Latest news on European research in learning and work [L&W] - December 2015


Particularly worth noting in this edition are calls for papers relating to the following international conferences: Action Learning at Ashridge Business School, UFHRD 2016 in Manchester, SCUTREA 2016 in Leicester, EGOS "Activity Theory and Organizations" in Naples and Competence 2016 at Wageningen University (see Conferences).

Many thanks to all who contributed information for this edition and who sent helpful feedback. The L&W Newsletter reaches you via a mailing list of over 1400 experts in and beyond Europe. It focuses on transnational research activities in the field of human resource development (HRD) and vocational education and training (VET), centred on major categories: conferences, networks, programmes, projects and publications. The next edition will appear in early February 2016. You are invited to submit short pieces of news (texts of 100 to 200 words, without attachments, but including links to web pages) - please by 31 January 2016 at the latest!

Should you prefer to read the current edition online, you can find it on the L&W website ( under December 2015. Please pass the Newsletter on to your own colleagues and networks - thanks!

With best wishes
Sabine Manning
Research Forum WIFO
Editor of the L&W Newsletter


Action Learning in Challenging Times - Call for proposals
5th International Conference on "Action Learning in Challenging Times: Questioning Insight, Challenging Practice", sponsored by the Journal of Action Learning: Research & Practice. Ashridge Business School, UK,  21-23 March 2016
As we head into 2016 the world looks to be ever more complex, divided and vulnerable, and desperately in need of innovative solutions. New questions, fresh insights, imaginative conversation that challenge traditional boundaries are imperative. The 2016 International Action Learning Research Practice Conference seeks to be a forum for sharing such experience, insights and questions. For details, to contribute abstracts or proposals for other contributions:
(Conributed by Clare Rigg <[email protected]>)

UFHRD 17th International conference - Deadline extended
Call for Papers: "Leadership, Diversity and Changing Practices in HRD in a Global Context"
The 17th International conference on Human Resource Development, Research and Practice across Europe will be in Manchester 8-10th June 2016, and welcomes papers covering the above themes. These will help to advance our knowledge and understanding of HRD, which are so relevant to the global workplace of the 21st century.  As in previous years, the conference will encompass all aspects of Human Resource Development, not only on the theme of the conference but also on wider agendas. Papers are welcome in all areas of Human Resource Development as follows: • Leadership Management and Talent Development • Coaching and Executive Development • Global, comparative and cross-cultural dimensions of HRD • Employee Engagement • Diversity Issues and Career Development • Workplace Learning Training and Development • Scholarly Practitioner Research • Learning, Teaching and Education • Critical Approaches to HRD. - The deadline for submitting abstracts has just been extended to the 11th December 2015. Please see the website for further information Dr Linda Alker, Conference Chair.
(Posted by Linda Alker <[email protected]>; update via Jim Stewart <[email protected]>)

SCUTREA 2016 Conference - Call for papers now open
We're delighted to let you know that the Call for Papers is now open for SCUTREA's 2016 Conference, "Adult Education in Austere Times", which is being organised in collaboration with the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester. The conference will take place at the University of Leicester's College Court Conference Centre from Tuesday 5th until Thursday 7th July 2016. Themes could include: Active citizenship - Lifelong learning and mobility - Adult education, character and the cultivation of virtues - Skills and employment - Career enhancement and development - Second chance education - Creativity and innovation - Social inclusion - Families and communities - Teaching and learning environments/spaces - Formal and Informal learning - Wellbeing and ageing - Learning in multiple communities - Widening participation. Further details see Conference website. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 15 January 2016. All proposals should be submitted as a Word document and emailed to [email protected]
(Info received via CR&DALL Site Digest)

Call for proposals: Activity Theory and Organizations (EGOS)
We are looking forward to receiving interesting short paper proposals for the forthcoming sub-theme 33: "Activity Theory and Organizations" taking place in the 32nd European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) at the Colloquium 2016 in Naples, Italy, July 7-9, 2016. Please view the description of the sub-theme at the EGOS website: Submission period for short papers for the Colloquium started October 1, 2015 and ends Monday, January 11, 2016. Please note the guidelines and criteria for the submission of short papers. If you have any questions please contact: [email protected]. For more information about the EGOS 2016 conference, please see general theme. Best wishes, convenors of the sub-theme 33, Yrjö Engeström, Anu Kajamaa & Zlatko Bodrozic
(Info received from Anu Kajamaa <[email protected]>)

Competence 2016 - Proposal submission open
International conference on Competence Theory, Research and Practice. Wageningen University, the Netherlands, October 19-21, 2016
The field of competence studies has grown exponentially. It has gained wide interest in all sectors of education, in various types of organizations, in research and in consultancy. Competence-based education, training and development, competence management and core-competence strategy have been blossoming since the 1960s. There is much talk about theories and definitions of competence, and there are many different perspectives. Some speak about exclusive epistemologies by which competence-based practices are being framed as technical-instrumental; others contend that those practices are integral or holistic, and based on a variety of different knowledge theories. What has theory, research and practical experience with implementing competence solutions brought us? What progress has been made, and to what extent have competence-based practices resulted in improved sustainable performance? These, and more questions will be raised during the international conference on competence theory, research and practice. Themes will include: Competence-based strategy and management; Competence-based education; Competence domains and Other. Important dates: Proposal submission starting 1 Dec 2015, closing 21 March 2016. For more information see Call for proposals and website:
(Info received from Martin Mulder <[email protected]> and Michael Gessler <[email protected]>)

Crossing Boundaries: Conference Proceedings 2015
The Proceedings of the International Conference on VET Research in Bremen 2015 have now been published: "Crossing Boundaries in Vocational Education and Training: Innovative Concepts for the 21st century" (Evaluate Europe Handbook Series Volume 6), . Introduced by the editors, Michael Gessler & Larissa Freund, Institute Technology and Education (ITB), the Proceedings include 40 research papers from more than 20 countries. At the conference, a wide range of topics were covered such as the transition from school to work, work-based learning, the professionalization of teaching staff, using digital media in VET, the transfer of VET to other countries, quality assurance and training networks. The electronic version of the Proceedings is now available to download.
(Info passed on from the vetnetsite:

NOTE: Forthcoming and recent events related to European research in work and learning are listed on the WIFO Conference page [].  
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Networks and Organisations

VETNET meeting in Brussels
On 29th October a first meeting took place in Brussels between representatives of VETNET (M. Gessler & M. Mulder) and the acting head (J. Santos) as well as the team leaders (Mantas Sekmokas, Norbert Schoebel, Paul Holdsworth and Carlo Scatoli) of the Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Unit Vocational Training and Adult Education. Topics of the meeting were two-way information about progress in each fields (VET politics & VET research) and a productive explorative collection of possibilities for cooperation. Further meetings were agreed. First joint actions are expected in 2016, the 20th anniversary of VETNET.
(Info by Michael Gessler posted on the vetnetsite 31.10.15)

New English Newsletter from Céreq
As a professional researcher or expert in vocational education and training, you might be interested in the new English newsletter which reports on Céreq ongoing studies and recent publications. Since 40 years Céreq has been the French centre of expertise in training and employment studies. It operates under the aegis of Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. On request you may receive the Newsletter via the mailing list. For any questions, please contact the editors [email protected]
(Info received from Isabelle de Lassus, International Communications Officer)

Your guide: Who's who in transnational European VET and HRD research
The Directory of Professional Contacts (, maintained by the Research Forum WIFO, serves as a Who's who, offering up-to-date information on more than 200 contacts across 30 countries in the field of transnational European VET and HRD research. Each person included in the DPC is both a producer of transnational research and an active transnational networker. The criteria for inclusion in the DPC and and the references to individual professional work are explained in the introduction. They relate to evidence of transnational activities presented in WIFO resources of European collaboration such as the Bookshelf, Overview of articles, Conference page, ECER VETNET Proceedings and Overview of HRD conference papers, Networks at a glance and Overview of projects. The DPC is updated continuously as part of European collaboration in VET and HRD research.
(Contributed by Sabine Manning)

NOTE: References to research networks in the field of European work and learning are available on the WIFO page Networks at a glance []. Major online resources related to European research networks include the ECER VETNET Proceedings ( offering a complete and up-to-date collection of conference papers submitted since 1998, and the Overview of selected HRD conference papers (
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NOTE: Contributions are welcome for the next edition of the Directory of Doctoral Dissertations (, provided as part of the WIFO Gateway, which focuses on European research in the field of vocational education (VET) and human resource development (HRD). Please provide information on expected or newly completed doctoral dissertations investigating issues of HRD, VET or work-related adult education, according to the following pattern: 1*Theme of dissertation (original language AND English); 2*Year of (expected) completion or publication; 3*Author (name and email address); 4*Tutor (name and email address); 5*Institution of tutor (name and home page). Contributions should be posted by email to the editor ([email protected]).
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SMEQUAL Handbook
Project: SMEs in Europe - Key competences for enhanced employability
The productive base of Europe's economy is represented by a widespread network of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) playing a crucial role for job creation and local development. External conditions such as infrastructures and educational systems, which are now binding on SMEs, have slowed down productivity. Nowadays, the basic needs of SMEs consist in the quality of the products and services, the recognition and the consolidation of the human resources skills through continuing training and the exploitation of ICT devices. In this scenario the SMEQUAL Project intends to support stakeholders in the application of these systemic instruments in the VET programmes for SMEs. The European Handbook, the main Project output, provides practical guidelines and methodologies for the definition of professional qualifications in terms of Learning Outcomes (LO) and the implementation of ECVET technical characteristics. The aim is to describe and show the positive impact that professional qualifications, designed according to the European lifelong learning instruments (EQF, ECVET and EQAVET), can have on training and educational paths, and thereby, on the workers' professional development and the enterprises' competitiveness and growth. The handbook (forthcoming) will be available on the project website Contact: [email protected]
(Info received from Giuditta Alessandrini <[email protected]>)

NOTE: Contributions are invited to update the Overview of European research projects [], provided as part of the WIFO Gateway. The overview focuses on transnational research projects, mainly supported by EU programmes, in the areas of human resource development, vocational education, work and learning. Please send the following information to the editor ([email protected]):  (A) exact title and acronym (short name) of the project; (B) name and email address of the coordinator or main contact; (C) address of the website (or info page/ flyer) of the project. Contact: Sabine Manning
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Realising Critical HRD
Stories of Reflecting, Voicing, and Enacting Critical Practice. Editor(s): Jamie L. Callahan, Jim Stewart, Clare Rigg, Sally Sambrook, Kiran Trehan. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.
This book contends that the project of Critical Human Resource Development (CHRD) is to effect change/transformation, and that, as such, critical scholars must expose the injustices and inequities associated with the neoliberal narrative which forms the dominant rationality of current mainstream HRD practice. In other words, those that would change must first recognise that there is a problem worthy of being transformed. It is here that much of the CHRD project has plateaued; there is much theorising on dominant ideology, hegemony, power structures, and other artefacts of a critical agenda, yet there are comparatively few empirical explorations of the CHRD project that would facilitate practical engagement. This book offers a series of chapters that provide examples of different approaches to engaging in interventions that allow CHRD professionals to challenge power structures, and, in turn, begin to effect change for organisations and employees alike. The chapters are clustered in three distinct approaches to thinking about, talking about and doing critical practice; thus, the sections of the book are titled Reflecting, Voicing, and Enacting.
More information at where you can read an extract and some reviews.
(Info received from Jim Stewart <[email protected]> via UFHRD mailing list)

Sustainable Development in Organizations
Studies on Innovative Practices. Edited by: Mattias Elg, Per-Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten and Malin Tillmar. HELIX Centre of Excellence, Linköping University. To be published soon by Edvard Elgar Publishing. ISBN 978 1 78471 688 2
This book is devoted to exploring mechanisms that enable sustainable change and development in organizations. The work presented is based on research carried out at HELIX Excellence Centre, a 10 year research program at Linköping University. We believe that the theme of the book is central for anyone interested in the quest for how to organize for innovation and change. The central theme and argument of the book is that we need to have a long-term perspective based on learning, trust and active ownership in efforts to sustain change initiatives.
(Posted by Per-Erik Ellström <[email protected]>)

A Guide to Professional Doctorates in Business and Management
A new book on professional doctorates has just been published by Sage. Titled A Guide to Professional Doctorates in Business and Management the book is edited by Dr Lisa Anderson, Professor Jeff Gold, Professor Jim Stewart and Professor Richard Thorpe, all of UK universities. Chapters have been written by a team of experts with experience of the challenges faced in both studying for and supervising professional doctorates in business and management.  They address the key issues faced, in particular how these courses differ from a traditional PhD, and the different skills and approach needed for success. The guide also offers practical guidance on researching in this particular mode, and through writing and publishing a thesis, making a valuable contribution to professional knowledge. More details are at
(Posted by Jim Stewart <[email protected]>)

The Bologna Process in Portugal and Poland
Tomé, E., Susabowska, K. The Bologna Process in Portugal and Poland: A comparative study. Paper presented at the 16th Intern. Conference on HRD Research and Practice across Europe 2015 [Link].
We analyze the consequences of the introduction of the EU directed Bologna Process in Portuguese and Polish Universities. Specifically we study how the Bologna Process has impacted on the employment situation of graduates in Portugal and Poland. The investment in HE stalled in both countries in the years since the implementation of the Bologna Process due to massive budgetary restrictions. Nevertheless the stock of HE graduates increased massively. However, an unexpected divide appeared between graduates and Masters/PhDs, with important social consequences. While the first "saved" themselves and prospered, going into high skilled jobs, the latter had to endure minimum wages and underskilled occupations. The low payment for these youngsters was also justified because the supply of HE with Bologna increased but the demand by companies did not match. In fact, both Portugal and Poland have stronger needs in the demand side of the market than in the supply side. Finally, both markets continue to be essentially public and the experiences of privatization did not really succeed. The study is important because it shows a new explanation for the troubled life of European young workers at the beginning of the 21st century.
(Posted by Katarzyna Susabowska <[email protected]>)

Perceived managerial and leadership effectiveness in Asian and European companies
Robert G. Hamlin & Sewon Kim. A comparative study of perceived managerial and leadership effectiveness within Asian and European for-profit companies.  Paper presented at the 16th International Conference on HRD Research and Practice Across Europe 2015. UFHRD Conference Archives [Details]
A qualitative multiple cross-case/cross-nation comparative study of empirical source data obtained from four prior qualitative 'critical incident' replication studies of perceived managerial and leadership effectiveness was carried out. Its aim was to search for similarities and differences between what managers and non-managerial employees in British, German and South Korean private companies, and in a Chinese for-profit-like enterprise, perceived and judged as effective and ineffective managerial behaviour. Over 91% of the positive and negative behavioural effectiveness indicators identified in the two Asian countries, and over 95% in the two European countries, were found to be congruent in meaning. The results suggest that what behaviourally distinguishes effective managers from ineffective managers is much the same across all four countries. This finding challenges the predominant discourse in the cross-cultural management literature which asserts that particular types and styles of managerial and leadership behaviour are contingent on the cultural aspects of specific countries. The authors suggest that HRD practitioners in all four countries could use the identified geocentric behavioural indicators of perceived managerial and leadership effectiveness to critically evaluate their existing management competency frameworks and MLD programmes, whilst Western multinationals might find the research useful when preparing expatriate managers for assignments in Asian countries.
(Contributed by Bob Hamlin <[email protected]>)

Comparative study of the perceptions about managerial and leadership effectiveness
Carlos E. Ruiz, Robert G. Hamlin, Angeles Carioni. A Comparative Study of the Perceptions of Argentinean and Mexican Managers and Non-Managerial Employees about Managerial and Leadership Effectiveness. Paper presented at the 16th International Conference on HRD Research and Practice Across Europe 2015. UFHRD Conference Archives [Details]
A qualitative multiple cross-case/cross-nation comparative study of empirical source data obtained from two prior qualitative 'critical incident' replication studies of perceived managerial and leadership effectiveness  was carried with the aim of searching for similarities and differences between what Argentinean and Mexican managers and non-managerial employees perceived as the behavioural determinants of effective and ineffective managers respectively. Approximately 54% of indicative managerial behaviours observed in Argentina and 78% in Mexico were found to be the same, or similar, or somewhat congruent in meaning. The results suggest that, in the main, perceptions of effective and ineffective managers in these two culturally diverse countries are common both in terms of description and substantive meaning. Overall, 62% of the findings are transferable across the two countries, and therefore could be used by Argentinean HR professionals for preparing Argentinean managers for assignments in Mexico, or conversely by Mexican HR professionals for training Mexican executives for managerial assignments in Argentina. Additionally, the complete set of findings could be useful to both HRD and HRM professionals in Europe-based multinational corporations who have to prepare managers to act as expatriate managers in various subsidiaries around the globe, or are striving to develop 'universalistic' HR systems for worldwide application.
(Contributed by Bob Hamlin <[email protected]> and Carlos E. Ruiz <[email protected]>)

European models for university lifelong learning
Romina Müller, Sabine Remdisch, Katharina Köhler, Liz Marr, Saara Repo & Carsten Yndigegn (2015). Easing access for lifelong learners: a comparison of European models for university lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education. Volume 34, Issue 5. [Details]
Easing access to higher education (HE) for those engaging in lifelong learning has been a common policy objective across the European Union since the late 1990s. To reach this goal, the transition between vocational and academic routes must be simplified, but European countries are at different developmental stages. This article maps the development in Denmark, Finland, Germany and England using a case study approach deploying data triangulation from a national and institutional perspective. It explores the extent/commonality of structural factors for easing access for students engaging in lifelong learning. The cases are at widely different stages, but the following factors were considered essential in all countries for opening universities: the establishment of transition paths from secondary education and working life into HE, and links between HE, businesses and adult education from a national perspective, and the recognition of all forms of learning, the flexibilization of study formats and the design of a curriculum that suits all from an institutional perspective.
(Info received from Romina Müller <[email protected]>)

Launch of the CR&DALL Working Paper Series
The first edition of the CR&DALL Working Paper Series (WP101/2015) has been launched with a paper by Paul Benneworth (CHEPS, University of Twente) and Mike Osborne (CR&DALL, University of Glasgow) entitled Understanding universities and entrepreneurship education: towards a comprehensive future research agenda [Details]. This first paper is published jointly by CHEPS and CR&DALL and is available online free to subscribers of CR&DALL. Future CR&DALL Working Papers will only be available on a subscription basis, details to follow. The Working Paper series provides a forum for work in progress which seeks to elicit comments and generate discussion. The series includes academic research by CR&DALL Core Members, Affiliates and Associates, PhD students and invited guest contributors. Editor: Dr Muir Houston; Editorial board: Prof. Nicki Hedge; Dr Catherine Lido & Dr Jesus Granados-Sancheze. Details see
(Info received via CR&DALL Site Digest)


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