In December 2016, the Applied Research Conference took place at Westminster Business School in London. This annual conference was set up to showcase and debate academic research in people management, employment and learning and development. As well as looking at theoretical and empirical advances, the conference has a particular focus on the practical application of research to labour markets and organisational life. The conference exists to strengthen the links between academics and practitioners and is thus aimed at both audiences.

The three plenary sessions from the 2016 conference were recorded and can be watched below. In the second tab, you can access seven research papers. We hope you find them interesting.

Video plenary sessions


Flexibility bites back? What flexibility really means for workers, organisations and society

Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment Systems, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Flexible employment is said to have many benefits, whether in raising employment, offering choice and options for work life balance or making best use of new technologies. This rosy view overlooks hidden costs; in the heavy price that individuals often pay for rights to work flexibly, in the loss of employee goodwill and knowledge and in the societal costs of supporting low wages and variable hours employment through tax credits, to name but a few. Jill reviews these hidden consequences and considers what can be done to create a more inclusive and fair labour market.

Chaired by Siobhan Sheridan, Director of HR, NSPCC


I-deals: Making idiosyncratic deals work for individuals, co-workers and organizations

Denise Rousseau, H.J. Heinz University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

I-deals that individual employees bargain for themselves occur at all levels in organizations. Providing flexibility and well-targeted rewards, i-deals improve retention and performance, can be useful for high performers and average employees and help resolve problems of low performers, but only if their unintended consequences for co-workers, supervisors and the i-dealer are well-managed. Evidence points to the do’s and don’ts of i-deals, ways of making them “win-win-win” or at least “win-win-no loss”, and a source of innovation in HR practice and policy.

Chaired by Siobhan Sheridan, Director of HR, NSPCC


21st Century HR: Designing HR for a horizontal world

Paul Sparrow, Emeritus Professor of International HRM, Lancaster University Management School

Paul’s general prognosis for HR is a challenging one. To avoid being bit-part players, HR functions need to fight for horizontal space in their organisations, relating closely to cross-cutting business critical issues such as productivity and innovation. These are not only internal matters; they also relate to external trends, for example in skills and automation. People strategies need to be aligned with such broader changes and HR leaders can fill the role of ‘bringing them into’ the organisation. The people agenda is huge but it has implications for what the HR profession focuses on and how it develops competencies.

Chaired by Brad Taylor, Head of People, CIPD

Research papers

An investigation of Asperger Syndrome in the employment context

Anne Cockayne, Nottingham Business School
Lara Warburton, Rolls-Royce Plc

Does intense ICT use after work help or hinder psychological recovery?

Dr Cristina Quinones, Open University Business School, Department of People and Organisations

‘Fatherhood forfeits’ and ‘motherhood penalties’: An exploration of UK management selection decision-making on parent applicants

Jasmine Kelland, Plymouth University, Post Graduate School of Management

Fragmented time and domiciliary care quality: ‘No one sets out to provide bad care, but you’re dragged to it, dragged into the gutter’


Professor Carol Atkinson, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
Dr Sarah Crozier, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Human resources, ethics and corporate social responsibility: what makes ‘people’ count within the organisation’s corporate social responsibility platform?

Cecilie Bingham, University of Westminster Business School
Professor Jan Druker, University of Westminster Business School

Paying for performance in Britain: Does the type of job matter?

Dr Mark Williams, University of Surrey
Dr Ying Zhou, University of Surrey

The impact of changing management practices on the morale of contact centre workers


Dr Ben Hardy, SOAS, University of London
Dr Tanya Alcock and Dr Jon Malpass, Research and Innovation, BT Technology, Services and Operations