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Seminars and Events

 Seminars are held from 2.00pm to 3.30pm with refreshments to follow.

 


Term 3 2016/17
Wednesday 26th April

Tony Edwards, King’s College London and Gregor Murray, University of Montreal

‘Globalizing actors in multinational companies’

3.002d, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 17th May

Shainaz Firfiray, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School

‘Explaining the Adoption of High-Performance Work Practices in British Family Firms’

3.002d, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 7th June

Bill Harley, Monash University

‘What Predicts the Adoption of High Performance Work Practices?: Evidence from SAL’

2.214, Warwick Business School

 

Deatils of Seminars held in Term 2 2016/17

Wednesday

18th January

Marco Hauptmeier, Cardiff University
‘Countervailing Power and Employers’ Organisations in the UK’
3.215, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 15th February

Todd Dickey, Cornell University

‘On the Frontier with Conflict Management: Assessing the Influence of a Preeminent Workplace System on Employment Relations and Conflict Resolution Theory’

2.214, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 1st March

Yuliya Yurchenko, University of Greenwich

‘The vanishing commons: TiSA, transformation of public services production, and challenges to social reproduction of labour’

2.214, Warwick Business School

 
Details of Seminars held in Term 1 2016/17


Wednesday 9th November

Lisa Schulte, University of Middlesex

'Romance or chimaera? Industry Policy and Job quality in European Offshore Wind Turbine Manufacturing'

2.214, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 7th December

Ian Kirkpatrick, Monash Warwick Professor of Healthcare Improvement and Implementation Science, EI and IRRU, Warwick Business School

‘Professionalisation in terminal decline? Think again’

2.214, Warwick Business School

 

Details of Seminars held in Term 3 2015/16

Wednesday 4th May Dulini Fernando, IRRU/OHRM, Warwick Business School

Managing hypersexuality in British engineering: conceptualising women’s micro adjustments and exploring their career consequences

2.214, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 18th May Jean Jenkins, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University

No Place to Hide? The Significance of the ‘Urgent Appeal’ for Industrial Relations in the International Garment Sector

3.007, Warwick Business School

 
A joint IRRU/OHRM seminar

Thursday
9th June

David Allen, EI/IRRU, Warwick Business School and Rutgers University

When ‘Embedded' means ‘Stuck': Moderating effects of job embeddedness in adverse work environments

3.215, Warwick Business School

 

Details of Seminars held in Term 2 2015/16

Wednesday 3rd February

Anna Mori, IRRU, Warwick Business School

‘Institutional varieties, outsourcing of public services and challenges to employment relations in comparative perspective’

1.010, Warwick Business School - Please note this seminar will be held at 3.00pm

Wednesday 16th March

Michel Goyer, Birmingham Business School

'Employee downsizing across institutionally different national business systems: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)'

1.010, Warwick Business School

Monday 11th April

Warwick-Acas Lowry Lecture: 5.00pm

The speaker for this fifteenth lecture in the series will be John Cridland, former Director General at CBI. The title for his lecture is ‘Reflections on employee relations’. The lecture will be held at WBS London at the Shard and will be followed at 6.30pm by a reception. Attendance at the lecture is by invitation only and numbers are restricted.

Please email irruoffice@wbs.ac.uk if you would like to attend

 

Details of Seminars held in Term 1 2015/16

Wednesday 30th September

Research Workshop

The Trade Union Bill: Questions for Research and Practice of Employment Relations

(Full details can be downloaded here)

B1.19, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 21st October

Stefano Gasparri, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School
'Studying work in theory and practice: Insights for a globalising academia from the IR trajectory in Italy'

S0.50, Social Sciences Building

Wednesday 18th November

Achim Krausert, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School

'The timing of training effects: A learning curve perspective'

S0.50, Social Sciences Building

Wednesday 2nd December

Chiara Benassi, Royal Holloway, University of London

'Liberalization only at the margins? Analyzing the growth of contingent work in German core manufacturing
sectors’

1.015, (B1.19), Warwick Business School

 

Details of seminars held in Term 3 2014/15

Wednesday 20th May

POSTPONED

Stefano Gasparri, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School

‘Studying work in theory and practice: Insights for a globalizing academia from the IR trajectory in Italy’

S0.50, Social Sciences Building


Wednesday 6th May

Ian Greer, Professor of Comparative Employment Relations and Director of the Work and Employment Research Unit, University of Greenwich

‘‘Creaming and parking’ in welfare-to-work services: Marketized contracting and front-line work in Germany, the UK, and France’

Abstract

Encouraging competition through marketized funding practices has transformed much public service work. The employment relations and labor process literatures suggest that contracting and privatization have undermined the institutional protections and professional autonomy of front-line workers. This paper specifies this connection more precisely by examining a concrete shift in the nature of contracting (marketization) and a particular problem in the workplace that has resulted. In the context of marketized job placement services for the unemployed, we look at ‘creaming and parking’, in which staff neglect the most needy clients and focus their attention on those already close to the labor market.

Based on more than 300 interviews in the UK, France, and Germany, we observe both between- and within-country variation in the extent of both marketization and 'creaming and parking'. Based on a comparative analysis we identify two mechanisms through which marketization exacerbates this problem. First is that marketized funding practices encourage the rise of a commercial model of services, characterized by work-first job-placement practices and underpinned by standardized, IT-intensive management control systems, mainly at for-profit providers lacking collective worker representation. Second is that such practices corrode older organizations with a social-service model of services, characterized by more holistic social-work approaches to serving clients and looser performance management, mainly at nonprofits where worker representation is present. We conclude that marketization creates incentives for creaming and parking, and that these workplace practices are then institutionalized within the organizational models of commercial service providers.

S0.50, Social Sciences Building

 

Details of seminars held in Term 2

Wednesday 11th March

 

Sarosh Kuruvilla, ILR School, Cornell University and Visiting Professor, LSE

‘From Pyramids to Diamonds: Law Firm Employment Systems, Legal Process Offshoring, and Labour Markets for Lawyers in the US and India’.

Abstract

Using an internal labor markets perspective, we argue that the recent changes in employment practices in large law firms are likely to be permanent, in contrast to views that these reflect a temporary adjustment to the financial crisis. Specifically, we highlight the variety of strategies adopted by large law firms that weaken the mutually reinforcing linkages between elements of the internal labor market model, and crucially, we hypothesize that a surge in the offshoring of a large range of legal work, after the financial crisis, to a “reserve army of labor” in India and other countries has increased the redundancy of first and second year associates in large law firms, thus fracturing long established employment systems. We examine the resultant changes on labour markets for lawyers in both countries.

S2.73, Social Sciences building

Wednesday 4th March

Emma Stringfellow, IRRU / OHRM, Warwick Business School

'Trade Unions responses to Diversity Management'

E2.02, WBS Social Sciences

Wednesday
4th February

Patrick McGovern, Department of Sociology, LSE

‘An unquestioned faith: rigour and reliability in the workplace case study tradition’

Abstract There is a long established and much venerated tradition of research within industrial relations and the sociology of work that is characterised by a combination of workplace case studies and the use of qualitative research methods. Among other things, the ‘case study tradition’ has been praised for providing realistic accounts of workplace relations, for capturing insights that could not be obtained through other methods, and for the richness of its empirical evidence. Despite its prominence, there is remarkably little discussion of the methods used in case studies, the reasons for using a case study design and their possible strengths and weaknesses.

Using indicators of research quality that are drawn largely from the emerging literature on the quality of qualitative research, we examine the ‘state-of-the-art’ through an analysis of 136 papers published in nine major journals over the period 2000-2013. In the first part of our analysis we present some descriptive findings on contemporary research practice with a focus on one of the strengths of qualitative research, namely internal validity. We then turn to possible explanations of variations in the quality of the reported research methods. Here we consider such factors as the gender and rank of the author(s), their institutional affiliation and whether the research received external funding. While the results will be of a preliminary nature we hope to start a much-needed discussion about the quality of workplace case studies.

S2.73, Social Sciences building

 

Details of seminars held in Term 1

Wednesday 29th October

Elizabeth Cotton, Middlesex University Business School

'An emancipatory model for building mental health at work: The role of trade union education methods'

Abstract

In a context of economic recession and a growing global mental health crisis this article argues for the unique role of emancipatory education methods in building mental health at work. This article explores the conceptual and methodological parallels between trade union education (TUE) and psychoanalytic ideas, namely their; emancipatory aims, dialogic methods, consciousness raising, solidarity and containment. It goes on to argue that these shared principles and practices provide a basis for re-establishing a ‘collaborative conversation’ between trade union and psychoanalytic traditions and with it an alternative model for building mental health at work. Although the uses and application of TUE are diverse, understood as a radical and emancipatory process of learning TUE offers a unique and viable framework for developing progressive and mass workplace mental health provision.

S0.50, Social Sciences building

Wednesday 12th November

Kate Sang, School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University

'Gender and disability in male dominated occupations: a social relational model'

Abstract

While there is a growing body of literature that points to the heterogeneity of men's experiences in the workplace, less is known about how gender may intersect with marginalised identities such as disability. Data from male dominated sectors such as the construction industry point to the high levels of disability and the disabling nature of the working environments. However, research of this nature assumes a medical model of disability and does not account for social construction of disability or the lived experiences of disabled employees. Further the experiences of those with hidden disabilities remains elusive in the literature. Through the theoretical lens of hegemonic masculinity, a relational model of gender, this paper explores the lived experiences of men and women working in a sector traditionally dominated by men, the transport industry. Using data from seven focus groups (n=44) and interviews with employees with a life-long hidden impairment, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD and Asperger syndrome (n=22), we investigate how such conditions can destabilise hegemonic masculinity within this male dominated sector. Key themes emerging from the data include homosociality, public-private divide and the impact of changing work practices. Further, the data revealed how those with hidden impairments may, in part, construct their identities in relation to the "other", both non-disabled colleagues and to those they considered stereotypically representing disability (wheelchair users). This study furthers our understanding of the relationality of gender and disability in the workplace, as well as the lived experiences of disabled employees. Doing so draws further distinction between impairment and disability through understandings of working practices which are gendered and ableist.

S0.50, Social Sciences building

 

Details of seminars held in 2013/14

12.30pm Tuesday 24th June

IER/IRRU Seminar
Professor Ray Markey (Centre for Workforce Futures, Macquarie University and IER/IRRU Visiting Fellow)
'Climate Change and the Workplace: A Role for Employee Voice’
Abstract

Workplaces generally are one of the greatest sources of carbon emissions. Climate change and public policy measures to mitigate its impact are likely to lead to significant shifts in the composition of the labour market through the decline and expansion of certain jobs and industries. They are also likely to impact on employment relations and job quality.

It seems reasonable, therefore, to expect the labour market actors (employers, employees and their representatives) to have an interest in working together in this sphere, which affects productivity, quality of work, and workforce development. To this extent, forms of employee engagement and participation at the workplace level, including collective bargaining, represent a potentially important strategic mechanism for the labour market actors to identify the appropriate response to climate change at the workplace-level. In the EU, particularly in the UK and Germany, strong institutional means have been developed for harnessing employee participation in the endeavour to reduce carbon emissions.

This paper presents results from a project that examined what is happening in Australian workplaces in this area. Based on analysis of key labour market actors’ policies and interviews with them, case studies, a survey of 682 organisations, and an analysis of collective agreements, it concludes that efforts in this direction are very limited. Most employee participation is at a limited level of team briefings, rather than a more strategic or organisation-wide level through representative structures. The Australian institutional structures also provide little support for a more substantial approach.

The workshop will be held in Room C1.11/15 (Social Sciences) at 12.30 and sandwiches will be available from 12.00 in the IER Library, B0.45, IER, Social Sciences.

If you would like to attend, please register with Lynne Conaghan: L.L.Conaghan@warwick.ac.uk

Wednesday 7th May

Inaugural BUIRA Midlands seminar

Professor Marek Korczynski (University of Nottingham)

'Towards Understanding Collective Resistance in Non-union Workplaces: An Ethnographic Analysis of the Material and Cultural Underpinnings of Resistance'

Abstract

The paper highlights the utility but also the limitations of the existing literature which examines the underpinnings of collective resistance. The studies of Hodson and Edwards and Belanger point to structural factors (such as types of product markets, and types of bonus systems) that are linked with collective resistance within workplaces. But this approach necessarily leaves open important questions about the agency of workers undertaking collective resistance, particularly in non-union workplaces. The paper argues that we may begin to understand agency better by looking for the connections between everyday shopfloor culture and collective resistance. Drawing on an ethnographic participant-observation study of a non-union factory, the paper outlines the widespread forms of collective resistance within this factory, and points to ways in which the everyday Stayin’ Alive shopfloor culture centred on pop music and joking informed the collective resistance. The wider implications for our understanding of resistance, particularly in in non-union workplaces, are drawn out.

S0.13, Social Sciences Building

 

 

Details of seminars held earlier in term 2

Wednesday 15th January

 Dr Wei Huang, School of Labour and Human Resources, Renmin University

'The Impact of Global Value Chain Governance Relationships on Employment Relations Practices and Labour Standards—Cases of the Automotive Component Suppliers in China'

R1.13 Ramphal Building

Abstract

Employment relations carried out at the firm level have long been examined within national boundaries. This is largely because of the fact that traditional theoretical employment relations (ER) frameworks examine both the factors influencing and the processes as well as outcomes of firm-level employment relations within national contexts. Dunlop (1958)’s system perspective viewed the functional outcomes of industrial relations system as a result of the response by management, labour, and the government to external changes in markets, technology, and societal power relationships, all within national contexts. Similarly, Kochan, Katz and McKersie (1986), while stressing the importance of strategic choice in affecting the firm-level ER processes and outcomes, nonetheless view these managerial choices as shaped by the firms’ national contexts. With recent developments in globalisation and an increasing trend of economic activities carried out by firms collaborating across both organisational and national boundaries to come up with parts or finished products, there are evidences indicating that ER and human resource (HR) practices of suppliers in developing countries are influenced by their buyers which are usually lead firms from more developed countries (Scarbrough, 2000). To understand why and how ER processes and labour standards in supplying firms are formulated and implemented, there is a need to move from a firm- to a network-level of analysis which is more able to capture the impact of network relationships on ER in a globalisation context.

Wednesday
22nd January

 Jacqueline O’Reilly
Centre for Research on Management and Employment, University of Brighton

‘Compromising conventions: attitudes of dissonance and indifference towards full-time maternal employment in Denmark, Spain, Poland and the UK’

R1.03 Ramphal Building

Abstract

The seminar examines cross-national variations in attitudes towards gender roles and the extent to which they map onto regime types. It explores intra-national variation in attitudes to non-traditional gendered behaviour drawing on the theoretical approach of the ‘economy of conventions’, informed by feminist perspectives from comparative research. Data from the European Social Survey are used to map where there is a strong degree of resonance or dissonance between societal and individual attitudes and how these are attenuated by sex and employment status. The results expose unexpected national and intra-national similarities and differences. Societies characterized by a traditional male breadwinner model, such as Spain, indicate a higher degree of permissive values than expected; more liberal countries like the UK show high degrees of indifference, as well as a strong element of traditionalism. Dissonance and indifference compromise traditional gendered conventions and illustrate underlying tensions at the individual and societal level in resolving gender.

Wednesday
5th March

 Pauline Dibben, Management School, University of Sheffield

'Tripartism in Southern Africa'

S0.10, Social Sciences Building

Abstract

This paper examines the rise and decline of tripartite experiments in southern Africa, focusing on South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia, where tripartism emerged as part of the broader processes of democratisation and embedding democratic institutions. Why did these experiments largely fail to achieve the gains for labour that might have been anticipated? In each case, the lack of success can be ascribed to the ecosystemic dominance of neo-liberalism, returning growth fuelled by higher commodities prices, the changing structure of elites, dominant partyism, and structural weaknesses in both organised business and the labour movement.

 

 

Details of seminars held in term 1

Wednesday 4th December

Deborah Dean, IRRU/OHRM, Warwick Business School

 

'Deviant Typicality: equality bargaining in a trade union that should be different from others'

Abstract

If one were to design a trade union from scratch to make ‘equality bargaining’ a commonplace part of mainstream negotiating agendas and to make gender equality of representation in lay and official structures probable, what elements might be included?

First, ensure that the occupation to be organised is practised at all levels of achievement by both men and women and that it has been this way for several hundred years. Have both women and men co-found the union. Have an even gender split in membership throughout the life of the union. Establish and maintain national and sectoral-level collective bargaining arrangements.

The paper explores a trade union where all these criteria are fulfilled and yet it looks like most other unions in the issues it negotiates with employers and in distribution of women lay and full-time officers.

The paper engages with Colling and Dickens’s (1989, 1998) work on obstacles to equality bargaining; Dickens’s (1999) ‘three pronged approach’ to establishing readiness to take equality action; Heery’s (2006: 539) conclusions on the influence of models of ‘voice, choice and ‘(institutional) opportunity’ on union behaviour; and Milkman’s (1990) historical-institutionalist account of union support for equality initiatives.

The role of ideologies in shaping models of union behaviour and each of the three prongs is explored alongside consideration of the relevance of structural typologies (Turner 1962), leading to an expanded definition of equality bargaining and an enhanced understanding of Cockburn’s (1989) ‘long’ equality agenda.

Wednesday 23rd October

Christine Niforou, University of Birmingham

 

 'Re-visiting Global Labour Governance in the Maritime Industry: the case of the 2006 ILO Maritime Convention'

Abstract

The paper makes a preliminary assessment of the potential impact of a significant development in the history of global labour standards, namely the 2006 International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Convention (henceforth The Convention). The Convention was adopted by government, employer and workers representatives at a special ILO Conference in February 2006. It has been ratified by 46 countries and it came into force in 20 August 2013. The ratifying countries currently represent about 76% of the world’s seafarers and more than three quarters of the world’s gross tonnage of ships, while it is expected that the Convention will receive almost universal ratification (ILO 2013). The Convention covers rights for both seafarers (i.e. decent work) and ship owners (i.e. fair competition). In 2009, it was passed as an EU Directive and both instruments came into force at the same time. The paper situates the Convention within the wider governance regime of the maritime industry and discusses the potential of the Convention to realize its foreseen objectives. In doing so, it draws on scholarship on global labour standard compliance in general and on maritime scholarly work on labour rights in particular. The paper attempts to flag up the most important challenges likely to be associated with local practice. The aim is to flesh out key conceptual and empirical issues which deserve scholarly attention thereby setting a research agenda.

2.00-4.00 p.m., S0.10, Social Sciences building

 

 

 

ld from 2.00 to 4.00pm with refreshments to follow

 

Term 1 2016/17

Wednesday 9th November

Lisa Schulte, University of Greenwich
Title tbc
2.214, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 7th December

Ian Kirkpatrick, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, WBS
Title tbc
2.214, Warwick Business School

 

Term 2 2016/17

Wednesday

18th January

Marco Hauptmeier, Cardiff University
Title tbc
3.215, Warwick Business School

 

Details of Seminars held in Term 3 2015/16

Wednesday 4th May Dulini Fernando, IRRU/OHRM, Warwick Business School

Managing hypersexuality in British engineering: conceptualising women’s micro adjustments and exploring their career consequences

2.214, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 18th May Jean Jenkins, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University

No Place to Hide? The Significance of the ‘Urgent Appeal’ for Industrial Relations in the International Garment Sector

3.007, Warwick Business School

 
A joint IRRU/OHRM seminar

Thursday
9th June

David Allen, EI/IRRU, Warwick Business School and Rutgers University

When ‘Embedded' means ‘Stuck': Moderating effects of job embeddedness in adverse work environments

3.215, Warwick Business School

 

Details of Seminars held in Term 2 2015/16

Wednesday 3rd February

Anna Mori, IRRU, Warwick Business School

‘Institutional varieties, outsourcing of public services and challenges to employment relations in comparative perspective’

1.010, Warwick Business School - Please note this seminar will be held at 3.00pm

Wednesday 16th March

Michel Goyer, Birmingham Business School

'Employee downsizing across institutionally different national business systems: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)'

1.010, Warwick Business School

Monday 11th April

Warwick-Acas Lowry Lecture: 5.00pm

The speaker for this fifteenth lecture in the series will be John Cridland, former Director General at CBI. The title for his lecture is ‘Reflections on employee relations’. The lecture will be held at WBS London at the Shard and will be followed at 6.30pm by a reception. Attendance at the lecture is by invitation only and numbers are restricted.

Please email irruoffice@wbs.ac.uk if you would like to attend

 

Details of Seminars held in Term 1 2015/16

Wednesday 30th September

Research Workshop

The Trade Union Bill: Questions for Research and Practice of Employment Relations

(Full details can be downloaded here)

B1.19, Warwick Business School

Wednesday 21st October

Stefano Gasparri, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School
'Studying work in theory and practice: Insights for a globalising academia from the IR trajectory in Italy'

S0.50, Social Sciences Building

Wednesday 18th November

Achim Krausert, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School

'The timing of training effects: A learning curve perspective'

S0.50, Social Sciences Building

Wednesday 2nd December

Chiara Benassi, Royal Holloway, University of London

'Liberalization only at the margins? Analyzing the growth of contingent work in German core manufacturing
sectors’

1.015, (B1.19), Warwick Business School

 

Details of seminars held in Term 3 2014/15

Wednesday 20th May

POSTPONED

Stefano Gasparri, OHRM and IRRU, Warwick Business School

‘Studying work in theory and practice: Insights for a globalizing academia from the IR trajectory in Italy’

S0.50, Social Sciences Building


Wednesday 6th May

Ian Greer, Professor of Comparative Employment Relations and Director of the Work and Employment Research Unit, University of Greenwich

‘‘Creaming and parking’ in welfare-to-work services: Marketized contracting and front-line work in Germany, the UK, and France’

Abstract

Encouraging competition through marketized funding practices has transformed much public service work. The employment relations and labor process literatures suggest that contracting and privatization have undermined the institutional protections and professional autonomy of front-line workers. This paper specifies this connection more precisely by examining a concrete shift in the nature of contracting (marketization) and a particular problem in the workplace that has resulted. In the context of marketized job placement services for the unemployed, we look at ‘creaming and parking’, in which staff neglect the most needy clients and focus their attention on those already close to the labor market.

Based on more than 300 interviews in the UK, France, and Germany, we observe both between- and within-country variation in the extent of both marketization and 'creaming and parking'. Based on a comparative analysis we identify two mechanisms through which marketization exacerbates this problem. First is that marketized funding practices encourage the rise of a commercial model of services, characterized by work-first job-placement practices and underpinned by standardized, IT-intensive management control systems, mainly at for-profit providers lacking collective worker representation. Second is that such practices corrode older organizations with a social-service model of services, characterized by more holistic social-work approaches to serving clients and looser performance management, mainly at nonprofits where worker representation is present. We conclude that marketization creates incentives for creaming and parking, and that these workplace practices are then institutionalized within the organizational models of commercial service providers.

S0.50, Social Sciences Building

 

Details of seminars held in Term 2

Wednesday 11th March

 

Sarosh Kuruvilla, ILR School, Cornell University and Visiting Professor, LSE

‘From Pyramids to Diamonds: Law Firm Employment Systems, Legal Process Offshoring, and Labour Markets for Lawyers in the US and India’.

Abstract

Using an internal labor markets perspective, we argue that the recent changes in employment practices in large law firms are likely to be permanent, in contrast to views that these reflect a temporary adjustment to the financial crisis. Specifically, we highlight the variety of strategies adopted by large law firms that weaken the mutually reinforcing linkages between elements of the internal labor market model, and crucially, we hypothesize that a surge in the offshoring of a large range of legal work, after the financial crisis, to a “reserve army of labor” in India and other countries has increased the redundancy of first and second year associates in large law firms, thus fracturing long established employment systems. We examine the resultant changes on labour markets for lawyers in both countries.

S2.73, Social Sciences building

Wednesday 4th March

Emma Stringfellow, IRRU / OHRM, Warwick Business School

'Trade Unions responses to Diversity Management'

E2.02, WBS Social Sciences

Wednesday
4th February

Patrick McGovern, Department of Sociology, LSE

‘An unquestioned faith: rigour and reliability in the workplace case study tradition’

Abstract There is a long established and much venerated tradition of research within industrial relations and the sociology of work that is characterised by a combination of workplace case studies and the use of qualitative research methods. Among other things, the ‘case study tradition’ has been praised for providing realistic accounts of workplace relations, for capturing insights that could not be obtained through other methods, and for the richness of its empirical evidence. Despite its prominence, there is remarkably little discussion of the methods used in case studies, the reasons for using a case study design and their possible strengths and weaknesses.

Using indicators of research quality that are drawn largely from the emerging literature on the quality of qualitative research, we examine the ‘state-of-the-art’ through an analysis of 136 papers published in nine major journals over the period 2000-2013. In the first part of our analysis we present some descriptive findings on contemporary research practice with a focus on one of the strengths of qualitative research, namely internal validity. We then turn to possible explanations of variations in the quality of the reported research methods. Here we consider such factors as the gender and rank of the author(s), their institutional affiliation and whether the research received external funding. While the results will be of a preliminary nature we hope to start a much-needed discussion about the quality of workplace case studies.

S2.73, Social Sciences building

 

Details of seminars held in Term 1

Wednesday 29th October

Elizabeth Cotton, Middlesex University Business School

'An emancipatory model for building mental health at work: The role of trade union education methods'

Abstract

In a context of economic recession and a growing global mental health crisis this article argues for the unique role of emancipatory education methods in building mental health at work. This article explores the conceptual and methodological parallels between trade union education (TUE) and psychoanalytic ideas, namely their; emancipatory aims, dialogic methods, consciousness raising, solidarity and containment. It goes on to argue that these shared principles and practices provide a basis for re-establishing a ‘collaborative conversation’ between trade union and psychoanalytic traditions and with it an alternative model for building mental health at work. Although the uses and application of TUE are diverse, understood as a radical and emancipatory process of learning TUE offers a unique and viable framework for developing progressive and mass workplace mental health provision.

S0.50, Social Sciences building

Wednesday 12th November

Kate Sang, School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University

'Gender and disability in male dominated occupations: a social relational model'

Abstract

While there is a growing body of literature that points to the heterogeneity of men's experiences in the workplace, less is known about how gender may intersect with marginalised identities such as disability. Data from male dominated sectors such as the construction industry point to the high levels of disability and the disabling nature of the working environments. However, research of this nature assumes a medical model of disability and does not account for social construction of disability or the lived experiences of disabled employees. Further the experiences of those with hidden disabilities remains elusive in the literature. Through the theoretical lens of hegemonic masculinity, a relational model of gender, this paper explores the lived experiences of men and women working in a sector traditionally dominated by men, the transport industry. Using data from seven focus groups (n=44) and interviews with employees with a life-long hidden impairment, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD and Asperger syndrome (n=22), we investigate how such conditions can destabilise hegemonic masculinity within this male dominated sector. Key themes emerging from the data include homosociality, public-private divide and the impact of changing work practices. Further, the data revealed how those with hidden impairments may, in part, construct their identities in relation to the "other", both non-disabled colleagues and to those they considered stereotypically representing disability (wheelchair users). This study furthers our understanding of the relationality of gender and disability in the workplace, as well as the lived experiences of disabled employees. Doing so draws further distinction between impairment and disability through understandings of working practices which are gendered and ableist.

S0.50, Social Sciences building

 

Details of seminars held in 2013/14

12.30pm Tuesday 24th June

IER/IRRU Seminar
Professor Ray Markey (Centre for Workforce Futures, Macquarie University and IER/IRRU Visiting Fellow)
'Climate Change and the Workplace: A Role for Employee Voice’
Abstract

Workplaces generally are one of the greatest sources of carbon emissions. Climate change and public policy measures to mitigate its impact are likely to lead to significant shifts in the composition of the labour market through the decline and expansion of certain jobs and industries. They are also likely to impact on employment relations and job quality.

It seems reasonable, therefore, to expect the labour market actors (employers, employees and their representatives) to have an interest in working together in this sphere, which affects productivity, quality of work, and workforce development. To this extent, forms of employee engagement and participation at the workplace level, including collective bargaining, represent a potentially important strategic mechanism for the labour market actors to identify the appropriate response to climate change at the workplace-level. In the EU, particularly in the UK and Germany, strong institutional means have been developed for harnessing employee participation in the endeavour to reduce carbon emissions.

This paper presents results from a project that examined what is happening in Australian workplaces in this area. Based on analysis of key labour market actors’ policies and interviews with them, case studies, a survey of 682 organisations, and an analysis of collective agreements, it concludes that efforts in this direction are very limited. Most employee participation is at a limited level of team briefings, rather than a more strategic or organisation-wide level through representative structures. The Australian institutional structures also provide little support for a more substantial approach.

The workshop will be held in Room C1.11/15 (Social Sciences) at 12.30 and sandwiches will be available from 12.00 in the IER Library, B0.45, IER, Social Sciences.

If you would like to attend, please register with Lynne Conaghan: L.L.Conaghan@warwick.ac.uk

Wednesday 7th May

Inaugural BUIRA Midlands seminar

Professor Marek Korczynski (University of Nottingham)

'Towards Understanding Collective Resistance in Non-union Workplaces: An Ethnographic Analysis of the Material and Cultural Underpinnings of Resistance'

Abstract

The paper highlights the utility but also the limitations of the existing literature which examines the underpinnings of collective resistance. The studies of Hodson and Edwards and Belanger point to structural factors (such as types of product markets, and types of bonus systems) that are linked with collective resistance within workplaces. But this approach necessarily leaves open important questions about the agency of workers undertaking collective resistance, particularly in non-union workplaces. The paper argues that we may begin to understand agency better by looking for the connections between everyday shopfloor culture and collective resistance. Drawing on an ethnographic participant-observation study of a non-union factory, the paper outlines the widespread forms of collective resistance within this factory, and points to ways in which the everyday Stayin’ Alive shopfloor culture centred on pop music and joking informed the collective resistance. The wider implications for our understanding of resistance, particularly in in non-union workplaces, are drawn out.

S0.13, Social Sciences Building

 

 

Details of seminars held earlier in term 2

Wednesday 15th January

 Dr Wei Huang, School of Labour and Human Resources, Renmin University

'The Impact of Global Value Chain Governance Relationships on Employment Relations Practices and Labour Standards—Cases of the Automotive Component Suppliers in China'

R1.13 Ramphal Building

Abstract

Employment relations carried out at the firm level have long been examined within national boundaries. This is largely because of the fact that traditional theoretical employment relations (ER) frameworks examine both the factors influencing and the processes as well as outcomes of firm-level employment relations within national contexts. Dunlop (1958)’s system perspective viewed the functional outcomes of industrial relations system as a result of the response by management, labour, and the government to external changes in markets, technology, and societal power relationships, all within national contexts. Similarly, Kochan, Katz and McKersie (1986), while stressing the importance of strategic choice in affecting the firm-level ER processes and outcomes, nonetheless view these managerial choices as shaped by the firms’ national contexts. With recent developments in globalisation and an increasing trend of economic activities carried out by firms collaborating across both organisational and national boundaries to come up with parts or finished products, there are evidences indicating that ER and human resource (HR) practices of suppliers in developing countries are influenced by their buyers which are usually lead firms from more developed countries (Scarbrough, 2000). To understand why and how ER processes and labour standards in supplying firms are formulated and implemented, there is a need to move from a firm- to a network-level of analysis which is more able to capture the impact of network relationships on ER in a globalisation context.

Wednesday
22nd January

 Jacqueline O’Reilly
Centre for Research on Management and Employment, University of Brighton

‘Compromising conventions: attitudes of dissonance and indifference towards full-time maternal employment in Denmark, Spain, Poland and the UK’

R1.03 Ramphal Building

Abstract

The seminar examines cross-national variations in attitudes towards gender roles and the extent to which they map onto regime types. It explores intra-national variation in attitudes to non-traditional gendered behaviour drawing on the theoretical approach of the ‘economy of conventions’, informed by feminist perspectives from comparative research. Data from the European Social Survey are used to map where there is a strong degree of resonance or dissonance between societal and individual attitudes and how these are attenuated by sex and employment status. The results expose unexpected national and intra-national similarities and differences. Societies characterized by a traditional male breadwinner model, such as Spain, indicate a higher degree of permissive values than expected; more liberal countries like the UK show high degrees of indifference, as well as a strong element of traditionalism. Dissonance and indifference compromise traditional gendered conventions and illustrate underlying tensions at the individual and societal level in resolving gender.

Wednesday
5th March

 Pauline Dibben, Management School, University of Sheffield

'Tripartism in Southern Africa'

S0.10, Social Sciences Building

Abstract

This paper examines the rise and decline of tripartite experiments in southern Africa, focusing on South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia, where tripartism emerged as part of the broader processes of democratisation and embedding democratic institutions. Why did these experiments largely fail to achieve the gains for labour that might have been anticipated? In each case, the lack of success can be ascribed to the ecosystemic dominance of neo-liberalism, returning growth fuelled by higher commodities prices, the changing structure of elites, dominant partyism, and structural weaknesses in both organised business and the labour movement.

 

 

Details of seminars held in term 1

Wednesday 4th December

Deborah Dean, IRRU/OHRM, Warwick Business School

 

'Deviant Typicality: equality bargaining in a trade union that should be different from others'

Abstract

If one were to design a trade union from scratch to make ‘equality bargaining’ a commonplace part of mainstream negotiating agendas and to make gender equality of representation in lay and official structures probable, what elements might be included?

First, ensure that the occupation to be organised is practised at all levels of achievement by both men and women and that it has been this way for several hundred years. Have both women and men co-found the union. Have an even gender split in membership throughout the life of the union. Establish and maintain national and sectoral-level collective bargaining arrangements.

The paper explores a trade union where all these criteria are fulfilled and yet it looks like most other unions in the issues it negotiates with employers and in distribution of women lay and full-time officers.

The paper engages with Colling and Dickens’s (1989, 1998) work on obstacles to equality bargaining; Dickens’s (1999) ‘three pronged approach’ to establishing readiness to take equality action; Heery’s (2006: 539) conclusions on the influence of models of ‘voice, choice and ‘(institutional) opportunity’ on union behaviour; and Milkman’s (1990) historical-institutionalist account of union support for equality initiatives.

The role of ideologies in shaping models of union behaviour and each of the three prongs is explored alongside consideration of the relevance of structural typologies (Turner 1962), leading to an expanded definition of equality bargaining and an enhanced understanding of Cockburn’s (1989) ‘long’ equality agenda.

Wednesday 23rd October

Christine Niforou, University of Birmingham

 

 'Re-visiting Global Labour Governance in the Maritime Industry: the case of the 2006 ILO Maritime Convention'

Abstract

The paper makes a preliminary assessment of the potential impact of a significant development in the history of global labour standards, namely the 2006 International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Convention (henceforth The Convention). The Convention was adopted by government, employer and workers representatives at a special ILO Conference in February 2006. It has been ratified by 46 countries and it came into force in 20 August 2013. The ratifying countries currently represent about 76% of the world’s seafarers and more than three quarters of the world’s gross tonnage of ships, while it is expected that the Convention will receive almost universal ratification (ILO 2013). The Convention covers rights for both seafarers (i.e. decent work) and ship owners (i.e. fair competition). In 2009, it was passed as an EU Directive and both instruments came into force at the same time. The paper situates the Convention within the wider governance regime of the maritime industry and discusses the potential of the Convention to realize its foreseen objectives. In doing so, it draws on scholarship on global labour standard compliance in general and on maritime scholarly work on labour rights in particular. The paper attempts to flag up the most important challenges likely to be associated with local practice. The aim is to flesh out key conceptual and empirical issues which deserve scholarly attention thereby setting a research agenda.

2.00-4.00 p.m., S0.10, Social Sciences building

 

 

 

 

Please contact Stefano Gasparri, stefano dot gasparri at wbs dot ac dot uk or Val Jephcott, IRRU Val.Jephcott@wbs.ac.uk, (024 7652 4268) for further details.