In my research, I take a qualitative/ethnographic approach to better understand job-givers' and jobseekers' practices and interpretations on the labor market and the changing nature of work and occupations. I also look to further theories that connect relationships at work and changes in work environments.
Job-givers & Job-seekers
In my dissertation, I examine the practices and processes at play when workforce intermediaries - individuals who support jobseekers in their job search - help their unemployed clients. Specifically, I analyze interviews, observations and archives associated with back-to-work programs for formerly incarcerated people.
This work fits in a broader research agenda examining labor market dynamics and inequality. I believe organizational ethnography can help uncover behaviors and mechanisms involved in molding jobs and careers. Future research in this stream will continue to focus on the practices and processes that occur at the level of jobseekers, job-givers and intermediaries.
In a joint project with Michel Anteby, we examine the shifting nature of expertise when an occupation moves from a direct and immediate interaction with their audience to a remote and asynchronous interaction. Specifically, we consider an occupation that has undergone much change in the past decades – U.S. puppetry. This study can especially enhance our understanding of the move from face-to-face to virtual workplaces.
This work echoes my broader interest in occupations and the changing nature of work. As employment structures become more flexible and new technologies continue to shape the workplace, individuals are adjusting their knowledge, expertise and practices to new models of work. I especially focus on how individuals experience the changes that occur in their occupations.
Relationships at Work & Change
While my empirical work mostly draws on sociological theories anchored in the study of culture, interactions and identity, I also look to further theories that connect relationships at work and changing work environments. A current project related to this stream of research is a theoretical paper in which I consider the role of social support in shaping how individuals with a calling respond to adversity.
I am particularly interested in how relationships at work affect individuals' willingness and ability to change their environment, as well as how relationships at work impact individuals' responses to hardships and change. This theoretical interest is influenced by scholarship on relationships at work, counter-normative behaviors and the meaning of work.
Grodal, Stine, Michel Anteby and Audrey L. Holm. Forthcoming “Achieving Rigor in Qualitative Analysis: The Role of Active Categorization in Theory Building” – Academy of Management Review
Work in progress
Anteby, Michel* and Audrey L. Holm* “Expert-Audience Disconnects and the Reshaping of Expertise: U.S. Puppeteers move from Stage to Screen” (*equal contribution of authors)
Holm, Audrey L. “Mobilizing the unemployable” – Ethnographic study to understand the conditions under which workforce intermediaries help returning citizens transition from prison to work roles (data analysis)
Holm, Audrey L. “Social Support, Callings and Resilience” – Theory paper exploring the role of social support and communities in jobs experienced as a calling