The Centre’s empirical research contributes a substantial new body of knowledge focused on the ethical, social and psychological aspects of organisations. Our analysis of sustainable HRM and wellbeing provides powerful arguments towards a paradigm shift in management thinking, emphasising ethical dimensions of organisations, social justice, and the common good.

Our research specialises in the following inter-linked research themes:

1. Sustainable HRM: beyond financial metrics

Sustainable HRM represents an attempt to grapple with the relationship between HRM practices and outcomes beyond predominantly economic and financial outcomes. This change in focus represents a changing environment in which companies operate. “Business as usual” is facing a legitimacy crisis as the traditional purpose of maximizing profits or shareholder value for businesses is deemed insufficient for current times. Serving the common good requires firms to ensure that they can balance a multitude of stakeholders’ interests – not only in financial terms but also in psychological and social terms.

2. Happiness and job satisfaction

Firmly embedded in the subjective well-being scholarship arena, the constructs of happiness and satisfaction have occupied a central role not only in the popular press but also in the statistical and policy agenda of many countries of the world. A focus on employee well-being serves as an attractive business proposition. A large literature in the social sciences has linked employees’ job satisfaction to observable workplace behaviours, including absenteeism, organizational commitment, productivity, and intentions to quit. It is easy to discern why research on the happiness and satisfaction of employees (and others) provides powerful incentives for academicians and practitioners alike.

3. Voice, institution and social identity in the workplace

Beyond socio-demographic variables, institutional and societal antecedents have grown in prominence in the Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour research arena. Attempts to disentangle the direct and indirect impact of institutional and cultural context, social networks, social values, and societal belief systems have demonstrated that such constructs contain strong predictive powers. Researchers shifting their attention from the technical to the institutional and social context find the latter to be one of the prime motivators of behaviour in organizations. They also recognise this context as a representation of key measures of the quality of the social fabric. What is more, there is evidence to suggest that institutional and societal benefit metrics, as part and parcel of a co-operative culture at large, serve as components of a governance paradigm that has become known as participatory governance and constitute key variables affecting the levels of effectiveness and efficiency in almost any area of public policy. The role of participative decision-making and employee voice features prominently in these endeavours.

4. Employee engagement and organisational performance

Employee engagement is understood as a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being. The growing literature in this analytical realm demonstrates that defining employee engagement remains problematic. Multidimensional approaches are commonplace. Contemporary practices have positioned the drivers of engagement across a multi-faceted spectrum, ranging from within the psyche of the individual employee (e.g. stress response) to focusing predominantly on the actions and motivational incentives an organisation pursues to support such engagement.