First Advisor

Larry Steward

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Communication -- Sex differences, Working class women, Sex role in the work environment



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 121 p.)


This thesis explores the interactions between women and men who work in highly-skilled blue-collar trades. The aim of this research is to describe women's perceptions and responses to their on-the-job communicative interactions with male co-workers, supervisors and union officials. small focus groups were conducted to produce rich narrative data that was audio recorded for later use by the researcher. The researcher met with the four subjects for three sessions. The interviews lasted three hours each. The researcher also conducted follow-up interviews by phone to clarify subjects' responses. The subjects were provided with an interview schedule of questions prior to the interview. This thesis seeks to identify women's perceptions of male and female differences in communication, perceived problematic communicative interactions and women's responses to perceived differences. This thesis also explores the possible correlation between women's sense of self-esteem and interactions with males on the job. Finally, subjects were interviewed to determine what strategies, if any, are used by women to work more effectively in a predominately male work environment. It was found that this sample of women reported several perceived differences between male and female communication styles and that some differences are problematic. The subjects reported that difficult interactions may result in feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, hostility or sadness. Finally, the subjects offered several strategies for coping in nontraditional jobs.


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