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Sarah McWha

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
What's in a Name? Job categorisation, relationship-building, and work motivation in aid organisations.

Aid organisations operating in lower-income regions around the world are often staffed by local and international employees who work together toward the common goal of poverty reduction. Ms McWha’s research uncovered a hierarchy of job categories within which workers are mutually positioned on the basis of characteristics of their social, cultural and economic backgrounds. These job categories are underpinned by power and status and reflective of relative pay and benefits. Ms McWha identified that job categorisation, and the social and economic inequities between the categories, not only reinforces divisions between workers but also negatively impacts work motivation, particularly amongst local employees. Ms McWha developed a quantitative measure of aid worker relationships which she utilised to provide the first systematic evidence for the vital role of relationships between both local and international workers in tempering the negative impact of inequity between workers, and ultimately in the success of aid initiatives themselves.

Professor Stuart Carr
Professor Malcolm MacLachlan

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