Members of the Centre for Work, Orgnaisation and Wellbeing (WOW) travelled to Melbourne in early February for three days of collaboration and presentations at the 28th Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) conference.

Focusing this year on ‘Work, employment and human resources: the redistribution of economic and social power?’, six academic members and WOW-affiliated Higher Degree Research (HDR) students delivered 11 co-authored papers at the conference.





Day one (5 February) saw academic members Associate Professor Janis Bailey and Professor Glenda Strachan chair two day-long streams: Gender and Diversity and Universities (respectively). Associate Professor Keith Townsend delivered two papers during this second stream entitled ‘Videoconferencing university courses in a business school: a positive future?’ (with Lenka Boorer and Halley Kirkpatrick), and ‘Anchoring qualitative methods for longitudinal studies’ (with Dr Rebecca Loudoun). Keith delivered a third co-authored paper (with Rebecca) on day three of the conference (7 February) entitled ‘Enterprise bargaining: what would the workers do?’.

Keith also chaired the Human Resource Management stream of presentations on day two of the conference (6 February), which was opened by a talk from WOW adjunct member and conference keynote speaker, Professor Fang Lee Cooke. Fang also chaired the International Industrial Relations stream the same day, upon which Glenda also delivered her co-authored paper, ‘Equity policies in Australian organisations and their impact on women’s participation: a study of three industries’ (with Associate Professor Erica French).

Professor David Peetz, likewise, had a busy conference day two, delivering his co-authored paper on ‘Union networks and power’ (with Associate Professor Georgina Murray and Dr Olav Muurlink) during the morning session, and chairing the afternoon Migrants and Refugees stream. Recently submitted PhD candidate and WOW-HDR member, Sue Ressia delivered a paper drawn from her thesis in this stream, entitled ‘The complexity of job search experiences of non-English speaking background (NESB) migrants: looking through an intersectional lens’, which was co-authored with thesis supervisors Glenda and Janis. Associate Professor Bailey’s co-author, Dr Amanda Pyman, spoke also to their paper, ‘Exploring young adult refugees’ capabilities for work in Australia: developing a theoretical framework’ (with Andreas Pekarek and Robin Price) in the preceding presentation.

Day three’s stream on Universities featured heavily Griffith staff, with four of its five papers delivered by WOW researchers. Also awaiting conferral is PhD candidate and WOW-HDR member, Robyn May, whose presentation (with supervisors Professor Strachan and Dr Kaye Broadbent) on how the casualisation of academic work is affecting those with continuing employment appointments segwayed into Kaye’s own research on the insecurity of the workforce for research staff in Australian universities (co-authored with Glenda and Dr Carolyn Troup). A paper on the opportunities of career progression for part-time professional staff in the same industry followed (authored by Glenda, Janis and Carolyn), and was rounded off with David Peetz’s discussions on ‘Discipline, change and gender in the academic workforce’ (co-authored with Glenda and Carolyn).

The traditions of AIRAANZ seek to be inclusive of people, disciplines, topics, geographies and perspectives in the fields of employment Industrial Relations; Human Resources; labour history; labour law; the economics, psychology and sociology of work; labour geography; and related fields. This year’s conference was hosted by Monash University in the refurbished Novotel on Collins. The AIRAANZ conference is an annual event.