Overview

Introduction

My career trajectory has a common theme: consistent dedication to improving the employment experiences, opportunities, and outcomes for the marginalized. In research and enterprise this has been achieved by consistently publishing in top international journals about the experiences of marginalized groups and generating new ideas to ameliorate disenfranchisement using critical theories and creative approaches.

I have two ways of approaching knowledge creation, which work well together. One is exploring with novel theoretical concepts and methods ways of critiquing enduring challenges, or 'wicked problems'. I tend to work with other international scholars when I explore novel approaches.

My second approach is resolutely pragmatic and I focus on finding solutions to the immediate effects of marginalization on marginalized groups in NZ. I tend to work with local colleagues, students, and communities, when I do more pragmatic solutions-based work so my work impacts in NZ communities.

My Trajectory

My concern with improving opportunities and outcomes for the marginalized is apparent from my entry into academia when as an Assistant Lecturer I led the editing of the first book on Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) and Managing Diversity (MD) in Aotearoa New Zealand (Aotearoa or NZ), and concurrently led the development and implementation of the first tertiary course on EEO and MD in NZ. This interest still remains central to my work. In the past 2-3 years I have been an integral senior member of a Strategic Innovation Fund project ‘The role of managers in addressing gender inequities in New Zealand’s public services: A transdisciplinary approach’ ($160, 000).

My concerns with the marginalized led me to an interest in entrepreneurship and the ways disenfranchised people use entrepreneurial activity to gain a foothold in economic and social life in a constructive ways. In 2004 I again led a research initiative in the School of Management in a $12, 500 Strategic Research Fund grant which led to a coedited book, and several articles, on home-based business which celebrated the diversity and creativity of artists, young people, women, and other groups. These people were innovating businesses from their garages, potting sheds, dining room tables and other places at home, in order to achieve autonomy and bring meaning back to their working lives. I have published widely, throughout my career, on a range of topics on entrepreneurship and meaningful work. My early interest in this topic influences the ways I approach research and teaching, and is pragmatically evidenced by actively helping young people through co-founding a social enterprise OnBoard Skate, demonstrated research-wise through ongoing research activities on social enterprises (see our Vimeo channel here and webpage here for more on this NFP enterprise).

Frustrated with a lack of disciplinary depth in the theories I had been using to understand disenfranchisement and the ways people use their agency to try to overcome structural inequalities, I completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Auckland (2004). This degree fueled my resonance with Organizational Studies (OS) and my continued efforts to stay abreast of critical theory developments to understand current issues and ways to ameliorate the effects change such as globalisation is having on already disenfranchised groups. Post PhD I began collaborating with like-minded groups of creative and critical international scholars in the field of Organizational Studies (OS). OS is a multi-disciplinary field which brings the long tradition of social sciences and the humanities, including critical theory, to the understanding of organizations, organizing and the organized to understand the character and complexity of human problems. Through engaging with international OS communities post PhD I have developed a corpus of work that attests to my international reputation as a critical and creative scholar who is dedicated to improving understanding of business challenges, always concerned first and foremost with processes of marginalization. I draw on the methodological traditions of critical continental philosophy including process ontology, narrative, and discourse analysis.

My work appears wide-ranging as I have worked with many other people in different groups throughout my career. I have often co-created knowledge with students and colleagues in areas of their interest, adding value through my areas of expertise to their learning journeys. I have written about issues at work for a variety of groups of people, but my focus has been primarily on women's experiences and women's occupations.

My main research focus is now feminist new materialism (FNM), and especially posthumanism, using insights from this field of thought to understand and ameliorate marginalization in the context of contemporary global challenges. Businesses and organizations, including university business education, need to evolve and adapt fast to stay relevant and positively impact upon a world undergoing radical technological shifts, ecological crises, and political, social and economic turmoil. I now mainly use the Deleuzian thought of Critical Feminist Posthumanism philosopher Rosi Braidotti, where I have found the tools I need for my work going forward.

Feminist New Materialism is well-suited to providing insight on the urgent challenges facing the world, including inequality, because FNM is rooted in science and technology philosophy, is informed by critical theories, and involves activism to influence institutions so that the benefits from innovation accrue fairly and ethically. My work now is focused on contributing fresh and helpful perspectives on these challenges.

This web site in a personal site of Janet Sayers, hosted on Google Sites. Please go here for my public profile pages hosted at Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand. You can contact me through Massey's portal.

All student work is shared with permission. Images are from Wikimedia public domain unless otherwise indicated.