Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. David Boromisza-Habashi

Abstract

The rise of child obesity as a public health concern has instigated new nutrition policies in public schools. This study examines nutrition policy through policy text and the local discourse of two groups of food service employees at one elementary school. To expand on Weick’s sensemaking theory, this study engages work-life, sensemaking, and work identity in order to reveal what policy means to employees and their work. The study shows how policy shapes and is shaped by the organization through the relationship between work and policy. Furthermore, it compares two sets of local discourse, one from managerial employees and one from service employees, to find significant connections between work identity and sensemaking. The study employs qualitative research methods to collect data including participant observation at Columbine Elementary School and interviews with seven food service employees. The findings of this study provide insights into how nutrition policy functions through the work of employees and how policy discourses are interpreted by employees in local discourse. From these findings, the study identifies themes throughout local discourse to indicate what policy means to the employees. New understandings of the ways in which nutrition policy is at work in a public school setting could be useful in enlightening the policy creation and implementation process.

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