Future of Work


Recent and upcoming events (in reverse chronological order)

15 May 2019
Inaugural Annual Lecture on the Future of Work - 'What's Wrong with Work?'
Room TBC - Time TBC
Speaker: Dr Lynne Pettinger

Lynne Pettinger is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She researches work and markets, and is particularly interested in ethics, aesthetics and emotion. She joined the University of Warwick in Jan 2014. 

10 April 2019
Research Seminar - 'HR systems, job quality, and trade-offs between employee well-being and performance'
Room TBC - 14:00
Speaker: Dr Chidiebere Ogbonnaya  

Chidiebere Ogbonnaya is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resource Management (Management) at the University of Sussex Business School.

21 February 2019
Peter Cheese Guest Lecture
Jubilee Large Lecture Theatre - 17:30 - 19:00

Peter Cheese is the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), the professional body for more than 150,000 HR and people development professionals around the world. He writes and speaks widely on the development of HR, the future of work, and the key issues of leadership, culture and organisation, people and skills.

Peter is a visiting Professor at the University of Lancaster, and sits on the Advisory Board of Bath University School of Management. He holds honorary doctorates from Bath University, Kingston University, and is a Fellow of the CIPD, AHRI (the Australian HR Institute) and the Academy of Social Sciences. He’s also a Companion of the Institute of Leadership and Management, the Chartered Management Institute, and the British Academy of Management.

Prior to joining the CIPD in July 2012, he was Chairman of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a member of the Council of City&Guilds. Up until 2009 he had a long career at Accenture holding various leadership positions and culminating in a seven-year spell as Global Managing Director for the firm’s human capital and organisation consulting practice.

13 February 2019
Research Seminar - 'Innovation, Employment and Inequality. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?'
Room A155, Arts A - 14:00 - 15:30
Speakers: Dr Tommaso Ciarli, Prof Maria Savona and Dr Alberto Marzucchi 

The presentation is based on the results of the two main outputs of our ESRC TEMPIS grant, based on joint work with Tommaso Ciarli, Alberto Marzucchi, and Edgar Salgado Chavez. In (Ciarli et al. 2018) we look at the effect of R&D investments on employment in the UK local labour markets and find that, on balance, innovation has had little impact on employment rates but plays an important part in labour composition, and might exacerbate spatial polarization along different dimensions. When we distinguish between areas that, prior to 2001, had a higher percentage of workers employed in routine occupations (we call them HRAs)and areas that had a lower percentage of workers employed in routine occupations (LRAs) we found that, overall, R&D changes the sector, type and skill composition of employment, and might increase employment differences between LRAs and HRAs areas. In LRAs, R&D growth induces a decrease in employment, but an increase in the proportion of more highly-educated workers, of those in paid employment, as well as those in the manufacturing industry vs non-tradeable sectors. In HRAs, instead, R&D leads to an increase in employment, but mainly in non-tradable services, rather than in manufacturing (which by contrast has reduced) and especially amongst those with lower levels of education. Interestingly, the employment created in HRAs can be mainly attributed to an increase in self-employment, particularly within the age cohort 25-34 and 35-64. The youngest cohort (16-24) is the most negatively affected by innovation in HRAs: the loss of waged employment does not appear to lead to an increase in self-employment.

We also looked at the effects of R&D on individual wages. In Ciarli et al. (2018b) we find that R&D leads to systematic wage increases for workers employed in more innovative firms. However, the R&D-led wage gains are not equally distributed among workers. Those in top-earning occupations benefit comparatively more from R&D spending than their lower-earning colleagues. Also, those in highly-routinised occupations benefit comparatively less than those in less-routinised jobs. Crucially, we find that R&D investments also significantly increase the gender pay gap: men gain twice as much from an increase in R&D investments with respect to women in the same occupation.
  • Tommaso Ciarli is a Senior Research Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)
  • Maria Savona is Professor of Innovation and Evolutionary Economics at SPRU
  • Alberto Marzucchi is Senior Lecturer in Economics of Innovation at SPRU
23 January 2019
Future of Work Hub Planning Meeting
Jubilee G32, 11:00-13:00


18 January 2019
'Conversation and Collaboration with Roffey Park Institute’ with a talk by Dr Robert Coles
Jubilee G32 - 13:30-15:00

Dr Robert Coles has been deeply involved with human development over many years, most recently as the Co-Founder and Chair of The Centre for Alternative Leadership & Management -Place of CALM™, an academic research collaboration, think tank and consultancy. He is also currently the Chief Executive Officer at Roffey Park Institute, a charitable trust internationally recognised for developing innovative learning approaches that enable individuals to achieve their potential both at work and in their wider lives.

Prior to this, Robert has held directorships of three Executive Education practices and, in addition, was the European Director for one of the world’s ‘next 4’ global audit, accounting and consulting organisations. He has worked alongside many blue-chip organisations developing board and senior leadership teams, designing joint ventures from a relational and dialogic practice perspective, and developing his ideas and practices around Collaborative Competence™. He is a graduate of the University Oxford and Leicester, and holds a Ph.D. in Collaborative and Confucian Leadership, and post-graduate degrees in Cross-Cultural HRD , and Organisational Leadership. His continuing research interest is in collaborative mechanisms for promoting interdependent leadership and management, utilising AI tools. He is an Honorary Visiting Fellow in Post-Crisis Leadership and Management at the University of Leicester.

Research Seminar - 'Incentive pay, the Quality of Work, and Employee Well-being: Motivation or Stress?'
Room TBC
Speaker: Dr Chidiebere Ogbonnaya 

Chidiebere Ogbonnaya is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resource Management (Management) at the University of Sussex Business School.

29 November 2018
Symposium - 'Foodwork: Gendered, Racialised, and Classed Labours'
Room TBC - 10:00-17:00 

Maud Perrier,Centre for Gender Research, Bristol University and Elaine Swan, University of Sussex

This is the first of two workshops to explore foodwork. Although feminists have expanded the concept of labour, less attention is given to foodwork as a ‘separate form of work’, with its resulting oppressions, hierarchies and inequalities (Sobal, 2017: 127). Moreover, emerging feminist food studies have yet to incorporate sustained racialised analysis (Williams-Forson and Wilkerson, 2011, Kamunge, 2017, Brady et al, 2018). Accordingly, we aim to develop the feminist tradition of making women’s hidden work visible through studying foodwork and to foreground intersectional research (Swan, Flowers, Perrier and Sayers, 2018). By foodwork, scholars refer to the ‘physical, cognitive, interactional, and institutional labor in the processes of feeding individuals, families, and groups’ in the food system’ (Sobal, 2017: 127), extending Marjorie DeVault’s (1991) germinal definition of family ‘feeding work’ as skillful, complex and multifaceted domestic carework. Foodwork covers production, planning, budgeting, procurement, preparation, cooking, consumption, digestion, cleaning up and waste (Sobal, 2017; Brady et al., 2012; Flowers and Swan, 2018). In addition, we wish to explore further how foodwork, occurs not only as unpaid labour in the domestic sphere, and paid labour in the food industry and the health sector, but also as outsourced domestic labour (O’Connell and Brannen, 2017; Abbots, 2017). Furthermore, foodwork can be found in other spaces: the digital sphere, the media, popular culture, schools (Leahy, 2018), food social entrepreneurship and food activism. For instance, not only are racially minoritised women positioned in dirty, low status, low paid work, but classed and racialised differences underpin the difference between ‘managing and doing foodwork’ (Abbots, 2017) and food activism and food media are structured by whiteness and classism (Sachs et al., 2014; Williams-Forson and Wilkerson, 2011). Foodwork challenges binaries of productive and reproductive work, and the formal and informal economy, and its study speaks to debates on the sensory, political, material and discursive (Sachs et al., 2014). At the heart of our events is an understanding of foodwork as a site of gendered, racialised and classed oppression, exploitation and disadvantage but also of agency, empowerment and pleasure, where women resist and transform gendered, racialised and classed ideologies (Swan et al., 2018; Brady et al., 2012).

Confirmed speakers:

  • Mukta Das, is a SOAS PhD candidate researching the lives, work and ambitions of South Asian cooks, growers, eaters, traders and purveyors food in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau.
  • Joanne Hollows, independent scholar, extensive work on food cultures, domestic cultures and feminism and popular culture, author of Domestic Cultures and co-author of Food and Cultural Studies.
  • Rebecca O’Connell, Institute of Education, research interests in the intersection of care and work, especially foodwork and childcare; co-author of On Food, families and work. Currently researching European research council project on food, families and austerity in Norway, Portugal and UK, - foodinhardtimes.org.
  • Piera Morlacchi, University of Sussex, researches the cross-roads of work, technology, organization and policy, and is writing on food allergies.
  • Tracey Reynolds, University of Greenwich, research interests in transnational families and kinship networks; author of Caribbean Mothers: Identity and Experience in the UK and co-author of Transnational Families: Ethnicities, Identities and Social Capital. New article with U. Erel, & E. Kaptani (2018) on participatory methods, kin work, migrant mothers and food.
  • Karen Throsby, University of Leeds, researches intersections of gender, technology, the body and health, including obesity surgery, extreme endurance swimming, and the social life of sugar; author of Immersion: Marathon Swimming, Embodiment and Identity; researching new Leverhulme Trust project Sugar Rush. http://sociallifeofsugar.blogspot.com/p/about-sugar-rush.html.
  • Karen Wilkes, Birmingham City University, author of Whiteness, Weddings, and Tourism in the Caribbean. Karen's research is concerned with how gender, race and class work are represented in popular culture. She is currently writing on food and the Caribbean and food and gender.

Book your free ticket

20 November 2018
Brown Bag Discussion: 'The Case for a Sustainable Industrial Policy - a Trade Union Perspective'
ARTS A A05 - 14:00-15:00
Speaker: Tim Page 


The UK Government is committed to an industrial strategy and has recently established an Industrial Strategy Council. In recent decades, however, UK attitudes towards the concept of an industrial strategy have been mixed. This is in contrast to attitudes in other Western European countries, where industrial strategies have formed part of the economic policy mix throughout the post-war period.

Since 2005, the TUC has published various research documents looking at the case for an industrial strategy, based on experiences in France, Germany, Denmark, China and South Korea. This presentation will set out key features of the industrial strategies of those countries, what they have in common and what the UK could learn from them. The presentation will also consider newer developments in industrial policy, such as the need for sustainability in the light of the threat of climate change, and the need to meet the latest challenge, that of the fourth industrial revolution.


Tim Page is a Senior Policy Officer at the Trades Union Congress (TUC). He leads for the TUC on industrial policy, energy and climate change issues, science policy and high performance workplaces. His primary interest is in policies to promote sustainable economic growth as well as issues relating to globalisation.

*Light refreshments will be served at this event*

26 September 2018
Future of Work Hub
'Management studies in crisis: Fraud, misconduct and meaningless research'
Fulton 107, 15:00 - 16:30
Speaker: Prof Dennis Tourish

Further details TBC

22 November 2017
Research Seminar: "ICTs and well-being: an analysis into the appropriation of digital design and fabrication technologies in non-industrial settings"
Jubilee Building G31 - 15:30-17:00
Speaker: Dr Cian O'Donovan

Further details TBC

9 November 2017
Professional Development Workshop: "Submitting to journals and dealing with reviewers comments: Meet the editor of Work, Employment and Society"
Jubilee Building G22 - 13:00-14:00
Speaker: Prof Melanie Simms

Further details TBC

8 November 2017
ESRC Festival of Science Discussion Panel: “What helps young people find work?
Jubilee Building 115 - 16:00– 19:00

Young people have found it increasingly difficult to find good quality employment when they leave education. What kinds of jobs do they get? What do employers do to engage with them? And are ethnic inequalities for young people diminishing?

To answer these questions we are organising a discussion with employers and researchers from the ESRC-funded research on ‘Precarious pathways to employment for young people’ and an EU-funded project on youth employment STYLE.

  • Prof Kate Purcell will discuss the opportunities and obstacles encountered by young job-seekers;
  • Prof Melanie Simms will look at how employers engage with employing young people, and
  • Prof Jacqueline O'Reilly will look at how ethnic inequalities are changing for young people in the UK and launching the new book 'Youth Employment: STYLE Handbook'.

A roundtable of employers will discuss the kinds of opportunities they offer, the challenges they face and what they are looking for in their young workforce, including:

Stephen Maycock – former Human Resources Director for a number of large multinationals including Ford Motor Coy. , Xerox Corporation, Grand Metropolitan PLC., Johnson Wax (S C Johnson & Son Inc), and Willis Group. He has considerable experience of recruitment programmes for young people, undergraduate training and sponsorship, graduate training to global MBA programmes targeted at Harvard, MIT, & LBS. Career experience includes manufacturing, Leisure, FMCG, Financial Services, private, public, family and charitable sectors.This event is intended for both employers interested in actively engaging young people as part of their future workforce, as well as for young people interested in discussing their future options.

Billy Humphreys – Marketing Manager at LoveLocalJobs.com - an award-winning local jobs board based in Sussex. We love to inspire future generations with the best possible information, advice and guidance on careers in their local area and how to get a job. After running a recent event with a focus on ‘Attracting & Retaining the Next Generation’, Billy will discuss the struggles of young people when finding work, the disconnect from employers and what plans LoveLocalJobs.com have in place to tackle this.

Rosanna Farrar – Head of Community Engagement at BetheChange - an inspirational initiative for young people who are disengaged with their education or lack confidence in their own abilities. Be the Change helps open young people’s eyes to the world of work and the wealth of possibilities and career opportunities in their hometown and beyond. Rosanna will discuss how Be the Change has had a positive impact on young people.

Further details and to book a place on this event please click: here

12 September 2017
Seminar: How do I know my work is meaningful? Different ways of looking at meaningful and meaningless work
Jubilee 143 - 13:00 - 14:30 

While there is agreement that Meaningful Work would be good to have, the literature on the topic currently raises many questions:

  • Who decides what is meaningful?
  • Can a person have too much meaningful work?
  • Why is it so hard to talk about what is meaningful in organisational contexts?
  • Is meaningful work a trait or state, an antecedent or outcome, or is it an experience or gestalt?
  • How does a person recognise if they have or don’t have meaningful work?

These and other questions you might have will be discussed in this' seminar. 

Speaker bio:

Dr. Marjo Lips-Wiersma is Professor of Ethics and Sustainability Leadership at the Auckland University of Technology. A second edition of her book The Map of Meaningful Work is about to be published. While she publishes in journals such as Journal of Business Ethics, Leadership Quarterly and Journal of Organizational Behavior, she sees her main achievement in the use of her work by community and commercial organisations to build more meaningful work from the bottom up.

21 June 2017
Meaningfulness or Mournfulness of Work
Research Workshop
Goodenough College, London
10:00 - 16:00

Convenors: Natasha Slutskaya and Katie Bailey (University of Sussex)

The focus of much of the literature on meaningful work has been assessing the outcomes of processes largely in positive terms, overlooking potential adverse effects.

In response, this event will encourage a critical approach that reveals some of the inherent power relations involved in meaningful work. We interrogate the sources of the drive to find meaning in work and the threats to meaning making.


10:00 - 10:30 Welcome and Coffee

10:30 - 11:10 Dr David Frayne (University of Cardiff) “Fitter, Happier, More Productive: Reflections on the equation of work and health.”

11:10 - 11:40 Dr Louise Wallenberg (University of Stockholm) "Beauty in Abundance: Allure and Exploitation in the Modelling Industry."

12:20 - 13:00 Dr Miya Tokumitsu (University of Melbourne) “Always. Be. Making.”

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

14:00 - 14:40 Professor Andre Spicer (CASS) “Making Meaninglessness. The Role of Business Bullshit.”

14:40 - 15:20 Dr Gazi Islam (Grenoble Ecole de Management) and Natasha Slutskaya (University of Sussex) “Threats to Meaning Making in Dirty Work.”

To register to attend, please email Dr Natalia Slutskaya: N.Slutskaya@sussex.ac.uk before Monday 12th June.

M or M flyer - page 1Download the event agenda (PDF)

30 March 2017
Examining the potential of video-based methods in organizational research
Special Research Seminar
Bramber House Conference Centre - Gallery Room 1
14:00 - 16:00

Speakers: Jonathan Hindmarsh (King's Coll. London), Marlys Christianson (Toronto), Petros Chamakiotis (Sussex)

Convenor and Chair: Natalia Slutskaya (Sussex)

Rapidly emerging new media technologies have triggered increased interest and a reworking of the approaches to video-based research methods.  Scholars in different fields have been exploring the potential use of video-based methods as an investigative tool – capturing often concealed, embodied and material dimensions of experience; and a reflective tool – elaborating and particularizing participants’ narrative accounts. Drawing on video-based methods, researchers have also been looking for innovative opportunities to present their findings, in ways that reach not only traditional academic audiences but also practitioners and policy makers. 

This event will explore the potential and challenges of video-based methods through a conversation with the speakers. Jonathan Hindmarsh (Professor of Work and Interaction, King’s College, London) books include ‘Video in Qualitative Research’ (Sage), ‘Organisation, Interaction and Practice’ (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Communication in Healthcare Settings (Wiley Blackwell, 2010).  Marlys Christianson's (Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour, University of Toronto) research draws upon a fine-grained analysis of video recordings from settings such as emergency departments and intensive care units to examining how trajectories of action unfold over time in the workplace. Petros Chamakiotis (Lecturer in Information Systems, Sussex University) is one of the researchers on the Digital Brain Switch project that investigates how technology influences work-life boundaries using interviews and video studies.

To register to attend, please email Dr Natalia Slutskaya: N.Slutskaya@sussex.ac.uk, before Monday 27th March 2017.

Examining the potential of video-based methods poster

13 October 2016
Future of Work Hub & Management and Organisation Subject Group
Research Seminar: Meaningful Work: What do we know about it and how do we find it?
Jubilee G30, University of Sussex
15:00 - 17:00

Research Seminar followed by showcase and reception

Event schedule

15:00-16:00 Research Seminar, Katie Bailey (Business and Management, University of Sussex)

Meaningful Work: What do we know about it and how do we find it?

Meaningful work has become a topic of growing interest in recent years, in part due to a post-crash emphasis on ‘conscious capitalism’, yet surprisingly little empirical research has taken place. In this seminar, we explore the historical roots of meaningful work and consider what makes the difference between meaningful and meaningless work. The findings of both a narrative evidence synthesis and a qualitative study on the topic are shared, and the role that employers can or should play in managing meaningfulness is considered.

Katie Bailey is Professor of Management in the Department of Business and Management at the University of Sussex.  Her research focuses on meaningful work, employee engagement and strategic human resource management. She is Associate Editor of Human Resource Management Journal and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

16:00-17:00 Research Showcase by Hub Members and Reception 

RSVP by email to: fow@sussex.ac.uk

Future of Work - Katie Bailey seminar 13 Oct poster

22 June 2016
Future of Work Hub
Discussion led by Katie Bailey
Jubilee 3rd floor social space - 15:00

Discussion led by Katie Bailey, to discuss the paper: Godard, J. (2014) "The psychologisation of employment relations?" Human Resource Management Journal, 24, 1, 1-18.

Please contact Ödül Bozkurt if you wish to read the paper: O.Bozkurt@sussex.ac.uk

18 May 2016
Future of Work Hub
Discussion led by Natasha Slutskaya
Jubilee G31 - 15:00

Discussion led by Natasha Slutskaya, on her paper, “Exploring Affective Responses in the Changing Context of Dirty Work”, preceded with a documentary on the study.

Please contact Ödül Bozkurt if you wish to read the paper: O.Bozkurt@sussex.ac.uk

13 April 2016
Future of Work Hub
Inaugural Panel Discussion: Emerging Challenges and Research Agendas
Jubilee Lecture Theatre, University of Sussex
16:00 - 19:00

Launch event for the Future of Work Research Hub.

Event Schedule

16:00-16:10 Welcome and Introduction, Dr Ödül Bozkurt (Sussex FOW Research Hub)

16:10-16:30 Dr Rachel Lara Cohen (City University Department of Sociology)

16:30-16:50 Professor Melanie Simms (University of Leicester School of Management)

16:50-17:10 Professor Paul Sparrow (Lancaster University Management School)

17:10-17:15 Commentary, Dr Andreas Kornelakis (Kings College London & Sussex FOW Research Hub)

17:15-17:45 Q&A then Drinks Reception in the Jubilee Social Space until 19.00


Read more about the event and view the event poster


View the presentations:

The Future of Work (Research Hub, Melanie Simms - 13 April 2016) [PDF 300.20KB]

The Future of Work (Research Hub, Rachel Cohen - 13 April 2016) [PDF 1.53MB]

The Future of Work (Research Hub, Paul Sparrow - 13 April 2016) [PDF 16.61MB]