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Revealing Themes: Applying a Positive Lens to the Chapter on Poverty and Low-Wage Work

  • Author(s): Pearce, Jone
  • Editor(s): Golden-Biddle, Karen
  • Dutton, Jane E
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License

Poverty also means dearth, and there certainly has been a dearth of attention in the organizational sciences to the organizations that grap­ple with the problem of poverty. Study of the causes and effects of pov­erty have been central to many of the behavioral and social sciences disciplines-with the glaring exception of the organizational sciences. Only recently have scholars from the range of organizational fields begun to bring their distinctive lens and knowledge to questions of poverty (e.g., Pearce, 2005, 2007; Spreitzer, 2007). Taking the positive organizational scholarship frame has been particularly valuable to this undertaking; with its focus on taking a positive stance toward par­ticipants, toward conflicts and barriers, and its emphasis on positive spirals of change, this framing has helped the early efforts to flower into a genuine movement, as is reflected in the mature research in the four chapters in Part V of this book. These works do not focus on changing organizations themselves, but on the organizations that are struggling to effectively change some of society's intractable problems. Organizations that address poverty struggle to be effective, and these chapters demonstrate the ways organizational scientists can help these organizations, as well as advance our organizational theorizing. There no social change more positive than effectively addressing the ancient scourge of poverty.

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