About our Practitioner-Focused Research | Queen's University IRC

Queen's University IRC

Queen's University

IRC Articles and Papers Human Resources and Labour Relations Research and Resources

About our Practitioner-Focused Research

The Queen’s University IRC’s practitioner-focused research includes a variety of activities that complement our programming. Through surveys, interviews, and articles, we aim to communicate trends in the human resources and labour relations fields. We also strive to address workplace challenges with practical tools, resources, and recommendations.

Throughout its rich history, the IRC’s research and publications program has helped to shape public policy, informed debate on key issues, and surveyed developments and trends in the industrial relations field. In 2011, we began a project to digitize some of the publications in our abundant archives. Our website now contains many of these articles, papers, case studies, and interviews.

Today, we focus on practitioner-oriented research.  We distribute monthly newsletters that include articles authored by our facilitators, IRC staff, and subject-matter experts.  Our popular interview series shares key insights from senior HR professionals in Canada and around the globe, while our articles inform readers about key themes and hot topics relating to human resources, labour relations, and organizational development.

Our more recent initiatives explore the state of the human resources and labour relations professions in Canada, the state of the human resources profession in the Caribbean, as well as education labour relations in Ontario.

An Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada

In 2011, Queen's IRC began a longitudinal, practitioner-focused research project that explores the state of the HR profession in Canada. In 2013, we followed up with a second survey.  This initiative probes the role of the HR function in Canadian organizations, including the skills and knowledge that are deemed essential for practitioners, and the priorities and challenges for the profession. The purpose of the this initiative is to better understand and describe the current and perceived future state of the human resources profession in Canada.

An Inquiry into the State of LR in Canada

In November 2011, the IRC surveyed labour relations (LR) professionals in Canada. The purpose of this survey was to describe the state of the LR profession in Canada, based on the perspectives of practitioners. We explored the roles, responsibilities, and credentials of LR professionals, and  the level of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for a successful LR professional. We also sought perspectives on the future of the LR profession, including the challenges and opportunities facing the profession.

This practitioner-focused research builds on the IRC’s 2009 labour relations survey, which identified and categorized competencies required by a successful LR professional.

An Inquiry into the State of HR in the Caribbean

Queen’s IRC has formed partnerships with the Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados and the Arthur Lok Jack School of Business in Trinidad and Tobago. These partnerships have allowed us to extend our practitioner-focused research beyond Canadian borders.

In 2012, with the help of our partners, we conducted a survey of HR practitioners from the Caribbean. The results of the survey provide insight into several key aspects of Caribbean HR practitioners’ working lives. These include the demographic characteristics of practitioners, their roles and responsibilities, the nature of the organizations for which they work, their education and career development, the knowledge and skills required to thrive in the Caribbean, and of course, their perspectives on important issues, innovations and challenges in the HR profession today.

Labour Relations in Education Initiative

In March 2007, Queen’s University IRC received a $1 million grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education to conduct research aimed at a better understanding of labour relations in Ontario’s K-12 schools.

Under the grant, the IRC has pursued a number of interviews, focus groups, and consultations with a wide variety of education sector stakeholders.  In addition, the IRC conducted surveys of Ontario principals and vice-principals, human resources managers and superintendents, teachers’ union representatives, and support workers’ union representatives. The information collected through these processes is helping to inform a variety of practitioner and academic publications.  It has also led to the development of customized training for principals and school board-level human resource practitioners and union representatives.

Reports on this initiative can be found on the IRC website: