Date: Wednesday 05 June
Time: 11:00 – 12:30
Room: Alliance Manchester Business School 2.008
Followed by lunch

To register: Collectivism after collectivism

The talk will explore orientations to collectivism amongst ex-steelworkers, based on an international collaborative study involving the UK, Sweden and Australia tracing the post-redundancy transitions of people five to ten years after the initial job loss. In framing the discussion, the talk will draw on various aspects of the debates around collectivism, notably the divide between norm-based or instrumental motivations, and Social Custom Theory.

Crucially, the study contributes to debates that posit a more dynamic view of collectivism, which goes beyond the tendency to conflate collectivism with union organisation and the obsession with the presence or absence of workplace conflict as an indicator of collectivism. The talk draws inspiration from studies that go beyond the factory gate to locate the world of production in the wider social domain.

Based on working-life biographical interviews with ex-steelworkers in the UK and Sweden, the talk will explore variations in orientations to collectivism over the course of their time in the steel plant and in the wake of redundancy.

About the speaker
Robert MacKenzie is Professor of Working Life Science at Karlstad University, Sweden. He has a longstanding interest in the regulation of employment and the relationship between macro, meso and micro level mechanisms of regulation.

His work has sought to link research on the social and economic experiences of workers with broader patterns of socio-economic restructuring and changes in the regulation of the employment relationship. This has led to research on the role played by trade unions, contract form and occupational identity in mediating the experience of restructuring. He has conducted research on restructuring in the telecommunications, steel and construction sectors, and broader labour market change in terms of the social and economic experiences of migrants. He has written on issues of regulation across various levels, from the role of the state, to workplace industrial relations and human resource management practices.

Professor MacKenzie is a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Employment Innovation and Change (CERIC), University of Leeds and an Honorary Professor Alliance Business School, University of Manchester. He is also a Senior Editor of New Technology Work and Employment.