Research

Main research interests

My research interests are broadly around issues concerning cross-national comparative analysis of welfare states and their labour markets.

One key question I am currently tackling in my new project(see below) is how work flexibility and autonomy impacts work-life balance, and the role of contexts in moderating that influence.

Another area I am currently developing is how welfare state institutions and socio-economic factors shape individual's perceived employment insecurity and its outcomes.

In general I am interested in the changes occurring to working conditions and to the nature of work/labour markets in post-industrial and newly digitalised/ high-tech societies.

The main method used to answer these questions is multilevel modelling using cross-national/European data. However, I also use qualitative methods including interviews and policy analyses, as well as other quantitative methods focusing on the examination of latent factors.


Flexibility stigma and the role of contexts

With a number of people -e.g. Yvonne Lott at HBS, Germany, Senhu Wang at National University of Singapore, and Hyojin Seo based on KU Leuven I am conducting a series of projects/papers examining issues around flexibility stigma - that is the stigmatised ideas around flexible workers. There are several on-going projects. Hopefully there will some good news regarding successful grants/projects so WATCH THIS SPACE!

  • Flexibility Stigma and the role of national contexts using Eurobarometer - with Hyojin Seo we are looking at the Eurobarometer of 2018 to see how the variation of flexibiltiy stigma across European countries can be explained by national cultural, institutional contexts.

  • Experimental exploration of flexibility stigma in Singapore - using experimental vignette surveys Senhu Wang and I are testing to see how the individual (gender/parental status), organisational and national contexts can shape managers' perceptions towards flexible workers in Singapore. We will be conducting a similar experiment with Yvonne Lott in Germany, and I will conduct a similar one in the UK hopefully using the GSEOP and UKHLS respectively.

  • I have a proposal rejected once but am planning to submit soon again that aims to explore how flexibility stigma is compounded by existing biases against marginalised workers - focusing on mothers, disabled workers, ethnic minority workers, and LGBT+ workers. We will also examine the lived experiences of stiga conducting longitudinal qualitative ethnographic/interview data collection of marginalised workers working from home.

  • I have another grant as a part of a European grant which tries to look at these issues in a cross-national comparative perspective, and am currently writing up a grant which looks at the intersections of stigma - and outcomes of the expansion of homeworking on gender equality in the UK and across European countries.


Working from home during COVID-19 lockdown

With Sarah Forbes and Holly Birkett of Birmingham Business School, we conducted a survey of workers (mostly parents) on their experiences of working from home, their attitudes/preferences towards flexible working especially in the future, and how this shaped division of housework/childcare, their mental health issues etc. The report is now out and more about this can be found here: http://www.wafproject.org/COVIDwfh

publications from this project include:


4 day week and shorter working hours

I have been working with the Korean Federation of Trade Unions on the use of flexible working in light of the working hours reduction law that came into force in 2018. With this, I have also been writing on the 4 day week campaigns of the TUC and the UK Labour party and its implication for Korea. I am hoping to extend this to a project on the implementation and barriers in the implementations of 4 day week/shorter working hours soon. So watch this space.

related publications

  • Chung, H. (2020) 주 4일 근무제가 가지고 올 사회변화/ The social changes that will come about through a r day working week. LAB2050 Report/blog.

  • Chung, H. (2019) 영국의 노동시간 단축 켐페인과 한국에의 함의 (4 day week campaigns in the UK and its implication for Korea). 민주노총보고서. Report for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions./available upon request but is in Korean


Division of Mental load among couples

We (Anke Plagnol and Shireen Kanji) have received some seed funding from City University to carry out some quantitative survey of how mental load is divided among couples. This will be one of the first papers to try to capture the concept of mental load through a survey technique and we hope to find instruments that can be validated and used by others. Started in Autumn 2019 - on going.

Shared care of children between couples and well-being outcomes for the family

We (with Pierre Walthery) have been awarded a grant by the UK Government Equalities Office to carry out a literature review and a data analysis - using the UK Time Use Survey 2015 to examine the patterns of care among parents, how work patterns related to sharing of care, and how shared childcare between parents influence well-being outcomes of children and parents. The project ran from December 2018 to February 2021 - and we are currently submitting journal articles that were written off of this project.

The two reports from this project are


Working-time flexibility and work-life balance (project website)

I have been awarded the ESRC Future Leaders Award 2012/3 for the project "Working time flexibility and work-life balance across Europe and the role of contexts: connecting the individual- , company and the country-level". There is mixed evidence on whether the use of flexi-time is beneficial for a better work-life balance, because flexibility can lead to spill-overs from work to home and blur the boundaries between them. I expect that different family, company and national contexts will shape the way flexi-time is used by individuals as well as its outcomes. I will match data from three levels; individual, company and national levels across 25 European countries to explore this question further.

This project started on the 16th of December 2013 and ended n the 19th of November 2017.

For more about the project please visit http://www.wafproject.org

Click here for a summary of the project.

Publications from this project include:

Related publications from my Ph.D. include:

Related to this project, and continuing from my post-doctoral project I am currently investigating the influence of welfare state institutions on the work-family conflict of individuals. Many studies examine this issue but come to very different empirical results - many say social policies increase work-family conflict of individuals rather than decreasing it, and especially for women. I am trying to explain why this is the case, through examining the mediating factors that connect social policies and work-family conflict.

Related publications include:


Labour market institutions and subjective employment insecurity

Another research project that I am currently involved in, which is an extension of my post-doctoral research project (Funded by the European Commission) is to examine the various influence of welfare state institutions on subjective employment insecurity of European individuals. My current focus is on how different institutional structures impact different groups of the labour market in different ways, as well as the moderating influence of institutions in the outcomes of subjective insecurity on subjective well-being and political attitudes/support for the welfare state.

Related publications include:


Norface Project: Our Children's Europe (project website)

This is an international project that examine attitudes to welfare and to the future development of welfare states in six European countries . People’s current aspirations, ideas and assumptions will be important drivers of change and persistence in European welfare states, and of the extent to which conflict and solidarity surround change. This project uses innovative methods (deliberative democratic forums, a qualitative cross-national focus group survey) to develop understanding of people’s aspirations for the Europe their children will inhabit.

The project will contribute to theoretical work on the main cleavages and solidarities driving social policy in different European welfare states and to more practical consideration of the parameters of acceptable policy change. It will supply new findings relevant to the politics and sociology of welfare and provide data for reanalysis and as a base-line in future studies.

The project is headed by Peter Taylor-Gooby (PI) and consists of welfare attitude experts across Europe.

Jorgen Goul Andersen and Christian Albrekt Larsen (Alborg), Maša Filipovič and Hrast Tatjana Rakar (Ljubljana), Bjorn Hvinden and Mi Ah Schoyen (Nova), Steffen Mau and Jan-Ocko Heuer (Humbolt), Wim van Oorschot (Leuven), Benjamin Leruth (Kent) along with myself.

This project if funded by the NORFACE Welfare Futures Grant .

The project will run from the 1st of February 2015 till August 2018.

Project publications include

Related publications include


Norwegian project on part-time work (project website)

I am participating in a project funded by the Research Council of Norway. The project title is "“Part-time careers in Norway – the end of normalization? Women’s working time adaptation in a longitudinal perspective”. PI: Heidi Nicolaisen at Fafo

This project will run from November 2014 – Nov 2017


Previous Projects

Other awarded grants