Digitalised Emancipation? Digital Distraction, Patriarchy and Rural [Distracted] Women’s Experience of Facebook[ing].

Project Background

This project explores the biographical ramifications of the increasing social media (SM) activity – Facebook[ing], among rural Sri Lankan women. The recent influx of Facebook[ing] is a novel experience for rural individuals that generates profound changes in their customary lifestyle. Much of the current research focuses on the impact of SM on the social organisation of advanced societies, neglecting the global periphery, and particularly the biographical consequences of SM on rural women, whose life and occupational circumstances are strongly shaped by patriarchy. The study analyses 26 biographies of rural Sri Lankan women through the conceptual lenses of reflexivity and digital distraction underpinned by a critical realist analytic framework and contributes in theorising the biographical and occupational consequences of SM among rural women living in the global periphery.

Research Questions

How do rural Sri Lankan women negotiate the manifestations of patriarchy in their SM – Facebook(ing) - activity?'.

Project Leads / Supervisors

Lakshman Wimalasena

Funding

School of Social Sciences - Internal Research Grant

Disability Inclusive Science Careers

Project Background

Although universities are making efforts to achieve gender equality, for example through Athena Swan, little work has been undertaken to improve disability inclusion in UK Higher Education. This project aims to foster disability inclusion within STEM careers by increasing the disability literacy of research leaders and trade union representatives. Using immersive virtual reality, DISC, aims to support research leaders to better understand disability and embed disability accessibility into their decision making.

Research Questions

What are the experiences of disabled academics in STEM?
To what extent to research leaders understand the needs of disabled colleagues and associated legal frameworks?
How can we improve the inclusion of disabled academics in UK universities?

Methods

A participatory action research approach to codesign interventions to improve disability inclusion in UK universities.

Project Leads / Supervisors

Kate Sang and Garry Pender.

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Jen Remnant – PDRA
Abraham Babajide – PhD student
James Richards, Robert MacIntosh, Steve McLaughlin, Malcolm Chrisp, Beatrice Pelloni, Sara Shinton (University of Edinburgh), Frederik Bosche (University of Edinburgh)

Funding

EPSRC – Inclusion Matters

Leaveism – exploring why professional workers use time off to catch up with work

Project Background

There has been a growing amount of interest in presenteeism in recent years, but little research has been done in relation to the times when workers find themselves working while at home sick, when on annual or even away on vacation, and when taking work home to be done, typically in the evenings, while commuting and the weekends. This projects aims, via an electronic survey, to scope out Leaveism plus paving the way for a follow-up study considering the lived experience of Leaveism.

Research Questions

The research is based on answering four research questions:                                              
1) What is the scope and impact of Leaveism for employees working in the UK?
2) How does Leaveism differ depending on gender, disability and age?
3) How do flexible working and well-being policies impact on Leaveism?
4) How can the findings inform HRM practice related to Leaveism?

Project Leads / Supervisors

James Richards

Funding

Internal research grant

Organising to beat the Trade Union Act 2016

Project Background

The laws surrounding industrial action in the UK are perhaps the strictest in the Western world. In 2017, the Trade Union Act 2016 became law with a key part of such legislation requiring a minimum 50% turnout in statutory ballots, a strategy to reduce further record low levels of strike activity, but more importantly, hampering the bargaining powers of trade unions seeking to resist austerity measures put in place by UK governments post-2010, and more generally creating a further downward pressure on terms and conditions of millions of UK employers. The aim of the project is to devise and put into action a get the vote out (GTVO) model for organising to the beat the Trade Union Act 2016. A further aim is to build an impact case based on trade unions using the GTVO model to successfully achieve the requirements of the Trade Union Act 2016 and subsequently, e.g. defend jobs, increase bargaining power in industrial disputes.

Research Questions

The project is based on answering the following research questions:

1) What is best practice in developing a GTVO organising model in relation to statutory ballots?

2) How can best practice be best illustrated and communicated to trade union organisers?

3) How can the model be developed/varied to suit a range of organising context and size of bargaining units?

Project Leads / Supervisors

James Richards

Funding

Unfunded at present

The impact of virtual socialisation on newcomers’ workplace commitment

Project Background

With the rapid evolution of digital technologies, more businesses are moving to a digital working environment. Lately, the global pandemic accelerated this digital transformation, and forced people to change their behaviour in a dramatic way, indeed, businesses have moved to remote working. The use of communication and information technologies has become a way to achieve organisational affiliation and a central focus of organisational members’ everyday work and social relationships. It is expected that this digital workspace would reshape our socialisation practices and influence individuals’ attitudes and behaviours. This also could have a massive impact on new employees’ early socialisation experiences, who are joining the organisation for the first time through this virtual workspace. The research on the socialisation process has primarily been focused on traditional practices in co-located groups. Therefore, we are conducting interviews as part of a research study to investigate how virtual socialisation could influence newcomers’ early work experiences and form their workplace commitment.

Research Questions

How do new employees experience virtual socialisation? And How does that impact their workplace commitment?

Project Leads / Supervisors

Nima Ali

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Juani Swart, University of Bath

Funding

Unfunded at present

Psychological Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis; a Recovery Framework for Malaysia

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on March 12th, having confirmed spread to more than one hundred countries (World Health Organization, 2020). Malaysia currently has the highest number of cases in South East Asia. As of 14 April 2020, a total of 4987 positive cases has been reported by Ministry of Health (MOH), with a death toll of 82 and active cases numbering 2427.  

Project Background

As COVID-19 continues to spreads at a community level, public health policies have shifted from ‘containment’ to ‘delay’ and/ or ‘mitigation. Malaysia’s enforcement of the “Movement Control Order” (MCO) has been a part of this approach, and efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ has been effective (Nazari, 2020). However, this approach has not been without socio-economic sacrifice. The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM); Malaysia’s central bank; predicts that Malaysia’s real GDP growth will drop, from 4.0% to -2.9% (Ernst & Young, 2020; Bank Negara Malaysia, 2020). The whole nation especially vulnerable groups are suffering the highest rates of financial losses and degeneration of the psychological well-being and resilience.

This project will quantify the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on psychological well-being and resilience in the Malaysian population, and will help derive solutions that improve the psychological well-being and livelihoods for vulnerable groups. We will facilitate national surveys and interviews with target vulnerable groups, providing the needed flow of information to preserve psychological well-being. 

Research Questions 

How do new employees experience virtual socialisation? And How does that impact their workplace commitment? 

Project Leads / Supervisors

Nima Ali

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Juani Swart, University of Bath

Funding

Unfunded at present

Digital Friendly Financial Services: Lasting Power of Attorney and The Caregiver Burden

Project Background

It is estimated one in three of UK adults will develop dementia and that one in nine adults will become caregivers (Alzheimer’s Society, 2018). Dementia symptoms can cause financial hardship through missed bills and inability to access online and offline channels and to help others, most likely close family, can be granted lasting power of attorney for finance and property (LPA F&P). A lasting power of attorney finance and property (LPA F&P) agreement enables an individual to appoint named others to assist with or manage their finances. However, whilst an LPA F&P provides vital support and reassurance for those living with dementia it can also prove to be an additional burden of care for family members who are charged with making important financial decisions.  

The project seeks to understand how and when UK financial services operate to support or frustrate the use of a lasting power of attorney, finance and property (LPA F&P) by close family and the impact upon the caregiver burden.  This study is an important addition to research due to its focus on formal family-based arrangements and its inclusion of supportive arrangements. Current understanding is limited to  the perspectives of paid care staff, patterns of financial abuse and patterns of only informal arrangements amongst family and friends (Arksey et al 2008).   

The project gathers data from 20 family members who hold an LPA (F &P) for individuals who are living with dementia.  Participants will be asked to share information on the extent of financial management, the various channels used, examples of positive and negative experiences and to suggest areas for improvement.  In addition, participants will also be asked about the impact that Covid-19 upon their use of LPA F&P.  

Research Questions

There are three research objectives:  

1. To understand the financial management challenges and knowledge needs of family caregivers of those living with dementia across different financial product categories and processes and with a focus on how the challenges differ according to family relationship.  

2. To identify a range of circumstances where practices and procedures of financial services providers support or reduce effective LPA F&P use.  

3. To understand the positive and negative impact of financial services procedures upon the caregiver themselves and upon the wider care environment

Project Leads / Supervisors

Kathryn Waite

Co-investigators/ RAs/ PHDs

Professor Tina Harrison, University of Edinburgh Business School.

Funding

The British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust