Findings & Publications
Career degradation in Australian cities: globalization, precarity and adversity
This paper explores the impact on urban labour markets of the closure of the Australian automotive manufacturing industry through a qualitative analysis of ex-automotive workers’ experiences of redundancy and precarious work. We locate the experiences of workers inside a multidimensional concept of precarity that can be both objectively measured and subjectively produced. These findings show the need for strong policies directed at boosting the economies of affected urban communities alongside labour market programmes able to provide secure work after large-scale plant closures. Through the voices of affected workers, we demonstrate the complex ways their lives have been affected.
Read the publication
KEYWORDS: urban labour markets; economic change; unemployment; precarious work; outer urban
Helen Dinmore & Andrew Beer (2022) Career degradation in Australian cities: globalization, precarity and adversity, Regional Studies, Regional Science, 9:1, 371-385, DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2022.2078737
Plant closures in Australia’s automotive industry: continuity and change
This paper explores the possibility of using diachronic case study comparisons to shed light on continuity and change in policy interventions to manage plant closures. It compares the early results of a survey of workers retrenched in the 2017 closure of Australia’s passenger vehicle manufacturing industry with the results of a similar survey of workers who lost their jobs in the 2005 closure of Mitsubishi’s Adelaide engine-casting and components plant. Despite the 12 years of accumulated expertise in plant closure and structural adjustment management, this comparison shows remarkable similarities in the profile of the cohort of retrenched workers and remarkable similarities in their employment outcomes. The discussion reflects on conditions that produce continuity and change.
Read the publication
KEYWORDS: plant closure; redundancy; automotive industry; policy intervention; Australia
Jacob Irving, Andrew Beer, Sally Weller & Tom Barnes (2022) Plant closures in Australia’s automotive industry: continuity and change, Regional Studies, Regional Science, 9:1, 5-22, DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2021.2016071
Place-based industrial strategy and economic trajectory: advancing agency-based approaches
Agency-based approaches represent a fundamental advance in how researchers and policymakers can address questions of place-based industrial strategy, including issues of governance, leadership, new technology and regional assets. However, these approaches can be advanced further by recognizing the centrality of discourse in regional change. This paper does this by synthesizing two conceptual frameworks: Grillitsch and Sotarauta’s trinity of change agency and Moulaert et al.’s framework of Agency Structure Institutions Discourse (ASID). Deploying two Australian case studies to shed light on drivers of change at the local scale, this paper demonstrates that discourse is a necessary component of transformative regional processes. Furthermore, it contends that successful transformation is presupposed by the extent to which local discourse overlaps with local opportunity spaces and forms of agency. Successful place-based industrial strategies need to mobilize these multiple elements of regional change in order to maximize their potential for success.
Read the publication
KEYWORDS: agency; place-based leadership; economic transformation; regional pathways; Australia; industrial strategy
Andrew Beer, Tom Barnes & Sandy Horne (2021): Place-based industrial strategy and economic trajectory: advancing agency-based approaches, Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2021.1947485
The urban and regional impacts of plant closures: new methods and perspectives
Work on large-scale plant closures has provided a rich vein of scholarship and academic debate. This paper articulates a new set of methods and concepts for understanding how large-scale redundancies associated with the closure of manufacturing plants affects society and the economy at the local, regional and national scales. It posits the need for a more comprehensive exercise in data collection and experimentation with previously unused methods, including the application of discrete-choice experiments in order to understand better the choice and decision-making frameworks adopted by affected workers. The paper argues there is a need to integrate community-wide policy responses into the core of the analyses.
Read the publication
KEYWORDS: plant closures, mass redundancies, precariousness, structural adjustment programmes, place leadership
Andrew Beer, Sally Weller, Tom Barnes, Ilke Onur, Julie Ratcliffe, David Bailey & Markku Sotarauta (2019) The urban and regional impacts of plant closures: new methods and perspectives, Regional Studies, Regional Science, 6:1, 380-394, DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2019.1622440
Becoming Precarious? Precarious Work and Life Trajectories After Retrenchment
Much of the large literature on precarious work has largely tended to assume that precarity is shaped by job quality: that precarious work leads to precarious lives. This paper adds to the literature by questioning this line of causality and highlighting the broader range of influences shaping the lives of older workers who enter precarious work after retrenchment from secure, long-term careers. Drawing on a study of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry, which closed in 2017, this article finds that for older retrenched workers, exposure to precarious employment sharpened life precarity for some but did not lead to precarious lives for others. Instead of a uniform transition from security to precarity, these workers’ life trajectories diverged depending on their household-scale financial security. Key issues influencing the likelihood of older workers’ lives becoming precarious were enterprise benefits and asset wealth accumulated through their previous careers.
Read the publication
KEYWORDS: Sociology of work, precarity, precarisation, precarious work, precariat, retrenched workers, older workers
Barnes, T, & Weller, S 2020. ‘Becoming Precarious? Precarious Work and Life Trajectories After Retrenchment’, Critical Barnes, T., & Weller, S. A. (2020). Becoming Precarious? Precarious Work and Life Trajectories After Retrenchment. Critical Sociology, 46(4–5), 527–541. https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920519896822
Agency, structure, discourse and entrepreneurship: Understanding the transition of former auto regions
This paper sets out to better understand how regions that have experienced a major economic shock can establish a new economic future. It examines the recent writings of Grillitsch et al (2019) to better understand the drivers of agency, focusing in particular on the capacity of entrepreneurs to drive innovation leading to growth; the role of institutions as critical actors in change processes, and the part played by place leaders. This perspective is considered alongside the work of Moulert et al (2016) and the emphasis they have placed on the role of discourse. These ideas are then applied to the examination of the community impacts of the closure of Australia’s automotive sector.
KEYWORDS: automotive industry, industry closure, economic shock, innovation, place leadership
Beer, A 2019, ‘Agency, structure, discourse and entrepreneurship: Understanding the transition of former auto regions’, presented to The University of Bath: School of Management, The University of South Australia, Adelaide.
HSRIP Report – An evaluation of the impact of retrenchment at Mitsubishi focussing on affected workers, their families and communities: Implications for human services policies and practices
This report presents the findings of stage one of a longitudinal study into the health, housing and labour market impacts of job loss at Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL). The research aims to understand how the loss of employment arising from the closure of Mitsubishi at Lonsdale, a significant manufacturing plant, and voluntary redundancies at Mitsubishi at Tonsley Park, affects the well-being of workers and their families. The research examines the processes of adjustment and change – health impacts, loss of job and possible loss of income – affecting workers and their families who have been made redundant or accepted voluntary redundancy packages.
KEYWORDS: Redundancy; Retrenchment; Unemployment; Social aspects; Wellbeing
Beer, A, Baum, F, Thomas, H, Lowry, D, Cutler, C, Zhang, G, Jolley, G, Ziersch, A, Verity, F, MacDougall, C & Newman, L 2006, ‘An evaluation of the impact of retrenchment at Mitsubishi focussing on affected workers, their families and communities: implications for human services policies and practices’, Flinders University, Adelaide.
Other Publications from our Researchers
Weller, S, Barnes, T & Kimberley, N 2022, ‘Geographies of job quality’, in C Warhurst, C Mathieu & RE Dwyer (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Job Quality, Oxford University Press, UK, ch. 9, pp. 203-219.
Beer, A & Irving, J 2021, ‘Theory, methods and innovation in the study of place leadership: a review of the opportunity’, in M Sotarauta & A Beer (eds), Handbook on city and regional leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing, UK, ch. 16, pp. 281-301.
Beer, A, Sotarauta, M & Ayles, K 2021, ‘Place, city, regional, rural … leadership: a review’, in M Sotarauta & A Beer (eds), Handbook on city and regional leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing, UK, ch. 2, pp. 19-40.
Cavoli, T, Onur, I & Sourdin, P 2021, ‘Financial inclusion, active bank accounts, and poverty reduction in India’, in T Cavoli & R Shrestha (eds), Financial inclusion in Asia and beyond: measurement, development gaps, and economic consequences, Routledge, UK, ch. 9, pp. 251-269.
Dinmore, H & Beer, A 2021, ‘Narrative and leadership: lessons for policy and place leadership’, in M Sotarauta & A Beer (eds), Handbook on city and regional leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing, UK, ch. 19, pp. 343-360.
Johnson, LC, Weller, S & Barnes, T 2021, ‘(Extra) Ordinary Geelong: state-led urban regeneration and economic revival’, in JR Bryson, RV Kalafsky & V Vanchan (eds), Ordinary Cities, Extraordinary Geographies: People, Place and Space, Edward Elgar, US, ch. 5, pp. 85-107.
Sotarauta, M & Beer, A 2021, ‘Introduction to city and regional leadership’, in M Sotarauta & A Beer (eds), Handbook on city and regional leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing, UK, ch. 1, pp. 2-18.
Baker, E, Daniel, L, Beer, A, Bentley, R, Rowley, S, Baddeley, M, London, K, Stone, W, Nygaard, C, Hulse, K & Lockwood, A 2022, ‘An Australian rental housing conditions research infrastructure’, Scientific Data, vol. 9, issue 1, article no. 33, pp. 1-5.
Irving, J, Beer, A, Weller, S & Barnes, T 2022, ‘Plant closures in Australia’s automotive industry: continuity and change’, Regional Studies, Regional Science, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 5-22.
Weller, S & Beer, A 2022, ‘State structures and the limits of agency: governing the transformation from coal in Australia’, Regional Studies, online, pp. 1-13.
Beer, A, Barnes, T & Horne, S 2021, ‘Place-based industrial strategy and economic trajectory: advancing agency-based approaches’, Regional Studies, online, pp. 1-14.
Hallak, R, Lee, C & Onur, I 2021, ‘Health star ratings and beverage purchase intentions: a study of Australian and New Zealand hospitality consumers’, Foods.
Hutchinson, C, Milte, R, Stanley, M, Duff, G & Ratcliffe, J 2021, ‘Using discrete choice experiments to elicit the service preferences of people with mild intellectual disability: an exploratory study’, Health and Social Care in the Community, online, pp. 1-10.
Martin, J, Beer, A, Morris, A, Paris, C & Budge, T 2021, ‘Rural local governance and housing: Local government as facilitator’, Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 4-25.
Ratcliffe, J, Khadka, J, Milte, R, Walker, R, Cleland, J, McBain, C & Hutchinson, C 2021, ‘Developing dimensions for a new preference-based quality of life instrument for older people receiving aged care services in the community’, Quality of Life Research, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 555-565.
Tang, RW & Beer, A 2021, ‘Regional innovation and the retention of foreign direct investment: a place-based approach’, Regional Studies, online, pp. 1-14.
Vij, A, Connor, JD & Beer, A 2021, ‘The negative effects of urban agglomeration on housing affordability in Australia’, Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 26-46.
Weller, S & Rainnie, A 2021, ‘Not so ‘smart’? An Australian experiment in smart specialisation’, Geographical Research, online, pp. 1-14.
Weller, S 2021, ‘Places that matter: Australia’s crisis intervention framework and voter response’, Cambridge Journal of Regions Economy and Society, online, pp. 1-16.