Nottingham Business School launched the Centre of People, Innovation and Performance in April 2016 following strategic investment by the University. Carrying out research that intersects between Human Resource Management and innovation, and speaking to business and policy imperatives to increase performance through effective people management, the Centre merged in June 2018 with the Organising as Practice group (following a NBS wide strategic review). The centre was then renamed to the Centre of People, Work and Organisational Practice to reflect the development and refinement of our strategic remit.
In addition to building knowledge about HRM and innovation with work effectiveness in mind, the Centre speaks to a series of critical challenges facing both economy and society given growing concerns about work quality, increasing fragmentation within the UK labour market, and a proliferation of insecure and precarious jobs within the UK economy. The centre distils these issues into two research strands.
People Management and Innovation: This research speaks to the importance of supporting innovation within organizations, not only through investment in technology but also through effective people management practice (Do & Shipton, 2019; Sanders, Jorgensen, Shipton et al., 2018; Shipton et al., 2019). Innovation helps organisations to perform in a sustainable way given finite resources and faced with competitive demands. Rather than entrenched work patterns and limited new ideas coming from the bottom up, it is the technical challenges of innovation that hold manufacturing and engineering firms back. Centre members have investigated the role of people management practices in enabling innovation, looking across national boundaries to draw out benchmark data. The Centre’s profile has led to a series of commissioned pieces of work from the engineering and manufacturing sector (e.g. from Baxi) and in successfully tendering for a research project commissioned by the CIPD investigating Employee Voice at Work.
CPWOP’s second research strand centres on ‘Good work’ where the focus is on work quality through impactful academic research and commissioned research projects in three distinct forms. Firstly, examining the treatment of disadvantaged groups in the workplace via the Hidden inequalities in the workplace research monographs edited by Caven and Nachmias and commissioned work for organizations on Gender Pay Disparity. Secondly, investigating forms of regulation for ‘bad work’ in the gig economy (Mendonca). A third strand examines concepts of ‘good work’ where current research projects focus on meaningful work (Jalan), health and wellbeing (Whysall, Pass), improving management development to develop good work (Hay), workplace democracy (King, Langmead) and an ESRC seminar series focused on Democracy and Civil Society (King).