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Big Data

Promise, Application and Pitfalls

Edited by John Storm Pedersen and Adrian Wilkinson

Big data and 'the package' of the digital society is de-mystified in this important book. A group of international experts frame the debates around big data and analyse its impact in different sectors in practice. They also examine whether big data and the digital society can deliver on its promises.
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Edited by Gregor Gall

Providing a thorough overview of the political nature and dynamics of the world of work, labour and employment, this timely Handbook draws together an interdisciplinary range of top contributors to explore the interdependent relationship between politics and labour, work and employment. The Handbook explores the purpose, roles, rights and powers of employers and management, workers and unions, states and governments in the age of globalised neo-liberalism.
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Edited by Keith Townsend, Kenneth Cafferkey, Aoife M. McDermott and Tony Dundon

This Elgar Introduction provides an overview of some of the key theories that inform human resource management and employment relations as a field of study.
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Edited by Russell W. Belk, Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi

With the radical growth in the ubiquity of digital platforms, the sharing economy is here to stay. This Handbook explores the nature and direction of the sharing economy, interrogating its key dynamics and evolution over the past decade and critiquing its effect on society.
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Keith Townsend, Aoife M. McDermott, Kenneth Cafferkey and Tony Dundon

It is perhaps easier to explain what theory is not rather than what it is. Theory is not facts or data. Nor is theory a hypothesis, or a case study. It is not a literature review. A theory is a set of general principles or ideas that are meant to explain how something works, and is independent of what it intends to explain. The purpose of a theory (or set of theories) is to help explain what causes something to occur, or to inform us of the likely consequences of a phenomenon. In so doing, theories can be more or less abstract, and be pitched at different levels - explaining society, processes, relations, behaviour and perceptions. For practitioners, theories can enhance understanding and inform decision-making. For researchers, theories shape the framing of their data, and are often presented as an essential part of any well-designed research project. Reflecting this, Hambrick (2007: 1346) argues that theory is essential for a field to flourish and advance. Indeed, many management journals require scholars to make a ‘theoretical contribution’ to get published, prompting something of an obsession with a theory-driven approach in management-related areas. Thus, while recognizing the value and importance of theory, we offer a cautionary note. Specifically, we suggest that it may be fruitful for a field to support initial consideration of phenomena-driven trends or patterns before becoming fixated on having a theoretical explanation. For example, that smoking can cause harm and ill health in humans does not need a theory to prove its validity (Hambrick, 2007). Reflecting this, in disciplines such as sociology, economics and finance there has been less of an ‘essential need’ to publish with some new theoretical development in mind. Instead, ideas, logics, concepts, premises are given due attention and the notion of exploring data is seen as valid and valuable in deciding if certain issues or phenomena are in themselves evident or emergent. Where this is the case, theory can then help to understand and explain such issues. Theory is therefore a crucial lens on the world, one that provides value in addressing both evident and emergent issues. Notwithstanding that empirics and theory both contribute value and vibrancy to a field, our focus here is on the role of theory, and some of the specific theories used in employment relations (ER) and human resource management (HRM) research.

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Colin C. Williams and Ioana A. Horodnic

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Dependent Self-Employment

Theory, Practice and Policy

Colin C. Williams and Ioana A. Horodnic

Dependent self-employment is widely perceived as a rapidly growing form of precarious work conducted by marginalised lower-skilled workers subcontracted by large corporations. Unpacking a comprehensive survey of 35 European countries, Colin C. Williams and Ioana Alexandra Horodnic map the lived realities of the distribution and characteristics of dependent self-employment to challenge this broad and erroneous perception.
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Colin C. Williams and Ioana A. Horodnic

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Elin M. Oftedal and Lene Foss

This chapter discusses how responsible start-ups are met in the health sector. Through following three companies, Voco, Cora and Medicus, we acquire insight into the world of challenges the entrepreneurs have when they introduce their technology/service to the healthcare sector. Using institutional theory, we look at the regulative, normative and cognitive dimension of the institutional framework. We use the term ‘institutional wall’ to denote a dense network of formal laws and regulation, informal norms and knowledge and beliefs that act as barriers for the entrepreneurs to access the market. We find that while there is a positive development in the regulative dimension: both the regulative and the normative dimension are set up to favour larger companies. The founders’ responses to the cognitive dimension indicate a lack of belief in Norwegian technology and thus tough access to finance.

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James K. Beggan