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Een casestudie over groepsrelaties bij de werknemers van twee experimentele oesterculturen aan de Keniaanse kust = A case study on group relations with the employees of two experimental oyster farms at the Kenyan coast
Van Moll, R (1996). Een casestudie over groepsrelaties bij de werknemers van twee experimentele oesterculturen aan de Keniaanse kust = A case study on group relations with the employees of two experimental oyster farms at the Kenyan coast. MSc Thesis. Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Brussel. 98 pp.

Available in  Author 
    VLIZ: Non-open access 246952
Document type: Dissertation

Keywords
    Oyster culture; Psychology; ISW, Kenya, Gazi; ISW, Kenyan Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine

Author  Top 
  • Van Moll, R

Abstract
    The purpose of this cross cultural study is to describe the diversity of contacts and relationships in the two central groups: the employees working in the oyster farm in Gazi and the members of the 'Shaza Women Group' (Shaza is Kiswahili for oyster) in Shirazi. The study limited to an assessment of the relationships between the employees, the degree of involvement the employees feel with the projects and the integration of both groups in their villages. Can we tell if the situation in an economic implemented project with a future ownership, as we see in Shirazi is different from a research project that is build with the help of rented labour as in Gazi's project? A ll research takes place within a theoretical framework, a perspective, that could be imagined as a mental window used by the researcher (Bailey, 1987). The decision about this perspective is based on de wanted and unwanted values and assumptions used throughout the research (Creswell, 1994). Based on the thorough 'acquaintance' with the environment as well as on existing literature, the choice about the methodology to use to approach these questions was proposed. For this research we used a mainly qualitative approach. The method used to approach the questions proposed is a flexible combination of informal interactions with the people of the villages and with the members of both groups, participative observation and cross cultural ethnographic interviews. Within participative research, the adjective 'participative' points out towards a participation of the researcher in the reality of the research environment , but also it emphasises the participation of the people being studied. It is important to consider an equality of both parties to come to knowledge, valuable in the multi-dimensional reality of day to day life (Lemereis, 1988). The interview can be defined as a specific type of social interaction through which one participant, the interviewer, has a specific pre-defined goal. He will try to get information from the other participant, the interviewed. The roll of the researcher will be described as 'a basic instrument for data collection' (Creswell, 1994). With this form of research it is important to create a basic confidence, where every party can get used to the 'presence' of the other. After consideration of the pro and contra of using an interpret, and after reviewing the experiences and the observations during a brief period of data collection where an interpret was used, in April 1994, we chose to minimise the work through a third party. In the village of Gazi the observer stayed in a room, rented from a family, in Shirazi, he lived together with a few families, rather as a member of the family. In both villages we looked for contacts with women who were, based on preliminary and superficial observation, considered to be very different. The selection was based on the housing situation, geographical situation in the village, number of members in the family and number of children. These women were contacted 3 - 4 times a week, at different times of the day. After having established a good contact with them, the researcher estimated through questions and observations how they see the ongoing research projects, what was thëir attitude towards it, towards the researchers and to assess what were their interactions with the researchers of the oyster project. At the same time a variety of contacts was sought with the school children and after some time contacts with the men of the village were also established. Ethnographic interviews were taken from a few people in Gazi and Shirazi, to obtain a basic idea about how people think about their village, their lives, possibilities as well problems. Apart from these observations in the villages, the working situation in both oyster farms were regularly observed, and contacts were established with the employees in Gazi as well as the members of the women group in Shirazi The oyster racks are constructions made out of mangrove poles. Cemented tiles are attached to it with ropes and the oysters settle on the tiles after the spawning season. The racks are placed in the intertidal area because oysters need to be submersed during several hours a day (during which they filter particles out of the water) This implies that the work, which consists mainly in repairing the racks, cleaning the tiles and spacing the oysters (to allow full growth) can only be undertaken at low tides. In the hierarchical structured group of employees in Gazi (foreman, assistant, KM FRI employees, casual labourers), at first site one saw a positive group of workers. Considering the individual contacts, the group looks more like a collection of people with only few relations in common. The involvement of the group members towards their work seemed to be very low and is predominantly based on extrinsic motivation factors, being their wage at the end of the week. Assessments of the intrinsic motivation, revealed almost a non existence. It appeared that the employees of the oyster farm were not yet integrated in the village. The question can be asked wetter the members would like to get integrated, but the question also rises if the villagers are willing to let the members integrate in their community. The members of the 'Shaza women group' all originate from the village of Shirazi and they mostly seem to belong to only a few extended families. The official structure demands the group to point out a committee (Treasurer, Chairlady, Secretary; committee members (5)). The daily work is approached equal amongst all members, although some members show up on all appointments and some do not. The women experience a high level of involvement with their project. They seem to remain rather realistic concerning expectations about the future of the oyster farm, but most of the women expect the project to provide them and their family with a better future. The question about integration in the village is less relevant here because all women were born in the village. Research is always a description of phenomenas observed within a period. This in itself is already a considerable limitation. If we imagine a continuos line between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation and a second line between high involvement and low involvement, we have to conclude that the two groups observed situate themselves on quite extreme positions along these lines. In Shirazi, the implementation took place with a maximum of consideration towards the involvement of the group to work with. In Gazi, only a minimum of consideration towards involvement was observed, also because this oyster culture is mainly a research project, not an economic oyster farm. We have to take into consideration that between these extremes, intermediate cases could exist, based on different ways of implementations as well as different ideas about passing on of knowledge and management of a project. The best results could probably be obtained in a situation where people considered the optimal combination of choices for the best fitting group of members

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