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Centre for People, Work and Organizational Practice

Unit(s) of assessment: Business and Management Studies

Research theme: Health and Wellbeing

School: Nottingham Business School


The Centre for People, Work and Organizational Practice conducts research on human resource management, innovation and performance to address business and policy imperatives through the effective formulation and deployment of human and knowledge capital.  Led by Professors Helen Shipton and Daniel King and with a membership spanning  NBS  HRM, Management and Economics Departments, the Centre distils its research into two research strands: one focuses on employee voice, innovative behaviours and learning at work, with a particular interest in strategic HRM as perceived by employees A second strand adopts an organizing as practice perspective, bringing out the role of ‘good work’ and ‘work quality’ with a particular focus on voluntary organizations and the charity sector.

The Centre produces high quality publications featured in journals such as Academy of Management, Learning and Education, British Journal of Management, Human Relations, Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations, Organizational Research Methods, and Organization Studies. Centre members take on editorial roles including the Co-Editor of The Sociological Review (Brown), Memory Studies (Brown), Culture and Organization (Lawley),  Associate Editor of the International Journal of Human Resource Management (Shipton) and sit on the editorial board for journals including Organization Studies (King), Work, Employment and Society (King), Human Resource Management (Shipton), Human Resource Management Journal (Shipton), Organization (King), Academy of Management, Learning and Education (Hay), Academy of Management Review and Organization Theory (Mutch), Management Learning (Hay) Human Resource Management Review (Shipton).

Centre members also contribute to wider academic community including British Academy of Management (BAM), where Shipton is serving a second term as Vice-Chair (Conference Affairs and Capacity-Building).Centre members hosted the University Forum for Human Resource Development in June 2019 and the Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (SCOS) in 2015.

PhD Studentships

We’re offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres and groups for UK, EU or International students. Find out more about our PhD studentships.

Find out more about our PhD Research Degrees including current PhD Projects.


Sanders, K., Jorgensen, F*., Shipton, H*., Van Rossenberg, Y., Cunha, R., Li, X., Rodrigues, R., Wong, S.-I. And Dysvik, A., (2018). Performance-based rewards and innovative behaviours. Human Resource Management.  57 (6): 1455- 1468.  * Joint second authors

Lin, V., Sanders, K., Sun, J., Shipton, H. & Mooi, E. (2016). From customer-oriented strategy to perceived organizational financial performance: The role of human resource management and customer-linking capability. British Journal of Management. 27 (1): 21- 37.

Reedy, P, and King, D, (2019) Critical Performativity in the Field: Methodological Principles for Activist Ethnographers, Organizational Research Methods, 22(2): 564-589.

Paille, P., Valeau, P., & Renwick, D.W.S. (2020) ‘Leveraging green HRM practices to achieve environmental sustainability’, Journal of Cleaner Production, 260 (2).

King, D. and Learmonth, M., (2015). Can critical management studies ever be ‘practical’? A case study in engaged scholarship. Human Relations, 68 (3) 353-375

Kougiannou, N.K., Dundon, T. And Wilkinson, A., 2019. Forming effective employee information and consultation: a five‐stage trust and justice process. British Journal of Management. ISSN 1045-3172.

Brown, S.D., Kanyeredzi, A., Mcgrath, L., Reavey, P. And TUCKER, I., 2020. Organizing the sensory: ear-work, panauralism and sonic agency on a forensic psychiatric unit. Human Relations, 73 (11), 1537-1562.

Mutch , A. (2018) ‘Practice, substance and history: reframing institutional logics’, Academy of Management Review, 43(2), 242-258

Hay, A. and Samra-Fredricks, D., 2016. Desperately seeking fixedness: practitioners accounts of 'becoming doctoral researchers. Management Learning, 47 (4), 407-423

Rodriguez,  J.K. and Ridgeway, M., 2019. Contextualizing privilege and disadvantage: lessons from women expatriates in the Middle East. Organization, 26 (3), 391-409

Key partnerships

We have been working in partnership with the CIPD since February 2017, exploring questions around employee voice through primary data collection and sharing insights with audiences at various venues across the UK, for example, in Northern Ireland (Nov 2019) and Scotland June 2019).    Our first report entitled ‘Talking about Voice- Stage 1’ was published in conjunction with the CIPD in February 2019 and a second report is in press.  We continue to build on this important line of work in partnership with the CIPD and other stakeholders, such as ACAS, who have drawn on our voice research in collaboration with their membership.

We collaborate with many organisations from public and private sectors in order to conduct research which combines academic excellence with practical impact. For example, a highly impactful piece of applied research was carried out within the Genuine Parts division of Baxi International.  Centre members conducted a needs diagnosis and designed a series of interventions to help the division to recognise and bring out the creativity of team members in order to promote higher levels of innovation in the division.  We saw a shift over time in the creativity of participants as reported by team leaders through engagement in these activities.

We also collaborate with scholars from all over the world, including Karin Sanders (University of New South Wales), Greg Bamber (Monash University), Clint Chadwick (Kansas University), Veronica Lin (University of Queensland), Maarten Renkema and Tanya Bondarouk  (University of Twente, Netherlands), Michal Biron (University of Haifa), Brian Harney (DCU) and others.  Helen Shipton together with Emma Parry from Cranfield, as well as Hoa Do and Maranda Ridgeway from NTU are UK Ambassadors in the HR Division of the Academy of Management, acting as part of a large international team representing over 40 countries in order to build research synergies across members and offer mutual support and collaboration in order to build research excellence.

Related projects

CPWOP members have been awarded funding for their research from a variety of sources, including the ESRC, the British Academy, the CIPD, the Lloyd's Register Foundation, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Government Equality Office and a variety of business sources. This work integrates key policy and practice with high-level research publications:

Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19 

This ESRC-funded project, led by Professor King, examines COVID-19 impact on voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. In particular, it focuses on providing real-time data about how the pandemic is impacting voluntary organisations working practices and operations, their responses, learning and resilience. The project is conducted in conjunction with NCVO and Sheffield Hallam University.

Structuring for Voice, A Practice Perspective on Employee Voice. CIPD - 2019-2020: 

CPWOP has been working in partnership with the CIPD investigating the topic of employee voice since February 2018.  A first stage of the work, led by Professor Shipton, involved a YouGov commissioned survey of nearly 3000 UK employees. The second stage, led by Professor King, followed up by in-depth case study analysis of six organizations.  The first report, is published here

Rapid Evidence Assessment, Mental Health and Well-being, Lloyds Register Foundation- 2020

Led by Professor Brown, CPWOP conducted a rapid evidence review on psychological wellbeing within safety-critical sectors. This evidence assessment reviewed the academic and grey literature globally to establish key factors that impact on mental health across five sectors responsible for critical social and economic infrastructure – maritime/energy; construction; engineering; food and digital. The review highlighted that psychosocial factors play a central role in mediating the relationship between structural aspects of the working environment and psychological wellbeing.

Evaluation of the 50+ Volunteering Programme for Office for Civil Society (DCMS) – 2017-2021

CPWOP are leading a Programme Level evaluation of the Department of Digital, Media and Sport £6.5 million funded programme on encouraging 50+ people to volunteer. Led by Professor King the evaluation includes interviews, producing case studies and analysing quantitative data.

Engage for Success 

Engage for Success is a voluntary movement that was launched in 2011 by the UK Government in response to the MacLeod Review. The movement promotes the importance of employee engagement through a portfolio of research projects, action groups, and regional events. Sarah Pass is an Ambassador for Engage for Success and leads research projects on 'The Role of Line Managers', 'Engagement Champions', co-leads a project on 'Behavioural Economics', and is part of the 'People Productivity' project. Sarah chairs the 'East Midlands Area Network' and sits on the Engage for Success Steering Group Committee. Engage for Success works in alliance with the CIPD.

Transforming Business Through Culture 

This 24-month project will be delivered by colleagues from across NBS (Dr Zara Whysall, Dr Wendy Chapple, Dr Ishan Jalan) and Psychology (Dr Maria Karanika-Murray). In collaboration with NTU, Fujitsu are seeking to drive sustainable change in individual and team working practices through an enhanced culture assessment and change methodology, positively impacting organisational effectiveness, resilience and agility.

Analysis of the Gender Recognition Act consultation

CPWOP conducted an analysis of the responses to the Government Equality Office consultation around the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. The team, led by Professor King, analysed one of the largest responses to a government consultation, with over 100,000 respondents and a data set of over 63 million words, using a variety of quantitative, qualitative and machine learning techniques. The report was published in 2020.

Gendered Jobs

In collaboration with a major regional organisation, the research team led by Drs Nachmias and Caven, examines the psycho-social influences of job choice and the impact this may have on the gender pay-gap. This research will be using both quantitative and qualitative approaches to investigate the presence and persistence of gendered jobs with the aim to identify the extent and reasons behind why certain roles are perceived as being more appropriate for women or men and to see if this accounts for the gender pay gap.

Review of LGBT+ sport and physical activity infrastructure – funded by Sports England 

Led by Associate Professor Scott Lawley and supported by Dr Sarah Smith the project was funded by Pride Sports and Sports England. The research explored governance and capacity building within LGBT+ sports organisations in England and led to the creation of a directory of LGBT+ sports organisations in England. The directory can be accessed through Pride Sports’ website:

Coaching for Creativity – in Context

Coaching for Creativity is a framework developed by Professor Shipton in conjunction with Dr. Margaritia Nyfoudi from Birmingham Business School that optimises creativity and innovation in individuals and teams using coaching techniques. Using in-depth data collection and analysis to identify skill gaps, inform insights with leadership and team members, and enhance defined competencies for organisational development and growth.

HPWS and Employee Well-being in Vietnamese SMEs 

This KAKEN-HI - funded project, led by Dr Do, explores the underlying mechanism through which HPWS affect employee turnover/engagement, and also considers the boundary conditions of supervisor support and autonomy that surround this mechanism. This Project adopts quantitative positivist research design, multilevel perspective and Job Demands-Resources Framework to provide insights into this phenomenon.

SME work and programme evaluations 

Working alongside Professor Lynn Oxborrow, the Centre team have delivered ‘consultancy’ style projects to SMEs in the D2N2 region. These projects have explored issues within SMEs such as innovation, growth and managing change. In addition to this, we have produced a number of evaluations exploring the impact of projects such as Scale Up and The Big House which have provided coaching and business support for SMEs in the same region.

Additional Information

n 2019, CPWOP won the category of ‘Achievement in Research’ in the NTU Team Awards for developing in the key areas of world-leading impactful interdisciplinary research.

In 2019, Amanda Hay won the Best Paper in Management Education Award at the Academy of Management Conference, Boston, US, for “Exploring Unknowingness in Management Education: A DBA Example”.

In 2018, a paper Helen Shipton co-authored entitled: “Performance-based rewards and innovative behaviours “was awarded the best international paper of year by the HR Division of the Academy of Management.

In 2016 Helen Shipton together with co-authors won the Best Paper Award at the British Academy of Management Conference for their paper ‘From customer-oriented strategy to perceived organizational financial performance: The role of human resource management and customer-linking capability’.

Mid Career Researcher Event

In November 2020 the British Academy of Management (led by Shipton as VC) launched a new programmed entitled ‘Becoming a Research Oriented Professor’,  attracting 46 delegates from business and management academic departments within the UK and further afield, including six delegates from NBS.

In July 2019 the British Academy of Management and Cranfield School of Management hosted an event focusing on supporting early and middle career researchers in: Alternative Career Options; Resilience and Success in Publishing and Getting Known in the Field. The event, led by Centre members, was highly interactive and delegates were encouraged to bring questions to share with the plenary to gain insight from individuals who have excelled in their careers.

UFHRD conference 

Organised by Stefanos Nachmias and his team in June 2019 at NTU, the conference, represented the University Forum for Human Resource Development, attracted 250+ delegates from all over the world and was agreed by all to be a resounding success.

SCOS Conference

Organised by Dr Scott Lawley and  Dr Néstor Valero-Silva, NTU hosted the SCOS conference in July 2015 which attracted 200+ delegates from across the world. The theme for the 2015 conference was ‘Home’ and the aim was to explore  the incursion of work into home life; aspects of the home featuring in the workplace; workplaces developing cultures and identities which create a sense of being at home or, conversely, the link between organisations, alteriority and a sense of ‘not being at home.’

In 2019, our research centre held a school-wide forum using the World Café format to bring together the different and diverse research ideas and interests of the staff members. The aim was to raise awareness about the type of research that is going on in the school so that individuals with similar research interests would have opportunities to collaborate. Some of the main research themes which were topics of discussion included employee engagement and employee voice, HRM and innovation, diversity, inclusion and gender in management, information business employment practices, HRD and leadership development.

HR Forum 

On the 13th March 2018, the Centre hosted an HR Forum inviting practitioners from various organisations to attend and discuss the outcomes of the first phase of the CIPD funded research on employee voice.

Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19

The results of the barometer survey in this project have been featured in BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Financial Times (8th November 2020) and The Telegraph (24th October 2020).