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Dr Geraint Harvey

Senior Lecturer in HRM and Industrial Relations Dr Geraint Harvey recently had his paper nominated for the WES 2018 SAGE Prize for Innovation and/or Excellence. The paper, ‘Neo-villeiny and the service sector: the case of hyper flexible and precarious work in fitness centres’, was co-authored by Carl Rhodes (University of Technology, Sydney), Sheena Vachhani (University of Bristol) and Karen Williams (Swansea University).

The paper reports on a study carried out on personal trainers in the fitness industry. Analysis of the data reveals a new form of work that is hyper flexible and precarious. This new form of work has been called ‘neo-villeiny’ because of its four distinctive features: bondage to the organisation; payment of rent to the organisation; no guarantee of any income; and extensive unpaid and speculative work that is highly beneficial to the organisation.

The neo-villeiny of the self-employed personal trainer offers a fitness centre all of the benefits associated with hyper flexible work, but also lessens the detrimental outcomes associated with precarious work. The article considers the potential for adoption of this new form of hyper flexible and precarious work across the broader service sector.

There has also been coverage of this work on The Conversation, the American Sociological Association’s Work in Progress, and on BBC Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed programme in November 2016.

The winning article will be announced later on this year, at the WES Conference 2018.