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Sustainable Working Futures

The future of work is complex and uncertain as the labour market undergoes extensive transformation, challenging individuals and organisations to keep up.

Social, demographic, economic, technological and political trends are transforming the nature and meaning of work, with implications for skills, workforce planning, diversity and inclusion. There have been extensive temporal and spatial shifts in the rhythms of capital and labour and increasing numbers of individuals trapped in precarious and poor-quality work. Yet at the same time our expectations of work are shifting, with ideas of meaningful work and dignity in the workplace gaining greater traction. Career patterns are also rapidly shifting, with people changing jobs, organisations and occupations more readily and more frequently.

Against this backdrop the SWiFt research group is undertaking high quality research to enhance our understanding of these rapid changes, providing insights that contribute to the development of sustainable, meaningful, inclusive and fair work futures. We drive research that informs policy and practice, embracing a broad range of disciplines and methodologies.



Prof Valerie Egdell


Dr Katharina Bader

Prof John Blenkinsopp

Prof Ian Fitzgerald


Recent Publications

Ali, I., Ali, M., Grigore, G., Molesworth, M., & Jin, Z. (2020). The moderating role of corporate reputation and employee-company identification on the work-related outcomes of job insecurity resulting from workforce localization policies. Journal of Business Research, 117, 825-838.

Bader, A.K. & Blenkinsopp, J. (2020). Can we release the brake on mothers’ careers? A UK perspective. In: Premarajan, R. K., Forrier, A. & Arthur, M.: Career Dynamics in a Global World: Indian and Western Perspective. Edward Elgar Publishing

Bailey, C., Yeoman, R., Madden, A., Thompson, M., & Kerridge, G. (2019). A review of the empirical literature on meaningful work: progress and research agenda. Human Resource Development Review, 18(1), 83-113. *Winner of the 2019 Elwood F. Holton Research Excellence Award*

Bailey, M., Harney, B., & Pearce, A. (2019). Designing a design thinking approach to HRD. International Journal of HRD Practice, Policy and Research, 4(2), 9-23.

Bowden, A., & Ciesielska, M. (2016). Accretion, angst and antidote: the transition from knowledge worker to manager in the UK heritage sector in an era of austerity. In: Jemielniak, D. (ed) The Laws of the Knowledge Workplace: Changing Roles and Meaning of Work in Knowledge-Intensive Environments. Farnham, London: Gower.

Burke, C., Scurry, T., & Blenkinsopp, J. (2020). Navigating the graduate labour market: the impact of social class on student understandings of graduate careers and the graduate labour market. Studies in Higher Education, 45(8), 1711-1722.

Cassell, C., Watson, K., Ford, J., & Kele, J. (2021). Understanding inclusion in the retail industry: incorporating the majority perspective. Personnel Review. doi: 10.1108/PR-02-2020-0083

Collins, D. (2020). Management Gurus: A Research Overview. London and New York: Taylor and Francis Routledge.

Dallyn, S., & Marinetto, M. (2020). From resistance and control to normative orders: The Wire’s Cedric Daniels as an ethical bureaucrat. Human Relations. doi: 10.1177/0018726720982040

Egdell, V., Hussein, R., Harrison, D., Bader, A. K., & Wilson, R. (2021). ‘I find it daunting… that I’m gonna have to deal with this until sixty’: Extended working lives and the sustainable employability of operational firefighters. Work, Employment & Society. doi: 10.1177/09500170211041300

Forster, G. & Robson, A. (2019). Developing the ‘oven-ready’ postgraduate: squeezing a quart into a pint pot to meet the employability agenda. In: Diver, A. (ed.) Employability Via Higher Education: Sustainability as Scholarship. Cham: Springer. 

Gatto, M. (2020). Parenthood demands: resisting a dystopia in the workplace. Human Resource Development International, doi: 10.1080/13678868.2020.1735832

Harness, O. M., Jamie, K., & McMurray, R. (2020). ‘They’ve been with me the whole journey’: temporality, emotional labour and hairdressing work. Work, Employment & Society. doi: 10.1177/0950017020955081

Jones, D. R., Gardner, T., & Bui, H. (2021). Vietnamese early career academics’ identity work: balancing tensions between East and West. Studies in Higher Education, doi: 10.1080/03075079.2021.1876651

Kemper, L., Bader, A.K. & Froese, F.J. (2019). Promoting gender equality in a challenging environment: the case of Scandinavian subsidiaries in Japan. Personnel Review, 48, 56-75. 

Ritchie, L., Egdell, V.,  Danson, M., Cook, M., Stavert, J., & Tolson, D. (2020). Dementia, work and employability: using the capability approach to understand the employability potential for people living with dementia. Work, Employment & Society, doi:10.1177/0950017020961929.

Scholarios, D., Hesselgreaves, H., & Pratt, R. (2018). Quality of working time in the police: the experience of shift extensification for officers and staff. In: Isidorsson, T. & Kubisa, J. (eds.)  Job Quality in an Era of Flexibility. Routledge Studies in Employment Relations. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Skoumpopoulou, D., Stalker, B., & Kohont, A. (2019). Talent management in European SMEs: case analysis between Slovenia and Poland. International Journal of Human Resource Development Practice, Policy & Research, 4(2), 45-64.

Shujahat, M., Wang, M., Ali, M., Bibi, A., Razzaq, S., & Durst, S. (2021). Idiosyncratic job-design practices for cultivating personal knowledge management among knowledge workers in organizations. Journal of Knowledge Management. 25(4), 770-795.

Yeoman, R. (2020). Ethics, Meaningfulness, and Mutuality. Routledge Studies in Business Ethics: London.  


Recent and ongoing projects

2022-2023: Keshtiban, A.E. & (PI) Fitzgerald, I. (Co-I).  The impact of furlough scheme on level four workers (professionals). Funder: BA/Leverhulme.

2022: Fitzgerald, I. (PI). Funded training as part of the "TUC Leading Change Programme” for senior trade union officers. Funder: TUC.

2021-2022: Smoczynski, R. (PI, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland) and Fitzgerald, I. (Co-I). Brexit Referendum and anti-Polish migrant moral panic in the north of England: New directions in the sociology of moral panics. Funder: The Bekker Programme.

2021–2024: Ritchie, L. (PI – University of the West of Scotland), Tolson, D. (Co-I – University of the West of Scotland), Brittain, K. (Co-I – Newcastle University), Egdell, V. (Co-I), Bolger, E. (Co-I – University of the West of Scotland) & Stavert, J. (Co-I – Edinburgh Napier University). Co-produced careers guidance intervention for people living with dementia. Funder: Alzheimer’s Society.

2021: Egdell, V. (PI), Bader, A. K. (Co-I), Charlton, H. (Co-I), Thirkell, E. (Co-I) & Kennedy, M. Developing an evidence-based health and wellbeing resource pack to improve employee engagement. Funder: Purposeful Health Growth Accelerator.

2019-2021: Grant, K (PI, Edinburgh Napier University) & Egdell, V. (Co-I). Young people's expectations of work and readiness of the workplace: Two sides of the same coin? Funder: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

2019-2020: Hesselgreaves, H. (PI). Barriers and Enablers to GP Careers in Research. Funder: North East ARC.

2018-2020: Hesselgreaves, H. (Co-PI), Hawkins, C. (Co-PI) & Emmett, C. (Co-I). Legal Needs of Adults Living with Life Limiting Illness: Development of an Integrated, Scalable Model of Intervention. Funder: Legal Education Foundation.


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