The Gender and Diversity research cluster provides a supportive and inclusive environment for people to produce critical management research, develop teaching practice, and generate professional engagement activities within the business community that examine gender and diversity in the workplace. The research cluster is championed by Prof. Suzan Lewis and Dr. Alexandra Beauregard, and its membership includes staff from the Department of Leadership, Work and Organisations (LWO) as well as the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR). Our research is grouped within four main themes:
Our research in this area explores the interface between paid work and personal life, with an emphasis on contextual factors at the national and organizational levels, and on the implementation and impact of flexible working practices. Prof. Suzan Lewis recently led an ESRC seminar series titled Work-Life Balance in the Recession and Beyond, which investigated the work-life challenges for employees, employers and policy-makers posed by economic recession and austerity measures. An underlying theme of this series and of the research cluster’s work as a whole is the question of how to meet a triple agenda of enhancing employee work-life balance; sustaining or enhancing organizational effectiveness; and contributing to social justice. Recent publications in this area include Public Sector Austerity Cuts in the UK and the Changing Discourse of Work-Life Balance and From Theory to Impact: Bringing Work-Life Initiatives into the Mainstream.
Maternity and Work
Our research in this area focuses on improving maternity protection in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and in developing countries. Dr. Bianca Stumbitz recently led an International Labour Organization (ILO)-funded study to explore maternity protection issues and experiences in Ghana, with a focus on small firms in the informal economy and to examine the feasibility of innovative maternity supports at low or no cost. As part of the study, the research team also advised the Maternity Protection Steering Committee at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in Accra, Ghana, in relation to their strategy to accelerate progress of maternity protection measures. Dr. Lilian Miles has secured funding to lead a British Council Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop on identifying ways in which maternity issues can be better managed at work in Malaysia; the five-day workshop focuses on developing research strategies for modeling processes to manage workplace maternity problems, and utilising methods training to enable action research. Recent publications in this area include ILO reports on Maternity Protection in SMEs: An international review and The Legal, Policy and Regulatory Environment Governing Maternity Protection and Workers with Family Responsibilities in the Formal and Informal Economy of Ghana.
Our research in this area examines the persistence of gender inequality in the workplace. Dr. Maria Adamson is currently leading an ESRC seminar series titled Gendered Inclusion in Contemporary Organizations, which calls for a move away from explanations of discrimination based on an assumption of exclusion towards a focus on the way in which women and men are included in organizations today. Recent publications in this area include Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce and Compositions of Professionalism in Counselling Work: An Embodied and Embedded Intersectionality Framework.
Our research in this area addresses diversity management in organizations as well as focusing on different strands of diversity, including age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and ethnicity. In conjunction with a colleague in Hong Kong, Dr. Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya recently led a study funded by an ESRC bilateral research grant on Age Diversity: Applying the Capabilities Approach to Retirement and Career Development across the Life Course. This project explored the choices workers have with regard to how and when they retire, with the aim of fostering workplaces in which people can pursue longer, healthier and more productive careers. On the practice side, Dr. Doirean Wilson recently organized a diversity conference at Middlesex University for business leaders and practitioners. Recent publications in this area include Recent Developments in the Equality and Diversity Agenda in the UK: The ‘Big Society’ under Austerity and British Citizenship and the 'Other': An Analysis of the Earned Citizenship Discourse.