Future of Work

Research projects

Future of Work Research Hub members conduct interdisciplinary research on work and employment issues.

Meaningful Work: Prospects for the 21st Century

Funder: BMEC Small Research Grant £7,300

Principal Investigator: Katie Bailey
Co-investigators: Adrian Madden (Greenwich), Ruth Yeoman, Duncan Gallie and Marc Thompson (Oxford)

We are undertaking an evidence synthesis on meaningful work to ascertain what evidence there is about the antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work. We have held a Symposium on Meaningful Work at Oxford University in March 2015 attended by over 50 delegates. A call for papers for a special issue of the Journal of Management Studies has just been issued. A linked conference is being held at AUT University, New Zealand, in November 2016

Taming the City? Financial Crisis, the EU Bonus Cap & the UK Banking Sector

Funder: BMEC Small Research Grant £6,183

Principal Investigator: Andreas Kornelakis

This is a pilot project that examines the politics of bonuses in the UK banking industry. More specifically, the project looks at executive pay, and specifically how have UK banks and other key actors (the UK government, Bank of England, British Banker's Association, etc.) responded to the EU regulatory cap on bankers' bonuses. The project takes the financial services sector as a key industry in the 'financialised' UK model of capitalism, integral part of the UK's comparative institutional advantage. Theoretically it is framed in the context of debates in comparative political economy and varieties of capitalism. 

Work in the Heritage Economy: Vintage Retail and Classic Cars

Funder: BMEC Small Research Grants £4,400

Principal Investigator: Ödül Bozkurt
Co-investigators: Dr Rachel Cohen (City University)

This project comprises of two components: First, a preliminary study of working in the "vintage sector",  looking at the work and employment experiences of individuals who are engaged in retailing, events organising, content creation, social and mass media, and performance in the creation and provision of goods and services under the umbrella of "vintage". Particular emphasis on the meaning attached to work and working in this sector, the boundaries between hobby and work, and the collective work involved in drawing the distinctions between "vintage" and its others, around authenticity, honesty, modesty, creativity etc.  Second, under the rubric of  "work in the heritage economy" a study of training and skills in classic car restoration vs. regular car mechanics and repair, with a view to understanding how the upgrading of an old object (ie the car) as a "classic" changes the work and rewards associated with working on/with it. The study also looks at how individuals make sense of their "work" in relation to the classic vs. the modern car. Fieldwork for this study was carried out at Leeds City College, where the first and best renown full-time classic car restoration course in the UK is offered, as well as a number of motor vehichle repair and maintenance courses. A total of 32 individuals including students in both classic and modern car courses and tutors were interviewed in March-May 2015. 

What Harms Female Entrepreneurs’ Psychological Well-Being in Japan?

Funder: The Zengin Foundation for Studies on Economics and Finance £4,000

Principal Investigator: Norifumi Kawai

Co-investigators: Professor Tomoyo Kazumi (Senshu University, Japan); Professor Chikako Hironaka (Shiga University, Japan); Professor Kazumi Kawana (Takachiho University, Japan)

Female entrepreneurs are likely to face various challenges and have to cope with different types of barriers and obstacles in doing businesses. This project examines how financial and institutional obstacles negatively affect female entrepreneurs’ emotional exhaustion, which in turn increases their intentions to exit. We investigate how social capital neutralizes the impact of limited access to financial capital and poor institutional legitimacy on female entrepreneurs’ job insecurity and anxiety.

A Study of Staff Perceptions of HR Practices introduced by Foreign Retailer in Japan

Funder: Sussex B&M Japan Research Fund

Principal Investigator: Ödül Bozkurt
Co-investigators: Dr Motoko Howard (Showa Joshi University) Dr Chul Chung (Henley Business School)

This is an ongoing project that involves a survey study of the new HRM practices introduced by a foreign retailer in Japan and employee perceptions and reactions. The first survey questionnaire was completed in May 2015. A second and third wave are scheduled for Autum 2015 and Spring 2016, enabling for a rare, longitudinal study of employee perceptions of employer fairness, employment quality and commitment to work.  This study partially funded by the Sussex Department of Business and Management Japan Research Funds. 

Employee Engagement: Drivers & Outcomes in the NHS

Funder: National Institute of Health Research £80,715 

Principal Investigator: Katie Bailey
Co-Investigators: Graeme Currie (Warwick), Kerstin Alfes (Tilburg), Adrian Madden (Greenwich), Luke Fletcher (Brighton), Dilys Robinson (IES)

The purpose of this project was to produce an evidence synthesis on the antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement with particular reference to the healthcare sector and to disseminate the findings amongst managers in the NHS. The report was published in June 2015 and a number of other outputs have been produced, including a series of engagement guides and a toolkit on enhancing and embedding staff engagement.

Networked Innovation in the Health Sector: Comparative Evaluation of the Role of Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care 

Funded by SDO, National Institute of Health, UK, $600,000

Principal Investigator: Harry Scarbrough (WBS)
Co-Investigators Professor Sue Newell (Sussex); Professor Jacky Swan (WBS) ; Professor John Powell (Warwick Medical School); Dr Sarah Evans (WBS); Dr Marco Marabelli (WBS & Bentley) Dr Daniela D'Andreta (WBS).

The aim of this comparative evaluation is to highlight the development of the Comparative Evaluation of the Role of Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC)s’ role in developing capabilities that are supportive of innovation and knowledge translation between the ‘producers’ and ‘users’ of research evidence. Nine CLAHRCs were co-funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to develop collaborative partnerships between a university and the surrounding NHS organisations, focused on developing new and better approaches to healthcare services through the conduct and application of applied health research. These collaborations are a response to the “second gap in translation” in which Sir David Cooksey’s ‘Review of Health Research’, identified difficulties with translating research findings into NHS practice.

Our study also includes a comparison of the activities of UK CLAHRCs with equivalent bodies in the Canada and the USA, thus enabling lessons to be learned from international experience. This project seeks to evaluate the CLAHRCs initiative through the lens of ‘networked innovation’. This perspective reflects the development of new collaborative, inter-organisational approaches to innovation.

The Production & Self-production of Model Patients through Information Technology

Funder: The Wellcome Trust £4,254

Principal Investigator: Dr. Dimitra Petrakaki
Co-Investigator: Prof. Jackie Cassell (BSMS)

The Department of Health released the publication 'The Power of Information: Putting us all in control of the health and care information we need' in 2012. It heralded a new policy that places patients at the centre of the management of their own health, and promotes a culture of 'no decision about me without me' (Department of Health, 2012:2). To achieve this end, the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) (e.g. electronic health records, electronic appointments, software health applications) is pivotal. Through the information ICT allows to access, patients will become more knowledgeable and more powerful to self-assess health information and make informed choices. The new policy signifies a displacement of power from NHS providers to individual patients and constitutes an exemplar of a technology of self government or what Foucault (2000) named as 'governmentality'. This study seeks to explore how ICT is implicated in the attainment of patients' self-government in the English NHS and to critically discuss its social and ethical implications for patients. It will gather information from interviews with relevant stakeholders (NHS Commissioning Board, health ICT providers and patient associations) and document analysis. The beneficiaries of the study include health policy makers, patients and the academic community.

The value of formalization for women entrepreneurs in developing contexts-A review and research agenda

Funder: Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries Exploratory Research Grant Scheme £12,500

Principal Investigator: Mirela Xheneti

Co-investigators: Shova Thapa Karki, Adrian Madden

This is a synthesis review of the literature aimed at extending the theoretical approaches to explaining the value of being formal by placing centre-stage the tensions inherent in, and the institutional dynamics affecting, the choices of women in the developing world to operate in the informal sector. Most explanations to date, especially inherent in macro-economic perspectives, have been that the informal economy provides an alternative but diminished route to economic activity characterised by a ‘subsistence entrepreneurialism’ whose only concern is survival. This view overlooks the contextual and nuanced nature of the informal sector, both in terms of its appeal as well as its constraints, especially for the large groups of women that operate informally in the developing world.

Transitioning into the formal – Women entrepreneurs in the informal economy in Nepal

Funder: Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries Exploratory Research Grant Scheme £29,818

Principal Investigator: Mirela Xheneti
Co-investigator: Shova Thapa Karki

The purpose of this project is to explore the extent to which women entrepreneurs in the informal economy in Nepal make the transition into the formal economy, focusing on the interaction of contextual factors – institutional, socio-spatial and enterprise sector dynamics – and their personal characteristics. This project involved qualitative interviews with women informal entrepreneurs in three socio-spatial contexts in Nepal with different characteristics and enterprise dynamics. The project aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the experiences of various groups of Nepali women entrepreneurs, as well as generating an evidence base that can feed into policy discussions that are context and entrepreneur - group sensitive.