chapter  21
9 Pages

Revealing Themes: Applying a Positive Lens to the Chapters on Poverty and Low-Wage Work

ByJone L. Pearce

Poverty also means dearth, and there certainly has been a dearth of attention in the organizational sciences to the organizations that grapple with the problem of poverty. Study of the causes and effects of poverty have been central to many of the behavioral and social sciences disciplines-with the glaring exception of the organizational sciences. Only recently have scholars from the range of organizational fields begun to bring their distinctive lens and knowledge to questions of poverty (e.g., Pearce, 2005, 2007; Spreitzer, 2007). Taking the positive organizational scholarship frame has been particularly valuable to this undertaking; with its focus on taking a positive stance toward participants, toward conflicts and barriers, and its emphasis on positive spirals of change, this framing has helped the early efforts to f lower into a genuine movement, as is ref lected in the mature research in the four chapters in Part V of this book. These works do not focus on changing organizations themselves, but on the organizations that are struggling to effectively change some of society’s intractable problems. Organizations that address poverty struggle to be effective, and these chapters demonstrate the ways organizational scientists can help these organizations, as well as advance our organizational theorizing. There can be no social change more positive than effectively addressing the ancient scourge of poverty.