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In this newsletter...

I’m also pleased to announce three recent developments for the Centre. First, CPOW has initiated a new theme in Corporate Responsibility and Accountability. Building on our existing research strengths in this area, CPOW members will explore corporate responsibility and accountability to society at large, and specific corporate impacts upon, and dialogue with, stakeholder groups. The theme will take a critical approach to corporate social responsibility, which acknowledges and addresses the growing power of corporations globally. Researchers in the theme will explore innovations in harm prevention, human rights, gender equality, social and environmental sustainability, remedy and redress including investigating strategies to empower communities and worker groups. Thank you to founding theme members Dr Annie Delaney, Dr Kate Grosser and Dr Shelley Marshall for their enthusiasm in this research program. If you are interested in getting involved in this theme, please contact Annie, Kate, Shelley or myself. We expect to announce the theme leader early in 2019. 

Second, the Centre will introduce the CPOW Research Awards in 2019. The purpose of these awards is to recognise and encourage outstanding research by Centre members that makes a significant contribution in advancing knowledge and research outcomes aligned with the Centre’s focus on leadership and management of people in the workplace, as well as understanding the wider economic, political, technological, social and cultural environment in which organisations operate. Selection of award recipients will be by the Centre Director based on recommendations of the CPOW Awards Panel. In 2019 there will be a several award categories that recognise the Best Contribution to a CPOW Theme. More information on these awards and how to apply will be made available on CPOW’s website.

In addition, we will be now developing a useful library of resources and publications on the site. A big thank you to CPOW’s Research Officer, Peter Nowotnik for his exceptional work on the website. If you have any suggestions about the site, or have relevant content you’d like us to add, please contact Peter or myself.

Finally, thank you to all of those who have contributed to CPOW’s ongoing success in 2018 and I wish you a safe and happy holiday!

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

Projects in Progress
CRIMT Conference October 2018: ‘What kind of work for the future? Disruption, experimentation and re-/regulation’

The opening plenary session of CRIMT2018. Photo: Kate Farhall

In October, five CPOW researchers headed to Montreal, Quebec to participate in the CRIMT Partnership Conference: What kind of work for the future? Disruption, experimentation and Re-/regulation. This conference formed part of the series of events linked to the international partnership project "Institutional experimentation for better work", organised out of the Montreal-based Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT). 

CPOW researchers participated in two research workshops, a (Post)Doctoral Day and the conference itself. This allowed them to strengthen ties with researchers across the 20 international partner institutions and explore global collaborative opportunities.

At the conference itself, CPOW researchers attended insightful plenaries — including from CPOW’s own Professor Peter Fairbrother, heard about cutting edge international research into changing work conditions and the future of work, and participated in collaborative workshops on critical topics, such as the pivotal role of intersectionality in constructing the world of work, as well as its place in our own research. The conference formed an important part of the ‘Institutional experimentation’ project, which seeks to use comparative international case studies to understand how, in a dynamic and shifting global context, work can be made more meaningful, secure and productive for workers. 

This research will be further developed at the upcoming AIRAANZ (Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand) Conference in 2019, hosted by the School of Management at RMIT. Key partner organisations will be represented at the conference and a CRIMT development workshop will be run the week prior. Further events, collaborative work and professional development opportunities through the partnership are also in train for 2019 and beyond, with CPOW researchers playing a leading role.

Event Success
UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: Gender Consultation

"Both states and companies should give adequate attention to women’s experiences of being impacted differently and disproportionately by business activities. A gender-sensitive approach is appropriate for all companies operating in all circumstances.”
(Prof Surya Deva, UN Working Group).

The  United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights gender consultation in Sydney on Applying the Gender Lens to the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights (Nov 14th and 15th), was hosted by RMIT CPOW in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW) and the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was designed to inform the gender lens project of the UN Working Group by exploring significant challenges, as well as good practice, with respect to corporate human rights due diligence relating to the rights of women. The report of the Working Group will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019.

(Dr Shelley Marshall (RMIT), Prof Surya Deva (UN Working Group), Prof Louise Chappell (UNSW Sydney), Dr Kate Grosser (RMIT) and Sarah McGrath (Australian Human Rights Commission). Photo: Roni Bintang)

Dr Shelley Marshall (RMIT), Prof Surya Deva (UN Working Group), Prof Louise Chappell (UNSW Sydney), Dr Kate Grosser (RMIT) and Sarah McGrath (Australian Human Rights Commission). Photo: Roni Bintang.

The consultation included representatives from international organisations (OECD, UN Global Compact), past and present Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioners, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as industry bodies (e.g. Minerals Council of Australia), national businesses, unions, civil society organizations, and academics.

Panellists provided practical recommendations on what it means to 'protect, respect and remedy' the rights of women with respect to business impacts in: the workplace (equal pay and sexual harassment); supply chains; communities and the environment. Sector specific guidance was presented regarding: the care sector; the sex industry; mining and construction; and investment and finance.

The RMIT partnership, developed by Dr Kate Grosser (SoM), involved organizing and co-hosting (Kate Grosser and Dr Shelley Marshall (GSBL)) and presentations from Kate, Shelley, Dr Meagan Tyler (SoM) and Prof Sara Charlesworth (SoM). CPOW features on the website of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, where further information about the project can be found: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/GenderLens.aspx

Additionally, on Nov 9th Dr Kate Grosser and Dr Meagan Tyler ran a workshop on violence against women and trafficking for sexual exploitation to inform the UN consultation. Workshop participants drafted a submission to the UN Working Group. We gratefully acknowledge ECP funding (Global Business Innovation and Social Change) which facilitated this work.

The four panellists from left: Peter Hayes, Bethany Lloyd, Ged Griffin, Melissa Matthews. Photo: Peter Nowotnik

CPOW researchers Dr Stan Karanasios, Professor Vanessa Cooper and Associate Professor Marta Poblet-Balcell hosted an industry event on 13th of November titled Challenges and Opportunities for Digital Technology in Engaging Communities in Emergencies.

The workshop was attended by 25 practitioners as part of a project funded by Emergency Management Victoria which aims to inform the development of policy on the use of digital technology during emergencies. During the workshop the researchers disseminated the findings of their research project which uncovered a number of tensions and challenges for information provision caused by digital disruption. Particular attention was given in the discussion on the growing importance of social media and the increasing role of platform-based actors in the emergency management landscape. A number of strategies for building capacity to make better use of the opportunities from digital technologies in the emergency management context were identified.

The workshop also included an industry panel which discussed the future of digital technology in the emergency management context—panellists included: Bethany Lloyd, Head of Emergency Communications for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Ged Griffin Acting Superintendent, Victoria Police; Melissa Matthews, and Dr Peter Hayes from RMIT University.

Women, digital space and the politics of visibility: How revolutionary is social media for feminist organising?

In contrast to the often celebratory rhetoric surrounding the democratic potential of online spaces, the audience heard about the ways in which the shift to digital feminist organising has brought with it problems for women. For example, it has ushered in new ways for men to access, track and harass women, as well as police their politics. Jessica further argued that the ways in which space and time function online disrupt the intellectual work of activism and obstruct the formation of deeper connections between women. 

Instead, online spaces provide an individualised marketplace for activism based on the idea that everyone can speak, giving the illusion of equality. In reality, Jessica argued that these spaces are highly controlled and curated, promoting individual venting and combative behaviour, both of which are in contradiction to a feminist way of relating to one another. In this way, digital organising may inhibit the building of a sustainable political movement, with a greater level of women’s face-to-face political engagement one recommended solution. 

The next Feminist Forum event will be held on the 10th of December to mark the final day of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. More information here.

Gender Inequality Research Network: Making a Difference: Gender Inequality Research and Impact

On the 18th of October, the Gender Inequality Research Network (GIRN) at RMIT launched the report: Making a Difference: Gender Inequality Research and Impact, based on research carried out by consultant Dr Meg Montague. The report is centred on the experiences of RMIT researchers and includes advice for ECRs, on thinking about and planning for impact in research, as well as detailing the challenges some researchers face when they talk about impact in terms of pushing for gender equality. Dr Meagan Tyler and Dr Fiona Macdonald hosted the event, and speakers included Dr Annie Delaney and Dr Nicola Henry. The event was supported by CPOW.

The report launch also included a practical workshop on updating your public research profile, and strategies for gaining broader dissemination of your research findings. This included the launch of the GIRN Twitter account, which can be found here. Gender inequality related research is retweeted from that account, so if you have something relevant to add, just "@" it in order to get your latest research retweeted, or simply add a #girnrmit hashtag.

Future Events
Research Profile
Karen Douglas

Karen’s research interests include: union organising, worker voice especially through trade unions, trade union renewal in Australia and internationally, gender pay equity and decent work. 

Karen is a long-term community, trade union and LGBTI activist. She has worked with unions whose memberships include precarious workers in public and private sectors. Karen has extensive experience representing workers across many legal jurisdictions, in enterprise bargaining and has advocated union positions at state and national policy forums.

Karen holds a Masters degree from the Global Labour University (GLU) Labour Policies and Globalisation programme and has collaborated with GLU colleagues on gender and trade union research. Karen has presented her research at national and international conferences, has published her research and has been a semi-finalist in the three-minute thesis competition. 

Grant Success

Lena Wang, Pauline Stanton, Haiying Kang have received a $3000 grant from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) to develop an evidence-based capability development framework, so as to provide academic evidence that can support DVRCV's next phase of strategic planning. 

Media & Publications
New Publication by Peter Fairbrother and Meagan Tyler

Congratulations to Peter Fairbrother and Dr Meagan Tyler on their recent book: Wildfire and Power: Policy and Practice.

The book, published by Taylor & Francis questions not only existing policy approaches, but also the central concepts on which they are founded. In doing so, the aim is to create a more conceptually robust and academically contextualised discussion about the limitations of current wildfire policy approaches in Australia and to provide further evidence of the need for disaster studies to engage with a variety of social science approaches.

Publication by Louise Byrne and Lena Wang

Well done to Dr Louise Byrne, Dr Lena Wang and their collaborators who have had the following paper accepted: Byrne, L., Roennfeldt, H., Wang, Y., & O'Shea, P., "You don’t know what you don’t know’: The essential role of management exposure, understanding and commitment in peer workforce development”, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (IF = 2.033; ERA = A; Scimgao = Q1). 

Publication by Lena Wang

Congratulations to Lena Wang, whose paper written in collaboration with colleagues from Curtin University and the University of Western Australia has been accepted to a top tier journal: Parker, S.K., Wang, Y., and Liao, J. “When is proactivity wise? A review of factors that influence the individual outcomes of proactive behavior”, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior.

Below you can also watch an animation produced by Lena and her colleagues to disseminate their research findings.

Publication by Raymond Trau

Congratulations to Raymond and his collaborators at Diversity Council Australia who published a piece in the Harvard Business Review about the complexities of Coming Out at Work: 

Trau, R., O’Leary, J., and Brown, C. 2019 “7 Myths About Coming Out at Work”, Harvard Business Review, available at: https://hbr.org/2018/10/7-myths-about-coming-out-at-work.

Sara Charlesworth
Raymond Trau

Raymond also presented his research at an industry event organised by the CEO of Grace Paper, Prue Gilbert.   Prue is an influential figure in business, appears regularly in the media and was recently selected as one of 100 most influential women in Australia. The event held on the 24th of October was attended by practitioners in top companies and government agencies in Melbourne.

Lena Wang
Cameron Duff
Membership Moves

Associate Professor Mike Rafferty has stepped down as theme leader of “Organisational and Financialisation”. On behalf of the Centre I would like to sincerely thank Mike for the many valuable contributions he has made to the Centre.

We say farewell and congratulations to Dr Raymond Trau who has accepted a position at Macquarie University in Sydney. Thank you Raymond for your contributions to CPOW. We wish you every success in your new position.


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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