Centre Focus: The Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

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Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

CERIC staff group photograph

We will be running a series of blog posts on the research centres within Leeds University Business School. Our research centres connect knowledge with user communities, promote impact and provide a vibrant, stimulating and supportive environment for students, early career researchers and academics. 

To launch the series, this blog post focuses on the Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC).

 

CERIC is a University research centre that acts as a vehicle to coordinate research in the area of employment relations, human resource management and organisational change.

The centre’s central objective is to contribute through high-quality research, teaching and knowledge transfer, to contemporary national and international studies around the changing dynamics of work, employment and labour market issues. It has a stated aim of offering critical analysis of workplace relations with the aspiration of offering insights that can improve the nature of work. The centre’s work frequently involves engagement with end-users, in the worlds of business and policy, including employers, trade unions, policy makers and politicians, and our researchers are regularly asked for comment by the media.

CERIC has around 25 core members, with colleagues drawn from across LUBS and the wider social sciences. The centre has around 25 doctoral students and a large network of external associates and visitors. It is currently co-directed by: Professor Chris FordeProfessor Mark Stuart and Professor Jennifer Tomlinson.

The centre has recently refreshed its core research themes, with designated leaders for each. The purpose of this was to reflect on key political, economic and legal challenges and how these may impact on work and employment in the years to come. The new research themes will ensure that the CERIC research agenda remains highly topical and relevant. Over the next few years, major one-day workshops will be hosted to generate debate and disseminate our research against the various themes.

CERIC core research themes are:

·         Markets, flexibilisation and social protection

·         Changing structures of governance and organisation

·         Employment, skills and occupations

·         Between professions and precarity: the new world of work

·         Voice, representation and social movements

·         Labour mobility, migration and citizenship

Over the next year, CERIC researchers will: lead on a number of major journal special issues, host two major international conferences and deliver a number of externally funded projects.

Journal special issues

Dr Jo Ingold is acting as editor on a special issue of the Human Resource Management Journal on ‘Employee engagement: connecting social policies and human resource policies for vulnerable labour market groups’. Jo is editing the social issue with Rik van Berkel and Paul Boselie (both at Utrecht), Patrick McGurk (Greenwich) and Thomas Bredgaard (Aalborg).

Professor Jennifer Tomlinson is editing a special issue of Human Relations on ‘Conceptualising flexible careers across the life course’. Jennifer is editing the special issue with Marian Baird and Rae Cooper (both at Sydney) and Peter Berg (Michigan State).

Conference organisation

CERIC will be hosting two major international conferences next year. In July 2016, CERIC will host the annual conference of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA). CERIC researchers are currently acting as the Stewards of BUIRA, the leading UK academic association for researchers working in the field of employment relations, and Professor Mark Stuart is its president.

In September 2016, CERIC will host the Work, Employment and Society (WES) conference, a conference of the British Sociological Association. The WES conference is held every three years and attracts some 350 researchers from around the world.

Research projects

CERIC researchers have a strong track record of leading externally funded projects. Projects have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, European Union, government departments, trade unions, business and charities.

Dr Jo Ingold is currently working on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Future Leaders project investigating employer engagement in welfare-to-work in the UK and Denmark. As part of this project a major survey of employers in the UK and Denmark has been conducted. Results will be widely disseminated during 2016.

Professor Mark Stuart, Dr Jo Cutter and Dr Hugh Cook were recently commissioned by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Unionlearn to evaluate the Union Learning Fund, with a grant of £127,000. The research will include a major survey of employers and individual learners. The project will report in April 2016.

Dr Vera Trappman has been awarded a grant of circa €460,000 by the German Research Council for a three year (2016 to 2018) project entitled, ‘Young precarious workers in Poland and Germany: a comparative sociological study on working and living conditions, social consciousness and civic engagement.’ The research is a collaborative venture with colleagues in Germany and Poland.

Professor Ian Kirkpatrick is a co-investigator on a University of Leeds-led £2.1m grant awarded by the National Institute for Health Research. The five year project will research how the safety and continuity of medicines management at care transitions can be improved.

You can find out more about CERIC, including recent publications by its members and upcoming events, on its website and can follow the centre on Twitter.

Contact us

If you would like to get in touch regarding any of these blog entries, or are interested in contributing to the blog, please contact:

Email: research.lubs@leeds.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)113 343 8754

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the views of Leeds University business school or the University of Leeds.