Work and Organisation

  • Work and organisation

    Researchers in the Work and Organisations cluster share an interest in investigating all forms of work, employment and worker identities in relation to organisational practices as well as institutional structures.

    Our research examines topics such as the nature and implications of changing employment relations and inter-organisational dynamics (e.g. practices of fissuring and outsourcing); labour markets and migration; new and historical forms of organising work; entrepreneurship and individual experiences of paid and unpaid labour. As such, our research supports contemporary, historical and comparative studies and both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.


    Projects

  • 'Employability' is an ideologically-charged word in policy debates, and its meaning is contested. For graduating students joining the labour market, interpreting the meaning of employability is a practical necessity: without career capital to offer, they have little to project to recruiters other than their potential as employable workers. This entails students' making sense of discourses of employability, using resources such as university careers services and the recruitment websites of graduate employers. Students’ reactions to such resources, however, remain poorly understood, and is the focus of this research project. The study is also considering the implications for students' career decisions and recruitment activities.

    2016 - 2018

    Involved academics:

    This is a collaborative project with Prof. Tanja Bipp/ University of Wuerzburg and it is looking into the reasons why people pursue their personal and work-related goals. The goal-striving reasons framework measures people's goal reasons along the two dimension of approach/avoidance reasons and goal content. Our empirical studies so far have shown that goal-striving reasons are systematically related to people's subjective well-being as well as work engagement.

    2015 - now

    Involved academics:

    • Dr Christian Ehrlich (University of Wuerzburg, Germany)

    Ehrlich, C., & Bipp, T. (2016). Goals and subjective well-being: Further evidence for goal-striving reasons as an additional level of goal analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 89, 92-99

    This project is a collaborative project with Dr. Claudia Harzer (University of Darmstadt) and it is looking into the degree to which "lowering one's expectation about life " is related to people's overall life satisfaction but also their subjective well-being.

    2014 - now

    Invovled academics:

    • Dr Christian Ehrlich (University of Wuerzburg, Germany)
    • Dr Claudia Harzer (University of Darmstadt, Germany)

    Harzer, C., & Ehrlich, C. (2016). Different forms of life satisfaction and their relation to affectivity. Edorium Journal of Psychology, 2, 8-13.

    Private security companies constitute a growing, global industry. The UK is a core hub for private security companies and South Africa is among the counties with the fastest growing private security sector. This research project (supported by an OBU Research Excellence Award) addresses interdisciplinary questions such as: the codification and regulation of the sector, the ethics of private security companies, relationships with government (public/private partnerships) and the broader questions of ‘organizing for security’.

    2017 - 2018

    Involved academics:

    Professor Juliette Koning in collaboration with Professor Math Noortmann Coventry University UK and The Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA) Stellenbosch University, South Africa

    The aim of this research project which won an ESRC/AHRC Trans-National Organised Crime Cross-disciplinary Innovation Grant is to foster cooperation between coastal communities and law enforcement agencies to redress transnational organized maritime crimes in Indonesia and advance Indonesia's maritime security. The research investigates such issues as: who are the main actors in the maritime domain; which ‘crimes’ are being experienced and with what effect; what law enforcement tools and resources are being used and with what success; what specific threats are articulated by coastal communities; how do the communities and law enforcers appreciate each other; and what do these stakeholders see as ways forward.

    2016 - 2018

    Find out more »

    Involved academics:

    Professor Juliette Koning in collaboration with Professor Math Noortmann and Dr Ioannis Chapsos from Coventry University UK and Dr Pete Munro from the International Organization for Migration Indonesia

    This project (supported by an International Collaboration Grant OBU / Copenhagen Business School) investigates how people working in/for ‘green’ organizations in the United Kingdom (and Denmark) keep motivated to act and be sustainable, the role of meaningful work, and the main drivers to stay a ‘true’ sustainability adherent.

    Relates to the broader research focus on Identity Work

    2016 - 2018

    Involved academics:

    Professor Juliette Koning and Birgit den Outer in Collaboration with Professor Can Seng Ooi Copenhagen Business School

    Koning, Juliette (2017) Beyond Prosperity Gospel. Moral Identity Work and Organizational Cultures in Pentecostal-charismatic Organizations in Indonesia. In: Koning & Njoto-Feillard (eds.) New Religiosities, Modern Capitalism and Moral Complexities in Southeast Asia. New York: Palgrave/MacMillan, pp. 39-64

    Moore, Liam & Juliette Koning (2016) Intersubjective Identity Work and Sensemaking of Adult Learners on a Postgraduate Coaching Course: Finding the Balance in a World of Dynamic Complexity.Management Learning 47(1): 28-44.

    Koning, Juliette and Jeff Waistell (2012) Identity Talk of Aspirational Ethical Leaders. Journal of Business Ethics, 107 (1): 65-77

    This research follows debates in social sciences and organization studies on the role and meaning of identity, ethnicity, religion and kinship in the setting up and running of small enterprises in societal contexts in which the ethnic group (in this case ethnic Chinese) is a political and cultural minority.

    Ongoing since 2010

    Academics involved:

    Articles

    Verver, Michiel & Koning, Juliette (2017) Towards a Kinship Perspective on Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice

    Koning, Juliette & Michiel Verver (2013) Historicizing the ‘Ethnic’ in Ethnic Entrepreneurship: The Case of the Ethnic Chinese in Bangkok, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development: An International Journal, 25 (5-6): 325-348

    Dahles, Heidi & Juliette Koning (2013) Strait Chinese Business Ventures into China. In Douglas Caulkins and Ann T. Jordan (eds.) A Companion to Organizational Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 418-437.

    Koning, Juliette (2011) Business, Belief and Belonging: Small Business Owners and Conversion to Charismatic Christianity. In: Marleen Dieleman, Juliette Koning and Peter Post (eds.) Chinese Indonesians and Regime Change. Boston: Brill, pp. 23-46.

    Investigates ontological and epistemological questions related to using organizational ethnography as research approach and lens.

    Ongoing since 2012

    Academics invovled:

    Examples of output:

    Ciuk, Sylwia & Juliette Koning & Monika Kostera (in press, 2017) Organizational Ethnographies. In Ann Cunliffe (ed) Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Business and Management. London: Sage.

    Koning, Juliette and Can Seng Ooi (2013) Awkward Encounters and Ethnography. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 8(1): 16-32. Special Issue: Untold Stories of the Field and Beyond: Narrating the Chao

    EGOS Standing Working Group on Organizational Ethnography

    Doctoral research investigating the motivations of people employed in the voluntary sector, how these motivations develop prior to organisational entry, and how organisations can foster these motivations within work.

    2011 - 2014

    Involved academics:

    • Dr Louisa Lapworth
    • Dr Nick Wylie (Coventry University)
    • Professor Philip James (Middlesex University)

    Articles

    Lapworth, L., Wylie, N. and James, P. 'Managing in Third Sector Organisations: Institutions, Transformational Experiences and a Voluntary Sector Ethos'. Paper presented at the 12th International Society for Third Sector Research Conference. Stockholm, 28 June - 1 July 2016.

    Lapworth, L., Wylie, N. and James, P. 'Examining the Voluntary Sector Ethos: Tensions, conflicts and caricatures'. Paper presented at the 33rd International Labour Process Conference. Berlin, April 2016.

    This innovative project explores the differences and similarities of the experiences of guide dog users as entrepreneurs in different EU countries. It constructs entrepreneurship as a response to differing levels of employment opportunities for disabled workers to overcome barriers to work.

    The project is supported by the European Guide Dog Federation.

    2017 - now

    Involved academcis

    The European Guide Dog Federation

    As part of a joint project with universities across the EU and Asia, Dr Simon Adderley is leading a socio-economic-environmental sustainability stream within the MAKERS2 RISE project, led by the University of Birmingham. The project will study issues related to the drivers and dynamics of social enterprises within manufacturing sectors.

    As part of this project Simon is leading a research stream comparing the governance structures and supply chain mechanisms of manufacturing based social enterprises in the UK and France

    2019 - 2019

    Academics involved:

    Makers

    With globalisation, SMEs have increasingly to rely on expansion overseas, either to maintain their relative position within a global supply chain network or simply to survive. The project will offer insights into how SMEs utilize a set of social and business contacts to facilitate decision-making on internationalization and its implementation. Sharing these insights will be fruitful for SMEs as well as for the public agencies which offer advice to them. From an academic perspective, the project will contribute to the growing body of research which sees networking, relationship building and knowledge sharing as a credible focus for advancing internationalisation theory.

    September 2012 - now

    Academics involved:

    • Dr Joanna Karmowska
    • Professor John Child
    • Professor Said Elbanna
    • Dr Linda Hsieh
    • Dr Joanna Karmowska
    • Professor Svetla Marinova
    • Dr Rose Narooz
    • Lulu Zhang
    • Dr Pushyarag Puthusserrya
    • Professor Terence Tsai

    Longitudinal study driven by contemporary issues resulting from unprecedented changes in the migrant population workforce in the UK. In particular, the study encompasses an exploration of the trade unions’ initiatives aimed at recruitment and integration of migrant workers.

    2007 - 2016

    Academics involved:

    Articles

    Karmowska, J., Child, J. and James, P. (2017) ‘A contingency analysis of precarious organizational temporariness’. British Journal of Management (online preview).

    James, P. and Karmowska, J. (2016) ‘British union renewal: does salvation really lie beyond the workplace?’ Industrial Relations Journal, 47(2): 102-116.

    James, P. and Karmowska, J. (2013) ‘British Trade Unions and Polish Migrant Workers’, in Sargeant, M. and Ori, M. (eds) Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Working. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge.

    James, P. and Karmowska, J. (2012) ‘Unions and migrant workers: Strategic challenges from the British case’. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 18(1): 201-212.

    James, P. and Karmowska, J. (2010-11) ‘Accommodating difference? British trade unions and Polish migrant workers’. Journal of Workplace Rights, 15(2): 169-189.

    This is an original account of the long history of the Chinese co-operative sector from the end of the Qing dynasty to the present day. I have examined how in its evolution the Chinese Co-operative Movement has diverged from the western notion of a co-operative.

    2010 - ongoing

    Academics invovled:

    Articles

    A. Bernardi, M.Miani, 2014, ‘ The Long March of Chinese co-operatives: towards market economy, participation, and sustainable development’, Asia Pacific Business Review, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp. 330-355.

    A. Bernardi, 2016, ‘Gung Ho, The Chinese Co-operative Movement’, in Bernardi A., Monni S., eds., (2016), The Co-operative Firm: Keywords", Roma: Roma Tre University Press, pp. 51-60.

    A. Bernardi, M. Miani, 2015, ‘The Long March of Chinese co-operatives: towards market economy, participation, and sustainable development’, in Mutual, Cooperative and Employee-Owned Businesses in the Asia Pacific, Diversity, Resilience and Sustainable Growth, edited by Chris Rowley and Jonathan Michie, Routledge.

    This article historicizes the relationship between Sociology and History as a means of better understanding the tensions, perceived and real, that exist between History and Organization Studies. In particular we analyse three differences of epistemological standpoint (method, objectivity and usefulness) that are commonly seen as the foundation stones to incompatibility. Our contribution to the debates over the need for more historical approaches within OS therefore centrally rests on abandoning aspirations for fully integrative models of working together, in favour of cooperative modes that concede the fields’ differences. This subtle shift of emphasis will, we believe, greatly benefit OS scholars who hope to include historical perspectives in their work.

    2011 - 2013

     

    Academics invovled:

    Articles

    A. Greenwood, A. Bernardi, 2014, ‘Understanding the rift: the (still) uneasy bedfellows of History and Organization Studies’, Organization, Volume 21 no. 6, pp. 907-932.

    A. Bernardi, A. Greenwood, 2012, “Understanding the rift: the (still) uneasy bedfellows of history and organization studies”, 28th EGOS Colloquium, Helsinki.

    In the past years I have been studying the co-operative sector worldwide and I have published several articles, book chapters and books in Italian, English and Spanish. They have in common one research question. Are Co-operatives different to capitalist firms? What’s the role of a co-operative in our societies? Can this diversity be kept despite organisational growth, competition and social changes?

    2009 - ongoing

    Academics invovled:

    Articles

    A. Bernardi, 2016, ‘A Dictionary of the Multifaceted Co-operative World’, in Bernardi A., Monni S., eds., (2016), The Co-operative Firm: Keywords (Roma: Roma Tre University Press), pp. 7-16

    A. Bernardi, A. Greenwood, 2014, ‘ The co-operative firm: a non-capitalist model for the Occupy Movement’, in Economic Policy and The Financial Crisis, edited by Lukasz Mamica and Pasquale Tridico, Routledge 26pp.

    A. Bernardi, T. Koppa, 2011, ‘ Co-operatives as better working places. The Finnish case in acomparative organizational climate analysis’, The International Journal of Co-operative Management, 40pp., vol. 5, n. 2.

    I have been studying a Chinese institution, the New Rural Co-operative Scheme. Since 2002 this complex organization has been in charge of providing healthcare in rural China. I have studied the relationship between old and new Rural Co- operative Medical Schemes, bringing to light most particularly their political and ideological relationship. Its relevance has become all the greater since the neo-Maoist revival under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

    2010 - ongoing

    Academics invovled:

    Articles

    A. Bernardi, A. Greenwood, 2014, ‘Old And New Rural Co-Operative Medical Schemes In China: The Usefulness Of A Historical Comparative Perspective’, Asia Pacific Business Review, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp. 356-378.

    A. Bernardi, A. Greenwood, 2015, ‘Old And New Rural Co-Operative Medical Scheme In China: The Usefulness Of A Historical Comparative Perspective’, in Mutual, Cooperative and Employee-Owned Businesses in the Asia Pacific, Diversity, Resilience and Sustainable Growth, edited by Chris Rowley and Jonathan Michie, Routledge

    A. Bernardi, A. Greenwood, 2011, “Rural Health Co-operatives in China, History and contemporary organizational models”, 27th EGOS Colloquium, University of Gothenburg

    A. Bernardi, A. Greenwood, 2011, “Rural health co-operatives, barefoot doctors, contemporary organizational models and the lessons of history: China c. 1965-2010”, 80th Anglo-American Conference of Historians: Health in History, SOAS, University of London

    Notwithstanding recent advances in the literature on language-related issues in MNCs, language in IB has not been sufficiently researched or theorised (Brannen et al, 2014). In particular, the effects of corporate language at the level of individuals and organisations remain under-researched (Barner-Rasmussen and Aarnio, 2011; Brannen et al, 2014; Fredriksson et al, 2006). This study aims to further develop this body of work.

    2015 - ongoing

    Academics invovled:

    How are people’s identities disciplined by their talk about humour? Based on an ethnographic study of a New York food co-operative, we show how members’ talk about appropriate and inappropriate uses of humour disciplined their identity work

    November 2014 - November 2016

    Academics invovled:

    Articles

    1st published online 29 December 2016 Organization Studies

    Our interest in power, lies in how certain attitudes, values and processes have become normalized within modern workplaces and in particular, how ‘secrecy’ has become institutionalized in many organizational forms. Secrecy, we argue, is a technology that once normalised, becomes a natural way of dealing. A self (and other) disciplinary apparatus that while often positioned as rational, is socially constructed and subjective – constituting a set of organizational beliefs that can be traced directly to the early-modern period, itself a substantive epoch of organizational modernization.

    November 2014 - November 2016

    Academics invovled:

    The original research contribution of this article is in its advocacy of autoethnographic vignettes as a reflexive tool to construct and ground the researcher’s own perspectives in situated dominant organizational discourses, created and unearthed through the interview process. Personal stories from an ethnographic study are used to illustrate how the researcher’s own perspectives become entwined with interviewee narratives, shading what they find interesting and hence reportable within the scene to exercise power.

    January 2015 to present

    Academics invovled:

    Academy of Management

    Our paper examines how ‘underlying’ beliefs and feelings surfaced within a foreign exchange trading house (ETC) during a period of ‘top tier’ leadership change, which unearthed processes of institutional isomorphism. It is our contention that such processes of social change must be located in the situated understandings of individuals. Organizations are, to some extent, the products of institutional pressures, but in founding their own practices, members also become ‘the receptacle of group idealism’ - constituting ‘naturalised’ beliefs and understandings that are ‘less readily expendable’ than calls for bureaucratic/instrumental conformity to wider industry practices. Thus, pressures to conform to external normative pressures act in tension with distinctive localised values and yet, we argue, ‘the presence and extent of such conflicts remain to be evaluated empirically’ (Scott, 1995, p.130).

    June 2016 - present

    Academics invovled:

    This research investigates the process of mergers among charities in order to understand the motivation and outcomes of such strategic actions. Aftermath of economic crisis has triggered urgent re-evaluation of the charity sector as there are too many charities vying for limited funding. And, given that this is an important sector in the UK for both employment and social good, this research is key to establish if mergers will enable sustenance of the sector in the longer term. This research project is based on a 3 stage approach to study past, ongoing and future mergers, using organizational routines as unit of analysis. Using both retrospective and longitudinal studies, this three-stage approach employs mixed methods to study the mergers among charities.

    January 2017 to present

    Academics invovled:

    This research investigated both inbound and outbound cross-border acquisitions by Indian firms in the UK, Finland and Sweden. Motivations, process of integration and outcomes of acquisitions were investigated in this comparative study to understand the M&A process in three geographies - UK, Sweden and Finland. We also studied the differences and similarities among Indian acquirers when compared to that of other acquirers mentioned in extant literature. We presented three conference papers, one book chapter and are currently working on an academic article.

    August 2014 - August 2016

    Academics invovled:

    • Professor Duncan Angwin
    • Professor Niina Nummela
    • Associate Professor Zsuzsanna Vincze
    • University Research Fellow Peter Zettinig
    • Uma Urs
    • Melanie Hassett
  • Grants

  • The grant is for a project investigating final-year students' interpretations of graduate careers recruitment websites, and the implications for their career decisions and recruitment activities.

    September 2016 to August 2018

    Academics

    The aim of this research project is to foster cooperation between coastal communities and law enforcement agencies to redress transnational organized maritime crimes in Indonesia and advance Indonesia's maritime security.

    December 2016 – June 2018

    Academics

    To facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience between academics, SME executives as well as representatives of government and regional support agencies concerned with the internationalisation of SMEs.

    March 2016 – March 2017

    Academics

    The main aim of this project is to investigate the challenges facing Polish SMEs seeking to expand their business abroad and how these can successfully be met through appropriate strategies, methods of decision-making and use of network links. The study also evaluates opportunities and barriers for collaborations between UK and Polish companies.

    October 2012 – August 2014

    Academics

    I have received a conference grant from Manchester City Council. This has supported the 28th EAEPE Conference that I have chaired in 2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University. 275 Research papers were presented in that occasion. The theme of the conference was: Industrialisation, socio-economic transformation and institutions.

    November 2016

    Academics

    We received €10,000 grant from Foundation for Economic Education, Finland to study both inbound and outbound acquisitions of Indian acquirers in UK, Finland and Sweden. This funding was used towards travel expenses for research and conference attendance.

    August 2014 - August 2016

    Academics

    • Professor Duncan Angwin
    • Professor Niina Nummela
    • Associate Professor Zsuzsanna Vincze
    • University Research Fellow Peter Zettinig
    • Uma Urs
    • Melanie Hassett
  • Applications for PhD supervision

    Professor Juliette Koning:

    1. Qualitative research on identity, ethnicity, religion and leadership in small business organizations (sme’s; family firms)
    2. Qualitative research in and on private security organizations
    3. Meaningful work /identity work in organizations
    4. Business ethics and responsible business

    Dr Joanna Karmowska:

    1. Internationalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
    2. Management practices and organizational processes in performing arts organizations

    Dr Sylwia Ciuk:

    1. Language strategies, policies and practices in MNEs
    2. Culture change initiatives
    3. Implementation and resistance to new management ideas

    Dr Louisa Lapworth:

    1. Motivation and HRM in the voluntary sector
    2. Public Service Motivation

    Current PhD Students

    Oxana Garanina
    Topic: Connecting businesses with communities: the role of brokering and employee volunteering

    Start date: September 2014

    Helene Seiler
    Topic: Development of a behavioural diagnostic tool to assess coaching effectiveness

    Start date: September 2014

    Frederik Young
    Topic:British SME’s Network Processes, Paths and Patterns in the Indian Marketplace

    Start date:January 2015

    Heba Younis
    Topic: SMEs' Internationalization Decision - Antecedents, Process and Outcomes within the Gulf Region

    Start date: September 2014