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In this newsletter...

CPOW researchers have a number of upcoming events planned for September and October, and we’d be delighted to see you there. In particular, I’m pleased to invite you to CPOW’s contribution to the College of Business Research Showcase which has the theme of Technological Convergence. In this session, Associate Professor Mike Rafferty will discuss “Facebook, Uber, and Frequent Flyers — Contracting Technologies and Convergence”.

And CPOW has just joined LinkedIn and Twitter so please follow us!

Professor Vanessa Cooper
Director of the Centre for People, Organisation and Work

Event Success

A Framework for Intersectional Ethics Seminar

A Framework for Intersectional Ethics was presented by Associate Professor Robbin Derry (Dhillon School of Business, the University of Lethbridge in Calgary, Canada) at a CPOW seminar on June 19th. This was a fascinating presentation of ambitious work in progress which aims to develop an approach to business ethics that is grounded in feminist, and particularly intersectional, feminist ethics. Exploring research questions and methodologies that help us understand power and reveal the interaction of multiple axes, Robbin recommends, among other things, that we ‘use organisations as instruments of resistance, (…) to make dehumanisation visible and (…) to create alternative social goals, other than increased consumption and increased wealth for the top tiers’.  The conversation was multi-disciplinary, wide-ranging and creative. A very stimulating and thought-provoking event!

Successful Research Impact & Engagement Master Class

Following the success of the public lecture, Dr Hayes also conducted a "Research Impact & Engagement Master Class" on 11 July, drawing on her experience. Her masterclass was engaging and inspiring, as well as being practical. Dr Hayes' presentation and the discussion ranged from a focus on the construction of knowledge to the importance of finding ways to ‘mobilise knowledge’ for impact.

Opening with a discussion of an impact as a feminist concern, Dr Hayes spoke about the gendering of knowledge as a social phenomenon and the significance of the masculine bias in academic knowledge. She drew on her experience in law while noting industrial relations and business more generally are also academic fields dominated by men. Arguing ‘law is not a body of value-free principles’ she spoke of how the law inevitably reflects the values, concerns and interests of current and past lawmakers who have overwhelmingly been men, with women’s voices having been largely absent. As academic researchers, we can produce knowledge that challenges dominant gendered constructions to serve the interests of all people and mobilising that research matters greatly. The second half of the session focused on the importance of producing knowledge in non-academic formats. Dr Hayes presented animations she had produced and used to successfully engage law and policymakers with her research findings.

She is also the European Commission’s Coordinator of the European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality. Susanne’s lecture was on: "The (Potential) Impact of European Union Law on National Law: The Case of Work-life Balance".

Renowned author, Guardian journalist and feminist Julie Bindel spoke with women’s health researcher Dr Renate Klein to discuss key debates in the abolition of sexual slavery. The audience heard about the significant financial weight behind commercial surrogacy, the sex industry and other forms of the exploitation and commodification of women’s bodies. The speakers contextualised these industries within broader debates around neoliberalism, capitalism, consumerism, colonialism and patriarchy, arguing that these industries must be critically evaluated in terms of the threat they pose to the health and status of women more broadly. Situating support for these industries within the ideology of 'Trumpism', the speakers contended that progressives who oppose Trumpism must be urged to see the connections between it and all those industries that exploit women’s bodies for profit. The next Feminist Forum event is planned for October.

Upcoming Events

One of the neglected aspects of these changes is that many of these disruptions are changing contractual and financial relations in different domains of our lives. The emerging contractual relations can be seen to be driving a convergence in our relations at work and in our wider social lives. There may be merit in attempting to find commonalities with many of these disruptions. This session will explore these issues and remind ourselves that technological and corporate changes are a socially embedded process.'

The Business Research Showcase is a highlight of the College of Business’ research annual events calendar. Celebrating the College’s excellent research, the three-day schedule of panel discussions aims to stimulate intellectual discourse and engage an audience of academics, students and industry partners.

The theme in 2018 is Technological Convergence. From big data and artificial intelligence to renewable energy, expert panellists from academia and industry will discuss themes relevant both today and for future generations.

AIRAANZ Conference 2019 (call for abstracts)

RMIT's School of Management is hosting the 33rd Annual Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand in February 2019

The closing date for submission of abstracts is
28 September 2018.

The conference theme Global Work, Quality Work? invites us to consider the dilemmas arising from growing disparities in the quality of jobs and from fragmentation of employment, especially in the context of the rapidly changing landscape of global capitalism, labour regulation, labour migration and labour movements.

The contributions of industrial relations scholarship and practice to understanding and responding to the challenges of growing inequalities in employment, pressures on job quality and poor labour market outcomes for diverse groups of workers will set the direction for the conference. Papers that engage with innovative responses to the challenges and issues of regulation, labour organisation and labour movements are of particular interest.

Along with contributions that address the conference themes, a wide range of papers is invited, drawing on industrial relations, human resources, sociology of work and labour rights scholarship and from local, regional and global perspectives. For full conference details see: http://www.airaanz.org/

12-14 February 2019

Storey Hall, Building 16, RMIT University,
344 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Key speakers:
Manuela Tomei, Director of the Conditions of Work and Equality Department, International Labour Office;

Lisa Adkins, Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney and Academy of Finland

Enquiries & RSVPs: http://www.airaanz.org

Research Profile: Dr Maria Beamond
Grant Success

Peter Fairbrother, Meagan Tyler, Kate Farhall and Val Prokopiv have received a $5K grant to formulate and develop a research proposal titled A Gendered Analysis of Regional Development Policy and Processes: Gippsland Region, Victoria, Australia”. The project aims to identify and examine the gendered assumptions of the social and economic regional policies for Gippsland and to produce from this an inclusive basis for workforce planning and preparation in the region, thereby facilitating the transition that is underway.

Peter Fairbrother has received a $25K grant from the Food Agility CRC to develop the Gippsland Food Value Chain: Data-driven Regional Development Sprint project.  Its goal is to deliver a baseline of data and analysis for stakeholders in the region for future initiatives and strategies.  It will conceptualise the food value chain across sectors, as a foundational piece for future Food Agility CRC projects and it will serve as an exemplar for analysis of regional development opportunities.

Peter Fairbrother, Ruth Barton, Kate Farhall, Bruce Wilson and Lauren Rickards have been granted $120K in funding from Regional Australia Institute for a "Future Jobs and Regional Workforce Development" project. It aims to provide support for regions navigating changes in workforce needs due to the impact of automation and increased digitisation. It also looks at changes in industry growth, and the structural changes and spatial shifts occurring in labour markets. The Regional Australian Institute and the CPOW team are working together to provide a holistic analysis of the issues and to recommend a range of strategies which regions may choose to implement.

Dr Lena Wang and Dr Louise Byrne from the School of Management have received a $77.390 grant from the Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) for their project,  “Queensland Lived Experience Workforce Development Framework”.
This project commences in Sept 2018 and will involve large-scale surveys across organisations in Queensland that either already, or are yet to employ, lived experience workers. Findings from the surveys, coupled with other qualitative studies that the researchers have conducted earlier, will lead to a new lived experience workforce development framework that can be applied across the state.

Dr Daniel Richards from the School of Accounting has received $4,000 for a project investigating "Female Financial Adviser Career Paths: Australia versus New Zealand". The project looks at the differences between women's careers as Financial Advisers in Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand and Australia have different regulatory structures for financial services but a commonality between the countries is that there are more men than women working as Financial Advisers. This is an exploratory project, which investigates the reasons for this.

Dr Gerrit de Waal and Prof Adela McMurray have been successful with their application for Global Business Innovation ECP Capability Development Funding and received $5,000 for their project "Plastic Repurpose for Indigenous Australia".

Prof Tim Bartram, Prof Pauline Stanton, Dr Matthew Walker, Dr Beni Halvorsen and Dr Jillian Cavanagh (La Trobe Uni) have been funded $76,894 from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services for "A Study of Rostering Practices in Pathology Services across Four Victorian Public Health Services".


Heard on the wireless

On 25 June CPOW's Mike Rafferty and Prof Dick Bryan from the University of Sydney did an extended interview on their recent book, Risking Together: How Finance is Dominating Everyday Life in Australia for ABC Radio National’s Late Night

On fairness of raising the retirement age…

'It's a manufactured crisis and the claims are seriously overblown,' Mike Rafferty said in an article published by ABC. He argues that 'work into your 70s and then sell your house (…) before you can qualify for a modest aged pension' is the vision of retirement favoured by some economists and bureaucrats.

The full article is available here. You can listen to the whole interview here. The podcast of the show is already online and you can find it here.

Research featured in the Herald Sun and Harvard Business Review

Dr Raymond Trau's research - published in the Journal of Applied Psychology - was featured in The Herald Sun and the Harvard Business Review. He had been working on the project for four years and his research is looking at the impact of the maternity leave. The results of his study suggest that new mums can counter the impact of taking longer ­maternity leave breaks if they keep in touch with their workplaces. You can read the whole article in the Herald Sun here and the Harvard Business Review here.


Margaret initiated a petition which led to a 2006 Senate inquiry, and $1million seed funding for the establishment of the National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers, which was recognised in her Order of Australia Medal. Her work with Aboriginal communities in Central Australia resulted in securing funding for a mobile health clinic. The model Margaret conceptualised with Aboriginal health leaders for community education and empowerment with new health initiatives is still being adopted in that region, and by Margaret with her current research with Horn of African Communities in Melbourne.

People’s Choice Award for Karen Douglas

A hearty congratulations to PhD candidate Karen Douglas who won the People’s Choice Award for best presentation at the College of Business 3MT competition. Well done to Karen and her supervisors: Professor Peter Fairbrother and Dr Ruth Barton.

Mobility Scholarship for Kate Farhall

Kate Farhall has been awarded a Mobility Scholarship to attend the October CRIMT conference, What Kind of Work for the Future? Disruption, Experimentation and Re-/Regulation, 25-27 October, in Montreal. The purpose of the award is to facilitate the engagement of junior scholars in both the "Institutional Experimentation for Better Work" Project and the broader CRIMT Partnership by supporting successful applicants to attend and present their work at the conference. It is also designed to contribute to recipients' ongoing academic training by providing them with opportunities for their work to be challenged and extended through collegial interactions with leading academics in the field.

New Partnership

Dr Kate Grosser has developed a partnership with the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW) and Australian Human Rights Commission to co-host the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights Gender Consultation in Sydney in November 2018. CPOW's Gender, Equality and Diversity theme leader - Dr Meagan Tyler - and Dr Shelley Marshall (Graduate School of Business & Law) are also involved in this project.

Dr Raymond Trau has joined the editorial board of the Journal of Vocational Behavior - which is a bimonthly peer-reviewed academic journal covering career development. It was established in 1971 and is published by Elsevier (A* in the ABDC; Impact factor: 3.052).

Research Partnership

Dr Raymond Trau represented RMIT in a partnership with the Star Observer, Deloitte, QBE and Diversity Council Australia (DCA). They conducted a study that seeks to better understand why LGBTIQ+ workers share or conceal their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex variation at work, and how employers can create safe and inclusive workplace environments where LGBTIQ+ people can be themselves at work.

The findings of the study, "Out at Work: From Prejudice to Pride", were launched at a special event in Sydney, hosted by Deloitte. DCA’s Research Director, Dr Jane O’Leary, presented the evidence about what it means to be out at work and how organisations can provide LGBTIQ+ employees with a real choice about being out at work. Following her presentation, Raymond spoke alongside Kimberly Olsen, founder and founded CEO of Trans Employment Program Australia, representatives from the project sponsors Deloitte and QBE, and a representative from Pride in Diversity.

Membership Moves

Adriana Dimitrova, CPOW Research Officer, has taken up a new role as Enabling Capability Platform (ECP) Coordinator with RMIT. The Centre thanks Adriana for her fantastic work. It has been an absolute pleasure working with her. We wish her every success in the new role and are pleased that she will remain a valued colleague at RMIT.


If you would like to join CPOW or include your research activities in forthcoming newsletters, please email these to: cpow@rmit.edu.au

CPOW acknowledges that economic and social divisions are defining features of the world we live in. The Centre’s research focuses on addressing economic inequalities and fragmentation, social questions around gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and locality, to enhance working lives and advance positive social change. Find out more at: CPOW

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