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

Dual-earner households: The impact of Covid-19 lockdown on working and family lives

Dr Ruiz-Castro has successfully applied for SPF impact seed funding 20/21 for a project on the experiences of dual-earner households during Covid-19. This project will investigate the intersectional gendered experiences of parents in dual-earner households in London boroughs during the Covid-19 crisis. Using qualitative research methods, including semi-structured and multi-perspective interviews, the project will investigate the challenges faced and strategies developed by couples to respond to changes in their working and family lives and the forms of support and access to resources offered by their employers and local boroughs. The project seeks to contribute towards social justice and inclusivity by making evidence-based recommendations to representatives of local service centres and charities, employers, and the local community that contribute to reducing existing and exacerbated inequalities in the community and within households. Mayra's work related to this project was published in the Harvard Business Review and she was also interviewed by the Newstatesman, you can read the article titled "Inside Covid-19’s “lost year” for women at work" here.

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.

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

Dr Ruiz-Castro along with Dr Ioana Lupu have written an article for the Harvard Business Review 'Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement.'The article explores what it takes for busy professionals to make a change for the better based on a series of interviews with mid-and senior-level managers at two global firms. 

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 Izak in his recent paper on 'Configurations of Boundary Management Practices among Knowledge Workers' in Work, Employment and Society (CABS 4) identifies three configurations of boundary management practices with differing degrees of inconsistency in the use of time, space and objects. Its contribution is three-fold: (1) it provides an original, systematic exploration of boundary management practices that do not represent consistency; (2) it creates a framework within which differing degrees of inconsistency in people’s boundary management practices can be observed; and (3) it demonstrates new and crucial differences between distinct inconsistent approaches to demarcating the work-nonwork boundary.

Dr Atkinson published a research article titled 'Working together: factors affecting the relationship between leadership and job satisfaction in Iranian HR departments' in the Journal of General Management.

Dr Ruiz-Castro received a research grant from the Southlands Methodist Trust to examine the workplace experiences, career trajectories and professional identity of Latin American professionals in the UK. Employing qualitative research methods, including semi-structured interviews and focus groups with Latin Americans in professional occupations in the UK, this study will examine Latin American professionals’ strategies of integration into the workplace and of career development. It will also identify the ways in which Latin Americans construct their professional identity in the British workplace. Finally, it will consider how Latin Americans’ own gendered, raced and classed practices as well as current contextual factors, such as Brexit and Covid-19, influence their career choices and trajectories. This project seeks to promote collaboration and knowledge exchange between Latin American practitioners and students as well as scholars and organizations supporting the Latin American community in the UK. 

Dr Izak is editing a Special Issue in Culture and Organization journal on the topic of Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home