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Fully Funded PhD in Voice, job security and productivity - the consequences of collective bargaining and other forms of worker voice for innovation and productivity.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, December 14, 2018
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Work Organisation and Employment Relations Research Centre, based at Sheffield University Management School, is seeking applications for a fully funded PhD from exceptional UK/EU/International students with an outstanding academic record (distinction/high merit or equivalent), as well as a proven record in research training.

This theme relates to the activities of the ESRC-funded Productivity Insights Network, supporting research in an area that is a current government priority and of considerable concern to social partners and other stakeholders.

The organisation of work, the terms on which workers are hired and the quality of worker-manager relationships are of fundamental importance to productivity. Some studies (e.g. Michie and Sheehan 2003, 2005) have found that ‘flexible’ employment forms are negatively associated with product and process innovation and that productivity improvements are most likely to occur where standard employment relationships and continuity of employment are emphasised (Rubery 2016; Wang and Heyes 2017). If so, growth in ‘non-standard’, insecure jobs (including zero hours contracts) may be an important contributor to the UK’s ongoing productivity malaise. Furthermore, an emphasis on cost adjustment via ‘external’ flexibility might reduce incentives for firms to develop ‘internal’ flexibility by developing the skills and capabilities of their employees (Colombo and Stanca, 2014). In addition, some studies have shown that collective bargaining and worker voice may encourage firms to innovate (Fakhfakh et al. 2010), perhaps by discouraging the adoption of routes to profitability based on low-wages and labour-intensive production practices (Nolan 1989).

This project will look at the consequences of collective bargaining and other forms of worker voice for innovation and productivity.

The supervisory team may include two of the following academics: Professor Jason Heyes, Professor Kirsty Newsome, Dr Dragos Adascalitei and Dr Jo Grady.

Application Process:

Applicants should submit a 1000 word research proposal which directly addresses the theme and/or specific topic to which they are applying. The proposal should contain a brief background to the topic, which demonstrates knowledge of existing work in the field, and potential contributions to knowledge. It should also explain the proposed research methods and include a plan of the research, and a timeline.

Closing date for applications is 17.00 (UK time) on Friday 14 December 2018. Interviews will be in early January 2019.

For more information and to submit an application, visit

Funding Notes

This scholarship is offered on a full-time basis from February 2019 for three years subject to satisfactory progress. It will provide an annual tax free bursary of £14,777 and cover the University tuition fees for UK/EU/international students.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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