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    HR in Turbulent Times – CPP Summer Conference 2017
    Friday 30 June 2017 at Manchester Metropolitan University
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    Human Resource Management (10th ed), co-written by CPP team member Prof Carol Atkinson
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Research Projects

Researchers from Centre for People and Performance have successfully delivered a range of significant research projects.

We have been contracted by governments, professional bodies and organisational clients, all of whom have chosen to draw on the wide-ranging expertise and experience of CPP researchers.

At CPP we aim to combine academic rigour, with a practical focus on project outcomes, and on their ‘real world’ impact. We take a collaborative and adaptable approach to project delivery, seeking to work flexibly with clients as their projects evolve. Above all, we have an excellent track record on delivering project objectives.

Some of our current and recently completed projects are shown below:

Shared Parental Leave

Run by Jamie Atkinson (Manchester Law School) and CPP’s Professor Ben Lupton, this project explored some of the reasons for the low take up of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in the UK.

SPL was introduced in April 2015 and was seen as in important step to support working parents who wish to share childcare, and a potential lever to reduce gender inequalities. A low rate of take up is likely to impact on the ability to meet these important agendas.

The research team wanted to test the view that men’s role as fathers is frequently unacknowledged in the workplace, and that they are consequently less likely to request SPL. The study examined the process of implementing, accessing and negotiating SPL from two perspectives:

  • Male employees who have young children
  • HR professionals

The research was able to shed light on the approach of companies to SPL and the role of HR professionals in promoting and enabling the take up of SPL. It also highlighted the experience of fathers in requesting and negotiating leave.

One outcome of the project was the development of a practical action plan for employers to support them with dealing with SPL requests.

Jamie and Ben are planning a larger piece of research to explore these issues further, which will aim to inform the actions of government, employers and other stakeholders in order to encourage and support greater take up of SPL. We would like to work with employers and other stakeholders to plan and deliver this research. We’d very much like to hear from you if you would like to be involved.

If you would like find out more about the study, or contribute to the development of further work, please contact Jamie Atkinson on or 0161 247 6445 or follow Jamie on Twitter: @atkojl.

Blame at Work

This project, funded by a Leverhulme Research Project Grant, examines the practice and effects of ‘blaming’ in work organisations. There has been recent interest in the development of ‘no-blame’ cultures or approaches in organisations. These rest on the idea that blame may divert attention from identifying and addressing organisational problems, and that the fear of blame may inhibit innovation and (appropriate) risk-taking. But can we stop blaming, and might blame not have some positive effects? CPP researchers will seek to answer those, and other, questions be examining how blame ‘works’ in organisations- who blames? Who gets blamed? Why? What affects does it have on people and organisations.

As part of our research, we’d like to speak to people about their experiences and thoughts about blame at work. If you would like to participate we would be delighted to hear from you. Please email Ben Lupton at and he can tell you a bit more about the research and arrange to have a conversation.

Employment Support for Small Firms

CPP won the prestigious contract to evaluate a JP Morgan Foundation/CIPD project providing specialist HR/employment advice for firms with less than 50 employees. The project is being run in three pilot areas, Glasgow, Hackney and Stoke-on-Trent. CPP researchers are collecting survey evidence of impact of the support, and conducting 21 case study investigations. They are due to report in spring 2017.

Recruitment and Retention of Care Workers in Wales

A CPP team conducted research into the impact of domiciliary care workers’ terms and conditions of employment on care worker recruitment and retention and care quality in Wales. The team held a number of focus groups with Local Authority Commissioners, care managers and care workers. The findings underpinned the public consultation on the Regulation and Inspection of Care (Wales) Bill and informed development of the Codes of Practice produced by the Welsh Government.

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health, issued a written statement on the Welsh Government’s consultation:

‘In September 2015, the Welsh Government commissioned important primary and secondary research from Manchester Metropolitan University on the relationship between the terms and conditions of domiciliary social workers and the quality of the care delivered. This research concluded there was a clear and convincing link.

‘Proposals consulted on included matters relating to zero hours contracts, compliance with the national minimum wage, travel time, call clipping and length of calls, career structure, development and training, occupational status and health and safety.

‘108 responses were received from a wide range of stakeholders.’ (Source:

Professor Carol Atkinson and Dr Sarah Crozier have presented the findings as follows:

  • CIPD Conference – Westminster, London, December 2016.
  • Preparing for 2020: standardising the workforce, enhancing skills and attracting talent, Policy Forum for Wales Keynote Seminar: Next steps for social care in Wales, Cardiff, 12 July 2016
  • Recruitment and Retention and Care Quality in Domiciliary Care, Welsh Government Policy Forum, Cardiff, 12 July 2016.

Skills for Care

IMPACT CASE STUDY CPP researchers Professor Carol Atkinson, Professor Rosemary Lucas and Dr Sarah Crozier conducted a large Skills for Care funded project which investigated the recruitment, retention and development of care workers. The project aims were to explore the key drivers of recruitment, retention and development in the sector and analyse their links to individual and organisational performance.

This involved both case study interviews and in-depth statistical analysis of large complex datasets. The project led to the production reports which informed both policy and management practice in in the care sector. The findings were rolled out to over 40,000 social care establishments in England. The research papers derived from the project won a CIPD award.

The Behavioural Science of Pay and Reward

CPP researchers were asked to by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to prepare a report on implications of developments in behavioural science for the pay and reward strategies in organisations. The report can be found at (PDF).

NHS Trust

Our team was commissioned by an NHS Trust to evaluate its flexible working policy. Our remit was to investigate poor employee uptake of flexibility practices and we conducted both interviews and focus groups to explore employee views on the policy and any barriers to uptake of flexibility. We produced reports that the Trust used to both adapt policy and develop practice. Improved communications and management training were central to improving access to flexibility. Resulting research papers were again award winning.

Immigration And Employment In The Hospitality Sector

We were commissioned by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to investigate staff shortages in the hospitality sector in the UK. Our research focused on the role of migrant workers during both economic growth and crisis and asked four key questions:

  • What are employers looking for?
  • Who wants to do what?
  • How and whom do employers recruit?; and when is immigration appropriate and what are the alternative responses to perceived staff shortages?

The research confirmed that the hospitality sector continues to employ a significant proportion of international and migrant workers. Further, that migrant workers are an important source of labour in the three major occupational groups (elementary, managers and chefs and cooks) where skills shortages are reported. This has important implications for UK employers who may find themselves in vulnerable to staffing shortages in an economic downturn where migrants find better opportunities to locate elsewhere.

Further, public policy decisions on immigration need to be shaped carefully to take account of these tensions and to ensure that unnecessary barriers to entry into the UK do not work against sectoral needs. A report compiled for MAC is available to download from Research Online website (Word doc).

Professor Ben Lupton
Centre Director

Telephone number
(0161) 247 6460
Email address

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2017 PhD Bursary