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Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment (iROWE)

The Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment (iROWE) aims to engage with stakeholders to help build a fair and equitable future of work.

Our institute conducts and disseminates high quality research and engages with key organisations such as the TUC, ISBE, CIPD, ACAS, the RSA and local Government to inform the development of effective workplace practice and employment policy.

Jim McMahon MP Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Devolution) with Adrian Wright
Jim McMahon MP Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Devolution) with Adrian Wright

Current iROWE projects

This project explores how workplace cultures, behaviours and activities impact on the retention and wellbeing of the over 50’s workforce. It also considers the impact of interventions aimed at supporting health and wellbeing in organisations.

Working closely with the TUC and trade unions, iROWE, alongside colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University, has been researching the impact of domestic abuse in the workplace. Our research found that trade union representatives and officers were a key source of support for both victims and survivors and organisations in helping them better handle workplace issues relating to domestic abuse; through, for instance, negotiating changes in work patterns and signposting victims and survivors to external support groups. However, the research also highlighted that much more needs to be understood about domestic abuse in a workplace context, and that there is an urgent need to raise awareness within all organisations.

iROWE has been researching issues surrounding gender and employment in Lancashire. Responding to calls to address regional inequalities in employment our research explores the challenges of individuals hoping to return to work and understand the HR issues surrounding returning to work. This research predominantly, but not exclusively, focuses on women returning to work after taking time out of employment due to caring responsibilities.

We are always interested in researching new workplace settings; recent iROWE projects explore work, social relationships and community in Coworking spaces.

From a position of relative obscurity, Coworking is a growing phenomenon. Emerging from the changing social, technological and cultural shifts in work, Coworking has been positioned as a new economic engine composed of collaboration and community, providing soft infrastructure for economic development by offering support for entrepreneurship and innovation. However, an alternative interpretation describes how Coworking responds to the isolation and insecurity of self-employment by the formation of a new workplace ‘community’. Informed by working for 3 months in a Coworking space, our ethnographic research explores the benefits and unintended consequences of social support and community for self-employed workers. It considers how social relationships are formed and maintained, how informal economies emerge from Coworkers’ relationships and how Coworking spaces can be a site for collective action.

Working with colleagues in the UCLan Research Centre for Business, Management and Enterprise, this project assesses the impact and contribution that the Preston Model has on Lancashire’s Creative Industries.

This ongoing project examines the role of anchor institutions, including universities, in leveraging the development of the creative industries, thus utilising networks and ecosystems to support the creative economy. More specifically, iROWE researchers are examining how community wealth building can lead to increased employment opportunities and help in securing good and sustainable work for creative workers in Lancashire.

This project embraces the diversity of creative clusters by examining a creative sector outside the context of larger cities. It provides research into an initiative to support regional ecosystems, thus raising attention to policymakers and key stakeholders.

Working alongside the Centre of SME Development, this longitudinal research project explores the experiences of SMEs during the Covid pandemic. Qualitative research has revisited SME owners and employees to understand how they have reacted and reshaped their work during the Covid Pandemic. This also led to irowe developing Remote and Hybrid working principles to assist SME managers manage their workforce during the pandemic and beyond.

Latest news and blogs

iROWE is interested in research relating to work and employment but crosses academic silos. These include, but are not limited to, Enterprise and entrepreneurialism, Workplace conflict and Mediation, Lean Management, Wellbeing, Domestic Violence and the workplace, Employment relations and performance, Quality of work life, Mental and physical health at work, Trade unions, Employment relations, Creative and technology work, Business and Management research. Please get in touch if you are interested in discussing potential projects with us.

Our research is organised around two research themes:

Equality and work

This theme explores the worker’s personal characteristics and circumstances and the impact they have upon their working life including recruitment, progression, retention and exit. This theme considers differing experiences of work dependent on factors such as a worker’s caring responsibilities, gender, occupation, employment status and interactions in-between.

Good and sustainable work

This theme focuses on the quality of work and employment. It considers the impact of the changing world of work in the context of tensions around innovation, productivity and technological and organisational change . Our key areas of interest include, but are not limited to, working practices, are enhancing employee voice, work in new and emerging spaces and health and wellbeing.

We also conduct evaluative research projects. Currently we are researching a number of evaluative project including EDRF and ESF programmes. To find out more or how we help evaluate your work or to find out more email iroweresearch@uclan.ac.uk

  • Vickers, D & Fox, S (2020). Powers in a Factory in B.Czarniawska & T. Hernes (Eds.) Actor-Network Theory & Organizing, Lund: Studentlitteratur. ISBN: 9789144138879

Seminars

We regularly hold seminars to engage with our community. Our seminars offer a platform for academics, practitioners and industry experts to share knowledge and stimulate informative and provocative discussions. Alongside speakers from iROWE we have recently welcomed guest speakers from Barclays, BAE systems, Merseyside Police Crime Commission, The Women’s Organisation, the Women’s Equality Party, Unite the Union, the University of Glasgow and the University of Sheffield.

“Managing workplace conflict post-COVID: New dawn or groundhog day?”

Monday 19 Jul 2021 1-2 pm

Speakers: Prof Richard Saundry, Chair in HRM and Employment Relations, Sheffield University Management School; Dr Virginia Branney, Employment Relations Consultant

Online event: Booking is essential to receive the online invite: Book a place.

"iROWE seminar series 2021: Supporting the Return to the Workplace"

"iROWE (Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment), The UCLan Centre for Business, Management & Enterprise"

Friday 14 May 12 - 1pm

‘Returners’ to work, after a career break for caring responsibilities.

Speakers: Dr Adrian Wright, Dr Gemma Wibberley and Dr Douglas Martin

iROWE (Institute for Research into Organisations, Work and Employment), UCLan

Online event:  Booking is essential to receive the online invite: Book a place 

"Exploring future ways of working post Covid-19"
Tuesday 6 July 12 - 1pm

Speaker: Gemma Dale, Lecturer, Business School, Liverpool John Moores University.
Online event: Booking is essential to receive the online invite: Book a place.

External Conferences and Events

Our research reaches and informs diverse audiences. We regularly present at academic conferences including the International Labour Process Conference, the Gender Work and Organisation Conference and the British Sociological Association Annual Conference. We are often invited to speak at events, training and workshops held by organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC). We also share our research with regional and national policymakers, including the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and the North West Labour Party.

iROWE has expertise across a broad range of disciplines. iROWE offers a supportive and innovative environment for those wishing to pursue postgraduate research degrees and has a substantial array of expertise across the team. We are currently supervising the following students and topics:

  • PhD – Abby Allen- ‘Equality and Religion in HRM.’
  • DEd – Claire Ashworth- ‘An exploration into how purposeful play can be used to enhance the learning experiences of higher education disabled students: an inclusive approach to skills development.’
  • PhD – Penny Davis – ‘The Changing Nature of Agile Working.’
  • DBA – Chris Gunn -‘Organisational governance: a praxiography of three cricket clubs in Lancashire’
  • DBA – Kelly Henley- ‘Precarity and Hospitality Work.’

If you are interested in undertaking any postgraduate research degrees please contact: iroweresearch@uclan.ac.uk

iROWE brings together academics, managers, HR professionals, union representatives and policy makers. If you would like to be part of this exciting institute and kept at the forefront of research then become an ASSOCIATE MEMBER. This FREE membership is open to all those with a professional interest in organisations, work or employment. Benefits include research e-newsletter, regular free seminars by key speakers in the field, consultancy opportunities for your organisation, and networking. To join or find about more about iROWE and its activities, contact: iroweresearch@uclan.ac.uk

Contact us:

General Enquiries:

Tel: +44 (0)1772 894537 | Email: iroweresearch@uclan.ac.uk

Director: Dr. Adrian Wright