Amy Lavender Harris
Centre for Industrial Relations
University of Toronto

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Industrial Relations Work

Toward a Phenomenology of Work (December 2005)
This research seeks to make room for a phenomenology of work within industrial relations. My research begins with the observation that despite their potential contributions (both practical and explanatory) to the domain, industrial relations theory has largely excluded phenomenological approaches and inferences, deriding them as insufficiently empirical or associating them with other disciplines (e.g., psychology and organizational behaviour). At the same time, however, Marx's concept of the alienated worker (a reasonably well accepted part of IR theory) bears remarkable similarity to the view elucidated by the philosopher and phenomenologist Martin Heidegger that the essence of modern technology reduces workers to "standing reserve". Moreover, a small body of literature on the philosophy of work has linked Hegelian and Marxian notions to questions of meaning and (particularly) identity, questions which in my view beg to be taken up in phenomenological inquiry. Some empirical studies of work (most notably the fieldwork informing Shoshana Zuboff's well-known In the Age of the Smart Machine) have adopted a phenomenological approach; however these studies are not at all well integrated into the industrial relations domain. It is my objective to tie these disparate threads together into a coherent rationale for a phenomenology of work within industrial relations.

Ace Technologies Change Initiative (March 2005)
An experimental corporate intranet designed for use in human resources training (targeted to engineers and industrial designers) at a prosthetics firm.

Being a Lodestar: Navigating the Moral Terrain of Organizational Leadership
A talk on 'Leadership and the Integrity Challenge' prepared for a management course at the University of Toronto, March 2005.
Research featured in the Globe & Mail: see "All the rules in the world won't give rise to integrity", Wallace Immen, Globe & Mail, Friday August 26, 2005, page C1.

"More than we bargained for?" : Understanding Unions as Democratic Organizations
A one-act play and case study on union democracy written and performed by Angelo DiCaro, Amy Lavender Harris, and Erin Jonasson, March 2005.


Last updated 27 October 2005


Centre for Industrial Relations University of Toronto