Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas, Jim, 1941-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Decision making; Women--Employment; Women--Psychology


Women's work choices have been examined by sociologists chiefly in relation to structural constraints inhibiting those choices. Neglected, however, has been the study of the decision-making process at the interactional level. This thesis examines day-to-day interactions of networks of women at a university campus. Following a grounded-theory approach, it elaborates a four-step process of decision making, which includes reaching a choice point, acquiring information, conferring with others and announcing a decision. Additionally, it examines accounts offered by the women for their work choices and identifies two types of accounts, which dominate their decision-making talk, called "directed" and "undirected." The data for this study derive from participant-observation in the networks and from in-depth, semi-structured interviews of selected members of the networks which were tape recorded and transcribed for analysis. This decision-making process allows women to gather and evaluate information critical to their work decisions, and to enable women to affirm work decisions they have made and will make.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [105]-109)


iv, 109 pages




Northern Illinois University

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