Department of Organisation, Work and Technology
About the Department
As one of the first departments of organisation studies to be established in the UK, we are known for the advancement and application of organisational and social theory. A succession of well-known academics have worked in the Department and many of our students, who have subsequently become influential figures in their own right, continue Lancaster traditions.
As a multi-disciplinary department, we draw primarily on the disciplines of social psychology, sociology and philosophy. We research and teach within and across three main themes of organisation, work and technology. Empirical research has always been an important focus, conducted on the basis of strong theoretic foundations.
Teaching & Research
Our undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses provide a balance of theory and practice, where you will benefit from being taught by some of the leading thinkers in the field.
Celebrating Five Decades
The department of Organisation, Work and Technology (originally named ‘Behaviour in Organisations’) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. Since its inception, the department has been defined by three distinctive, key features: interdisciplinarity; a critical perspective on the study of organisations and management; and the refusal to simplify social phenomena, instead embracing their complexity to produce meaningful and reflective analysis.Read More
Engaging with Business
Our vision for the engagement is to utilise the intellectual resources of the Department to engage critically with the challenges faced by our local and global communities. We aim to do this in a way that helps all types of organisations and individuals to deal with the grand challenges of the 21st Century - in a way that improves the contribution that management can make to all stakeholders in society. To achieve this we engage with businesses and trade unions, but equally importantly, with policy makers and community groups.
Our Engagement, focusing on ‘grand challenges’ faced by management, organisations and workers in the 21st century, deals with questions such as:
- How can management act in ethical ways?
- How might organizations be managed in more sustainable ways?
- How could work be organized to promote ‘good’ work?
- How can technology be harnessed for the betterment of society?
Our research is concerned with the broader significance of managerial and organisational practices for society rather than the efficacy of these practices. As such, the preoccupation is with the analysis of management and organisations rather than an analysis for management and organizations. Our research-led engagement seeks to intervene in policy and practice to improve the contribution that management can make to all stakeholders in society – and in particular the lives of different groups and communities. Our goal is to provide critical analysis that can inform debates, provide input to policy decisions and open up new ways of thinking about contemporary challenges.
- Brian Bloomfield: has produced two commissioned policy-oriented reports for the EU agency for safety and health (EU-OSHA) reviewing research on the use of performance enhancing drugs in the workplace. Between 2015 and 2018 the findings of these reports were presented at a number of meetings attended by EU officials, policy makers, health and safety practitioners.
- Joe Deville: Engaging with national/international charities and not-for profit organisations to provide advice and contributions towards developing open access publication strategies for emergent academic presses, including by playing an active role in the ScholarLed consortium: also, engaging in ongoing collaboration with Registry Trust, a government-appointed not-for-profit organisation, to provide practitioner-focused insights into the changing landscape of credit scoring
- Niall Hayes: Engaging with local communities and government to produce research on older people and deliver new technology such as the Mobile Age app and policies to enable mobility.
- Anthony Hesketh: Engaging with major corporates (including Big Four accountancy firms) and US Securities and Exchange Commission, primarily to research on the different ways in which executives understand, articulate and manage value, which involves collaborating with some of the world’s leading organisations.
- Alison Stowell: Engaging with local and international businesses, business community and third sector organisations to share research on Waste and the Circular Economy - current areas of focus include electronic and electrical equipment (e-waste) and plastics but her curiosity relates to most forms.
- Pete Thomas and Kay Greasley: Engaging with a local primary school to research and advise on wellbeing and workload issues amongst classroom-based staff
- Michael West: Engaging with the NHS at national and local levels to provide evidence-based policy guidance and practical tools to develop organizational cultures and leadership that ensure the NHS delivers high quality and continually improving care across the UK (see more at https://improvement.nhs.uk/resources/culture-and-leadership/
- Theodore Vurdubakis: Engaging with NGOs & policy makers to influence policies relating to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
- Karen Dale: has produced two commissioned policy-oriented reports for the EU agency for safety and health at work (EU-OSHA) reviewing research on the use of performance enhancing drugs in the workplace. Between 2015 and 2018 the findings of these reports were presented at a number of meetings attended by EU officials, policy makers, and health and safety practitioners.
Our teaching is driven not by a desire to teach students how to use particular models, but by a desire to equip them with the analytical skills and theoretical perspectives that allow reflection on the appropriateness of models and on the complexity of a rapidly changing world of work. This approach is the basis for the development by the Department of engagement through executive education that adopts analysis and reflective practice as the basis for improving the contribution that management can make to all stakeholders in society. Practically, this means that our approach encourages critical reflection and diversity of thinking from all our students. In executive education we aim to develop the ability of students to make mature and informed judgements about their own conduct, and that of their organisations, in order to do the right things for the right reasons—and ultimately to learn from doing so. In short to become critical and reflective practitioners.
- International Masters Programme for Managers (IMPM): Tutors engage with senior executives from corporates from 20+ countries through executive education that leads to substantial change to management practices in corporations (Programme Director: Martin Brigham)
- Human Resources and Consulting Programme:Tutors engage with local and national SMEs, businesses and charities through consultancy module in our Masters provision (Programme Director: Dermot O'Reilly)
- MNGT 200 Management (and) Consulting: Practice and Critique: Tutors engage with local and national SMEs and charities through consultancy module in our UG provision (Module Directors: Uzair Shah and Mahnaz Abbariki)
- Karen Dale: Engaging with NHS through executive education
- Alison Stowell: Engaging with local and international businesses and business community through executive education
'Goldman Sachs: banks benefit from trainees who think they must be superhuman to measure up'
Professor Bogdan Costea and Dr Peter Watt (Organisation, Work and Technology) discuss junior bankers' working conditions and why some employees feel the need to be superhuman to meet firms' standards, in this article for The Conversation.
The department runs a series of research seminars with invited academics from universities across the world.