The people behind your morning fix: Exploring alienation in coffee shop workers

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Woodhall, Julia Robyn
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an exploration of worker alienation within corporate franchised and co-operative coffee shops; moreover, it examines the question: do co-operative coffee shop workers experience alienation differently than corporate franchised workers? It has been determined that workers within the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry experience alienation similar to that of manufacturing workers. The thesis presents research conducted using a qualitative case study technique, through the use of interviews, key-informant interviews, and content analysis. Moreover, this thesis adopts a neo-Marxist framework to explore worker alienation. Specifically, this thesis utilizes the framework developed by James W. Rinehart, in conjunction with behavioural manifestations of alienation, to draw conclusions. This thesis concludes that both sets of QSR workers are alienated; however, the corporate franchise workers experienced alienation more severely than the co-operative workers. This thesis advocates for increased worker control and the continuation of academic research within the QSR sector.

worker alienation, corporate franchised, co-operative, coffee shops, Quick Service Restaurant industry