Trio takes a peep through the letterbox

August 16, 1996

If being in the right place at the right time counts for anything, the trio of Miguel Martinez, Mike Noon and Sarah Jenkins should enjoy spectacularly successful careers.

The trio - all at Cardiff Business School last year although Dr Martinez is now at Leeds University and Dr Noon at Lancaster - were halfway through their Economic and Social Research Council-funded research project on Organisational change and the transformation of work in Royal Mail when reaction to those changes triggered the current wave of strikes.

Another institution might have put up the shutters, concluding that having researchers knocking around during a dispute could lead to harmful publicity. Not so Royal Mail: "Both the management and the unions have gone on being extremely open with us. They couldn't have been more helpful," says Dr Noon.

He is naturally wary of commenting on the dispute, beyond saying that: "It is part of the process of change and there are genuine differences of opinion about the sorts of change needed."

But he has no doubts about Royal Mail as a research environment: "A lot of private companies are wary of researchers. But once we had negotiated clear ground rules we have been allowed to get on with what we wanted, and given extensive access."

The research, based on case studies of production centres within the company, will be completed by the end of this year.

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