Purpose – This paper aims to reflect on the work of Virginia E. Schein and her paper “The functions of work‐related group participation for poor women in developing countries: an exploratory look.” Design/methodology/approach – Professor Schein traveled to Nicaragua, to lower‐income settings, where she observed and recorded the experiences of women working in self‐organized groups, and used those observations to argue to the profession generally that self‐organized groups of women, however marginal the work itself, can be instrumental in developing the key sense of agency, and self‐efficacy. These are basic capabilities; the stuff of the Millennium Development Goals. Findings – For this special issue, therefore, the authors have made Schein's 2003 study a focal point. To set the context they asked Dr Schein to reiterate the rationale for the research, and provide a brief overview of the original observations. To help expand the debate on gender, work and poverty reduction, the authors have asked noted colleagues to provide a series of Commentaries on the original article. Originality/value – Women, especially those raising children alone, are among the poorest of the poor in developing and more developed economies. Research that is applicable and relevant to their work‐related concerns can and should be a larger part of worldwide efforts to reduce poverty. Organizational psychology has much to contribute to those long‐overdue efforts.
Journal of Managerial Psychology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 16, 2011
Keywords: Poverty; Women workers; Developing countries; Emerging economies