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Work and Equalities Institute

The agenda of the Work and Equalities Institute is to identify and promote the conditions for more inclusive and fair work and employment arrangements.

The Institute will develop world-leading interdisciplinary research, focused around four key themes: business transformation and work futures, fair treatment at work, inequalities and the life course, and regulation and representation.

This research will be used in knowledge exchange, dialogue and debate with key stakeholders and policymakers, and to make informed contributions to policy formation and the development of practice. To achieve this, the Institute will draw on advice from an advisory board of policymakers and practitioners with local, national and international expertise.  

The Institute brings together two internationally-recognised Alliance Manchester Business School research centres (European Work and Employment Research Centre and Fairness at Work Research Centre) with international expertise across human resource management, industrial relations, labour economics, organisational psychology, employment law, technology, organisation studies, sociology and social statistics.  

The team uses a range of methods to investigate their research questions, including international institutional and comparative analysis, organisational case studies and qualitative interviews, and surveys and quantitative data analysis.

Why a new Institute on work and equalities at Manchester?

New thinking on how to address the challenges posed by changes in work, employment and equalities is urgently needed. The Work and Equalities Institute’s research agenda will develop new interdisciplinary approaches to addressing core policy and intellectual challenges.

Professor Colette Fagan, Vice President for Research at The University of Manchester, comments: “The WEI team have a world class track record of informing the evidence-base and policy agenda of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the United Nations’ International Labour Office, as well as national organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the TUC, built over more than 25 years of engagement in this arena.

“They also have an excellent track record of supervision of doctoral students and launching early career researchers onto successful careers as academics or researchers and policy makers in other sectors. I am confident that our new Institute will build on the strengths of these foundations, and will make a significant impact to knowledge and policy solutions in relation to the quality, organisation, innovation, and fair distribution of work and employment.”

The Institute’s research will range from the local to the global and build on the already strong connections with important national and international policy bodies. Its work and employment inequalities will be an important contributor to the University of Manchester’s global inequalities research beacon.

Professor Jill Rubery

Most of the inequalities that one observes, from health and education to poverty and exclusion are influenced by labour market factors but employment conditions are themselves shaped by patterns of inequality. The new institute will therefore consider equalities issues as integral and central to understanding work and employment arrangements.

— Professor Jill Rubery, Alliance Manchester Business School

Our members

Matthew Allen - WEI Core membersMatthew AllenSenior Lecturer In Organisation StudiesAlliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E8
Emma Banister - WEI Core membersEmma BanisterSenior Lecturer in Marketing0161-2756327Sackville Street Building
Shabneez Bhankaraully - WEI Core membersShabneez BhankaraullyLecturer in Comparative & Intl Business
Paul Chan - WEI Core membersPaul ChanLecturer in Project Management0161-2754319Pariser Building - E17
Sharon Clarke - WEI Core membersSharon ClarkeProfessor of Organisational Psychology0161-3063442Alliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E18
Elaine Dewhurst - WEI Core membersElaine DewhurstSenior Lecturer in Employment Law0161-2755785Williamson Building - 3.50
Tony Dundon - WEI Core membersTony DundonProfessor of HRM & Employment Relations0161-2756339Manchester Business School East - E32
Julie Froud - WEI Core membersJulie FroudProfessor of Financial InnovationAlliance Manchester Business School
Anita Greenhill - WEI Core membersAnita GreenhillSenior LecturerAlliance Manchester Business School
Damian Grimshaw - WEI Core membersDamian GrimshawProfessor of Employment Studies and Director of the European Work and Employment Research Centre0161-3063457Alliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E25
Helen Gunter - WEI Core membersHelen GunterProfessor of Education PolicyEllen Wilkinson Building
Gail Hebson - WEI Core membersGail HebsonSenior Lecturer in Employment StudiesAlliance Manchester Business School
Helge Hoel - WEI Core membersHelge HoelEmeritus Professor0161-3068784Alliance Manchester Business School - EAST-D12
David Holman - WEI Core membersDavid HolmanProfessor0161-3063433Alliance Manchester Business School
Debra Howcroft - WEI Core membersDebra HowcroftProfessor of Technology and OrganisationAlliance Manchester Business School
Sheena Johnson - WEI Core membersSheena JohnsonSenior Lecturer in Organisational Psychology0161-3063445Alliance Manchester Business School
Saleema Kauser - WEI Core membersSaleema KauserAcademic: Organisational Strategy and Business EthicsAlliance Manchester Business School
Arjan Keizer - WEI Core membersArjan KeizerLecturer in IHRM & Comparative IRs0161-3065886Alliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E 24
Aristea Koukiadaki - WEI Core membersAristea KoukiadakiSenior Lecturer in Employment Law0161-3066545Williamson Building - 4.23
Stefania Marino - WEI Core membersStefania MarinoSenior Lecturer in Employment StudiesAlliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E35
Miguel Martinez Lucio - WEI Core membersMiguel Martinez LucioProfessor in International HRM and Comparative IRAlliance Manchester Business School
Anne Mcbride - WEI Core membersAnne McbrideSenior Lecturer in Employment Studies0161-3065863Alliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E26
Stephen Mustchin - WEI Core membersStephen MustchinLecturer in Employment Studies0161-3068988Alliance Manchester Business School
Karen Niven - WEI Core membersKaren NivenSenior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Organisational PsychologyAlliance Manchester Business School
Elinor O'Connor - WEI Core membersElinor O'ConnorSenior Lecturer in Occupational PsychologyAlliance Manchester Business School
Anthony Rafferty - WEI Core membersAnthony RaffertySenior Lecturer in Employment Studies (HRM and IR)Alliance Manchester Business School
Jenny Rodriguez - WEI Core membersJenny RodriguezSenior Lecturer0161-2756396Alliance Manchester Business School
Jill Rubery - WEI Core membersJill RuberyProfessor / Director of the Work and Equalities InstituteAlliance Manchester Business School
Isabel Tavora - WEI Core membersIsabel TavoraLecturer in Human Resource Management0161-3068489Alliance Manchester Business School - EAST-E30
Ricardo Twumasi - WEI Core membersRicardo TwumasiLecturerManchester Business School East
Roger Walden - WEI Core membersRoger WaldenLecturerAlliance Manchester Business School
Sara Willis - WEI Core membersSara WillisLecturer in Organisational PsychologyAlliance Manchester Business School
Dieter Zapf - WEI Core membersDieter ZapfVisiting Professor
Matthew Alford - WEI Affiliate membersMatthew AlfordLecturer in Intl Business And ManagementAlliance Manchester Business School
Stephanie Barrientos - WEI Affiliate membersStephanie BarrientosProfessorArthur Lewis Building
Tarani Chandola - WEI Affiliate membersTarani ChandolaProfessor of Medical Sociology0161-3066903Humanities Bridgeford Street
Fiona Devine - WEI Affiliate membersFiona DevineHead of Alliance Manchester Business School/Professor of SociologyAlliance Manchester Business School
Jamie Doucette - WEI Affiliate membersJamie DoucetteSenior LecturerArthur Lewis Building - 1.047
Colette Fagan - WEI Affiliate membersColette FaganVice - President for Research.0161-2758860John Owens Building - 1.013
Helen Gunter - WEI Affiliate membersHelen GunterProfessor of Education PolicyEllen Wilkinson Building
Christopher Humphrey - WEI Affiliate membersChristopher HumphreyProfessorCrawford House
Ruth Lupton - WEI Affiliate membersRuth LuptonProfessor of EducationEllen Wilkinson Building - A5.12
Gary Lynch-Wood - WEI Affiliate membersGary Lynch-WoodSenior Lecturer in Corporate Governance0161-2753566Williamson Building - 3.19
Ruth McDonald - WEI Affiliate membersRuth McDonaldProfessor0161-2750612Alliance Manchester Business School
Marcela Miozzo - WEI Affiliate membersMarcela MiozzoProfessor of Economics and Management of InnovationHarold Hankins Building
Helen Norman - WEI Affiliate membersHelen NormanResearch Fellow0161-3066935Arthur Lewis Building - QUAD D
Wendy Olsen - WEI Affiliate membersWendy OlsenProfessor of Socio-Economics0161-2753043Humanities Bridgeford Street - G.20
Christopher Phillipson - WEI Affiliate membersChristopher PhillipsonProfessor of Gerontology0161-3066970Humanities Bridgeford Street - 2.13M
Debora Price - WEI Affiliate membersDebora PriceProfessor of Social Gerontology0161-2751385Humanities Bridgeford Street - 2.13Z
Sara Willis - WEI Affiliate membersSara WillisLecturer in Organisational PsychologyAlliance Manchester Business School
Michael Marchington - WEI Emeritus membersMichael MarchingtonProfessorAlliance Manchester Business School
Jeremy Waddington - WEI Emeritus membersJeremy WaddingtonProfessor of Industrial Relations

Research themes

Our four research themes explore key issues in work and equalities research:

Major transformations are taking place in the organisation of both businesses and work that are reconfiguring work futures. Advanced ICTs, high-performance employment systems, extensive sourcing through global value chains, e-retailing and financialised ownership structures have potentially serious implications for employment security and job quality.  This research theme will investigate these overlapping business transformations and how they are both shaped by and challenge national institutional arrangements for work and employment, with the aim of contributing to new thinking for policy and practice to support a more equal experience of quality work in all regions of the world.

The notion that people should be entitled to fair treatment at work commands widespread agreement but how this translates into practice is far more controversial. Not only are there  debates over what the  level of employment standards  and opportunities for  employee voice should be but there are also increasing risks  that  employment standards will not be enforced, particularly for those  on non-standard employment contracts.   This theme focuses on three main areas:  the first is  the extent of inequalities in fair treatment at work particularly for  those  with protected characteristics under equality legislation; the second is the relationship between fair treatment at work and stress and wellbeing; and the third is  the challenges of improving fair treatment through interventions whether from new legal measures or through  voluntary actions on labour/management standards,  organisational capacity building and participative job redesign.

Inequalities in work and employment lie at the heart of wider trends towards inequality and poverty and deserve attention in their own right. This theme extends the  analysis by  considering how inequalities change or are reinforced across the life course, how changing life courses are interacting with developments in work and employment, for example towards precarious work, and on how social and employment policy can reduce or exacerbate inequalities across the life course and for different groups. Particular attention will be paid to how employers are responding to the increasingly diverse workforce, reflecting varied life courses, care responsibilities, careers, skills and employability and how these responses are enabling or inhibiting flexible career paths.

Major debates are taking place on the role of employment regulation and representation in a context of work fragmentation and globalisation, tensions between state intervention and corporate self-regulation and amidst rising problems of social inclusion and inequality and  labour market migration. This theme investigates the theory, policy and practice of regulation and representation, and considers the need for new approaches  to “re”-regulation, including  new initiatives on enforcement, that move the debate beyond the binaries of regulation versus deregulation. Multi-level forces are needed that combine the various stakeholders, agents and market institutions in new forms of regulation at both a macro and a micro level. Examples could include new forms of voice and new approaches to labour standards of multinational enterprises and supplier network firms.

Research projects

Project summary/overview: The project explores job quality in catering jobs and what shapes employees’ perceptions and experiences of a good quality catering job. The research will use a case study of university catering employees and focus upon their experiences of a newly introduced apprenticeship.  It will explore the role of the training initiative in shaping perceptions and experiences of job quality and whether such development opportunities can play an important role in creating good quality jobs in the catering sector.  A broad definition of job quality will be used which will include the nature of job tasks, the work environment, employment contracts and development opportunities as well as the opportunities for personal growth beyond the job, including improved confidence and life skills.  A comparison with catering workers who are not taking part in the training initiative will also be carried out, to ascertain how significant training and development opportunities are for catering jobs to be experienced and defined as good quality jobs.

Project team members: Gail Hebson (PI), Clare Mumford (research associate), David Holman, Arjan Keizer, Jill Rubery

Project summary/overview: This study examines families’ experiences of shared parental leave. We seek to contribute to debates surrounding fathers and their experiences of care and work, as well as family policy development.

There are two strands to the project. The first (supported by BA/Leverhulme) involved conducting two in-depth interviews with 25 men who planned to take SPL. Our findings are focused around a number of themes including men’s experiences of fatherhood and SPL and the key barriers to taking leave and practicing ‘involved’ fatherhood (including parenting and workplace cultures).

The second part of the project (supported by ESRC IAA) draws on issues we identified associated with knowledge and awareness of the scheme and the lack of role models available for men considering SPL. Working in partnership with Working Families and the Fatherhood Institute we developed a ‘video casebook’ consisting of a number of videos where parents discuss their lived experiences of SPL. These family-focused videos are accompanied by written case material and an additional set of videos exploring key topics such as barriers to taking leave and tips for both parents and employers. We are currently in the final stages of developing two surveys – one aimed at parents and the other aimed at employers - to further explore experiences and practices surrounding SPL and related family policies.

Project website: and

Project team members: Emma Banister, Ben Kerrane (Lancaster University Management School), Working Families and the Fatherhood Institute

Project summary/overview: The aims of this two year research project were to understand the nature of employee gentleness is care settings, and how employee gentleness is fostered in such settings.  The research involved ethnographic case studies of a day care hospice and two care homes.  Our study found that the most important aspect of being gentle was taking a ‘soft, slow and patient’ approach to care.  This approach combined speaking in a soft and quiet manner, soft touch, and the patient delivery of care with gradually guiding people to achieve specific things (such as talking about emotional difficulties, or washing and dressing) whilst maintaining a close relationship with clients.  Employee gentleness was fostered through the creation of a climate that included: sharing beliefs in person-centred care; staff autonomy; supportive colleagues and managers who will redistribute care/other tasks when caregivers need to spend extra time with clients, sharing knowledge of clients at handovers and team meetings and Low workloads and few interruptions.

The project is funded by the Lord Alliance AMBS Research Fund.

Project website link: Employee gentleness in care settings

Project team members: Professor David Holman (AMBS), Dr Claire Mumford (AMBS), Dr Maurice Nagington (Faculty of Nursing), Professor Leo McCann (AMBS)

Project summary/overview: This project examines behavioural change within a new digital environment, to identify how companies use digital information to make better, quicker decisions. This project will provide the specific focus on innovation management and behavioural change to create a holistic framework across the project.

At this point in the evolution of Industry 4.0 much of what is required for the effective integration of the physical and the digital (“hybrid materiality”) is new and untested, especially in the process industries. This project will begin by mapping and analysing innovation practices within existing Unilever operations and compare to analogous industries and companies. Building on those insights, the project will examine the contextual and behavioural factors that influence radical change in the organization and process of innovation. At the same time, the project will examine behavioural factors that can influence the rate and character of transfer of new technologies and innovation management processes. We will examine the interaction between expert and enthusiastic adopters of digital workflow, and users and potential adopters who have yet to fully embrace the new methods, and identify instances where this interaction has been effective, and where it has not been productive.

Project website link:

Project team members: Dr Andrew James, Dr Matthew Allen, Prof. Joseph Lampel, Dr Khaleel Malik, Prof. Nikolay Mehandjiev

Project summary/overview: Upon request by the PETI Committee, a report was prepared to assess the nature and extent of employment precariousness in the framework of EU fundamental rights and employment law. The analysis focuses on two broad areas, namely atypical forms of employment and franchising. The report identifies a number of ‘protective gaps’ at various levels of regulation and puts forward policy recommendations that are informed by the need to adopt holistic and comprehensive action for addressing what emerges as a constantly moving target.

Project website:

Project members: Aristea Koukiadaki and Ioannis Katsaroumpas

Project summary/overview: This was a series of two projects on the working conditions of male and female football players. The projects, which were both funded by the Global Players’ Unions during 2016-2018, involved the conduct for the first time of worldwide surveys of footballers playing for clubs and national teams. The survey findings relate to a number of issues pay, tournament prize money, education, discrimination, money fixing, the transfer market and work-family balance.

Reports available on the FiFPro website: 

2017 2017 FIFPro Global Employment Report Working Conditions in Professional Women's Football PDF >>

2016 FIFPro Global Employment Report - Top Findings - Working Conditions in Professional Football PDF >>

Project team members: Aristea Koukiadaki and Geoff Pearson

Project summary/overview: The EU accession and the economic crisis led to the rise of non-standard, precarious employment forms across the new Member States in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Despite the importance of the phenomenon of precarious employment, little evidence is available on the strategies of social partners to address the rise of the dual labour market, in which the importance of precarious employment forms increases. To fill this gap, this project explored how the strategies of employers and trade unions across 10 EU Member States represent the interest of non-standard and vulnerable groups in precarious employment forms in the labour market; and how the needs of these groups are addressed in the process of collective bargaining and other initiatives by the social partners.This project investigated precarious employment in 10 countries with various institutional arrangements, namely (a) neo-liberal: Latvia, Lithuania and Romania; (b) embedded liberal: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia; (c) neo-corporatist: Slovenia and Croatia and (d) Mediterranean market economy: Greece. In each country, the study focused on sectoral developments in four predominantly private sectors (metal, retail, construction and temporary agency work) and the healthcare sector, which is largely part of the public sector.

Project website:

Project team members: Marta Kahancova, Aristea Koukiadaki and Aurora Trif

Project summary/overview: The aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to investigate the design and implementation of public procurement contracts, the influence of formal and informal notions of social responsibility and their combined effects on employment conditions in publicly contracted companies in the UK. Designed to respond to significant gaps in knowledge and in policy and practice, the research focuses in particular on decision-making processes, the negotiation of conflicting interests (e.g. local authority budget targets, legal restrictions, social responsibility norms, profit interests and employee concerns) and interactions with regulatory and organisational policy and practice as well as their combined effects on employment conditions in publicly contracted companies.

Project members: Matthew Johnson, Aristea Koukiadaki, Stephen Mustchin


Featured publications

  • Holman, D., Johnson, S., & O'Connor, E. (2018). Stress management interventions: Improving subjective psychological well-being in the workplace. In E. Diener, S. Oishi, & L. Tay (Eds.), Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF Publishers.
  • Grimshaw, D.,Johnson, M.,Marino, S., and Rubery, J.(2017)Towards more disorganised decentralisation? Collective bargaining in the public sector under pay restraint.Industrial Relations Journal,48:22–41. DOI: 10.1111/irj.12166

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