Graeme's teaching, research and publications have over many years focused on the areas of organisational and work structures and dynamics. Within this general interest in organisational theory and analysis a key theme is the nature, origins and implications of the meanings associated with work and employment. Meanings in this context not only includes values and interpretations but also knowledge (or what passes to those who hold it as knowledge).
This interest in meanings takes a number of forms. One is an interest in the way employees define, understand value their work and their employment. Another is the way in which certain sorts of employees and their roles - managers - are themselves defined and constituted through dominant discourses and associated management practices. A third focuses on the meanings which are shared by senior members of organisations as they make decisions about the direction and strategy of the organisation and about the organisational structures and processes which are necessary for the achievement of these ends. A final form of this interest is the way that programmes of organisational change are not only designed and informed by the structures of knowledge and meaning of senior managers but also seek to address and manipulate the meanings of employees who in turn respond to these initiatives in terms of their long and often strongly held, collective values and convictions.
So interest in the relationships between work and meanings addresses the ways employees know and make sense of and value, their work and employer; the ways employees themselves are defined and known and constituted by their employers; and the ways executives define and make sense of their organisation and its purposes - and crucially the links between strategy or business model and organisational capability or model of business - what could be called their 'theories' of organisation.
In teaching terms these interests have been developed and demonstrated in courses in The sociology of work, Organisational analysis, Decision-making in organisations, Organisational capability, and Strategic human resource management.
Recent and current research projects include an ESRC funded study into senior managers' theories of innovation which explored how senior managers in organisations apparently committed to innovation as a strategic priority, another ESRC funded study which explored the nature and implications of the assumptions knowledge and values (called 'theories') which underpinned (and constrained) executives' decisions on business models and models of business. Current research explores the background to recent programmes of change in the UK's National Health Service and analyses the intentions and rationales of those initiating the change and the effects they expect and hope the changes will create, and also studies the actual consequences of these changes as people within the NHS understand translate make sense of and implement these changes. This project is funded by the Service Delivery Organisation. All these projects are in partnership with John Storey.
Graeme is a frequent reviewer of papers submitted to Organisation Studies and Journal of Management Studies and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Organisation Studies.
He has worked as a consultant for a number of organisations in the private and public sectors in the UK, USA, India, a number of European countries, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia. He is currently an adviser to the Government of Ethiopia and is working with senior managers in John Lewis and Waitrose. He runs a series of master classes in the design and management of change for the NHS. His specialisms include organisational capability and change, strategic human resource management, top team performance and development; performance management.