Project funding for the study of the voice of employees and contemporary working lives


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A multi-disciplinary research project worth over £680,000 at Strathclyde Business School (SBS) will study the extent, nature and effectiveness of worker voice.

The three years’Amplify employee voices and hear the unheard The study aims to fill an important knowledge gap by exploring the lived experiences of workers under different contracts, with diverse work arrangements and in multiple work contexts and occupations.

Reduce inequalities

Dr Stewart Johnstone, Senior Researcher and Reader of SBS, said: “It is widely accepted that good jobs and the ability of workers to have their voices heard can reduce inequality and poverty and improve working lives, but the evidence Detailed empirical evidence is limited.

“We need to know to what extent workers have access to formal voice mechanisms that allow them to participate in decisions that affect them at work and whether alternative voice channels have emerged to supplement or replace more traditional arrangements.

“We will also examine how workers perceive the effectiveness of these mechanisms to improve their working life. It is important to know the reasons why workers exercise their voice or why they may remain silent.

“Last, and most importantly, we will examine ways in which governments, policy makers and employers can design policies that can amplify the voice of employees for the benefit of workers, organizations and society.”

Voice of employees

The project brings together a diverse team of researchers from the University of Strathclyde Business School within the Department of Labour, Employment and Organization and Economics, with different methodological expertise and sector knowledge.

They will develop an innovative multi-layered study of the voice of employees and contemporary working lives. The research will also use a combination of methods, including labor market analysis, stakeholder interviews, employer case studies, and focus groups to better understand the realities of voice.

The geographic focus of the study is Inverclyde in west-central Scotland. With a large public sector, but encompassing jobs in logistics and warehousing, contact centres, retail, social services and the hospitality industry, it offers a compelling example of a de-industrialized and disadvantaged region.

The study will provide valuable and rarely considered data on the importance of workers’ voices in improving working life in general, and an opportunity to capture the voices of low-paid, minority and disadvantaged workers who are often ignored in the workplace. mainstream literature on employee voice.

The project also involves the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), employer and union representatives, Acas and the Inverclyde Advice and Employment Rights Centre.

Main challenges

The grant is one of seven funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research & Innovation, as part of the 2021 Transforming Working Lives call on “Changing Working Lives and Power At work “. The study begins in October 2022.

Professor Alison Park, Acting Executive Chair of the ESRC, said: “The world of work is changing rapidly. Understanding how and why this is changing, and how it affects the lives of workers, will help policymakers, businesses and employees address key challenges, including how to help people advance in their careers and how to strengthen gender equality At work.

“These seven new research projects will collaborate and coordinate with each other, furthering the collective impact of the ESRC investment.”

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