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Centre for Work + Life research projects

As nationally and internationally recognised leaders in research, Centre staff  have wide and varied research interests. Details of current and recent projects by staff at the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia are provided below.

Current research

Please note: additional information on projects is available from links on project titles.

A study of flexibilities that enable workforce participation and skill development and use, and their implications for work-life outcomes in Australia. (2011-2015)

This Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project is examining how improved flexibility can assist the reconciliation of work and caring responsibilities, higher levels of employment participation and increasing skill development and utilisation and thus improve the well-being of Australian workers and their families.

The Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI)

The Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI) is a national survey of work–life outcomes amongst working Australians, which serves as a benchmarking tool to compare and contrast work–life outcomes across various groups defined by geographic location, employment characteristics and social demographics. 2012 AWALI reports now available for download.

Prospects for quality work and gender equality in frontline care (2013 - 2016) NEW

The four year Future Fellowship research program ' critically examines regulatory strategies to improve the quality of jobs held by frontline care workers. It focuses in particular on frontline care work undertaken in non-professional care occupations such as disability support, personal care and home care workers both in institutions and in clients' homes.

From Margins to Mainstream: Gender Equality and Employment Regulation (2011–2015)

This ARC Discovery project critically examines regulatory strategies dealing with gender inequality in employment drawing on the decent work agenda first proposed by the International Labour Organisation. It will examine how gender inequality might be recast as a mainstream industrial issue and look at practical policy alternatives.

Sexual Harassment in Australia Causes, Outcomes and Prevention (2010–2012)

Sexual harassment remains a persistent workplace issue with significant social costs. This ARC Discovery project (being undertaken with QUT) will examine how to most effectively prevent sexual harassment and to reduce the impact of sexual harassment for individuals and organizations where it occurs.

The meaning of work, well-being and the changing terms, times and spaces of service sector jobs (2011–2013)

This Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project is investigating how work and its terms, timing, technologies and location are changing, and how these affect well-being. It will analyse the meaning that service sector workers draw from work, and how workers at the top (like professionals and consultants) compare with those at the lower end (like carers and cleaners).

Work, life and sustainable living project (2010–2013)

This ARC Linkage Project with several partners will examine how work, household and community life interact to affect environmental behaviours and outcomes. This study aims to analyse and improve the ways in which the domains of work, home and community, separately and together, construct environmental effects and citizens' positive adaptive capacity.

Convergence and Particularity: International Comparisons of the Non-Profit Social Services (2010–2011)

This research funded by the Canadian Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council International Opportunities Fund is being carried out with McMaster University & Strathclyde University and will extend a highly successful Canadian study of the Non-Profit Social Services (NPSS) into the comparative international arena.

A Regional Perspective on Work & Family Balance and Changes in Employment Regulation (2008–2011)

Work/family balance is a focus of significant attention at the community, national and international level. This ARC Linkage Grant with Workforce Victoria and Regional Development Victoria is being undertaken with RMIT University and University of Sydney researchers. It will generate new knowledge about the ways in which employment regulation directly and indirectly impacts on employee work/family balance outcomes within different regional and industry contexts.

Children of the Recession: The social consequences of an economic downturn (2010–2012)

This ARC Linkage Learned Academies Special Project is being being led by Michael Bittman (UNE) in collaboration with a number of researchers from other universities. The project aims to exploit an opportunity provided by the Global Financial Crisis to assess impact of economic downturn on family income and employment, non-market production, family functioning and child well-being in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K,

Work/life Outcomes in SME Construction Companies (2010–2011)

Until recently, work-family research has taken place almost exclusively in stable organizational environments with repetitive processes and regular work patterns. Consequently little is known about work-family experiences in the type of project-based work that characterises work in construction. This project funded by Workforce Victoria and being carried out with RMIT University will focus on the experiences of construction industry employees.