hours of workplace observation were key methods applied during fieldwork.The research evidence highlighted that supply chain pressures deeply impacted job quality in all three case-studies. The power and control dynamics stemming from product and capital markets were decisive actors which impacted the ways in which employers used specific work and employment patterns in order to cope with these pressures. As a result, there was a clear and marked deterioration of job quality. At the same time, the data demonstrated a latent determination from workers, across all three case-studies, to recast this condition. This was examined, firstly, by examining the ways in which supply chain pressures influence workers' capacity to mobilise; and, secondly, by exploring the ways in which worker agency, through collective and individual forms, was able to regulate and shape job quality.This research study contributes to our understanding of the factors that shape job quality by examining the dynamics happening at the sectoral and supply chain level, by considering the power and control dynamics stemming from product and capital markets,and the dynamics played within the employment relationship between managers and workers. This thesis, then, develops the argument that job quality analysis is strengthened by the examination of factors happening within the national institutional, sectoral, and organisational settings.
Date of Award3 Apr 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorDora Scholarios (Supervisor) & Kirsty Newsome (Supervisor)

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