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01 November 2018

Making Good Work: Policy, Practice and Research

This event arose out of a meeting that took place last year to celebrate the anniversary of Human Relations journal. A steering group was convened to decide how to take forward the suggestion that academics working in the field of ‘good work’ could do more to engage directly with policymakers and practitioners to improve job quality.

Making Good Work: Policy, Practice and Research
Making Good Work: Policy, Practice and Research

Seventy academics from around the UK met at King’s College Science Gallery on 30 October to explore these issues. Delegates were welcomed by Professor Stephen Bach, Dean of King’s Business School, and Professor Irena Grugulis, University of Leeds, and main organiser of the event. Professor Patricia Findlay of the University of Strathclyde, Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the Scottish TUC and Linda Murray, Head of Strategy Services Scottish Enterprise explained how they had all worked together to help shape the agenda around good work in Scotland. Professor Monder Ram OBE, Aston University, told delegates about his award-winning research helping migrant workers to set up their own businesses. He was joined by Fuad Mahamad, former refugee from Somalia and now award-winning CEO of Ashley Community Housing, who explained how Monder’s work had helped him in setting up his business.

Stefan Stern, the journalist who has worked for publications such as the Financial Times, BBC and Management Today Magazine, raised the question of how academics can engage with journalists to publicise and raise awareness of their work, and the pitfalls this can entail.

In the afternoon, panel discussions took place hosted by Professor Kevin Daniels, University of East Anglia, and Professor Paul Edwards, University of Birmingham. They were joined by Steven Weeks (NHS Employers), Jonny Gifford (Chartered Institute of Personnal and Development), Diane Blausten (former HR Director, Jewish Care), Dilys Robinson (Institute for Employment Studies), Jack Jones (TUC), Josh Abey (Fabian Society), and James Court-Smith (Engage for Success).  We explored how to raise funding from non-academic sources, how to ensure funding is spent in such a way that the needs of policymakers and practitioners are met, and how to manage relationships across the different constituencies.

What emerged from the day were some in-depth insights into how collaborations between academics and practitioners can be managed in order to achieve successful outcomes for all. In particular, the importance of establishing and growing a network and of creating relationships founded on mutual respect for divergent viewpoints was highlighted.

The steering group will be discussing how to take forward some of the key learnings from the event.

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