SEAANZ - Australian Chamber Research Project

The Project

SEAANZ welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry sponsored initiative Biz Better Together by undertaking a review of key issues in workplace relations in Australian industry. The primary objective of this study is to engage businesses in a dialogue about workplace relations, linking what they are talking about to what the research shows.

The key issues being considered in our study align with those identified by the Biz Better Together initiative as the most relevant to Australian Business.

  1. Spotlighting Workplace Regulation
  2. Facilitating Flexible (Agile) Work
  3. Enabling Healthy and Safe Workplaces
  4. Enhancing Workplace Diversity
  5. Improving Management and Leadership
  6. Empowering Entrepreneurs
  7. Inspiring Future Workplaces

Led by SEAANZ board members Professor Tim Mazzarol and Dr. Tui McKeown  we are currently sourcing expertise from across our membership and wider networks, leveraging the skills of experts from other universities and relevant organisations. Current partners and collaborators for this project include representatives of the University of New England, Curtin University, the University of Western Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and representatives from the small business community.

The methodology we will be following during this 18 months project is as follows:

Stage 1 Literature Review – February to May 2016

The review will focus on the seven key issues in workplace relations in Australian as delineated by Biz Better Together initiative and will be guided by 30 research questions. The literature review will help to confirm if the research questions are well paced to guide the study, and identify best practices and their application to the Australian context. It will also identify any gaps in the extant knowledge that need to be addressed to answer the research questions relating to the seven key issues.

Stage 2 Examination of relevant Databases – April to June 2016

The second stage of the methodology will identify and then draw upon a range of existing large-scale databases such as the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD) and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) database, in order to address the research questions. The aim of this stage will be to investigate whether the research questions can be answered through an analysis of these large-scale, longitudinal databases and therefore provide a solid foundation for any subsequent qualitative and/or quantitative data collection in subsequent stages.

Stage 3 Quantitative surveys of employers and employees – June to August 2016

In this stage surveys will be undertaken with employers and employees to investigate specific issues emerging from the first two stages. SEAANZ will work with Roy Morgan Research. It is anticipated that this will involve collection via online survey panels and questionnaires developed with reference to the specific “knowledge gaps” identified from stages 1 and 2.  The purpose of this stage will be to provide large-scale data current to 2016 that can form the basis for the further stages.

Stage 4 Industry forums – August to December 2016

During this stage the methodology will shift to a series of industry forums to be held in several states and both city and regional locations. These forums will take the form of an event lasting approximately 3 hours and attended by a cross-section of employers from small, medium and large firms who will be invited to hear the findings from the research in progress and then engage in a series of facilitated focus groups and plenary discussions. This stage of the study will be designed to both disseminate findings to the business community and collect data to address the research questions.

Stage 5 Case studies – September 2016 to April 2017

In-depth case studies will be undertaken with selected employing firms to investigate the issues identified in the previous four stages and provide a rich database that can be used to address the research questions, identify examples of “best practice” and offer example cases for future industry education and media communications purposes.


Project Outcomes

A total of five major reports will be generated from this study focusing on a series of pre-determined themes. In addition, the SEAANZ research team will provide the Australian Chamber with ongoing content that is “channel ready” to help feed into the information and communication pipeline flowing from this project.