A Practice-Based Exploration of Knowledge Utilization in the Canada Post Rural Mail Safety Review: Applying Pragmatic Inquiry and Engaged Scholarship to a Workplace and Public Health Challenge
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The purpose of this research undertaking is to explore the form and content of one of the most extensive workplace occupational health and safety interventions undertaken to date by a Canadian employer: Canada Post Corporation’s Rural Mail Safety Review. In December 2006, the Canadian Government directed Canada Post Corporation to develop and implement an operational plan to restore and maintain mail delivery to rural roadside mailboxes, taking into account the health and safety of rural mail carriers as well as any and all applicable laws. This research study examines the structure, coordination, and application of the RMSR knowledge utilization guided by John Dewey’s conception of pragmatic inquiry, Andrew Van de Ven’s notion of engaged scholarship and a qualitative grounded research methodology. A fundamental premise for this study is that negotiation serves to act as a hinge on the gate between knowledge and practice by facilitating shared understanding and generating options to overcome impasse. The research findings support the importance of including negotiation strategies to motivate and support implementation understanding, acceptance and uptake. They also confirm the primary role of relational, interpersonal communications – building rapport, to help obtain and sustain acceptance of and commitment to execute implementation activities and processes. These are aspects of knowledge utilization that are often assumed or overlooked and an implication issuing from this study concerns reorienting the structure of implementation plans to ensure that communications between people occupy a primary role in situating, adapting, and humanizing data and technologies. The initial estimated schedule for the Canada Post Rural Mail Safety Review assessments was three years but as the importance of interpersonal communications with customers became more apparent the time-line was extended to allow for more intensive outreach efforts. Acceptance of and cooperation with the workplace safety intervention is largely attributable to interpersonal communications and negotiations. The University of Waterloo Collaborative PhD Program in Work and Health is an interdisciplinary system of study designed to cross departmental and specialization boundaries. This thesis follows the spirit and intent of the Work and Health Program guiding principles by drawing on material from a range of research areas including: philosophy, workplace and labour law, systems engineering, communications, implementation science, quantum physics, occupational health and safety, negotiation theory, cognitive science, conflict management, and psychology. The temporal range of the research and knowledge referenced in this dissertation spans ninety-nine years, from 1916 to 2015.
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Craig Ervine (2015). A Practice-Based Exploration of Knowledge Utilization in the Canada Post Rural Mail Safety Review: Applying Pragmatic Inquiry and Engaged Scholarship to a Workplace and Public Health Challenge. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/9415