Dr Kendra Briken

Senior Lecturer

Work, Employment and Organisation

Personal statement

I joined the department in 2014. I am a  trained sociologist. My research concerns precarious work in the gig economy and beyond. I am interested in the emerging varieties of automation, the related power structures, and how they are impacting on work and life. The integrity of teaching and research is crucial to my pedagogical approaches.


Upskilling and intensification of work; are robots the answer?
McQuarrie Johanna, Findlay Patricia, Briken Kendra
Nordic Academy of Management (2019)
Welcome in the machine. Human-machine relations and knowledge capture
Briken Kendra
Capital and Class (2019)
Sei ohne sorge : vom vermessen und un-/sichtbarmachen akademischer sorgearbeit in der neoliberalen Hochschule
Briken Kendra, Blättel-Mink Birgit, Rau Alexandra, Siegel Tilla
Vermessene Räume – Gespannte Beziehungen Unternehmerische Universitaeten und Geschlechterdynamiken (2018) (2018)
Fulfilling the 'British Way' : beyond constrained choice - Amazon workers' lived experiences of workfare
Briken Kendra, Taylor Phil
Industrial Relations Journal Vol 49, pp. 438-458 (2018)
We Shall Overcome? The Work Ethic Revisited
Briken Kendra
Actually existing capitalism : some digital delusions
Thompson Paul, Briken Kendra
The New Digital Workplace How New Technologies Revolutionise Work (2017) (2017)

More publications


My teaching covers the broad range of sociology of work. 

 My core areas are:

  • Sociology of Work
  • Social Theory
  • HRM and Public Sector
  • (International) Employee Relations
  • Surveillance Studies

Research interests

My reserach interests are in the broad area of changing work and employment structures. Over the last years, I did research the impact of the implementation of New Public Management on public servants in different nations and sectors (police, waste collection, energy). More recently, I started to investigate in the effects robotics-led workplaces will have on job quality. I am also interested in reseraching trade unions, particularly in terms of their representational and oragnisational capacities. My reserach relies on inter-disciplinary as well as international collaborations.

Professional activities

“We are a service class” A workers’ inquiry into the class composition of service commodity production
New Technologies at Work: Situated Knowledge, Collaboration and Voice
A two day Conference: Disrupting Technology
Launch of the Centre for the Political Economy of Labour
Upskilling and intensification of work; are robots the answer?
Precariousness in relation: Collective sense-making as cruel optimism

More professional activities


Cities as mobility hubs: tackling social exclusion through ‘smart’ citizen engagement SMARTDEST
Baum, Thomas (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Sambajee, Pratima (Co-investigator)
Cities as mobility hubs: tackling social exclusion through ‘smart’ citizen engagement(SMARTDEST) H2020-SC6-TRANSFORMATIONS-2018
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2022
Pesticide, labour and public health
Garvey, Brian (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator)
Interdisciplinary, strategic research project to link hazardous chemicals to agricultural workplace risk
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2020
Who cares? Platform work and Low-income home service work in the digital economy
Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Houij Gueddana, Wifak (Principal Investigator) Hall, Miranda (CoI) Stewart, James (Academic)
Despite the rapid platform takeover of reproductive work, i.e. child and elderly care, domestic work and sex work, there has been little research to date on the way in which the vulnerabilities and opportunities of platform work are shaped by gender, race and class. Public debates on the ‘gig economy’ have overwhelmingly focused on unicorn startups such as Uber and Deliveroo which have a predominantly male workforce. Yet, in the UK, women make up over half of gig workers (52% Huws et al 2017) and their experiences have been overlooked. This gap critically limits the ability of policy-makers and trade unions or campaigning organisations to understand the economic, social and working conditions of those using platforms and apps to work in the context of broader labour market issues.
There is need for a deeper understanding of how these technologies come to reproduce the rigid gendered and unequal labour markets where the hidden work of migrant and BAME women in low-income home service sectors remains invisible, undervalued, underpaid and under-protected. There is potential for the exploitative dynamics of these sectors to be amplified as, for example, online profiles and rating systems generate new forms of abuse and discrimination (Mateescu and Ticona 2018) or platform mediation enables wage theft and the further erosion of protections (Van Doorn, 2017).
This project brings together a cross-disciplinary research collaboration to provide first empirical insights using an innovative methodological toolbox of alternative forum data and interviews to explore parts of a vulnerable labour force so far hidden in the media hype on the gig economy. Through workshops and policy roundtables we will share our findings and identify key challenges with relevant stakeholders to fuel future grassroots campaigns, inform policy and shape the design of new technologies.
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2020
EAT Pharmacy 2019
Findlay, Patricia (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Dunlop, Emma (Co-investigator) McQuarrie, Johanna (Co-investigator) van der Meer, Robert (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2020
Back to the Future? Creating sustainable economies
MacLean, Gavin (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Principal Investigator)
By investigating into crofting communities, this project aims at learning in how far alternative ecomonies rely on work ethics and values. The Project will add to the debates about the post-work Society and find out how ties are made and Held up in spaces already to be understood as beyond existings modes of work.
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019
Work, Employment and Employment Law in Retail Fulfilment Centres - UK and India
Taylor, Philip (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Newsome, Kirsty (Principal Investigator) Busby, Nicole (Co-investigator) Minz, Johnson (Co-investigator) Paul, Bino (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2018

More projects


Work, Employment and Organisation
Duncan Wing

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