Research will focus on four different areas:

Research area I: Good work for all in times of digitalisation?

Digitalisation is changing the world of work both through new forms and methods of work and through access to employment and further education. Good working conditions themselves are being redefined and this in turn has a direct impact on the satisfaction of employees. The aim of this research area is to explore the current and future challenges and lines of conflict arising from the use of new technologies.

Research area II: Good work for all in times of socio-structural and demographic change?

From the point of view of higher female employment and increasingly evenly distributed family work, the ability to combine work, family and care work is an important criterion for good work. At the same time, we are observing a strong increase in the demand for professionalised care and health work, which in turn is offered to a large extent by women and migrants. The employment relationships that are created here are often outside or on the periphery of areas regulated by collective agreements, so that good work is hardly defined and must be negotiated here.

Research area III: Good work for all in times of globalisation?

Globalisation has several dimensions - cross-border recruitment of labor, production and supply chains, and financial capital - and all influence segmentation in the labor market and access to good work. Globalization also significantly changes the qualification structure of the workforce in Germany. The aim of this research area is to investigate current globalization processes with regard to their effects on the conditions for the realization of good work.

Research area IV: Good work for all in times of climate change?

Climate change and the socially fair handling of its challenges have a considerable impact on work and on the conditions for good work. Without drastic changes in production, consumption and transport practices, the climate goals of many governments will not be achieved. This research area aims at exploring changes in skill requirements and employment effects and to explore possible courses of action for employee representatives.

The first doctoral college focused on the following five topics:

I. Good work in the digital economy (Head: Dr. Martin Krzywdzinski; PhD Students: Setareh Radmanesch and Kathleen Warnhoff)

The focus here is on the conditions underpinning and approaches to shaping “good work” in the context of the digitalization of work processes; for instance, in the context of the discussion on “Industry 4.0.” The key topics include changing skill demands, ways of strengthening employee autonomy, but also the dangers emerging from a forced standardization and monitoring of work. (Disciplinary focus: sociology / political economy; methodological focus: qualitative and / or quantitative)

II. Migration and “good work” (Head: Dr. Susanne Veit; PhD Students: Franziska Kößler and Esther Kroll)

This thematic area focuses on the influence of the increasing cultural heterogeneity of the population on the working world of tomorrow. Key questions include whether and why migrants are discriminated against with regard to access to “good work,” what impact cultural heterogeneity has on working groups, and how challenges related to this can be managed and opportunities exploited. (Disciplinary focus: psychology or sociology if appropriate; methodological focus: quantitative)

III. “Good work” and quality of life (Head: Lena Hipp, Ph.D.; PhD Students: Friederike Molitor and Giulia Tattarini)

Increasing job flexibility requirements and the need for flexible solutions in family life present workers with major challenges. This thematic area deals with the question of reconciling work and family life and the necessary conditions for this. (Disciplinary focus: sociology; methodological focus: quantitative)

IV. Good income from “good work” (Head: Dr. Martin Ehlert; PhD Student: Nicolas Morgenroth)

Against the background of rising income inequality, this thematic area addresses the financial dimension of “good work.” It investigates whether work quality and decent wages go hand in hand and under what conditions—e.g., when people desire or need flexibility—“good work” may lead to income penalties. (Disciplinary focus: sociology; methodological focus: quantitative)

V. Promoting “good work” (Head: Sigurt Vitols, Ph.D.; PhD Student: Lisa Basten)

This thematic area has a cross-sectional function and deals with the question of how “good work” is promoted and implemented in practice via worker participation, collective bargaining policies, and legislation. (Disciplinary focus: business administration / political science / sociology; methodological focus: qualitative and / or quantitative)