Research Themes

Contemporary Capitalism

This theme is interested in the analysis of capitalist diversity across economies, as well as the increased importance of market forces within societies, on the evolution of national political economies. Important driving factors of change are the presence of different categories of interest groups with specific preferences; the role of institutions in the mediation of the paths taken by firms and countries under conditions of heightened competition; and the role of ideas in the legitimation process of new strategies implemented at the firm and national levels.

Current research themes are the governance of small firms and their employment practices, with a particular emphasis on firms run by new migrant to the UK; the influence of ideas and institutions in the presence of cross-national differences in the distributions of earnings and earnings inequality; the social and economic consequences of national institutional systems on firm governance and on the emergence of new areas of science and technology; and the impact associated with institutional diversity on the integration of ethnic minorities in the labour markets.

Work, Employment and Labour Markets

This theme focuses on how management structures and government policies impact on employment relationships, working lives and the wider labour market contexts within which public and private sector organisations function. This includes the role of pay and reward, work organisation, investment in training and development, the management of work/life balance, forms of employee empowerment and partnerships with trade unions, methods of management selection and the management of careers.

Research under this theme promotes a better understanding of how local, regional, national and supranational level institutions (including NGOs and multinationals) influence labour market behaviour, investments in human capital and organisations' HRM strategies.

This area of exploration brings together research that explores the relationship between business strategy and organisational performance and the management of the workplace. The research is carried out at different levels including national, multinational, industry, firm and professional group. It uses a range of methodologies and data sources including secondary data analysis and case studies, in which a business or worker sub-group is tracked over time, and evidence collected from personnel records and interviews. Within this theme there are two main areas of exploration.

  • Labour markets, employment regulation and incentives

This area of research examines the impact of labour market structure and regulations on individual employment decisions and employer behaviour in relation to the organisation of production, investment levels and innovation. The implications of wider socio-economic change on labour demand and supply such as those associated with demographic ageing and migration are also considered.

Work in this area explores the effects of national minimum wages, out-of work benefits and pension regulations as well as phenomena such as international labour migration, work in the informal economy, paid and unpaid care work and the growth of knowledge-intensive jobs. The roles of knowledge and investment in human capital as drivers of economic growth and international competitiveness are also considered.

  • Work, Management and Organisations

This theme brings together research on the human experience of work, primarily through exploring the practices involved in managing and being managed within contemporary organisations. Its primary focus is to understand how managerial and organisational structures or cultures affect the working lives of individuals and professional groups, positively and negatively.

We approach this question by researching groups such as management consultants and scientists, or organizational types such as social enterprises and smaller companies. The theme has generated significant contributions to knowledge in areas such as career theory, knowledge work, workplace gender relations, and organizational closure.

International Trade and Production

This theme is concerned with analysing international business activities and their wider implications from a micro and macro level perspectives. International trade, foreign direct investment, and international production are investigated with a special focus on the heterogeneity of economic agents and the role of institutions. The link between innovation and international business is also of a particular interest under this theme.

The impact of international business activities on firm and country growth potential are investigated, as well their implications on the environment and development indicators.

The research will be carried out at multiple levels, aggregate economies, industries and firms, and will use a range of methodologies and data sources. Aggregate and industry studies will mainly employ secondary data and will be concerned with mapping out the channels through which international business, institutions, growth and the environment are interlinked.