NZWRI provides high-quality research across a broad multidisciplinary programme concerned with people and work. Director of NZWRI is Professor Gail Pacheco, who is supported by Professor Jarrod Haar (Associate Director, Human Resource Management), Lisa Meehan (Associate Director, Economics and Research) and leaders of our specialist research groups. Links to the five groups are below and provide details of current key projects and members within each group. Our research groups enable over 70 research experts to provide research (at both the national and international level) that ticks the boxes for both academic rigour, as well as being relevant to policy makers in business, government, and the community in general - see our latest annual report.

Research themes

We place emphasis on a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach and rank engagement with external stakeholders as a high priority.

The research themes diagram illustrates the broad nature of research streams encompassed at NZWRI, and the overlapping nature of many topics across research groups.

See our brochure

Research groups

Contact us if you would like to become an actively involved research member.


Led by Associate Professor Simon Mowatt, the Business and Labour History Group highlights the contribution of historical studies and labour studies to critical scholarship and contemporary policy. The group supports the development of business history broadly across AUT, with members from several faculties and across departments, and is a key partner in the History@AUT initiative.

Group objectives

The Business and Labour History Group has five main approaches to business and labour history:

  1. Historical case studies of organisational development and innovation, including studies of technological and industrial change
  2. Labour history concerning employment relations, working class culture, trade unions, non-union employee representation, political parties of labour and international comparative studies in all of these areas
  3. Historical analysis of public policy development in employment relations, labour law, occupational health and safety, gender and diversity
  4. Historical research in economics, employment relations, labour law, occupational health and safety, marketing, management, accountancy, finance and other business-based disciplines
  5. The development of historical perspectives of long-term trends in business practices and ideology, including patterns of work and organisation and labour relations, as a contribution to understanding where we are today, and why.

Ongoing projects

  • The Causes of Modern Economic Growth

Description: This project entails conducting a survey of the approaches taken by economic historians to explaining the causes of modern economic growth. The project has several facts including building a real-wage series for New Zealand for the periods from 1840 to 1914. A working paper has looked at the gradual emergence of monetary policy in New Zealand.

Download working paper 2018/09

Team: Geoffrey Brooke, Antony Endres (UoA) and Alan Rogers (UoA).

  • Public Health Conditions in the Late Nineteenth Century

Description: Statistics concerning soldiers measurements are used as indicative data to understand standards of living. This project takes a new approach to examine the data and draws new conclusions about conditions towards the end of the nineteenth century. An empirical investigation has been conducted to examine body sizes of New Zealand soldiers who served in the Second Boer war.

Download empirical investigation (working paper 2019/05)

Team: Geoffrey Brooke and Lydia Cheung.

  • Labour in Historical Context

Description: This collaborative project with other NZ Work Research groups explores the historical roots and implications of changing labour practices.

Team: Fiona Hurd, David Williamson, Erling Rasmussen, Simon Mowatt and Howard Cox (University of Worcester, UK).


Ann-Marie KennedyCarol Neill
David WilliamsonEdwina Pio
Erling RasmussenFelicity Lamm
Fiona HurdGeoffrey Brooke
Gina XuJulie Douglas
Kate Nicholls Keri Mills
Lisa NguyenPaul Moon
Paul Woodfield Peter Gilderdale
Peter SkillingRob Allen
Simon Mowatt  (Lead researcher)


Led by Associate Professor Katherine Ravenswood the Care/Work Research Group brings together research expertise and scholarship on care work to contribute to better practice, policy and scholarship in this field. Care work is work that is done as paid jobs (such as healthcare assistants, nurses, midwives, teaching involving care) and unpaid (such as caring for your family members or volunteering).

The Care/Work Research Group focuses on high quality, critical research that is strongly connected to communities and society. The group conducts both qualitative and quantitative research, covering multiple perspectives of care work including topics such as:

  • Gender and pay equity
  • Valuing care work in our society
  • Benchmarking workforce trends, managing the workforce
  • Employee wellbeing and health and safety of the care and support workforce
  • Working mothers
  • Diversity and inclusion: paid and unpaid careers

This group brings together established research and researchers to build a programme of academic research, consultancy and research collaboration with community and industry.

Group objectives

The Care/Work Research Group is a hub for care work research in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law at AUT University with a national and international footprint. All members work closely with community and industry partners and researchers at other institutions in order to bridge the academic-practice divide. Our goal is to be the first stop for care work expert advice and research in Australasia.

We aim to provide high quality research that contributes to international academic scholarship and that works with our research partners to better inform policy and practice in New Zealand and internationally.

Ongoing projects

  • The New Zealand Carework Survey 2019 (formerly aged care workforce survey)

Description: This survey benchmarks trends in the carework workforce in New Zealand. We have conducted and reported on surveys in 2014 and 2016 (below) as well as publishing academic journal articles from the survey data.

Read the report on the 2019 data here

Read the supplementary materials for the report on the 2019 data here

Read reports on surveys in 2014 and 2016

Team: Katherine Ravenswood (Lead) and Julie Douglas

  • Inquiry into the wellbeing of community-based midwives

Funding: Health Research Council Health Delivery Research Activation Grant (HRC 20/1202)

Description: This project seeks to understand what enables and hinders the wellbeing of community-based midwives. The primary goal of the research project is to use a socio-cultural lens to explore wellbeing amongst New Zealand's community-based midwives. Although the work will include all NZ community-based midwives, we will intentionally emphasise the experiences of indigenous Māori and Pasifika midwives. The work will honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to develop an inclusive understanding of wellbeing that accurately reflects the cultural diversity of community-based midwifery in New Zealand.

Team: Tagonei Mharapara (Lead), Janine Clemons, Nimbus Staniland, Katherine Ravenswood

  • Workplace violence in home care settings

Funding: Health Research Council Health Delivery Research Activation Grant (HRC 20/1254)

Description: This project investigates the complex context of workplace violence in home care settings in New Zealand. It aims to establish the evidence needs for research that can inform policy decisions to prevent and better deal with workplace violence in home care settings. It focuses on three specific contexts: community support, disability support and family carers. The purpose is to improve the health and wellbeing of care workers in these settings so that they can safely provide quality care and support. The project is underscored by an intersectional perspective that acknowledges that health and employment inequalities are influenced by cultural, social and structural factors.

Team: Katherine Ravenswood (Lead), Betty Ofe-Grant, Julie Douglas, Fiona Macdonald (RMIT)

  • Understanding the Implementation of the 2017 Pay Equity Settlement

Description: This project began in 2019, working with the Caring Counts Coalition and the Human Rights Commission of New Zealand to understand the impact of the 2017 Pay Equity Settlement on managers and employees in the residential aged care, home and community care, disability support, mental health, and addiction support sectors. Phase one is complete and the full report (The Value of Care) is below and was also supported by Careforce New Zealand.

Phase two of the project was completed in 2019. Due to 2020 and the impact of COVID19, the next phase of research will be reported on in 2021.

Download 'The Value of Care': full report

Team: Julie Douglas and Katherine Ravenswood (Co-leads)


Katherine Ravenswood (Lead researcher)         
Julie Douglas
Joanne Flavell (Flinders University)
Candice Harris
Fiona Macdonald (RMIT)
Tago Mharapara


Led by Professor Erling Rasmussen, the Employment Relations Research Group investigates key employment relations changes whether it is caused by legislative changes, labour market changes or industry and/or organisational change. The group is also largely involved with the New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations. This journal covers topics such as employment law and human resources management; a must for academics, students, researchers and policy makers. The editors of this journal are Associate Professor Felicity Lamm (AUT), Professor Erling Rasmussen (AUT) and Rupert Tipples (Senior lecturer, Lincoln University).

Group objectives

The Employment Relations Group engages a broad range of projects, focusing on:

  1. Employment relations and human resource management issues and practices
  2. Labour market trends
  3. Employment law
  4. Conflict resolution.

The group also aims to improve dialogue in the area of employment law through collaboration with the Employment Law Forum and the OHS Centre on certain projects and presentations. These forums provide both academic analysis of employment law development and the opportunity for discussion and debate on the law among employment lawyers and employment relations specialists.

Ongoing projects

  • The 'Overworked Worker' Project

Description: This project is done in collaboration with the OHS Centre and union organisers. 

Team: Employment Relations Research Group

  • Barriers to participation in conflict resolution

Description: This collaboration with the Employment Institutions follows the 2018 Symposium. 

Team: Employment Relations Research Group

  • OHS Committees: their prevalence and influence

Description: This project will be conducted in collaboration with the OHS Centre at AUT University. 

Team: Employment Relations Research Group

  • Hospitality employers and their ER issues

Description: Research projects and access to surveys conducted by RANZ will be developed.  

Team: Employment Relations Research Group

  • Employers’ role in and attitudes to employment relations change in New Zealand

Description: This long-term project focuses on researching various aspects of the employers’ role in seeking public policy and workplace change and whether these changes align with employers’ attitudes to employment relations issues. Several surveys have been implemented in collaboration with Massey University, Palmerston North. 

Team: Barry Foster (Massey University) and Erling Rasmussen.

  • ‘Working Poor’ and labour market regulations and transitions

Description: In light of the living wage campaign in New Zealand, this project overviews international research on overseas trends and experiences amongst ‘working poor’. The initial focus has been a comparison between New Zealand and Denmark. 

Team: Jens Lind (Aalborg University, Denmark) and Erling Rasmussen.

  • New Zealand employment relations reforms and the quest for a high wage, high skill economy

Description: This project applies a historical, public policy and labour market angle to current and possible future employment relations reforms.


Rasmussen, E. & Fletcher, M. 2018. ‘Employment Relations reforms and New Zealand’s ‘productivity paradox’.’ Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 21(1): 75-92.

Fletcher, M. & Rasmussen, E. 2020. ‘Commentary: Labour market change and employee protection in light of the ‘Future of Work’ debate.’ New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 44(3): 32-44.

Team: Erling Rasmussen


Barry BrunetteBarry Foster
Bill Cochrane Clare George
Danaë AndersonDavid Williamson
Effie TheodorouErling Rasmussen (Lead researcher)
Felicity LammGaye Greenwood
Gemma PiercyJarrod Haar
Julie DouglasKatherine Ravenswood
Marcus HoMichael Fletcher
Mike FrenchPam Nuttall (convenor, Employment Law Forum)
Ronny Tedestedt Swati Nagar
Warren Goodsir


Led by Professor Edwina Pio, University Director of Diversity, the Immigration and Inclusion Research Group is devoted to the promotion of a richer and more sophisticated understanding of immigration and work. Group members work innovatively through pragmatic, thoughtful and authoritative research. The group was awarded the Te Rangi Hiroa medal of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2019.

Group objectives

Through building a corpus of multidisciplinary research, the Immigration and Inclusion Research Group focuses on how immigrants, including refugees, navigate the world of work, religious diversity in the workplace, immigrant entrepreneurship and the impact of immigration norms on diasporas. The theoretical lenses of diversity and inclusion, critical management studies and positive organisational scholarship are emphasised.

Ongoing projects

  • Prostrated in prayer and terror: Religious diversity and identity work

Description: This project will explore the notions of identity for peoples who are adherents of minority religions are visibly different immigrants. The research will provide insights for individual and collective learning in how identities are negotiated through various individual and organisational processes. This work is part of a book which has been commissioned by Routledge which will deal with Reimagining Faith and Management (co-edited by Professor Edwina Pio, Robert Kilpatrick and Timothy Pratt). The book is likely to be released in early 2021. Please note that project 3 is also part of this book.

Team: Edwina Pio and members of the Immigration and Inclusion Research Group.

Pio, E., and Syed, J. (2020). Stelae from ancient India: Pondering anew through historical empathy for diversity. Management Learning, 51(1), 109-129

  • Immigration, class and work

Description: This project focuses on success among visible ethnic minority women at work. The aim is to underscore the importance of disaggregating traditional analytical categories which tend to lump migrant women, in particular non-white women, as one homogeneous group. The work has been completed and is awaiting publication.

Team: Edwina Pio and Rob Kilpatrick.

  • Diversity, religion and inclusion

Description: This project largely focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment in management, work and organisation. Focus is directed to Muslim women who practice Islam, and how such practice can create conflict at work. This work is part of a book which has been commissioned by Routledge which will deal with Reimagining Faith and Management, likely to be released in early 2021.

Team: Edwina Pio and members of the Immigration and Inclusion Research Group.

  • Peace building

Description: This project looks at peace building from numerous perspectives to explore the relationship between religion, callings and careers. Using experiences from case studies, it is argued that religion gives structure to those on the career journey. This work is part of the Business and Peacebuilding book series.

Team: Edwina Pio, Rob Kilpatrick and Timothy Pratt.

  • The Management of Faith in Organisations

Faith impacts how individuals and organisations envision, manage and respond to their various stakeholders, communities and the world around them. This project seeks to present various facets of how faith, values or (in more secular terminology) ideological outlook informs, influences and adds mystery that inspires and impels individuals and organisations in their evocative quest for a diverse praxis of delivering their respective organisational missions through meaningful occupation while also suggesting areas of further research.

Team: Edwina Pio, Rob Kilpatrick and Timothy Pratt


Alison BoothAntonio Díaz Andrade
Chris Griffiths Edwina Pio (Lead researcher)
Eleanor HolroydErling Rasmussen
Faiza Ali George Thien
Grace WongJed Montayre
Kakala Vainikolo Mahreen Baloch
Margie Elley-Brown Marjo Lips-Wiersma
Maria HaywardMary Hoover
Oksana OparaPeter McGhee
Prabhash Parameswaran Rob Kilpatrick
Robyn BaileyRoy Smollan
Smita Singh Therese Walkinshaw
Thushini Jayawardena Timothy Pratt

Stakeholder members

Ali Rasheed Irene Kumar
Jacklyn Lim Lian-Hong Brebner
Natina Roberts Paeru Tauraki
Tanya Nabat


Led by Dr Marcus Ho, the Wellbeing and Performance Research Group is a network of diverse researchers and industry practitioners relating to people's wellbeing and performance at work. It brings together research, scholarship and expertise on wellbeing and performance at work and builds on the growth in academic research and service development in this area. The group is working to establish itself as a leading multidisciplinary, innovative and evidence-based consultancy group in the field.

Group objectives

Our mission is to position the Wellbeing and Performance Research Group as a hub for faculty researchers and industry engagement relating to people's wellbeing and performance at work, both nationally and internationally. We endeavour to host research networking opportunities for emerging researchers and leadership and capacity development opportunities for more experienced researchers. The Wellbeing and Performance Research Group encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, internally and externally, in existing research projects so as to strengthen and diversify group capabilities. We then disseminate research to practitioner bodies and industry engagement.

Ongoing projects

  • Well-being and Performance for entrepreneurs and in small-medium enterprises (SMEs)

Description: This project focuses on wellbeing and performance issues for entrepreneurs and SMEs.  The project group examines a range of issues to do with wellbeing including mental health of entrepreneurs, stress, and resilience.

Gibb, J., Ho, M., Singh, S., & Thien, G. (2018). How SME Owners and Managers Leverage their Personal Social Resources for Wellbeing and Performance. Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management, Dec 4-7, Auckland. Awarded Best Paper in stream: Entrepreneurship and SME division.

SMEs Team: Marcus Ho, Jenny Gibb (Waikato) Stephen Teo (Edith Cowan University), Smita Singh, and George Thien

Entrepreneurs Team: Marcus Ho and Smita Singh

Currently seeking participants (entrepreneurs) to participate in interviews for entrepreneurial well-being project. If you are willing to help Marcus in his research, please email Marcus Ho (mho@aut.ac.nz), or call: 099219999 ext. 5448, to record your expression of interest. Approved by the Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee on 25 July 2019 AUTEC Reference number 19/197.

  • Individual and Organisational Resilience

Description: This project examines the role of resilience in individuals and organisations. There are two major streams of research within this project.  The first is focused on entrepreneurial resilience and resilience in small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs); and the second is focused on organisational resilience and performance.  Findings from the project will have significant implications for the wellbeing of individuals and organisations including the management of employees and best practice.

Ho, M., Jenkins, A., Verreynne, M. L., Teo, S. T. T., Bentley, T. & Singh, S. (2018). How social and leadership resources and reconfiguration activities lead to relational, stakeholder, and operational outcomes post-disaster. ICSB World Congress, Taiwan, June 24-29.

Team: Marcus Ho, Anna Jenkins and Martie-Louise Verreynne (University of Queensland), Tim Bentley (Massey) and Stephen Teo (Edith Cowan University)

  • Human capital leveraging and performance

Description: In this project, we analyse the role of strategic human capital and the firm. The implications of this study have significance for understanding the HRM-organisational capabilities link, including theoretical developments for strategic human resource management and the resource-based view.

Team:  Marcus Ho, Stephen Teo (Edith Cowan University), Christine Soo (University of Western Australia), and Amy Tian (Curtin University of Technology)

  • The Physical Work Environment

Description: This project examines how the physical work environment (and the way that change to the physical work environment is managed) affects employees on outcomes such as wellbeing, the quality of their interpersonal relationships and productivity. It focuses on outcome such as collaboration, resource and knowledge sharing and stress.

Goodbye to the crowded office: How Coronavirus will change the way we work together

Gender differences at work: Relishing competence or seeking a challenge?

Team: Rachel Morrison and Roy Smollan

  • Stressful Organisational Change Project

Description: This project looks at stressful organisational change in a District Health Board. The research group looks at the experiences, motivations and processes important before, during and after an organisational change event.

Team: Roy Smollan and Rachel Morrison

  • Wellbeing from minority perspectives

Description: The New Zealand Treasury has developed a Living Standards Framework (LSF) to assess the impact of government policies on intergenerational wellbeing. The Treasury is committed to incorporating New Zealand’s diverse cultural perspectives into the LSF framework, of which this project explores. The Asian population is currently experiencing a number of issues related to the determinants of wellbeing, including health (mental health, non-communicable diseases and access to health services) and immigration (employment difficulties). Experiences of perceived discrimination also heavily impact their wellbeing.

Team: Sue Yong, Pola Wang (Hospitality), and Marcus Ho

Currently seeking participants of Asian descent to talk about their experiences of well-being in New Zealand. If you are willing to help Sue in her research, please email Sue Yong (sue.yong@aut.ac.nz), or call: 099219999 ext. 5721, to record your expression of interest.


Adnan Khan Anne Messervy
Barbara McKenzie-GreenBarbara Myers
Ben KenobiBeomCheol (Peter) Kim
Candice HarrisCharles Crothers
Clare George Coral Ingley
Diep Nguyen Erica Hinckson
Felicity LammGail Pacheco
Gaye GreenwoodGayle Morris
Helena Cooper-ThomasJarrod Haar
Karen LoKatherine Ravenswood
Kirk ReedMarcus Ho (Lead researcher)
Mark Le FevreNancy McIntyre
Nicola NaismithRachel Morrison
Rebecca JardenRoss Milne
Roy SmollanSean Kimpton
Smita SinghSue Yong
Stephanie Rossouw Thushini Jayawardena
Trish CornerValerie Wright-St Clair
Wendy Wrapson


Led by Professor Marjolein Lips-Wiersma this group brings together established research and researchers to build a programme of academic research, consultancy and research collaboration with community and industry.

Group objectives

This research group investigates an array of topics using the people-and-society lense of sustainability, including topics such as:

  • Meaningful work
  • Youth and millennial engagement in sustainability
  • Sustainability, hope and despair
  • Impact of sustainability on well-being
  • Employee engagement in organisational sustainability
  • Valuing the role of the sustainability officer
  • Sustainability leadership and innovation
  • Harmonising western and indigenous approaches to sustainability
  • Education for sustainability
  • Social entrepreneurship, its success and failure
  • Social impact and it’s evaluation
  • Public attitudes towards sustainability issues
  • Community participation in environmental decision-making

Ongoing projects

  • Sustainability officer research project

Together with the Oxygen Consulting, the Sustainable Business Network and the Sustainable Business Council, we run an annual survey to provide “Insights on Sustainability Professionals”. The aim is to provide in depth insights into the rapidly evolving roles of sustainability professionals within New Zealand organisations. Download 2020 report (Oxygen Consulting website)

  • Meaningful work research and dissemination

This project focuses on meaningful work, meaningful societies and meaningful evaluation. Current research projects include: Giving Language to Meaning; Meaningful societies and Meaningful Impact evaluation. This research is disseminated globally and applied in community and corporate organisations by certified practitioners from the Map of Meaning International Trust. Find out more (The Map of Meaning website).

  • Community participation in environmental decision making
  • The emotional work of education for sustainability
  • Encouraging reflexive dialogue to bring humanity to the business classroom


Marjo Lips-Wiersma Fiona Hurd
Peter SkillingSmita Singh
Peter McGhee Amber Nicholson

External clients

The institute also provides commissioned work for a range of external clients, with recent examples including work for the Productivity Commission, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for Women, United Nations Women, Vodafone Foundation NZ, and the Blind Foundation.

Memorandums of understanding

We have MOUs in place with several organisations.

  • Career Development Association of New Zealand and NZWRI recognise mutual interest in the nature of people, work, and lifelong career development.
  • The Restaurant Association and NZWRI plan to partner to produce research that will help members to improve their performance and productivity.

Career Development Association of New Zealand

Restaurant Association of New Zealand

NZWRI members

Meet our core team, research associates and advisors.

Our people