The 'Good, Bad and Merit' - Arguments in Australian news coverage of workplace gender diversity

Investigators: Dr Victor Sojo, Professor Cordelia Fine, Dr Holly Lawford-Smith, Dr Ziying Yang and Professor Karin Verspoor

Partners: VicHealth

Year: 2020

Research about workplace gender diversity shows that this is an issue that impacts individuals, families, communities and the economy in multiple ways. Working conditions, including diversity, play a key role in the health and workplace productivity of Victorians. Print media continues to be an essential part of our public communications ecosystem, and a key source of social media content, that drives messaging about workplace health and diversity. The media’s role in reinforcing workplace inequalities or highlighting possibilities for change could have a large impact on community support for or rejection of workplace gender diversity, and initiatives to increase it. In this study, we used the machine learning technique of topic modelling, as well as qualitative content analysis, on a large sample of articles published in high-circulation Australian printed media

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The influence of cultural differences on virtual work

Investigators: Dr Mladen Adamovic; Dr Jesse Olsen; Dr Victor Sojo; Professor Peter Gahan

Partners: Cisco

Year: 2018

‘Virtual’ work – work that is performed away from a central office using technology – is a growing trend. Potential benefits include flexibility for employees; the potential savings on corporate travel and real estate for employers; an increasingly globalized and complex business environment; and the potential positive impacts on employee attitudes, behaviours, and performance.  While increasingly common in the USA and Western countries, little is known about the influence of cultural differences on virtual work.  Through a survey study with employees from different cultures, we are investigating whether virtual work arrangements are universally effective, or whether cultural differences limit the effectiveness of virtual arrangements in some countries.

Organisational dynamics behind non-accidental violence against elite athletes

Investigators: Dr Victoria Roberts; Dr Victor Soho, Mr Felix Grant

Year: 2018

Elite athletes are at greater risk of experiencing non-accidental violence through harassment and abuse the further they progress up the talent pathway and performance ladder. However, little research has explored the wider social parameters, such as cultures of aggression and secrecy, that makes sport especially risky at the elite level. A research synthesis and narrative review will be conducted to integrate empirical research on the organisational factors explaining non-accidental violence, including enabling structures or necessary antecedents, motivating structures or incentives, and precipitating processes or triggering circumstances. The research synthesis will inform further research with national sporting organisations investigating prevalence, incidence and potential for prevention of non-accidental violence against elite athletes in Australia.

Respectful relations at work and work-life balance: Keys to diversity management

Investigators: Dr Victor Sojo

Partners/Sponsors: Monash City Council; CoHealth Ltd; EACH; Eastern Community Legal Centre Inc.; Oxfam Australia

Year: 2018 – 2019

This project involves a multi-stage, longitudinal study of psycho-social factors that may hinder or foster women’s, and other members of minority groups’ occupational well-being.  Telephone surveys will be undertaken to establish baseline data on the prevalence and impacts of gender harassment, work-family conflict, organisational support for flexible work, workplace diversity climate, physical and mental health, and other factors.  The project will investigate the impact of a strategic intervention, in the form of inclusive leadership training delivered to upper and middle managers within organisations and a strategic planning workshop, on occupational well-being.

Sexual harassment among factory workers in Cambodia

Investigators: Dr Victor Sojo

Partner: CARE Australia

Year: 2018

CWL researchers are collaborating with CARE Australia on various projects.  The focus of the projects is evaluating CARE Australia’s database of sexual harassment experiences among a representative sample of factory workers in Cambodia. This sample represents an industry that accounts for 30 per cent of Cambodia’s GDP.  In addition to academic outcomes, the results will be used by CARE Australia for program and advocacy work.

The future of work in Australia: Anticipating how new technologies will reshape labour markets, occupations and skill requirements

Investigators: Dr Josh Healy; Mr Daniel Nicholson; Professor Peter Gahan

Partner/Sponsor: NSW Department of Education

Year: 2017

CWL researchers undertook research on behalf of the NSW Department of Education to identify current and foreseeable technologies likely to have the most disruptive effects on employment and skill requirements globally and in Australia.  Recent technological advances have provoked much new thinking and speculation about the future of work, skills and prosperity.  Perspectives range from enticing (abundant leisure, freedom from drudgery) to disturbing (vast technological unemployment, deepening social divisions).  The best way of countering this deterministic tendency is for policy-makers to have a well-informed understanding of the prospective changes and of the possible courses of action to be chosen in response.  This project reviewed a diverse body of evidence about ongoing technological changes, and to assess their likely implications for Australian employment opportunities and skill requirements in the coming decades.

Download Future Frontiers report

Corporate leadership on diversity: The marriage equality debate

Investigators: Assoc. Professor Susan Ainsworth; Dr Daejeong Choi; Dr Jesse Olsen; Dr Andreas Pekarek; Dr Victor Sojo

Year: 2017

This is the first stage of a multi-stage project exploring recent trends in the public leadership shown by private sector organizations on diversity issues, beyond the traditional boundaries of organisations.  It seeks to identify and analyse corporate positions taken on the marriage equality debate and assess whether these are indicative of a changing conception of the role played by major businesses and their leaders in influencing broader social and political change.  This will involve collecting and analysing publicly available data about corporate stances on marriage equality since it was first raised to identify patterns in the types of organizations who adopt certain stances, the ways they framed their stance, their overall corporate performance on gender diversity, and the ways in which corporate activism was mobilised, sustained and/or resisted over time.

Defining and measuring happiness across cultures

Investigators: Dr Mladen Adamovic; Dr Daejeong Choi; Dr Jesse Olsen; Dr Victor Sojo;

Other investigators: Dr Kuba Krys (Polish National Academy of Sciences & Kyoto University)

Year: 2017

Happiness is an inherently subjective state; therefore, how happiness is experienced and pursued can be influenced by the cultural framework in which individuals function.  To fully understand how happy and fulfilled people are, we need to assess happiness in a way that is more sensitive to different cultures.  Typical measures of happiness developed in the West tend to focus on the individual as the unit of analysis, disregarding social context and group well-being.  Other measures based more on interpersonal harmony have been developed to assess more collectivistic conceptualizations of happiness from Eastern cultures.  This project extends this further by looking at happiness measures at the scale of the family.  This is the fundamental reference point in collectivistic societies, where the happiness of one’s family, not oneself, is valued and pursued.

The measurement of cultural differences in the workplace

Investigators: Dr Mladen Adamovic; Dr Daejeong Choi; Dr Jesse Olsen; Dr Victor Sojo;

Year: 2017 – 2018

At the start of the globalization of business in 1980, Hofstede introduced his milestone cultural value framework. To expand cross-cultural management research, numerous scholars introduced new cultural value frameworks (e.g., Schwartz’s Value Survey, Trompenaars Model of National Culture Differences, Maznevski’s Cultural Orientations Framework, and the GLOBE framework).  All of these scholars claimed that their frameworks better capture the phenomenon of cultural differences in business.  To solve these contradicting statements, we are conducting a survey study with 2000 employees from ten different countries.  This project will form the basis of a larger research program that aims to develop a new cross-cultural management framework to explain and measure cultural differences in the workplace across countries. This project will provide a better understanding of the workplace of today and tomorrow, as internationalisation and multicultural diversity become defining characteristics of leading organisations.

Name and nationality discrimination in employment

Investigators: Dr Mladen Adamovic; Dr Daejeong Choi; Dr Josh Healy; Dr Jesse Olsen; Dr Victor Sojo

Year: 2017 - 2018

The goal of this research is to ascertain the possibility of name and nationality discrimination in employment in Australia.  To determine the extent of discrimination, we use correspondence testing (using deception in applicant CVs) in applications for jobs at different levels (using The Australian Public Service Work Level Standard classification). Standardized CVs will be varied by name and ethnicity to ascertain whether there is evidence of discrimination against migrant workers.

Are Australians Ageist?

Investigators: Dr Josh Healy

Other investigators: Dr Ruth Williams

Partner/Sponsor: University of Melbourne Hallmark Research Initiative: Ageing

Year: 2016 - 2018

Improving access and inclusion in employment for people with disabilities

Investigators: Marlena Raymond, Jesse E. Olsen, Susan Ainsworth, Nuzhat Lotia, Raymond Harbridge, Alex Holland

Partner/Sponsor: University of Melbourne Hallmark Disability Research Initiative (Sponsor), Australian Network on Disability (Partner)

Year: 2016 - 2019

The Centre for Workplace Leadership (CWL), in consultation with the Australian Network on Disability (AND) and with funding from the Hallmark Disability Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne, embarked on research to:

  • disseminate information about best practice in implementing workplace adjustments,
  • make a meaningful contribution to disability rights advocacy in the employment sphere,
  • facilitate meaningful engagement between academic enquiry and business practice, and
  • aid the pursuit of self-determination and full and equal participation in society by people with disabilities.

View the final report on the implementation of workplace adjustments in 'best-practice' organisations here.

Physical illness in leadership: Antecedents, consequences and organisational responses

Investigators: Dr Max Theilacker

Year: 2016 - 2017