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Institutional Experimentation for Better Work

25 – 27 October 2019 at Hôtel Chéribourg, Magog, Québec

Plenary session. From left, facing audience: Adrienne Eaton (Rutgers University), Gerhard Bosch (University of Duisburg-Essen), Shelagh Campbell (University of Regina), Prof. Peter Fairbrother (RMIT), Christian Lévesque (HEC Montréal), Gregor Murray (Université de Montréal). (Photo: Nicolas Roby)

CPOW staff (Kate Farhall and Peter Fairbrother) attended the recent planning conference. 25 – 27 October 2019 at Hôtel Chéribourg, Magog, Québec. The conference itself was an experiment every session including plenaries reporting cases of organisational and institutional experimentation in the regulation of work and employment. Overall 140 were in attendance, 90 Partner co-researchers and 50 doctoral, post-doctorates.

The background to the conference was laid over the previous twelve months with the October 2018 focusing on Sources of Disruption and Experimentation. Since then we at CPOW and all other centres have worked on developing a template for examining. This template was workshopped through individual meetings, conference calls and the organisation of a series of Regional Template Workshops in Brussels, Melbourne, Quebec City, Cardiff, Manchester, Leicester, Montreal, Beijing, Vancouver, Avignon, Bristol, London, New York, Rutgers, Kingston Ontario, …) Of note, the first template workshop took place in February 2019 in Melbourne, and we at CPOW met subsequently and developed and refined our cases, involving Fiona Macdonald, Ruth Barton, Shelley Marshall and Annie Delany, Kate Farhall and Peter Fairbrother.

Topics covered included:

  • Moving Up and Down Supply Chains: Transnational Regulatory Experimentation
  • Shaping the Transition Towards Industry 4.0: The Role of Low and High Power Actors
  • Promises and Perils of Green New Deals
  • Community Organizing for Better Work
  • The Challenges of Union Renewal
  • New Organizing/ Organizational Models for Workers
  • Norm Entrepreneurs in and around Multinational Companies
  • Experimentation in the Platform Economy
  • L’organisation des travailleuses et des travailleurs des plateformes
  • Digital Spaces and Interstices
  • Expérimentations autour des politiques publiques
  • Faultlines and their Consequences in the Care Sector

Cases were comprehensibly elaborated, focused and initiated much conversation and reflection about concepts, what constitutes an experiment in the social sciences and how each case involved and enabled actor engagement, for better or worse work.

The partnership provides us with an opportunity to share ideas in relation to the theme of ‘better work’, lay the foundations for shared research, team building, case material for publications, teaching materials and briefing and practical advice notes for end-users.