Browser does not support script.


People in Employment Settings (PiES) Research Group

This is an interdisciplinary group to foster and promote investigation into people and the workplace.

People in Employment Settings (PiES) logo

The People in Employment Settings (PiES) Research Group draws on expertise across the University and collaborates with local, regional and national organisations.

As a key focus, the group seeks to promote research into the modern experience of individuals and their place in organisations across all areas of the economy.

Key research areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD)
  • Employability
  • Psychological and sociological approaches to the world of work, workplace behaviours and work practises, particularly given the prevalence of such areas as key sites for challenging issues of social justice.

Operating as an umbrella group, PiES seeks to challenge and encourage researchers to develop research in a safe space and be accountable for raising the profile of the group and York St John University within associated communities.

Get in touch

As an eclectic research group, we welcome staff members, researchers and postgraduate research students from across the University, who have an interest in better understanding issues linked to people in employment settings.

If you are interested in joining the PiES Research Group, please contact:

Dr Steven Cock:
Dr Alan Johnston:

Research activity


  • Cauwelier, P. and Boak, G. (2024) The facilitator/coach in action learning. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 21 (1), pp. 2-4.
  • Johnston, A. (2024) Manifesting the Academic Psychological Contract. Applied Psychology Research, 2 (1).
  • Johnston, A. and Johnston, L. (2024) Considering the mystery of professionalism: Further Education in the UK. Forum for Education. (In Press).
  • Johnston, A. and Johnston, L. (2024) Assessment for Employability: Is Synoptic Assessment the Answer? Forum for Education Studies, 2 (2), pp. 1-8.
  • Marinotti, G. and Johnston, A. (2024) Leader ‘leadership’ perceptions within a luxury hotel environment. Human Resource Management and Services. (In Press).
  • Pisoni, G. and Molnar, B. (2024) AI-Based Solution for Sustainability Tracing for Companies. International Journal of Knowledge Management, 20 (1), pp. 1-17.
  • Ratcliffe, T. (2024) Voices in a contested landscape: Community participation and upland management in the North York Moors National Park. Landscape Research. DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2024.2329600
  • Robson, M and Boak, G. (2024) Motivations of internal workplace coaches: What attracts them to the role? A mixed methods study. European Journal of Training and Development. (In Press)
  • Scrase, F. and Boak, G. (2024) Developing skills of action learning facilitators. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 21 (1), pp. 86-93.
  • Swain, S. (2024) Sport, leisure, and social justice in an age of uncertainty: Investigating the relationship between power, precarity and the rise of the prosumer. In S. Lawrence, J. Hill and R. Mowatt (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Social Justice in Sport and Leisure. London: Routledge.
  • Swain, S. (2024) Zygmant Bauman and the liquid modern world. In K. Spracklen, B. Lashua and F. Yuen (eds.) Research Handbook of the Sociology of Leisure. Camberley: Edward Elgar.
  • Swain, S., Lashua, B. and Spracklen, K. (2024) Khat-chewing, adiaphorization and morality: Rethinking ethics in the age of the synopticon. Critical Criminology. (In Press).
  • Walsh, S., Johnston, A. and Gabriel, L. (2024) Building resilient leadership: A study exploring leadership development during uncertainty. Human Resource Management and Services. (In Press).
  • Atiku, S.O., Kurana, C.M. and Ganiyu, I. (2023) Leadership and Service Delivery in Times of Change. Administrative Sciences, 13 (5). DOI:
  • Boak, G. (2023) Action learning aiding innovation. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 20 (2), pp. 97-98.
  • Boak, G. (2023) Developing ideas and stories about action learning. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 20 (3), pp. 201-202.
  • Chapman, G., Cock, S. and Swain, S. (2023) A Matter of Distinction? A Case Study Examining the Development of a Sporting Habitus Amongst Male Sixth-Form Pupils in a Private School in the United Kingdom. International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure. DOI:
  • Deslauriers, R.P and Boak, G. (2023) Strategic Management, Innovation and Leadership. In J. Bratton (ed.) Organizational Leadership. 2nd ed. London: SAGE.
  • Finnestrand, H., Ola Edvin, V. and Boak, G. (2023) Critical incident technique and action learning to enable organizational learning. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 20 (3), pp. 221-238.
  • Green, M., Swain, S., and Mierzwinski, M. (2023) Investigating the impact and value of anti-racist pedagogy within the undergraduate sport and leisure curriculum: A York St John University case study. York: York St John University and the Leisure Studies Association.
  • Helal, R.Y., Ali, S., Strecker, S. and Weir, D. (2023) Navigating wasta in business practices in Lebanon, Thunderbird International Business Review. DOI: 10.1002/tie.22352
  • Johnston, A., Cock, S., Walsh, S. and Healy, S. (2023) From there to here: Reflections on alternative journeys to a career in academia. International Journal of HRD: Practice, Policy and Research, 7(2), pp. 19-37.
  • Pisoni, G., Molnar, B. and Tarcsi, A. (2023) Knowledge Management and Data Analysis Techniques for Data-Driven Financial Companies. Journal of the Knowledge Economy. DOI:
  • Ratcliffe, T. (2023) The fight against climate change and biodiversity loss: land ownership, management and community voices. Voice of the Moors, 151, pp. 16-17.
  • Walsh, S. and Johnston, A. (2023) Volunteering during Covid-19: Leadership Matters – The case of Scrubs. Voluntary Sector Review, 14 (3), pp. 498-518.
  • Watt, P., Boak, G. and Gold, J. (2023) Leadership Development. In J. Bratton (ed.) Organizational Leadership. 2nd ed. London: SAGE.
  • Weir, D. (2023) Humans as Horses: A Revisionist Approach to the Conventional Foundational Story about “Management”. In J.A. Mills and N. Deal (eds.) A World Scientific Encyclopedia of Business Storytelling. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.
  • Wheatley, D., Broome, M., Dobbins, T., Hopkins, B. and Powell, O. (2023) Navigating Choppy Water: Flexibility Ripple Effects in the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future of Remote and Hybrid Working. Work, Employment and Society. DOI:
  • Bishop, G., Johnston, A. and Hemmings, M. (2022) Jazzing up the classroom: Reflections on developing a critical pedagogy in M level teaching. International Journal of the Management of Education, 20 (2), pp. 1-10.
  • Boak, G. (2022) Action Learning and Healthcare 2011-2022. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 19 (3), pp. 251-268.
  • Boak, G. (2022) The versatility of action learning. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 19 (2), pp. 118-119.
  • Boak, G. (2022) The hidden power of systems thinking: governance in a climate emergency. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 19 (1), pp. 101-103.
  • Hardwick, B., Madigan, D., Hill, A., Kumar, S. and Chan, D.K.C. (2022) Perfectionism and attitudes towards doping in athletes: The mediating role of achievement goal orientations. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20 (3), pp. 743-756.
  • Huaccho Huatuco, L., Zevallos Porles, G., Candia, J. R. and Mathew, R.C. (2022) Strategies towards achieving low carbon and high-value-added from the economic sectors in North Yorkshire: A Report for North Yorkshire County Council. York: School for Business and Society, University of York.
  • Kennedy, E., Sherman, S., Weitz, N., Crabbe, S., Devaney, V., Tariq, H. and Worsfold, C. (2022) Get Interactive: The Value of a MOOC for Continuing Professional Learning and Development. In D. Forbes and R. Walker (eds.) Developing Online teaching in Higher Education: Global Perspectives on Continuing Professional Learning and Development. Singapore: Springer.
  • Motasem, T., Weir, D., McIntosh, B. and Walker-Smith, L. (2022) HRM practices and innovation: an intra-organisational perspective. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 22 (1-2), pp. 98-118.
  • Ratcliffe, T. (2022) Walking Research in the North York Moors. Voice of the Moors, 149, pp. 12-13.
  • Sanyal, C., Edmonstone, J., Abbot, C., Winterburn, K. and Boak, G. (2022) Action learning and healthcare: affinities and challenges. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 19 (3), pp. 269-274.
  • Weir, D. and Ali, S. (2022) Wasta as an example of informal social networks in emerging markets. In S. Horak (ed.) Informal Networks in International Business. Bingley: Emerald.

Group members

Dr Steven Cock

Group Co-Chair, Senior Lecturer

Dr Alan Johnston

Group Co-Chair, Senior Lecturer

Professor David Weir

Professor of Intercultural Management

Dr George Boak

Associate Professor

Staff profile image of Sarah Crabbe

Dr Sarah Crabbe

Associate Professor

Susan Walsh


Lynsey Walker-Smith

Senior Lecturer

Staff profile image of Ruby Christine Mathew

Dr Ruby Christine Mathew


Dr Owen Powell


Panagiotis Dimitriadis


Dr Spencer Swain

Senior Lecturer

Staff profile image of Simon Kumar

Dr Simon Kumar

Senior Lecturer

Stuart Healy


Dr Winojith Sanjeewa


Profile image of Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor

Postgraduate Researcher

A staff profile image of Robert Avery

Robert Avery

Senior Lecturer

Staff profile image of Sarah Cooper

Dr Sarah Cooper

Senior Lecturer

Dr Idris Ganiyu

Senior Lecturer

Staff profile image of Minoo Esfehani

Dr Minoo Esfehani


Dr Olga Kalogeraki

Senior Lecturer

Dr Berisford Lewis

Senior Lecturer

Staff profile image of Galena Pisoni

Dr Galena Pisoni


Dr Tom Ratcliffe


Richard Ward

Postgraduate Researcher

External Associate Members

Dr Gill Bishop

University of York

Dr Philip Coombes

Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Qin Zhou

University of Leeds