Tag Archives: Poland

Working rights in Poland

The Niezalezny Samorzadny Zwiazek Zawodowy “Solidarnosc” (NSZZ SOLIDARNOSC) reported the dismissal of a shop steward at ADO factory located in the special economic zone of Legnica in March 2013 for having hung a union flag at the factory’s gate. The Polish National Forest company also sent a letter to a Solidarnosc to prohibit displaying flags during protests.

There have been numerous reports on discriminatory dismissal of trade unionists. In December 2013, Adam Guzy was dismissed from Fakos Ltd due to his trade union activities. A complaint asking for reinstatement and compensation has been filed with the courts. Trade unionist Robert Kluga who works for CCP “PREMA” SA in Kielce was dismissed during the negotiations of a collective agreement in March 2014 with a view to undermine the collective bargaining process. LG Electronics  Wroclaw targeted union members in the company in order to crush the existence of the union by not renewing employment contracts of union activists and leaders. In November 2013, Leszek Rudzinski, a shop steward at Lubelskich Liniach Autobusowych and a union chairman, was dismissed during a collective dispute. Both the National Labour Inspection and the Court have deemed the dismissal unlawful, and M. Rudzinski has been reinstated and compensated.

Source: International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global rights index: the world’s worst countries for workers.

European regional Statistics Illustrated

Today I stumbled across this sophisticate Eurostat tool that allow map social and economic data by European regions. It is similar to the one I commented in an earlier post, also from Eurostat. But what I like most here is the possibility to visualize data in a variety of charts such as distribution plot, scatter plot, bar chart or data table. Well, I also love the animated maps that show the data evolution. They are superb, aren´t they? Visit here the site

Outstanding website with 300.000 economic indicators for 196 countries

Nowy obraz (22)

I found something very interesting when looking for secondary dat on Poland GDP growth rate. It is an outstanding tool to compare economic indicators by countries. They offer, among other things, the exportation of data into excel as well as represent it in maps.

Further details here

Transnational secondary data on mobility and transport in Europe

New Picture (33)

The European Commission has published for the first time a scoreboard on transport infrastructure ranking the EU’s 28 member states. Secondary data on a wide number of indicators can be consulted. The Commission used data from Eurostat, the European Environment Agency, the World Bank and the OECD to come up with the scores. The online tool can be broken down my mode of transport (road, rail, waterborne, air) or by categories including infrastructure, adherence with EU law, logistics, access to market and environmental impact. Scoreboard can only offer a snapshot, but it gives a point of reference and a good source to inspire research on mobility and transport.

“Gendered strategies of resistance in the workplace”. An example of participant observation study

I intend to focus on the issue of gendered economic relations on the labor market. I would like to investigate how the feminization of work is produced (on the macro level: by economic, state and labor market transition of diverse sector of the economy) and reproduced (in the every-day life experience of women workers). The main question would therefore be: how is global capitalist economic restructuring affecting the lives of Polish women workers? Furthermore, to escape the binary vision of gender/power relations, I will also look for women’s strategies of resistance to better understand if and why the women workers struggle is possible, and how it deconstructs their subordinate position and brings empowerment. In my PhD thesis I intend to study gender/power-class relations in one of the factories in the Walbrzych Special Economic Zone and also conduct desk research on special economic zones in Poland. This will enable me to grasp the chain of capital flow and its linkages with the local market and women workers’ experiences. No research on special economic zones from a feminist and workers rights perspective has been done in Poland. In the media and policy makers’ accounts, the zones are a success story in bringing in foreign investment, generating jobs, and enhancing the competitiveness of Polish economy. They are described as a solution to unemployment in Poland following transitional crisis, when over 5 million jobs were lost between 1992 and 2004. Precarious work, violations of labor rights, depletion of local government income, environmental costs, and impact on women are not addressed. Given this, my research project would try to provide a new background knowledge for political organizing on women’s and labor rights.

The paper would therefore be the excerpt of the theoretical framework that I have been study recently. Thus, I would like to shift the perspective closed in conference ‘call for papers’ and  concentrate on the issue of the intersection between gender and the strategies of workers’ resistance: if and how the conditions of women’s work interfere with the workers organizing (meant as: the trade union or the informal groups of workers’ activists).  In other words I would like to question how the oppression is gendered and how the resistance is gendered in the workplace, and if there is a need for other organizing among women workers – different form the traditional trade unionism.

Author: Małgorzata Maciejewska. University of Wrocław

Source: https://sites.google.com/site/unionrenewal/conference-programme/gendered-strategies-of-resistance-in-the-workplace

Advantages and disadvantages of secondary data collection nowadays

Advantages

1. The first advantage of using secondary data (SD) has always been the saving of time (Ghauri, 2005). Not enough with this, in the so called Internet Era, this fact is more than evident. In the past, secondary data collection used to require many hours of tracking on the long libraries corridors. New technology has revolutionized this world. The process has been simplified. Precise information may be obtained via search engines. All worth library has digitized its collection so that students and researchers may perform more advance searches.

2. Accessibility. In the past, SD was often confined to libraries or particular institutions. Top of that, not always general public gained access. Internet has especially been revolutionary in this sense. Having a internet connection is frequently the only requirement to access. A simple click is sometimes more than enough to obtain vast amount of information. The problem, nevertheless, is now being able to see whether the data is valid.

3. Strongly connected to the previous advantages is the saving of money (Ghauri, 2005). In general, it is much less expensive than other ways of collecting data. One may analyzed larger data sets like those collected by government surveys with no additional cost.

4. Feasibility of both longitudinal and international comparative studies. Continuous or regular surveys such as government censuses or official registers are especially good for such research purposes. The fact of being performed on a regular or continuous basis allow researchers to analyze the evolution of, to give an example, per capita income in Poland from 2000 to 2012. Something similar occurs when comparing different countries. Although important difference between countries may exist, the truth is that censuses and other government studies tend to unify criteria all over the world or, at least, within certain geographical areas, such as European Union, or among certain international organizations members, such as OECD. Another example are the studies carry out by international networks that aims to collect information world-widely following the same criteria. The World Values Survey is a good example. It is a source of empirical data on attitudes covering a majority of the world´s population (nearly 90%) It is carried out by a worldwide network of social scientist who, since 1981, have conducted representative national surveys in almost 100 countries. Aiming such data for international or longitudinal studies via primary data collection is truly difficult and often miss the rigor that diverse social contexts comparisons require.

5. Generating new insights from previous analyses (Fàbregues, 2013). Reanalyzing data can also lead to unexpected new discoveries. Returning to the previous example, the World Values Survey Association usually publish the so called World Values Survey Books. They are a collection of publications based on data from the World Values Surveys. Since the database used may be accessible for outsider, you can analyze the data and come up with new relevant conclusions or simply verify and confirm previous results.

Disadvantages

1. Inappropriateness of the data. Data collected by oneself (primary data) is collected with a concrete idea in mind. Usually to answer a research question or just meet certain objectives.  In this sense, secondary data sources may provide you with vast amount of information, but quantity is not synonymous of appropriateness. This is simply because it has been collected to answer a different research question or objectives. (Denscombe, 2007). The inappropriateness may be, for instance, because of the data was collected many years ago, the information refers to a entire country when one aims to study a specific region, or the opposite, one aims to study an entire country but the information is given in a region wide. There are two possible ways to be taken when SD is not appropriate: 1) answering your research question partially with the subsequent lack of validity; 2) you need to find an alternative technique of data collection, such as survey or interviews.

2. Lack of control over data quality (Saunders, 2009). Government and other official institutions are often a guarantee of quality data, but it is not always the case. For this reason, quality issues must be verify as outlined in this post.

Any other advantage or disadvantage up? Would you like to add something else?

Related articles

Reference list

Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. Open University Press.

Fàbregues, Sergi (@sfabreguesf). “@socioloxia  Perform an alternative analysis with the aim of generating new insights from previous analyses” 10th of December 2013, 11:33 AM.

Ghauri, P. N. (2005). Research methods in business studies: A practical guide. Pearson Education.

Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011). Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India. 

How to know if a research is valid

In recent times the term “research” is all over the place. When listening to the radio, watching the television or reading a daily newspaper it is difficult to avoid it. Politicians often justify their policy decisions on the basis of “research”. Newspapers report the findings of research companies´ survey. Even advertisers sometimes point out the “results of research” that proof the quality of their product. This fact does not necessarily mean that the number of research has recently increased but just that the term has a wide range of meanings in everyday speech.

Therefore, the question to be answered in this post is what signs may tell us whether a research is NOT valid? See bellow a number of situations when the term is wrongly used:

1. When it is just collecting facts or information with no clear purpose (Wallinman, 2005). The lack of a clear purpose is one of the most common weaknesses among students. It is the result of mislead research with the simple fact of collecting information. In the so called information society, this venture is attainable for anyone able to type a single keyword on the Internet (sometimes committing plagiarism, by the way). But research is more than that. It is about a process that goes from the formulation of a research question to the final stages when the findings and conclusions are discussed. Gathering information is an important stage of the whole process, but not the only one. Gathering hundreds of charts and tables with statistic from Eurostat about the inflation rate in the European Union lacks of any purpose, except getting the reader bored.

Purpose means explaining, describing, understanding, comparing, criticizing, and analyzing (Gauri and Gronhaug, 2005). For instance, in the New York Times article “Poland is not yet lost” by the Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman (2013), there is a clear purpose. He explains why Poland has avoided the severe slump that afflicted much of European periphery in a context of financial crisis. Based on facts, he suggests that it was thanks to have its own currency and be able to correct the real exchange rate quickly when crisis struck.

Another purpose might perfectly be to criticize such assertion and suggesting other conclusions based on facts (and not beliefs). Or perhaps compare these results with southern European periphery in order to come to a more consistent conclusion.

2. Reassembling and reordering facts or information without interpretation (Wallinman, 2005). “95 per cent of children in Britain had been victims of crime”. From a legal perspective, pushing a classmate or taking a pencil without the intention of returning it is a crime, isn´t it? So the results might be true, but without a clear interpretation of it, it may bring the reader to a sometimes ridiculous conclusion. But we live in the “age of bogus survey” (Kay, 2007) and the lack of interpretation of many researches does not seem to be the priority of many media today. On the contrary, producing eye-catching news does. In other words, research may aids publicist but not the public.

3. Other researches deserve the label of bogus for not providing information about the method used (Saunders et al., 2009). The interpretations must always be based on a carefully description of the method. For example, the results of a survey should always provide the sample size, who conducted it and when, among others. This is something essential to argue why the results obtained are meaningful. Additionally, any limitation associated to the method must be provided. Should you collect responses to your questionnaire from population of Trojmiasto urban area except the municipality of Gdynia, you must inform about this limitation.

4. When the data is not collected systematically. Could be the case that the method used is provided but its application was wrong. Selecting a too small sample size, omit certain groups of respondents that reduce the representativeness of the sample, or formulate the question of a questionnaire in different ways depending on the person interviewed are good reasons to think that a survey may be bogus. However, note that, sometimes, even very well-established researchers are exposed to this kind of vicissitude. Enough to mention Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff´s fiasco; at the beginning of 2010 they circulated a paper that proof a significant relation between debt and economic performance. Apart from having received many critics since the beginning for the spurious nature of such relation, a few years later, other researchers, using seemingly comparable data on debt and growth, couldn’t replicate the results. They realized (and denounce) that Reinhart-Rogoff had omitted some data; used unusual and highly questionable statistical procedures. Worst of all, the excel spreadsheet contained a coding error. Unfortunately (this is out of topic), the bogus findings of their research did play a crucial role in the austerity policies implemented since then in many western economies, and especially in the so called PIGS countries.

5. When the word “research” may be used as a term to get some product or idea noticed and respected. “The quality of the product is constantly tested in our laboratories with the most advance technology”. More and more often companies advertisement use these and other bombastic-like phrases in order to give a more serious and rigorous impression. Lab coat experts revealing the benefits of the new yogurt product line are more than well known in television spots. The truth is that the private industry has learned to use such rhetoric with the only intention of improve their credibility, while being very far from what research really mean. In other words, profit interest might be replace what is consider to be the essential interest of a true research, i.e. find out things based on facts and not beliefs.

6. Finally, although it seems obvious, whenever there is no sense on what you are reading. Not just with regard to mass media, but also with academic works. There is a tendency to overvalue certain researches due to the high use of very sophisticated words. This classy style of writing (Becker, 2008) is very often used by certain academics to sound more erudite and as a form of distinction, while not having any sense at all. Worst of all, certain nonsense papers sometimes get round to be published in journals and magazine. A recent experiment led by Dragan Djuric and Boris Delibasic draw attention on this fact. Under the ostentatious title of “Evaluation of transformative hermeneutic heuristics for processing of random data” they got round to publish a fictitious paper. The publisher had accepted a paper with reference from 2012 from the long-gone Bernoulli and Laplace who haven’t published a paper in hundreds of years, as well as Michael Jackson and porn actor Ron Jeremy, who has been moonlighting as an author in the journal Transactions of the Chinese Mathematical Society, (a journal that, according to a simple Google search, doesn’t exist).

In conclusion, the massive production of pedantic, profit-seeker, non-reliable or quasi-scientific might be, in the so called (dis) information era, moving us away from the truth of our society, nature and our human lives or, such as the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (2003) suggests, the excess of information may be worse than the ignorance itself. Hopefully, the above signs will be helpful, together with an always necessary doses of critical-thinking, to recognize the worthy knowledge.

SEE ALSO

Is the only aim to do the best work

The nature of a good research

What is a good research

Technology, social change and the need of research

Reference list

Bauman, Z. (2003). Educational challenges of the liquid-modern eraDiogenes,50(1), 15-26.

Becker, H. S. (2008). Writing for social scientists: How to start and finish your thesis, book, or article. University of Chicago Press.

Ghauri, P. N. (2005). Research methods in business studies: A practical guide. Pearson Education. Seen in Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011). Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.

Kay, J. (2007). Research that aids publicists but not the public,. Financial Times, 30 October. Seen in Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011). Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.

Krugman, P. (2013). Poland is not yet lostNew York Times. 27 March.

Krugman, P. (2013). The Excel DepressionNew York Times18. Published: 18 April.

Reinhart, C. M., & Rogoff, K. S. (2010). Growth in a Time of Debt (No. w15639). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011). Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.

Walliman, N. (2005). Your research project: a step-by-step guide for the first-time researcher. Sage. Seen in Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011). Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.

Why qualitative research? (Case study and solution)

The qualitative approach within the market research industry is of increasing importance. Why this approach is required in many occasions?

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, showing colour Shot with Nikon D70s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CASE STUDY¹. Imaging your company want to export Spanish wine to Poland. In this country, it is well known that either beer or vodka are more popular drink than wine, but nothing is clear about the Polish delight in wine, and even less in Spanish wine. For this reason, the company has contacted a market research agency and they plan to develop a telephone survey of a Polish population representative sample. Results show that just 10% of population drinks more than one glass of wine a month, instead of the 20% in other eastern European countries. Also, results show that the consumption of wine is less common in the group between 25 and 35 years old. The researcher seems to have a clear marketing strategy.

But something important is still up in the air. How to address this population? A qualitative approach has complemented the quantitative data by mean a number of focus groups in Warsaw. The idea of the research is gathering at least eight people between 25 and 35 years old that do not consume wine usually and another group of eight people at the same age who consume wine at least once a month. Questions as “habits of alcohol consumption in general”, “willingness to increase wine consumption”, “reasons to not consume” were asked. Below you can see some of the sentences that were listened to in the discussions:

“…I do not drink wine because I never know what kind of wine goes with each food…”

“…I have a feeling that wine is more for old people, and I feel young…”

“I do prefer to support Polish industry of vodka and beer”

“…yeah! and also for high standard of living people, I feel that beer is more…how to say…more akin to my people”

“…bottles information are not translated into polish so I do not even know where this wine is from”

“…I get drunk too fast! beer is more kind of easy-going…”

“…I really like wine but all my friends prefer beer so… I don´t want to be a weirdo when go to a party…”

QUESTION: WHAT MAKES THE QUALITATIVE APPROACH DIFFERENT FROM QUANTITATIVE ONE?

________________________________________________________________________________________

Solution

The quantitative approach is very important to quantify the reality. The representative percentage of wine-consumers in Poland or the frequency of consuming is unobtainable but by mean questionnaire or statistics. Ad hoc questionnaire may help us also to understand opinions and attitudes of people toward your product by mean opinion scales as well as including some open-ended questions.

However, three factors make this approach inappropriate when investigator sought a more detailed opinion:

1. Time: especially in phone questionnaires, the interviewees feel generally in hurry either by the surveyor or by him/herself. On the contrary, the more calm and tranquil atmosphere provided by qualitative methods as interview or focus group, encourages a major commitment and engagement.

2. Interaction: while the interaction in quantitative methods in occasions does not even exist or is limited to a phone conversation, in the qualitative one, the number of interaction increases exponentially, allowing at the same time a major capacity to adjust questions and improvising new ones as the interviews progress. In the case of the focus group, the interaction is produced also among the members of the group which represent a great advantage of this technique, since many of the most profound opinions we have are just seen clearly by ourselves after discussing with others.

3. Depth of the analysis: quantitative approach usually deals with countable behaviors or resources: number of wine bottles sold in Poland last year, number of wine glass per week, etc. it hardly allow researcher gets know about emotions, values and beliefs. Making use of the iceberg metaphor, focus group, interview, but also the analysis of comments in forums or just graffiti in a wall expresses better than nothing our deepest view of the world.

Finally: critical reflection for a organization manager: What values do your brand transmit? Is your organization media strategy connected efficiently with your buyers? What is more, is your organization media strategy connected with your potential market?  Just when a company reach to understand its target´s deepest and detailed opinions, values and beliefs, the marketing and communication strategies implemented may cause a truly impact on the sales.

References

Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited.
Martínez, P., & Rodríguez, P. M. (2008). Cualitativa-mente. ESIC Editorial.
Silverman, D. (2011). Interpreting qualitative data. Sage Publications Limited.
1 This case is not real, although some of the sentences were taken from real cases