Research Projects

Employment Relations in Multinational Companies in Comparative Perspective (European Commission’s Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (FP7 IRSES-GA-2008-230854 INTREPID)

Professor Patrick Gunnigle (University of Limerick), Dr. Jonathan Lavelle (University of Limerick), Dr. Anthony McDonnell and colleagues from universities in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, Spain  and the UK.

The analysis of multinational companies (MNCs) is limited by the lack of systematic data on employment practices and how these are influenced by organisational characteristics. This collaborative international research project seeks to map employment practices (ER) in multinational companies in eight countries (Ireland, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, Spain and the UK) and to relate these to such organisational factors as corporate structure, degree of international integration, nationality of ownership, and sector of operation. This is the first study based on a large-scale representative sample of MNCs in Ireland and focuses on four key areas of employment practice: performance management and rewards, employee representation, organisational learning and employee communication and involvement. A range of publications have already emerged from this study, details which can be found in the ‘Research Publications’ part of the website. The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support received from the Labour Relations Commission, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the European Commission’s Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (FP7 IRSES-GA-2008-230854 INTREPID). 


Innovations in Conflict Management in Organizations

Professor Bill Roche (University College Dublin), Dr Tom Gormley (University College Dublin), Professor Paul Teague and Dr Denise Currie

This research project aims to produce case studies of innovative workplace conflict management practice inside organizations in the UK and Ireland. The case studies will highlight why organizations (union and non-union and located in the private and public sectors) introduce workplace conflict innovations; how new practices are embedded inside organizations, and the outcomes with which they are associated. 


Knowledge Intensive Firms in the UK and Ireland: Influences, Skills and Strategies

Professor Katie Truss (Kingston College London), Professor Kathy Monks (Dublin City University), Professor Patrick Flood (Dublin City University), Dr Edel Conway (Dublin City University), Dr Gráinne Kelly, Dr Enda Hannon (Kingston College London) and Dr Alesia D’Amato (Kingston College London).

This is a comparative research project into knowledge-intensive firms (KIFs) in Ireland and the UK that is co-funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) in Ireland and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK. The study began in September 2008 with the aim of exploring the impact of the institutional environment and firm strategies and practices on the development and utilization of skills and other employment outcomes in the strategically important sector of knowledge-intensive firms (KIFs) in the UK and Ireland. The research has been conducted by a team of researchers based in the UK and Ireland and involved a comparison of relevant national-level data, statistics and policies, supported by interviews with key informants at the policy and industry level. The project also involved eight substantive, in-depth case studies in firms in two key sectors, pharmaceuticals and software development. The findings have informed national policy on skills and employment and contributed to academic debates on ‘varieties of capitalism’, innovation, the management of KIFs, and the impact of HR policies and strategies on employees’ skill development and utilisation. 


Speaking out in banking and the financial industry: What makes it possible? (BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant SG122608)

Professor Marianna Fotaki, Warwick Business School and Dr Kate Kenny

This project examines the issue of ‘speaking out’ in banking and finance organizations from a comparative perspective. Focusing on Ireland and the UK, its aims are: 1) To gather and critically interpret empirical evidence from selected organizations in two countries, 2) To determine how institutional factors and organizational cultures (e.g. leadership style, job security, openness, tolerance of corruption) facilitate individuals’ disclosures of unethical behaviour and wrongdoing; and 3) To expand the explanatory power of current theoretical and analytic perspectives. A unique approach incorporating psychosocial perspectives on identity with analyses of macro and meso level factors will be adopted, yielding valuable contributions for both policy and practice while increasing theoretical knowledge on the issue of speaking out in banking and financial organizations.


Tacit Knowledge Management, Learning and Systems

Dr Claire Gubbins (Dublin City University), Professor Thomas Garavan (University of Limerick), Professor Eamonn Murphy (University of Limerick), Dr Gráinne Kelly and Dr Lawrence Dooley (University College Cork).

This is an academic-industry collaborative research project which is funded by the Irish Centre for Manufacturing Research (ICMR), Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Development Authority (IDA). The project focuses on identifying through, informed academic research, the key influencers, facilitators and inhibitors to tacit knowledge sharing and transfer in seven multinational manufacturing companies in Ireland. The primary objective is to utilise a model of tacit knowledge management practice in Irish Manufacturing Industry to devise informed strategies and develop and/or design systems to improve tacit knowledge management in the case companies.


Indebtedness Among Northern Ireland Credit Union Members

Dr. Declan French and Prof. Donal McKillop 

This research project is a three year study to explore approaches to relieving over-indebtedness among credit union members and procedures to best ensure the long term stability of credit unions in Northern Ireland.  In Ireland alone, almost 3 million people are members of credit unions and almost 300,000 of these are estimated to be in arrears creating a significant solvency problem for credit unions.   Cut-backs in public spending and welfare reform, high levels of unemployment and the rapid decline in economic conditions have led to increasing financial difficulties with one in five people in Ireland now living in poverty.  These developments are negatively impacting on the stability of credit unions. Across the credit union movement there is a general uncertainty as to the best methods to help members who are in financial difficulty. 

In Spring 2014, we will conduct a baseline survey of 500 over indebted members of the five credit unions (Ormeau (S Belfast), Court (N Belfast), Cloughfern (Newtownabbey), Newry and Newington (N Belfast)). The participant will complete a questionnaire collecting financial circumstances,  welfare and financial characteristics. Respondents will be randomised into three groups.  The first group will have access to web tools to enable better financial decision-making.  The second group will receive information on a range of advice and support services for those in financial difficulties. The third group will be a control group. The survey will then be repeated in 2015 and again in 2016. 

We will use these data to address the following primary research questions:

1.       Are financial advice and correcting cognitive biases effective interventions to alleviate over indebtedness?
2.       Does personality or environment determine success in getting out of debt?
3.       Does welfare reform exacerbate indebtedness by reducing the quantum of benefits and by complicating money management ? 

We will also address the following secondary research questions

4.       How does the welfare of those in debt compare to the population as a whole?
5.       How does the alleviation of debt affect welfare?
6.       To what extent are those in debt using payday lenders and why do they use this form of borrowing?


Waste Not, Want Not

Researchers: Dr Jelena Vlajic, Dr Lucy McCarthy, Dr Mariana Bogdanova (all Queen’s Management School)

The issue of food waste has been garnering increasing media and academic attention. The media has highlighted that the UK has topped chart of EU food waste. Findings of relevant academic research indicate need for improved food waste management initiatives. The aim of the project is threefold:

1)   Investigation of an exposure of retail SMEs to food waste related risks and identification of their capabilities to reduce food waste

2)   Identification of SME abilities to engage with practices focused on food waste reduction

3)   Investigation of opportunities for collaborative advantages for SMEs in the food supply chains


Dynamic Effects of Corporation Tax Reduction in Northern Ireland

Researchers: Dr. Barry Quinn (Queen’s Management School), Ronan Gallagher (Edinburgh University Business School)

This project hopes to shed light on the short and long-term impacts of corporation tax reduction in Northern Ireland.  In the short term the dynamic effect of the corporation tax reduction will be assess using information from key stakeholders in Northern Ireland private sector.  In the long term a forecasting model of macroeconomic effects, which builds on previous work, will provide insight into the costs and benefits to Northern Ireland’s growing economy.