About CDW

CDW’s experts produce ground-breaking research on a wide range of issues related to decent work and workplaces.



The research conducted by the Centre for Decent Work (CDW) focuses on contemporary developments in labour markets and the workplace. Much of the research undertaken by CDW takes a political economy perspective, examining how work and employment are affected by the interplay of changes in the social and economic policies of governments, national and international regulations and institutions, the strategies adopted by employers and trade unions, and shifts in the international division of labour.


Our research addresses four core themes:

Employment and Productivity

Work under this theme examines: (i) the changing structure of labour markets and the growth in ‘atypical’ forms of employment, including underemployment, bogus self-employment and ‘gig work’; (ii) the consequences of atypical employment for the wellbeing of workers and their labour market prospects; (iii) the labour market and occupational mobility of disadvantaged workers, including the extent to which they cycle between employment, underemployment and unemployment and the factors that influence the ability of disadvantaged groups to progress from ‘bad’ to ‘better’ jobs; (iv) factors affecting the quality of jobs; (v) the complex linkages between employment, work organisation and productivity; (vi) and work in the informal economy.

Equality, Inclusion and Voice

Work within this theme focuses on: (i) understanding disability, gender and employment in advanced and emerging economies; (ii) challenging discriminatory structures, processes and practices and improving the quality and sustainability of work for marginalised workers ; (iii) promoting agency and voice for marginalised workers; and (iv) building ‘inclusive’ organisations.

Labour in the Global Economy

This research theme explores the position of labour in the global economy through the analysis of four dimensions of work and employment research. (i) The ‘Labour of Movement’ focuses upon employment relations and the labour process of workers in global logistics, warehousing and parcel delivery. This work addresses the political economy of the connected spheres of production, circulation and consumption. It also explores the impact of technology on workers in the logistics sector. (ii) Supply chain accounting and employment practices in the automotive and textile industries in South Africa and Brazil.

This interdisciplinary ESRC-funded project engages with institutional theory and debates around global value chains, in addition to addressing concerns around vulnerable work. (iii) The politics of corporate social responsibility, workplace regulation and labour standards. (iv) Theorising Labour Regimes and the Labour Process: This dimension brings together social science researchers with different theoretical perspectives and approaches in order to explore these issues and develop a systematic programme of cutting-edge research and theory building.

Regulation and Governance of Work

Work in this theme explores: (i) the regulation of work and employment at the international, national, regional and local levels; (ii) the composition and behaviour of regulatory institutions; (iii) differing forms of workplace governance and the role of stakeholders; (iv) the challenges of regulating non-standard work and work in the informal economy; (v) variations in regulation and governance in the private, public and third sectors; and (vi) differing theoretical approaches to regulation and the intersection with broader processes of political economy.

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