Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Social values in context: a study of the European knowledge society

Tsirogianni, Stavroula (2009) Social values in context: a study of the European knowledge society. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (19MB) | Preview


This thesis investigates how social values align with changing patterns of economic development, work and quality of life in the European knowledge society. Conceptually, the thesis draws upon Richard Florida's Theory of the Creative Class (2002) and Human Values Theory as developed by Shalom Schwartz (1992). The research combines different methodological approaches and is structured in three parts. The first study involves a secondary data analysis of the European Social Survey that includes Schwartz's value inventory and other value related items. It aims at mapping the values of Florida's three key occupational groups: knowledge, service and manufacturing workers. While manufacturing workers were found to be distinct from knowledge and service workers, the latter two categories were rather similar. In addition, a mixture of liberal and traditional values characterised knowledge workers' value systems. Little empirical support was found for Schwartz's circumplex structure of values. The second part of the thesis, using two split-ballot experiments and cognitive interviews, explores the role of context in the conceptualisation and study of values. Drawing on the concept of 'behavioural spheres' (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961), the operation of values in the familial, recreational and occupational sphere is examined. The findings show that many values demonstrated context specificity. In-depth interviews with Greek and British knowledge and service workers constitute the third and final study. I examine how workers' valuing processes delineate their creative endeavours to construct the meaning of work and good life, as embedded in the wider societal, economic, political and work contexts. Creativity focuses on how workers, create value meanings and enact values, combine different roles, make sense of their living and the world and deal with adversities. It was shown that the ability to transform work into a meaningful activity is not restricted to knowledge workers. The findings altogether did not corroborate Florida's proposal of an emerging creative class with distinct value orientations and Schwartz's model of a structure of universal values, captured in a set of binary oppositions. A range of challenges for policy making in the knowledge society is implied when authenticity rather than creativity - as defined by Florida- was found to delineate the European work ethos.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Social Structure and Development, Economics, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics