People & Organisations Research Cluster

The People and Organizations Research Cluster is home to a very active community of academics whose research interests span from the social and solidarity economy to human resource development, and careers to gender and management. Research leadership of the cluster is provided by Dr Michael Izak, with members and external guests invited to present their work as part of the ongoing seminar series. The members of the cluster also have strong links with colleagues in the UK and internationally and participate in various interdisciplinary research projects.

The members of the cluster have a track record of publishing their research in CABS 4 & CABS 3-rated, peer-reviewed journals including Human Relations, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Management, Work, Employment & Society, Organization Studies, British Journal of Management, Gender Work and Organization, and Journal of Management Inquiry.

The current research programme of the cluster includes

  • Gender and the media
  • Gender equality
  • Intersectionality
  • Social and solidarity economy
  • Maternal employment
  • Activism and resistance in organizations
  • Identity in organizations
  • Alternative organizational forms
  • Mobile / flexible working
  • Career and career transitions
  • Employability and careers
  • Professionals and the professions
  • Human Resource Development
  • Leadership and Talent Management
  • HR analytics
  • Big data ethics


Phd Students

Research Highlights

The Global Business of Coaching, a ‘How to …’ book on coaching that resonates with critical scholars, coach educators, as well as coach practitioners

Dr Christina Evans co-authored The Global Business of Coaching: A Meta-Analytical Perspective, a ‘How to …’ book on coaching, with Dr David Lines. The book is organized into three sections, the first section is based on a historiographical approach to the history of coaching, as a way of drawing out and illustrating the often tenuous links made between different forms of developmental interventions and the emergence of coaching, by different protagonists. This approach enables us to emphasise how the social and political agendas in vogue at a particular time have informed how coaching is perceived, positioned and delivered. We also present several metaphors, drawn from interviews with professional coaches based in the Asia Pacific region, that provide insights into how they perceive the past and current status of the business of coaching.

Section two starts with an equally critical perspective on coaching qualifications and credentialing, situated as part of a wider debate around the professionalization of coaching. In this section, drawing on social mobilization theory we trace how one coaching association has become powerful in the global business of coaching. This section covers some of the day-to-day tensions that coach experience as they develop and practice their craft.

The final section explores some of the more recent developments that may change the business of coaching as we now know it e.g. the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies that could complement, or replace, current ways in which coaching is delivered.

Building an Outstanding Workforce: Developing People to Drive Individual and Organizational Success

Brand new publication from Dr Paul Aldrich, Global Head of People and Performance for Pemberton Asset Management with over 25 years' experience of talent management. The authors argue that in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, achieving sustainable competitive advantage has never been more important, or more difficult. However, the key challenge for CEOs, senior executives and HR professionals is how to unlock the potential of their people, building a culture that allows employees to perform to the best of their abilities and effectively attract, engage, develop and retain the staff needed for sustainable business success. Building an Outstanding Workforce is a must-have guide for all professionals looking to leverage the potential of their people and maximise value for all stakeholders. Including evolutionary psychology, neuroscience and personality psychology, this book takes an evidence-based approach to people management.  

With practical guidance, expert advice and case studies from companies including Alibaba, Barclays Banking Group, Patagonia, Tata Group and Qantas, Building an Outstanding Workforce covers all the key issues including how to tailor people management to address the motivations of different generations, the impact of emergent technology on the workforce, the shift in the skills employees now need to learn and develop and how to handle the new challenges of remote and flexible working and the gig economy. There is also essential coverage of strategic workforce planning, people risk, people analytics, human capital reporting, the employer brand and employee value proposition and the benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion, well-being and other aspects of corporate and social responsibility. It presents a new people-focused framework for people management that redefines the structure, roles and responsibilities of human resource management and addresses the problems of role ambiguity and conflict associated with HR to deliver people management that everyone needs and deserves

Highly qualified early and mid-career researchers, in particular from STEM disciplines, are pursuing careers outside academia

Dr Ruiz Castro along with her colleagues, advance theory and empirical research on career transitions and sustainable careers by investigating how junior academics transition into the field of data science. Their recently published article in the prestigious Journal of Vocational Behavior explores the facilitators of their career transition and the ways in which they experience career sustainability in their new occupational field. Their study reveals the career barriers that junior researchers experience in academia and how career catalysts increase their career adaptability, facilitating a career transition into sustainable careers in data science. It further shows that career sustainability is experienced through the reaffirmation of interviewees' identity as researchers outside of academia as well as in the reconciliation between their previous career expectations and actual career outcomes after transitioning into data science. You can read the full article here.

Leading research on mutually satisfying and sustainable flexible working practices

Dr Izak considers the value and risks of different flexible working practices for individuals and organisations and his project titled In the borderland: Spatial, behavioural and conceptual boundaries of flexible workers' work and non-work spaces, undertaken in collaboration with Dr Stefanie Reissner (Newcastle University) Michal explores the processes by which flexible workers negotiate the spatial and conceptual boundaries between work and non-work. Working with public sector and not-for-profit organizations we investigate different strategies employed by flexible workers in managing their home/private life boundaries, as well as the relevant organizational impact. Through engagement with teleworkers and professional bodies, we aim to develop a better understanding of such issues towards informing the development of mutually satisfying and sustainable flexible working practices.

Our recent research-related successes

Professor Sunitha Narendran in her recent publication in the Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting (CABS 3) titled 'CEO profile and earnings quality' introduces a novel approach that uses publicly available information on the personal profiles of chief executive officers (hereafter CEOs) to red flag poor earnings quality in individual firms.

Dr Ruiz Castro has published a research article titled 'Role Distancing and the Persistence of Long Work Hours in Professional Service Firm' in the journal of Organization Studies (CABS 4). The study of audit and law professionals demonstrates that although many people comply with the professional role, some came to distance themselves from the professional role centered on long work hours.

Dr Izak in his recent paper on 'Scarred objects and time marks as memory anchors: the significance of scuffs and stains in organisational life' in Human Relations (CABS 4) lays the workplace under the microscope to examine how scuffs on floors, stains on clothes, and battered corners on desks – things we define as ‘scarred objects’ – become material autobiographical archives and are made into memory anchors by workers.

First-year PhD student Tabitha Sindani was invited to deliver a TEDx talk at the Ruhr University in Germany on female empowerment. You can watch her inspirational talk here.