Dr Alina Petrescu
Research Fellow in Labour Economics
Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise
Alina's field of specialisation is Labour Economics, combined with an interdisciplinary approach on Human Resource Management (HRM) and Behaviour in Organisations. Her research interests include analysing the impact of HRM practices on job satisfaction, company performance and work effort in Britain as well as in an international comparative context. Alina is research active within the area of business and management and is a member of the Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research.
Alina's contract as Research Fellow in Labour Economics at UCLan implies both teaching and research duties. Labour economics themes of high relevance in the UK are present in Alina's research, such as: flexible work, business productivity, business growth, use of redundancies, COVID-19, (im)migration, Brexit, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, (im)migration, skills mismatch, skills drain, absenteeism, business clusters, job satisfaction and employee well-being.
Alina's research aims to inform the workforce, business leaders and policymakers about better-decision making on crucial economic aspects related to productivity, sustainable development and higher-levels of societal progress. As such, Alina focuses on analysing workplace productivity in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other organisations, with particular interest in flexible work or workplace flexibility practices (WFPs). The impact of flexible work is assessed in relation to various business and employee performance and productivity measures, such as job satisfaction and well-being, absenteeism, financial turnover, skill mismatch, business growth/productivity, redundancies or (regional) economic growth and development.
A mixture of research methods (mainly using STATA for secondary data analyses but also via 'courageous' primary data collection) and econometric models enable an in-depth, leading-edge examination of flexible work and business practice (such as employee training, promotion, homeworking/teleworking etc.) and their impact upon employee, company and macroeconomic performance.
Alina has been entered in the REF 2008 and REF 2021 (with a contribution to one for a REF impact case study).
Alina's teaching has encompassed a large variety of roles in more than a decade of work at UCLan, essentially in economics, business and management-related teaching and thesis supervision.
These have included: PhD, MPhil and MBA thesis, undergraduate dissertation supervisor, internal PhD examiner, and module leader / tutor on Master and Undergraduate modules. Some of the topics Alina has supervised and taught include: Labour Market Economics, International Labour Markets, Employee Wellbeing, Labour Market Discrimination, Human Capital, Europe and the World Economy, The Economics of Brexit, Microeconomics, International Economics, Trade, Globalisation, Business Economics, Business Environment, Public Goods, Economic Inequality, Regional Development.
Alina has developed expertise in the analysis of business growth, productivity, resilience and response to crises, such as the 2008 Global Financial crisis and the 2020 COVID-19 crisis.
Her research uses quantitative analysis, predominantly based on constructing econometric models via STATA (statistical software) such as logit or probit models.
Research carried out by Alina is based on (large) secondary datasets, such as Understanding Society (formerly British Household Panel Survey BHPS) or the Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS 2011, WERS 2004, WERS 1998) as well as numerous other labour economics focused datasets available via the UK Data Archive or the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
A major stream in Alina's research has been a focus on current events, evidenced in primary data collection too.
Primary data collection and analysis: Alina has been key in the fast design and development of numerous and varied leading-edge research projects, started by Alina collecting primary data mainly from businesses, such as:
- in 2020 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for business and workforce support
- in 2017-18 assessing business preparedness pre-Brexit
- in 2017 regarding to gaps in regional development in particular for Lancashire Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
- in 2015 in relation to potential new industrial development in the North West (UK)
- in 2009 in response to the global credit-crunch recession, addressing the use of flexible work to avoid redundancies, decrease absenteeism and increase financial turnover; and similarly in 2011 post-recession
- in 2006 assessing retail and productivity business practices in the UK, to ascertain business performance in a cut-throat and fast paced vital sector for activity in the UK.
Collaborative and individual involvement in teaching delivery, curriculum development, pastoral duties, and project supervision.
Alina has been module leader since 2008, and has delivered teaching on modules led by colleagues too, including visiting lectures. Alina's teaching roles have consisted of the following:
- Classroom-based teaching: an average of 8 weekly hours of lectures/ seminars/ workshops per 24 week-teaching year at UCLan
- Doctoral student supervision for PhD, MPhil and MBA thesis
- Course curriculum design and development for lecture, seminar and workshop content
- Face-to face and on-line teaching delivery
- On-line and e-mail student teaching and learning support
- Virtual learning environment use: via Skype, Microsoft Teams (more recently); Blackboard and TurnItIn (2012-present); WebCT and TurnItIn (2008-2012)
- Internal moderator since 2014 - second-marker and advising/moderating assessment and module content for various modules
Research informed teaching
Where relevant to her teaching, Alina has included in her modules numerous topics informed by her own research. This has been enabled by teaching as well as researching in the area of Labour Economics.
The choice of textbooks used in Alina's teaching is made based on the textbook covering empirical analysis (peer-reviewed references) and having a research-led design.
Alina has obtained high satisfaction ratings from her students, as evidenced by the mid-semester and end-of-semester Module Evaluation Questionnaires (MEQs). Alina has conducted exam test pilots, enabling students to choose whether they wrote their exam by hand or computer-assisted. Alina has offered mentoring to junior staff.
- Ph.D. in Economics, Department of Economics, Lancaster University, U.K. Thesis title: “The Impact of Workplace Practices on Company and Employee Performance in Britain” Supervisors: Prof. Steve Bradley and Dr. Rob Simmons Examiners: Prof. Sarah Brown (external) and Prof. Jim Taylor (internal)
- Master in Business Administration,Huron University, London, U.K.
- Business Studies Programme, Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris, France
- B.Sc. Degree (Valedictorian), Major in Business Administration Faculty of Economic Studies in Foreign Languages, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
- Professional Qualifications and Learning
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Certificate in Research Degree Supervision, University of Central Lancashire
- Secure Data Service (SDS) Approved Researcher, London
- Research Training Courses in Statistics and Career Development, Lancaster University, Lancaster
- (Self-taught) Learning to use Stata and SPSS, Lancaster University, Lancaster
- Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Lancaster University, Lancaster
- Diploma in Pedagogy for Higher Education Lecturers, Faculty of Economic Studies in Foreign Languages, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
- Jun 2016 - Jun 2019
- The University of Central Lancashire has obtained a score of 100% and achieved # 1 position in the UK in Economics rankings based on the National Student Survey (NSS) in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 - this is while Alina was part of a relatively very small but strong Economics Course Teaching Team at UCLan.
- October 2001 - October 2004
- Overseas Research Student (ORS) Awards Scheme, Awarded as funding for PhD Degree, Lancaster University, Lancaster
- October 2001- October 2005
- Management School Scholarship, Awarded as funding for PhD Degree, Lancaster University, Lancaster
- October 1999 - October 2000
- Huron University School Scholarship , Awarded as funding for MBA Degree, Huron University, London
- August 1999
- Excellence Recognition Award, Academy of Economic Studies (Valedictorian), Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
- October 1995 - August 1999
- Academic Excellence Scholarship, Faculty of Economic Studies in Foreign Languages, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
- January 1998 - July 1998
- Erasmus Scholarship Programme, Mulhouse, France
- Labour Economics:
- flexible work / Workplace flexibility practices (WFPs)
- job satisfaction / employee well-being
- employee, business and economy-wide productivity and performance measures such as related to high-performance workplace practices, financial turnover, absenteeism and redundancies
- links between training and promotion
- labour market trends such as social mobility, skills mismatch, inequality
- Migration (Immigration)
- Business resilience and growth:
- the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic
- the economic impact of Brexit
- regional growth and development
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); scale-ups; start-ups; high-growth firms
- The European Union as an economic area and its role as part of the global economy
- Business Management:
- HRM practices and their impact on company and employee performance;
- Historical and cross-country comparisons of development in management science and evolution of managerial techniques
- Organisational Behaviour:
- Cross-disciplinary insights derived from sociology and psychology e.g. the role of attitudinal variables in understanding organisational and worker behaviour and work motivation;
- The impact of technology on organisational and societal evolution
- Examples of flexible work and HRM workplace practices of interest in Alina's research incorporate both pecuniary and non-pecuniary incentives and practices such as: workplace flexibility practices (WFPs), workplace organisation, employee participation, job autonomy, job design, training, communication and consultation, job security, various pay methods.
- The primary research aim is to answer the fundamental need for practitioners, employees and academics to estimate the role of business practices in improving workplace employee and company outcomes. This also contributes to a wider aim of creating a stronger economy and achieving higher societal well-being.
- Journal Referee for various academic journals
- Book reviewer for: Routledge
- Rapporteur since October 2013 - The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Media presence:
- February 2020 - Dr. Alina I. Petrescu was interviewed about the recent report on an evaluation of skills drain from Lancashire, report co-authored with Professor Philip B. Whyman
- January 2014 - Videocast (Presentation as part of the KN4B project on Small and Medium Enterprises research conducted at LIEBR, UCLan)
- Intra-university institutes / organisations:
- Seminar convenor and offering website support for the Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research (LIEBR)
- External institutes / organisations:
- European Association of Labour Economists (EALE)
- Royal Economic Society (RES)
- British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA)
- Online presence:
- English Fluent
- Romanian Fluent/native
- French Fluent reading and understanding
- Italian Basic use
- Spanish Basic use
- German Basic understanding of some written academic terms
Alina's research relates chiefly to labour market flexibility and workplace flexibility practices (WFPs). The main focus of research is the British labour market, but other national and international avenues may also be explored.
This research evaluates the flexibilisation of working life, both when initiatives are intended to provide improved benefits for employees, and where the stimulus rather arises from the intention to promote more efficient working patterns, enhanced productivity and higher rates of economic expansion for the benefit of the business / employer.
At individual employee level, research outcomes advanced to improve the employee work situation may be expected to modify the “time squeeze” experienced by a growing number of professional and/or managerial employees, helping to support many employees with their work-life balance, being more productive and increasing their well-being, job satisfaction and general happiness.
At corporate level, superior business performance can lead to greater labour market flexibility through better matching of production / supply to fluctuating demand, promoting productivity through more efficient reorganisation of working conditions and facilitating macroeconomic sustainable development goals.
Flexible work is assessed in great detail, be it:
- numerical or temporal (part-time working; the gig economy; zero-hours contracts; flexitime),
- functional (training, job sharing; job autonomy);
- or cost flexibility (pay-related-to performance, merit pay, bonus pay).
Labour economics themes of high relevance in the UK are present in Alina's research, such as: business productivity, business growth, use of redundancies, COVID-19, (im)migration, Brexit, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, (im)migration, skills mismatch, skills drain, absenteeism, business clusters, job satisfaction and employee well-being,
Therefore, Alina's research aims to inform the workforce, business leaders and policymakers about better-decision making on crucial economic aspects related to productivity, sustainable development and higher-levels of societal progress.
Alina's research in the past decade can be mainly described as working in collaboration with various research colleagues, chiefly though alongside Professor Philip B. Whyman who has been a key mentor and supportive colleague since Alina started her work at UCLan.
In terms of her employment history, Alina has remained loyal to her North West (UK) supportive colleagues / friends and beautiful surrounding nature, as can be seen by these two entries:
May 2008 to Present - Research Fellow in Labour Economics, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK. Contract: Full-time; employed on a fixed-term contract from 19 May 2008 to 1 August 2014, and on a permanent contract with 50% teaching and 50% research as of 1 August 2014.
2007 to 2008 - Research Officer in Management and Productivity Analysis, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, U.K.
Labour economics themes of high relevance in the UK are present in Alina's research, such as: flexible work, business productivity, business growth, firms' use of redundancies, (im)migration, Brexit, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, skills mismatch, skills drain, absenteeism, business clusters, job satisfaction and employee well-being.
Alina's research aims to inform the workforce, business leaders and policymakers about better-decision making on crucial economic aspects related to productivity, sustainable development and higher-levels of societal progress
Peer-reviewed journal articles:
Whyman, P. B., Baimbridge, M. J., Buriamo, B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2015), ‘Workplace Flexibility and Corporate Performance: Evidence from the British Private Sector’, British Journal of Management 26(3): 347-364.
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2015), Workplace flexibility practices in SMEs: Relationship and Performance via Redundancies, Absenteeism and Financial Turnover, Journal of Small Business Management, 53(4): 1097-1126.
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2014), Workforce nationality composition and workplace flexibility in Britain, International Journal of Manpower, 35(6): 776-797.
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2014), Partnership, Flexible Working Practices and the Realisation of Mutual Gains: Evidence from the British WERS 2004 Dataset, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Special Issue: Partnership, Collaboration and Mutual Gains: an International Perspective, 25(6): 829-851.
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (Forthcoming) The Economics of Brexit - Revisited. Palgrave. UK.
Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2017) The Economics of Brexit. A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the UK's Economic Relationship with the EU. Palgrave. UK.
Use the links below to view their profiles:
- View their unique and persistent identifier on the ORCiD registry
- Full list of publications and articles on CLoK
- Google Scholar
- The UCLan Research Centre for Business, Management & Enterprise, The University of Central Lancashire, UK Member of the following two specialist areas:
- Economics, Business & Society
- Organisation, Work and Employment
- the Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research. (LIEBR), The University of Central Lancashire, UK
- Part of founding members, seminar co-ordinator and web-content & design support
- Alina has responded rapidly to providing analysis and data of crucial importance to business and policy makers, such as by (helping with the) initiating, designing and conducting of timely research projects into the following key events for the British labour market:
- the 2020 COVID-19 crisis and its UK-wide impact on businesses and employees: data collection and analysis. Project entitled: Knowledge Is Power - Business and the New Unknown (in response to the COVID-19 crisis
- Brexit: publication of two co-authored books on the economic costs of Brexit, with particular contribution from Alina consisting in a wide range of data sourcing (Office for National Statistics, World Bank, IMF, UN) for the entire book alongside input on the chapter on migration
- the Preston Model - an analysis of local reliance of supply chains and procurement
- Lancashire SMEs and Productivity skill mismatch in the workforce and its impact on the labour market via job vacancies
- analysis of flexible work and whether it can mitigate redundancies and employee absenteeism
- 2008 Global Financial crisis - research into flexible work and the recession has been published in a highly rated academic journal
- economic impact analysis for /of industrial development in the North West (UK)
- skills drain and skills mismatch, coupled with regional development analysis
- the usefulness of business clusters and networking for regional growth and business productivity (scale-up, start-up analysis).
- an analysis of workplace flexibility in relation to migration, in particular the migrant composition (share) of the workforce in a particular workplace
- an analysis of workplace flexibility in relation to employee-employer partnership
- an analysis of workplace flexibility practices in relation to absenteeism
- the 2008 Economic Recession and Workplace Flexibility Practices - Primary data collection and analysis of Small and Medium Enterprises in Lancashire:
- an analysis of workplace flexibility in relation to corporate performance in the UK private sector (pre-2008 global financial crisis)
- research into retail business practices and competitiveness: understanding retail capabilities
- the impact of human resource management practices on job satisfaction
- an analysis of whether employers cherry pick their employees when deciding who to train and who to promote
- Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2019) An Evaluation of Skills Drain from Lancashire. Report. Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research, Research Centre for Business Management and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire. November.
- Smith, S., Whyman, P. B., Petrescu, A. I., Wright, A. and Moon, V. (2018) Productivity in Lancashire – Sparking New Ideas. Executive Summary. Centre for SME Development. Report, University of Central Lancashire, October. Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2017) The Local Economic Impact of Shale Gas Extraction. Report. University of Central Lancashire.
- Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2011) 'Economic recession and workplace flexibility practices in Lancashire-based SMEs', Research Report, Lancashire Business School Workplace Flexibility Series, LIEBR, University of Central Lancashire, March, ISSN 2064-9276. Available to download here.
- Battisti, G. Celia, H., Clegg, C. W., Fu, X. Iona, A. and Petrescu, A. I. (2009) 'Capabilities versus productivity: Identifying the weaknesses in the UK retail industry'. Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Executive Briefings. London. Siebers, P.O., Aickelin, U., Battisti, G., Celia, H., Clegg, C. W., Fu, X., De Hoyos, R., Iona, A., Peixoto, A., and Petrescu, A. I. (2008) 'Enhancing productivity: The role of management practices', Advanced Institute of Management Research, Working Paper No. 065-February.
- Celia, H., Iona, A., Petrescu, A. I. , Clegg, C. W., Battisti, G., and Fu, X. (2008) Understanding Retail Capabilities. Research Report. Available online via: https://core.ac.uk/display/143477536
- 2019 - 2021
- Role: CI
- Project title: "Creative Industries and the Preston Model – An Evaluation of Impact". Project description: Analysing the Preston Model and its implications for local and regional economic development Funding bodies: NESTA/AHRC/Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) Grant value: £47,466
- 2019 - 2020
- Role: CI Project title: An investigation into Lancashire Skills Drain Project report: co-written the report: Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2019) An Evaluation of Skills Drain from Lancashire. Report. Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research, Research Centre for Business Management and Enterprise, University of Central Lancashire. November Funder: Private industry funded project Income generated: £ 18,000
- 2019 - 2020
- Role: CI Project title: Application for the installation of a SafePod - infrastructure enabling researchers secure access to databases Project description: UCLan's successful application for a SafePod installation at UCLan Funder: St Andrews University / ESRC Grant value: £ 25,000
- 2016 - 2018
- Role: Research Fellow: leading as data collection / manager, quantitative analyst and co-author for the report write-up Project description: assessing determinants of productivity differentials between Lancashire and other regional economies, and focusing on Lancashire SME productivity. Funder: the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Lancashire County Council Report produced as co-author (>200 pages) with title: "Productivity in Lancashire – Sparking New Ideas" Grant value: £ 60,000
- 2012 - 2014
- Role: Research Fellow: leading as data collection / manager, quantitative analyst and co-author for the report write-up Project title: The North West Business Network (KN4B) Funder: ESRC Grant value: £200,000 (£99,143 ESRC contribution, the remainder matched funding). 2012 - 2013 Role: Research Fellow: leading as data collection / manager, quantitative analyst and co-author for the report write-up for the project report Project title: Socio-economic impact of Shale Gas Extraction in the North West region Funder: Private industry funded Income generated: £47,400 May 2012 - September 2012 Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) Awarded as funding for an Internship Programme (one intern student and one student from the USA), University of Central Lancashire, Preston Grant value: £ 2,000 May 2011 - September 2011 Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) University of Central Lancashire, Preston Grant awarded for an Internship Programme (hiring one intern student), Primary data collection: national postal and e-survey of SMEs in U.K. Grant value: £ 2,000 May 2009 - September 2009 Lancashire Business School Research Internship Funding, University of Central Lancashire, Preston Grant awarded for an Internship Programme (hiring one intern student), Primary data collection: regional postal and e-survey of SMEs in central Lancashire, U.K. Grant value: £ 2,000
- Presentation for evaluation report at the end of the project: 'Productivity in Lancashire: Investigating the systemic causes behind the lag of Lancashire in comparison to other areas and looking for ways to improve', 19 October, County Hall, Preston, U.K.
- Presentation for evaluation report at the end of the project: 'The Small and Medium Enterprise Survey: Productivity in Lancashire', 23 July, County Hall, Preston, U.K.
- Symposium event presentation: Annual Staff and Research Student Symposium, Paper presented by Dr Alina Petrescu: Whyman, P. B. and Petrescu, A. I. 'The effects of economic recession on small and medium enterprises in Lancashire". July. University of Central Lancashire, Preston, U.K.
- Conference presentation: British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA) 59th Annual Conference. Paper presented by Dr Alina Petrescu: Whyman, P. B., Baimbridge, M., Buraimo, B. and Petrescu, A. I. (2009) 'Workplace flexibility and corporate performance: Challenges for the British private sector in a dynamic environment'. July. Cardiff University, Cardiff, U.K.
- Conference presentation: Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM). Celia, H., Iona, A., Petrescu, A. I., Battisti, G., Clegg, C. W. and Fu, X., 'Survey of British retail'. September. London, U.K.
- Conference presentation: Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), Presentation by Dr Alina Petrescu: Celia, H., Iona, A., Petrescu, A. I., Battisti, G., Clegg, C. W. and Fu, X., 'Survey of British retail'. February. London, U.K.
- Conference presentation: Conference of the European Association of Labour Economists. Paper presented by Dr. Rob Simmons: Bradley, S., Petrescu, A. I., Simmons, R. (2005) 'Cherry picking in the British labour market: Are trained workers more likely to be promoted?'. July. San Francisco, U.S.A.
- Conference presentation: The 79th Conference of the Western Economic Association International. Paper presented by Dr. Rob Simmons: Bradley, S., Petrescu, A. I., Simmons, R. 'The impacts of Human Resource Management practices and pay inequality on workers' job satisfaction', July. Vancouver, Canada.
Email: Email:Dr Alina Petrescu
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