Sex-typed : the impact of changes in the polytechnic environment on women office systems lecturers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Women's Studies at Massey University
Over the past two decades there has been a good deal of "official" accounting of organisational change and the restructuring of post-compulsory education in New Zealand. Some key players in the administration of the educational reforms have given accounts of these changes. However, this research raises a different set of voices. My study gives accounts of change, different from the official accounts, based on the experiences of office systems lecturers teaching in the polytechnic sector during the 1990s. By the late 1980s the rate of change in polytechnics had begun to accelerate within the context of general political upheaval and the policies of the "new right". Throughout the same period, computer technology advanced at an unprecedented rate having a profound effect on the polytechnic environment and especially upon women teaching in office systems. This research measures the effect of "reforms" that reshaped the polytechnic environment, particularly in the 1990s. in terms of their impact on the experience ot olfice systems lecturers involved. It offers an interpretation of how these women made sense of these changes to the institution in which they worked. My thesis utilises feminist perspectives to demonstrate that women teaching in office systems departments are both subject to, and draw upon a number of gendered and classed discursive fields to make sense of the changes in their workplace. These discursive fields are identified in the research as "working class", "maternal" and "professional". This thesis concludes with reflections about positive opportunities, and some constraints, for office systems women, sex-typed within the identified discursive fields, shaping and making accessible "new" subject positions in the polytechnic of the 21st century.