Publications

How Cultural Workers Address Racism in the Digital Age

This research is informed by a wide range of prior studies, but it particularly draws on work that takes seriously “the intersection of platform capitalism and racial capitalism” (Cottom 2020: 441). Accordingly, while this research focuses on the digital experiences of creators of colour, it also critically addresses systemic power regimes (e.g., structural racism) that underpin online platforms. The next section of the report reflects on the context of the CCIs in Britain, followed by a focus on digital racism. The project findings are then outlined in three subsequent separate yet interlinked sections: Digital Communities and Solidarity, Algorithms and [...]

2024-06-12T11:46:51+01:0012 June 2024|

Coworking spaces and workplaces of the future: Critical perspectives on community, context and change

The last decade has witnessed increased demand by employers and workers for greater flexibility, especially regarding remote and hybrid work. There has therefore been a substantial increase in academic interest in coworking, including within business and management studies. We conduct a systematic literature review of research on coworking and coworking spaces (CWS) to argue this field is now sufficiently developed to merit recognition as an important element of discussion surrounding workplaces of the future. We outline the core themes in coworking research and identify three key research weaknesses relating to common understandings of community, context and change. The article [...]

2024-05-15T16:47:52+01:0014 May 2024|

Varieties of digitalisation? A comparison of employment services digitalisation in the UK and Australia

This article examines the digitalisation of employment services in the UK and Australia, countries that have been on similar policy trajectories with respect to the development of quasi-markets and increased digitalisation. The article deploys comparative mixed methods comprising surveys of employment service providers and interviews with providers and technology developers in both countries to analyse the extent of, forms and challenges around digitalisation across both countries. The survey data analysis suggested considerable similarities in the UK and Australia regarding the drivers of digitalisation and the tasks which were digitalised. However, the interview data highlighted some differences between the two [...]

2024-06-12T11:33:52+01:008 May 2024|

The economic effects of changes in labour laws: new evidence for the UK

Summary The economic effects of labour laws have been much debated. In seeking to protect workers, do they actually end up harming them and the economy? Do they introduce rigidities and distortions into hiring decisions, causing unemployment to rise? Or do labour laws, by protecting workers from arbitrary treatment, help to create a more productive, more inclusive economy? We provide answers to these questions for the case of the UK, using a dataset which tracks changes in the content and strength of legislative protection for workers around the world from 1970 to the present day. Using our dataset, [...]

2024-04-24T11:44:48+01:0024 April 2024|

AI and algorithmic management in European services sectors: prevalence, functions, and a guide for negotiators

This report discusses the growing use of AI and algorithmic management systems (AAMS) in European service industries: AAMS are proliferating at speed throughout the Eu­ropean service sector. They are spreading beyond the platform economy, and becoming prevalent in ‘ordinary’ workplaces such as offices, restaurants, and contact cen­tres. In large part, this is because they are being embed­ded in pre-existing enterprise software. While AAMS vendors loudly acclaim their advantages and benefits, their products pose stark threats to work­ers. They harbour a risk of illegitimate surveillance of workers, intensification of the pace of work, creation of knowledge imbalances between workers and [...]

2024-04-26T11:50:08+01:0026 March 2024|

Making It Stick: The UK Four-Day Week Pilot One Year On

One year on from the results of the world’s biggest ever four-day working week pilot which took place in the UK in 2022, companies that took part have reported significant and lasting success. The report offers new insight into the effects of a four-day week on workers over the longer term, as well as into the strategies used by organisations to fit shorter working hours to their particular circumstances. Read the report Authors Autonomy team Tatiana Pignon Kyle Lewis Liam Mullally Lukas Kikuchi Jack Kellam Grace Western Qualitative research team Dr David Frayne, University of Salford Professor Brendan [...]

2024-03-26T15:20:01+00:0026 February 2024|

Multinational firms as emissaries of decent work: worker responses to progressive HRM in a foreign retailer in Japan

Purpose The paper aims to provide an understanding of how the transfer of progressive human resource management (HRM) practices may or may fail to render multinational enterprises (MNEs) institutional entrepreneurs creating change in job quality and decent work to underprivileged workers in the low-pay retail sector in Japan. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on survey questionnaire data and interviews with workers and management in a foreign retailer in Japan. Findings The findings suggest that even where MNEs may provide some measurable material improvements in job quality, in this case equal pay for equal work, the total outcomes are nevertheless shaped [...]

2024-04-12T12:37:52+01:0026 February 2024|

Fragmentation of employment relationships, fragmentation of working time: the nature of work and employment of platform takeaway riders and implications for decent work in China

This paper critically examines the notion of working time flexibility of platform takeaway riders and its impact on them in China. Drawing on 25 interviews with platform and takeaway delivery company managers and takeaway riders as well as secondary data, the study finds that the management model adopted by the platform companies and their agency companies often encourages riders to extend their working hours by being designed into the rider's earning system, status level and various incentive schemes. Driven by profits, takeaway delivery platform companies pursue speed and impose harsh punishments for poor customer reviews. Severe competition and the platforms' [...]

2024-04-10T15:24:35+01:0017 February 2024|

Virtual reality technology for surgical learning: qualitative outcomes of the first virtual reality training course for emergency and essential surgery delivered by a UK–Uganda partnership

Introduction The extensive resources needed to train surgeons and maintain skill levels in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are limited and confined to urban settings. Surgical education of remote/rural doctors is, therefore, paramount. Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to disseminate surgical knowledge and skill development at low costs. This study presents the outcomes of the first VR-enhanced surgical training course, ‘Global Virtual Reality in Medicine and Surgery’, developed through UK-Ugandan collaborations. Methods A mixed-method approach (survey and semistructured interviews) evaluated the clinical impact and barriers of VR-enhanced training. Course content focused on essential skills relevant to Uganda (general surgery, obstetrics, [...]

2024-02-01T16:19:40+00:0029 January 2024|

The future of work and working time: introduction to special issue

This introduction to the special issue on the future of work and working time offers an overview of issues of relevance to present-day debates on working time. The aim is to bring together two divergent debates, the first on working time reduction for full-time workers and the second on the diversification and fragmentation of working time. It considers the history of working time including the forces that led to the establishment of the standard employment relationship and to reductions in standard working hours. It addresses contemporary trends and examines why there has been both a stalling of working time [...]

2024-01-26T09:41:53+00:0026 January 2024|
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