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Personal profile

Biography

I have been working at UEA since 1993 and I am a Professor in Personnel Economics.  

I am currently involved in three externally funded projects: ESRC Practices and Combinations of Practices for Health and Wellbeing at Work, 2019-2021; ESRC PROPEL Hub - Productivity Outcomes of workplace Practice, Engagement and Learning, 2019-2022; and European Institute for Gender Equality, Eligibility for parental leave in the EU Member States, 2019-20.  

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Practices and Combinations of Practices for Health and Wellbeing at Work.  Kevin Daniels (PI),  Sara Connolly, Roberta Fida, Rachel Nayani, Jana Patey, Olga Tregaskis and Dave Watson (UEA), and Christian van Stolk, Cloé Gendronneau, Marco Hefner, Jack Pollard, Nadja Koch and Michael Whitmore (RAND Europe) Economic and Social Research Council 2019-21.  This project will focus on identifying health and wellbeing practices that work together best in particular organisational contexts, which improve health and wellbeing across the workforce and are cost-effective.

The European Commission: Where now? Where next? Hussein Kassim (PI), Sara Connolly and Pierre Bocquillon (UEA), Michael W. Bauer (German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer), Renaud Dehousse and Brigid Laffan (European University Institute), and Professor Andrew Thompson (University of Edinburgh).  This project examines the impact and implications of the reshaping of the College and the new ways of working introduced by the Juncker Commission. Like the two earlier studies conducted by the team, The European Commission in Question, and The European Commission: Facing the Future, it investigates leadership, coordination and the internal operation of the institution, and also profiles the backgrounds, beliefs, and experience of the people who work for it. With data of unique scale and scope collected over three Commissions, the project is able to track changes in the organisation, as well as evolution in the values and attitudes of its staff.

Eligibility for parental leave in the EU Member States.. Matthew Aldrich and Sara Connolly (UEA), Margaret O'Brien and Merve Uzunalioglu (UCL), European Institute for Gender Equality 2019-20.

Work, Learning and Wellbeing.  Kevin Daniels (PI), Mark Bryan, Sara Connolly, Lee Hooper, Simonetta Longhi, Alita Nandi, Karina Nielsen, Chidi Ogbonnaya, Anna Robinson-Pant, Fujian Song, John Street, Gareth Thomas and Olga Tregaskis (joint CIs), Economic and Social Research Council 2015-19.  The Work, Learning and Wellbeing evidence programme is a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex and the University of Sheffield. The programme seeks to find practical answers to questions such as:

-       is it possible to change working practices so that workers are happier, more productive and absent less often?

-       how can growing numbers of older workers best adapt to working later in life and find new jobs in changing labour markets?

-       what lifelong learning opportunities do adults require in order to thrive in globalised and technologically advanced economy?

-       what are the societal costs of ignoring worker wellbeing

The evidence programme consists of three major themes: Work – focused on those already in work; Transitions – focused on those moving between jobs and in or out of the labour market; and Learning – focused the formal and informal learning of adults across the lifespan.

http://whatworkswellbeing.org/evidence-program/work-learning-and-wellbeing/ 

Understanding the EU Civil Service: the General Secretariat of the Council.  Hussein Kassim (PI) and Sara Connolly (UEA), Michael W. Bauer (German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer), Renaud Dehousse and Brigid Laffan (European University Institute), and Professor Andrew Thompson (University of Edinburgh)

Serving both the European Council and the Council of the European Union, the Council Secretariat plays a pivotal role in the EU system, but is also the most secretive and reclusive part of the administration. The first project undertaken by external researchers to be informed by systematic data collected within the organisation, this study gathered insights from staff at all levels and in all roles about the operation of the Council Secretariat and the people who work for it. As well as organisational issues of leadership, coordination, and administrative culture, it looks at the backgrounds, careers and values of staff. Using the same approach of online survey, interviews and focus groups as in its projects on the European Commission, the team is able to compare the different parts of the EU administration

European Commission: Facing the Future.  Kassim (PI) and Connolly (CI), private donation 2013-15. The project team includes Michael W. Bauer, University of Speyer, Renaud Dehousse, Sciences Po Paris, and Andrew Thompson, University of Edinburgh.  This project addresses key questions about the European Commission and its staff. Drawing on the largest dataset ever collected by an independent team of researchers on a public bureaucracy (achieved sample for online survey n=5800; 230 interviews and five focus groups completed), the project examines:

-      how staff within and across different categories of employees experience the Commission as a workplace 

-      attitudes to and experience of management across the organization

-      career progression and career ambitions across the Commission

-      staff attitudes to the 2014 reform of the Staff Regulation to provisions relating to pay and working conditions, and career structure, change management, and its political consequences

 

Fatherhood in the 21st Century. Sveta Speight (PI), Sara Connolly and Margaret O’Brien (joint CIs), Economic and Social Research Council, 2012-14.  We sought to address the gaps in the literature by producing a comprehensive profiling of fathers in 21st Century Britain, exploring factors associated with fathers’ work patterns and family life (this included trends in working hours and experience during the recent recession) and examining the experience of work-family conflict, in both the UK and selected EU countries.  New insights into the definition and measurement of fatherhood are embedded in the findings. We achieved a balance between a simple reductive approach (e.g. ‘fathers’ and ‘non-fathers’) and an overly elaborated set reliant on too many dimensions. We took an extended notion of fatherhood – beyond biological to include step, adoptive and foster parenting – and reflected the current household composition.  The resulting four-fold typology: father in couple household with dependent children, father in couple household without dependent children, lone father and non-father, contributes to concept-driven analysis of men’s economic and family behavior in large-scale data sets.  Our novel ‘father-centric’ analysis of non-residential fatherhood has enabled us to outline four different ‘types’ of non-resident fathers, which could be a useful analytical tool and inform policy on separated families. These are ‘Engaged’ fathers, ‘Less Engaged’ fathers, ‘Disengaged’ fathers and ‘Distance’ fathers.

 http://www.modernfatherhood.org

 

Gender differences in the professions.  Claartje Vinkenburg (PI), Sara Connolly and Stefan Fuchs (joint CIs), European Research Council, 2012-14.  There is a noticeable gender gap in applicant and funding rates across disciplines but especially in the life sciences. The ERC has a strong focus on excellence (publications, income generation, patents) and are seeking to fund dedicated and innovative researchers but there are often perceptions of the type of career which deliver these – long hours, uninterrupted and often international employment. Our particular interest is in how non-standard careers (with career breaks or spells of part-time employment) are represented by the applicants and treated within the review process and whether limited geographical mobility (due to family commitments) plays a role in success rates.  We use optimal matching analysis as a method to identify career patterns and conventions in science, using full career histories of applicants to the European Research Council frontier research grant scheme.  We identify four distinct patterns or dances for each of the Starting and Advanced grant applicants and find excellence – in terms of ERC grant success - within each.

 

Professional Activities

In recent years I have acted as a referee for the following journals: Applied Economics, Economic Journal, European Sociological Review, Feminist Economics, Labour, Labour Economics, Journal of Population Economics, Manchester School, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Oxford Economic Papers and Scottish Journal of Political Economy.  I have also acted as a referee for the following grant-awarding bodies: ESRC research awards; European Commission, Marie Curie awards; Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Social Sciences; Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg and Belgian government.

I was a member of the ESRC Grant Awarding Panel in Business and Economics (2013-6).  

I have just completed a four year term as external examiner for the Economics department at the University of Glasgow.

 

Recent examples of enterprise and engagement activity include the following:

-      Research briefings and blogs on work and wellbeing for the What Works Wellbeing Centre 


-      Presentation andbreifings for research output of the European Commission: Where now?  Where next project 

-      Briefings on the research output of the Modern Fatherhood project 

-      Contributed to written evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee's inquiry into Fathers and the workplace and to the Department of Work and Pensions ‘Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper’ 

 

I have presented research at major international conferences and workshops.

Recent conference presentations: International Political Science Association (Montreal, July 2014), Work and Family Researchers Network (New York, June 2014, Washington, June 2016 and June 2018), Pan-European Conference on the European Union (The Hague, June 2014), Social Policy Association (Sheffield, July 2013), Council for European Studies (Barcelona June 2011, Amsterdam June 2013, Paris July 2015, Philadelphia 2016, Glasgow 2017, Chicago 2018, Madrid 2019); International Studies Association (San Diego, Edinburgh 2012); European Union Studies Association (Baltimore 2012, Boston 2015, Miami 2017, Denver 2019). 

My work has been reported in the local, national and international media, recent coverage includes:

Work, Learning and Wellbeing

-       Getting Fired Can Feel Worse Than Losing a Spouse, Research Shows, TIME Online, http://time.com/money/4757432/effects-of-getting-fired-study/, 27/04/2017. 

-       Why getting fired is worse than divorce or the death of a spouse, msn, http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/other/why-getting-fired-is-worse-than-divorce-or-the-death-of-a-spouse/ar-BBAqyi1?srcref=rss, 27/04/2017. 

-       It’s more difficult to recover from getting fired than from a divorce or death of a spouse, studies suggest,
Toronto Star Online, https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/04/27/its-more-difficult-to-recover-from-getting-fired-than-from-a-divorce-or-death-of-a-spouse-studies-suggest.html, 27/04/2017.

-       Getting fired is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to you, The Age Australia Online, http://www.executivestyle.com.au/why-getting-fired-is-worse-than-divorce-or-death-of-a-spouse-gvu98z, 28/04/2017.

-       Think Divorce Is Hard? Getting Fired Is Worse, True Viral News, http://trueviralnews.com/think-divorce-is-hard-getting-fired-is-worse/, 28/04/2017.

-       Getting Fired Can Feel Worse Than a Break Up, Study Finds,
 Uncova, http://uncova.com/getting-fired-can-feel-worse-than-a-break-up-study-finds,  27/04/2017. 

-       Getting Fired Can Feel Worse Than a Break Up, Study Finds
Outlet: Entrepreneur.comhttps://www.entrepreneur.com/article/293521, 27/04/2017. 

-      Bridging’ jobs could make retirement happier Personnel Today,14/02/2017

-      Level of wellbeing higher for those who ‘wind-down’ into retirement, Workplace Insight,14/02/2017

-      Ageing Gracefully: Research shows how older people find happiness at work, The Global Recruiter, 14/02/2017

Work on Fathers

-     The Telegraph, "British fathers amongt worst in Europe at making time for family" by John Bingham, 03/07/14, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/10941115/British-fathers-among-worst-in-Europe-at-making-time-for-family.html.

-     Daily Mail, "How dedicated dads are spending less time at work" by Steve Doughty, 03/07/14http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/news/article-2678769/How-dedicated-dads-spending-time-work-Half-married-fathers-not-prepared-work-evenings.html

-      The Times, “Hi there, remember me?  I’m the man who used to be your father” by Rosemary Bennett, 20/11/2013, p. 13.

-      The Telegraph, “Britain’s 130,000 estranged fathers” by John Bingham, 20/11/2013, p.1.

-      Daily Express, “130,000 fathers lost to children”, 20/11/2013, p.30.

-      The Guardian (online), “Dads that don't live with their children: how many stay in touch” by Mona Chalabi, 20/11/2013, http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/nov/20/non-resident-dads-relationship-children.

-      Mail Online UK (Web), “How the 'first' family is forgotten: Serial fathers who start second families most likely to lose contact with children” by Steve Doughty, 20/11/2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2510371/Britains-130-000-absent-dads-One-fathers-lose-contact-children-earlier-relationships.html.

 

Work on Economic Equality with the New Anglia LEP

-      Eastern Daily Press, “Pay gap between men and women revealed” by Dan Grimmer, 16/11/2013, http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/pay_gap_between_men_and_women_revealed_1_3009803.

-      Eastern Daily Press, “Equality focus for UEA event” by Ben Woods, 07/11/2013, p. 39.

-      Eastern Daily Press, “The £3.4bn cost of Norfolk and Suffolk’s workplace inequality” by Ben Woods, online, http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/graphic_the_3_4bn_cost_of_norfolk_and_suffolk_s_workplace_inequality_1_2972221

  

Teaching Interests

In recent years I have taught modules in human resource management, microeconomics, econometrics, public economics and labour economics.  I have also successfully supervised many PhD students.

These have mainly been in the field of equality, education or applied economics, topics include: age discrimination in the UK; returns to education in the UK; the impact of environmental legislation on economic efficiency in Egypt; taxation and inequality in Mexico; the modern labour market in China; careers in science in Thailand; tobacco taxation in Mexico and high performance management in the UK; remuneration and corporate performance; employer and employee perceptions of negotiation and consultation in the workplace.

I am currently supervising students, researching the following topics: how parents negotiate work commitments and childcare; female employment and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia; widening participation in UK higher education.

I am happy to supervise projects in the general areas of equality in the labour market; well-being in the workplace; education and skills; work and family balance.

 

PGR Opportunities

I have successfully supervised many PhD students.

These have mainly been in the field of equality, education or applied economics, topics include: age discrimination in the UK; returns to education in the UK; the impact of environmental legislation on economic efficiency in Egypt; taxation and inequality in Mexico; the modern labour market in China; careers in science in Thailand; tobacco taxation in Mexico and high performance management in the UK; remuneration and corporate performance; employer and employee perceptions of negotiation and consultation in the workplace.

I am currently supervising students, researching the following topics: the impact of social and cultural capital on participation in Higher Education; gender equality in Turkey; how parents negotiate work commitments and childcare; the glass ceiling in Nigeria and social enterprises in the UK.

I am happy to supervise projects in the general areas of equality in the labour market; education and skills; work and family balance.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Network

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