BSA Early career regional forum

Theorising worker-employer relations in the new world of work

Dramatic transformations in the world of work are generating increased debate (for example Taylor et al., 2017) on the nature of worker-employer relations. A central feature of the debate has been the deterioration in working conditions set alongside the decline of worker voice via institutionalised mechanisms of collective representation and bargaining. Yet, while researchers in the sociology of work and industrial relations have investigated the declining influence of trade union representation and the emergence of collective action beyond the workplace, less consideration has been given to how workers continue to try to represent their interests, either individually or collectively, at work and what this means for evolving relations between management and workers.  

This event, sponsored by the British Sociological Association and the Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change(CERIC), University of Leeds: theorising worker-employer relations in the new world of work brings ECRs - Early Career Researchers (up to seven years post-PhD) working on these themes together with leading academics to consider contemporary theoretical and empirical understandings of the worker-employer relationship.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

The event will consider topics such as:

  • What do we know about the everyday experiences of worker-management relations from the perspective of workers, worker representatives and front-line managers in the new world of work?
  • (How) can we construct (new) notions of the workplace social actors that help to better describe these relations?
  • What kinds of social relations exist between these actors?
  • How can we understand the changing nature of the worker-employer relationship through the integration of industrial relations theory with other sociologically informed perspectives?
  • What can we learn from comparative analysis (in temporal, geographic or other terms) that helps in this understanding?
  • What are the implications for policy and practice of state, worker or employer organisations, trade unions and activists?

There will be a mix of presentations and discussion sessions to allow time to explore the scope for further collaboration. If you are interested in presenting either a formal paper or informal ‘snapshot’ of your work, please see the Call for Papers  (deadline March 7, 2019).

Please note that for those attending the event there will be a registration fee of £5 for BSA members and £15 for Non-BSA members. A small number of bursaries are available to support attendance.

For further information, please contact the event organisers, Dr Jo Cutter (  or Dr Simon Joyce (