The Work and Equalities Institute (WEI) will develop new interdisciplinary approaches to addressing core policy and intellectual challenges, and will identify and promote conditions for more inclusive and fair work and employment arrangements.
Institute Director Professor Jill Rubery explains: “Most of the inequalities that one observes, from health and education to poverty and exclusion, are influenced by labour market factors, but employment conditions are themselves shaped by patterns of inequality. The new Institute will therefore consider equality issues as integral and central to understanding work and employment arrangements.”
The Institute brings together two internationally-recognised Alliance Manchester Business School research centres – the European Work and Employment Research Centre, and the Fairness at Work Research Centre. Both have established international expertise across human resource management, industrial relations, labour economics, organisational psychology, employment law, technology, organisation studies, sociology and social statistics.
Local to global
The Institute’s research will build on the already strong connections with important national and international policy bodies. Its work and employment inequalities will also be an important contributor to the University of Manchester’s global inequalities research beacon.
Professor Colette Fagan, Vice President for Research at The University of Manchester, added: “The WEI team have a world class track record of informing the evidence-base and policy agenda of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the United Nations’ International Labour Office, as well as national organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the TUC, built over more than 25 years of engagement in this arena.
“They also have an excellent track record of supervision of doctoral students and launching early career researchers onto successful careers as academics or researchers and policy makers in other sectors. I am confident that our new Institute will build on the strengths of these foundations, and will make a significant impact to knowledge and policy solutions in relation to the quality, organisation, innovation, and fair distribution of work and employment.”
The Institute is structured around the following themes:
Business Transformation and Work Futures
ICT, high-performance employment systems, extensive sourcing through global value chains, e-retailing, and financialised ownership structures have potentially serious implications for employment security and job quality. This theme will investigate these overlapping business transformations.
Fair Treatment at Work
This theme focuses on three main areas: the extent of inequalities in fair treatment at work, particularly for those with protected characteristics under equality legislation; the relationship between fair treatment at work and stress and wellbeing; and the challenges of improving fair treatment through interventions.
Inequalities and the Life Course
This theme considers how inequalities change or are reinforced across the life course, and how changing life courses are interacting with developments in work and employment.
Regulation and Representation
Major debates are taking place on the role of employment regulation and representation in a context of work fragmentation and globalisation, and tensions between state intervention and corporate self-regulation amid rising problems of social inclusion and inequality and labour market migration.