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Dr Nela Smolovic-Jones

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Lecturer in Organisation Studies at the Open University's Department for People and Organisations. My research focuses on the interface between gender and democratic practice, especially areas such as feminist solidarity building, democratic organising, equality at the workplace and institutional forms of gendered corruption. 

As a PhD researcher, I explored the democratic practice generated via the work of civil sector organisations and passed without corrections. I hold an MA in Development Studies from the University of Auckland and an MRes from The Open University. Prior to embarking upon full-time study, I was an experienced interpreter/translator and election monitor, with an extensive background of working with civil sector organisations.

I have worked in the field of democratic development throughout my professional career. My experience in the monitoring of elections with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and European Network of Election Monitoring Organisations, as well as acting as an interpreter and translator, increased my interest in understanding the ways in which democratic practice can be generated.

Research interests

In terms of democratic practice and equality, I am currently developing an understanding of participative democratic practice in relation to the climate crisis and how diverse stakeholders organise and engage in collective decision-making regarding this emergency. My other research interests in this area are focused on a better understanding of gendered experiences in party political organisations and, in relation to this, professional segregation and positive discrimination. 

In relation to equality at work, I am particularly interested in exploring the gendered experiences of women in precarious employment, especially the enactments of reproductive labour within the workplace, relational ethics from positions of precarity and the ways in which employers are capitalising on these. 

My research is informed by: participative democracy, agonism and deliberation; feminist theory; performativity; embodiment; ethnography; multimodal and discourse analysis.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests are centred on the research process, ethics, diversity, equality and leadership.

Impact and engagement

I am the founder and director of the research cluster Gendered Organisational Practice, which sits within the academic centre of excellence - REEF. The cluster provides a space in which feminists of any gender can share insights and knowledge from academic study and practice. It has a supportive approach to exploring the issues of gender in relation to workplace exploitation and activism for emancipation in the context of ever-intensifying neoliberal norms and precarity. Our research takes a particular interest in how gender can intersect with issues of climate justice and the implications of such intersections for future organisational and governmental solutions. The cluster also includes a gendered working bodies focus, which studies the intersections between material bodies and the workplace, including the difficulties experienced by workers who menstruate, who have gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS and PMDD and who are going through the menopause.

Publications

Theorising gender desegregation as political work: The case of the Welsh Labour Party (2020)
Smolović Jones, Owain; Smolović Jones, Sanela; Taylor, Scott and Yarrow, Emily
Gender, Work and Organization ((Early access))


Feminist solidarity building as embodied agonism: An ethnographic account of a protest movement (2020)
Smolovic-Jones, Nela; Winchester, Nik and Clarke, Caroline
Gender, Work and Organization ((In press))


‘I Wanted More Women in, but . . .’: Oblique Resistance to Gender Equality Initiatives (2020)
Smolović Jones, Owain; Smolović Jones, Sanela; Taylor, Scott and Yarrow, Emily
Work, Employment and Society ((Early Access))


Understanding sovereign leadership as a response to terrorism: A post-foundational analysis (2019)
Smolovic Jones, Owain; Smolovic Jones, Nela and Grint, Keith
Organization ((Early Access))


Putting the discourse to work: On outlining a praxis of democratic leadership development (2016-09-01)
Smolovic-Jones, Nela; Smolovic Jones, Owain; Winchester, Nik and Grint, Keith
Management Learning, 47(4) (pp. 424-442)


'[PDF] beinghaRasseD?' Accessing information about sexual harassment in New Zealand's universities (2013-12)
Smolovic-Jones, Nela; Boocock, Kate and Underhill-Sem, Yvonne
Women's Studies Journal, 27(1) (pp. 36-48)


Theorising moral-collaborative leadership, or, direction-less-than-domination: Gramsci and beyond (2014)
Smolovic-Jones, S.; Smolovic Jones, O.; Winchester, N. and Grint, K.
In : 13th International Studying Leadership Conference (14-16 Dec 2014, The Copenhagen Business School)


Performative democratic practice: An ethnographic study of the Women’s Rights Centre in Montenegro (2019-03-12)
Smolovic-Jones, Sanela
PhD thesis The Open University


Feminist Solidarity Building And Working With Difference: The Case Of The Fiji Women’s Forum (2014)
Smolovic Jones, Sanela
mphil thesis University of Auckland