1. ‘Supply chain accounting and employment practices in the rising economies: Global commodity chains, cost effectiveness and competitiveness’
Forging relationships with value and meeting labour standards are essential for achieving competitiveness throughout the supply chain, and both are the focus of a new ESRC-funded research project from Sheffield University Management School (ESRC Grant reference: ES/K006452/1). The three-year project aims to explore the current role, and future potential, of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards within the automotive and textile industries in Brazil and South Africa.
The investigating team includes an international spread of academics from different disciplines. Professor Dibben (PI) is joined on the project by Sheffield University Management School colleagues Professor John Cullen and Professor Phil Johnson, together with Professor Geoffrey Wood from the University of Warwick, Professor Luiz Miranda and Dr Juliana Meira from the Federal University of Pernambuco Brazil, and Dr Debby Bonnin from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Two PhD students, Caroline Linhares and Gareth Crockett, complete the team.
Further details can be viewed on the project website: scaemp.group.shef.ac.uk
2. Out of the shadows: Developing capacities and capabilities for tackling undeclared work in Bulgaria, Croatia and FYR Macedonia
Professor Colin Williams (pictured) and Professor Jason Heyes are leading a £1.3 million Marie Curie Industry-Academic Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project. The aim of the project is to provide concrete policy recommendations, based on rigorous empirical evidence, for those seeking to tackle the undeclared economy in Bulgaria, Croatia and FYR Macedonia. The key objectives of the project are: to conduct evaluations of existing policy measures directed at enabling the formalization of undeclared work; to identify good practices and assess the extent to which they might be transferable to other countries or contexts; to develop innovative policy measures and test their effectiveness at tackling undeclared employment in the EU-27; and to train a generation of experts who will be able to act as advisors and implementers of ambitious projects aimed at curbing undeclared work. The project involves a partnership between the University of Sheffield, Vitosha Research (Bulgaria) and the Institute for Public Finance (Croatia). Further information can be found on the project’s website: www.grey-project.group.shef.ac.uk
3. The impact of the introduction and operation of workplace mediation
Paul Latreille (pictured) and Richard Saundry (Plymouth University) have been awarded a grant of £9,724 by Acas under its Research Partnerships funding arrangements to undertake a case study evaluating and exploring the impact of the introduction and operation of workplace mediation within a large NHS Trust.
The evaluation will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine, inter alia, the benefits of workplace mediation in relation to the resolution of individual disputes and also the conflict management capacity of the organisation; the scope of mediation in dealing with disputes revolving around the management of performance and accusations of bullying and harassment; the attitudes of, and roles played by mediators, managers, HR practitioners and trade union representatives; the impact of mediator interventions in manager training, group facilitation and conflict coaching; and any consequent implications for policy and practice within the Trust.
4. The handling of disciplinary and grievance matters and use of mediation within the workplace
With Stephen Wood (University of Leicester) and Richard Saundry (Plymouth University), Paul Latreille has been commissioned by Acas to explore the handling of disciplinary and grievance matters and use of mediation within the workplace using data from the 2011 and 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Surveys. This secondary data analysis project, valued at £9912, will both describe, and explore using regression analysis, the extent, nature, and associations among grievance and disciplinary procedures in British workplaces, the use of mediation, and various indicators of performance, including levels of grievance, absenteeism, turnover and employee attitudes. Using the panel element in the data will allow exploration of changes over time which will be linked to the characteristics of the workplace in the earlier period.
5. Regulatory, psychological and demographic influences on the hiring activity of owner-entrepreneurs
Jason Heyes and Tim Vorley (pictured), together with Ute Stephan (Aston University), have received £9,880 from the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust to conduct research on regulatory, psychological and demographic influences on the hiring activities of owner-entrepreneurs.
The research is focused on very small businesses and businesses that are considering employing someone for the first time. It is assessing entrepreneurs’ growth intentions and their perceptions of the potential difficulties associated with employing and managing workers, including concerns relating to employment rights.
In addition, the research is examining potential ways of supporting entrepreneurs and helping them to become more confident and able employers.
6. Employment protection, the structure of labour markets and distribution of earnings
Jason Heyes (pictured) and Paul Lewis (PI, University of Birmingham) have been awarded £9,990 by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust to examine changes in the extent of employment protection in the EU since the start of the recent economic crisis and the consequences for the labour market. The research is using EU Labour Force Survey and OECD data to assess how employment rates and the share of low-wage and nonstandard jobs in total employment have been influenced by changes in the level of employment protection. The project is examining changes in the extent of in-work poverty and young workers’ entry into different occupations. The research will provide new insights into the potential consequences of labour market regulations for the structure of work and inequality.
* Labour Administration in Uncertain Times, edited by Jason Heyes and Ludek Rychly, has been published by Edward Elgar and the ILO
7. Strengthening Labour Administration
Professor Jason Heyes and Dr Thomas Hastings are conducting new research into national labour administration systems on behalf of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Heyes and Hastings have received £30,000 from the ESRC and the ILO to map new practices, innovations and modernization efforts in the field of labour administration. Labour administration (as defined by Convention 150 of the ILO, 1978) refers to all public administration activities in the field of national labour policy. The intention of the project is to and to draw lessons for labour administrators and policy makers operating across a range of national contexts.
The project has also led to the development of a toolkit for the ILO, which has been used to train labour inspectors in ILO member countries. The toolkit is intended to help extend the reach of labour inspection to the informal economy. Click here to view the toolkit.