The following information was graciously provided by Professor Stuart Carr about steps that have been undertaken by Project G.L.O.W. Read on!
Step 1: We grouped together with like-minded colleagues from outside Psychology who work in key areas, notably Employment/Industrial Relations and in the wider community. The shared networks of contacts across industry, labour unions and community groups was/is vital, keeping us and the work grounded, and co-owned; a stakeholder approach. This enabled us to secure seed money from our University, and paid living wages to all research assistants. We’ve since enjoined with other key Universities in NZ & South Africa, who have used (& refined!) this process. It works!!
Step 2: e.g., of working, We co-liaised on method. Learning: (a) be flexible, go to your sample, in our case we moved away from online forms to on-paper, inner city community café venues through a partnership with a leading social enterprise; (b) tailor measures to local conditions, e.g., less=more on survey length and scale points. ‘Money’ was difficult to measure/gauge, e.g., only some money items worked (e.g., Annual household income, in brackets, but not too wide, and hourly not annual, for personal wages). We are working with our valued local community partners, e.g., RAs from the community were on-hand to explain if needed, offered free, fair-traded coffees to say Thank you, plus will ‘pay it forward’ with seminar in the cafes (and will be included on papers); (c) We put a-c, Alignment-Ownership-Accountability, into prior Ethics proposal(s), before starting.
Step 3: Analyses addressed the core question in glow invitation letters. Some items flopped, e.g., fairness compared to supervisors when some workers who had none (lots of DK responses). Found reliable factors, e.g., pay justice – which linked closely, non-linearly, to money. Exploratory curve estimation & LOESS curves (both in SPSS) probed the shape of the relationships (for poverty traps vs. steady upward curvatures) . Across hubs, we have learned the importance of keeping measures as alike as possible, whilst allowing for diversity, e.g., hourly pay was apt at one hub, monthly at another. After all, we can still test the shape, and later convert currencies into one metric – the World Bank’s ‘Purchasing Power Parity’.
Step 4: We’ve been very careful not to release anything to the public or to any particular stakeholder group until fully blind peer review has been completed. Some so far:
Carr, S. C., Parker, J., Arrowsmith, J., & Watters, P. A. (2016). The Living Wage: Theoretical integration and an applied research agenda. International Labour Review, 155(1), 1-24.
Carr, S. C., Parker, J., Arrowsmith, J., Watters, P. A., & Jones, H. (2016). Can a ‘living wage’ springboard human capability? An exploratory study from New Zealand. Labour & Industry, 26, 24-39.
The question mark in the latter title (I think) is key: We really need GLOW to take us to the next level and answer the core question with confidence context and new diplomacy policy advocacy in mind!
Step 5: Overall reflections: We will need all – every bit – of the expertise and connectivity across glow to share ideas about ‘how’ to best measure, sample, and put the two together in competent and respectful ways, including both ‘social’ and ‘business’ case variables; and to actually reach out to the lowest paid end of the income curves that have so far (as far as I can make out) been shamefully neglected, even by other fair wage groups (e.g., via online samples, when the bulk of really low income folks are offline, on the other side of the ‘digital divide.’).
Key point: research ‘studies’ are only one part of what we are aiming to do – e.g., we need supporting/ive teaching, voluntary service; and much more. i.e., There is space for everyone to contribute whatever they can, whenever they can, and whatever individuals and teams wish to contribute.
That’s it for now.