This project involves an ethnographic examination of engagement within The Building & Engineering Services Association (BESA) and its membership. Traditionally a male dominated industry, it is currently experiencing challenges related to engagement of its membership and specific challenges in terms of diversity. As a representative of a host of employers, a perceived lack of engagement presents a core challenge to how it can effectively represent members’ interests.
The project rationale is to examine understandings of engagement in order to provide a framework from which the BESA can better align itself with the needs of the membership and develop a critical comprehension of what engagement means as social practice. Therefore, this research examines the forms of engagement across organisations and national boundaries in order to develop critical insights into alignments of interests mediated by pressures on businesses.
Core research questions include:
- What does engagement look like in an employer association?
- Do powerful interest groups mediate or otherwise subvert forms of engagement?
- Can engagement work across competing interests?
It is envisaged that relations between infrastructure contracts will be explored in relation to modes of engagement, gender and diversity across Building Engineering and Construction firms across the UK.