Employee involvement in decisions at work is a perennial theme in industrial relations, HRM, sociology and psychology. Debates about the appropriateness or otherwise of employee input to decisions continue to attract interest not only from academic researchers but also practitioners and policy makers. In spite of the interest this topic generates there remain relatively few rigorous and detailed studies of it. The project is designed to subject debates about involvement to empirical scrutiny using both quantitative and qualitative methods and thus to provide a sound basis on which to advance knowledge and to inform policy and practice.
The primary project run under the auspices of this research stream within the Centre for HRM is a multi-year, multi-survey study of aged-care workers in Victoria aimed at assessing the nature and outcomes of changes to work practices. This includes consideration of participative decision-making and work organisation. The project commenced in 2005 and involves Professor Bill Harley, Associate Professor Leisa Sargent and Dr Belinda Allen. Additional funds for this project come from an ARC Linkage Grant. Three surveys of aged-care workers have now been conducted, with a final one to take place in 2010. Key outputs from this project to date are:
Refereed Journal Article
Harley, B., B. Allen and L. Sargent (2007). igh Performance Work Systems and Employee Experience of Work in the Service Sector: the Case of Aged Care, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 45 (3): 607-33.
2009 Harley, B., L. Sargent and B. Allen. How do High Performance Work Systems Influence Employee Experience of Work?: The Role of Workplace Order and Predictability, Plenary Presentation, International Industrial Relations Association World Congress, Sydney, 24-27 August.
2009 Harley, B., L. Sargent and B. Allen. High Performance Work Systems and the Disciplined Worker Thesis: An Empirical Test, International Labour Process Conference, Edinburgh, 6-8 April.
2009 Allen, B., L. Sargent and B. Harley. The Role of Job Quality in Understanding the Link between High Performance Work Systems and Job Performance, 8th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference, Sydney, 25-28 June.
2009 Sargent, L., B. Allen, V. Hanna and B. Harley. Up to Scratch? The Effects of Nursing Home Compliance and Staff Ratios on Medication Errors, Resident Care and Emotional Exhaustion. Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, Melbourne, 2-4 November.
2008 Harley, B., L. Sargent and B. Allen. High Performance Work System Practices and Employee Experience of Work: The Role of Workplace Predictability in Explaining Outcomes, European Academy of Management Conference, Ljubljana, 14-17 May.
2008 Sargent, L., B. Allen and B. Harley. The Role of Cost-Cutting in Exacerbating the Effects of Workplace Hostility in Nursing Homes, Academy of Management Conference, Anaheim, 8-13 August.
2007 Allen, B., L. Sargent and B. Harley. Employee Reactions to Aggression and Cost Cutting in Nursing Homes: A Stress-Process Model, Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference, New York, 27-29 April.
2006 Harley, B., B. Allen and L. Sargent. High Performance Work Practices, Workplace Relations And Employee Experiences Of Work In The Service Sector: The Case Of Aged Care Workers In Australia, International Labour Process Conference, London, 10-12 April.
2005 Sargent, L., B. Allen and B. Harley Nurse identity salience: Antecedents & career consequences, ANZAM Conference, Canberra, 7-10 December.
2009 Sargent, L., B. Harley and B. Allen. Working in Aged Care: The Second Report, Report to the Australian Nursing Federation.
2008 Sargent, L., B. Harley and B. Allen. Working in Aged Care: Medication Practices, Workplace Aggression, and Employee and Resident Outcomes, Report to the Australian Nursing Federation.
Submission to a Public Inquiry
2005 Sargent, L., B. Harley and B. Allen. Submission to Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Inquiry into Aged Care, April 2005.
The second study in this research stream (with additional funding from a Faculty of Business and Economics Research Grant in 2008) is a preliminary study of the work of employees in the Australian private security industry). This project involves Professor Bill Harley, Professor Graham Sewell, Mr Paul Evans and Associate Professor Peter Gahan (Monash University). The study has so far involved interviews with managers, with a survey of employers in the sector planned for late 2009. We are in negotiation with the Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL) about applying for an ARC Linkage Grant to fund further development of the project.