Alan  Hall Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Alan Hall

Research Professor
Memorial University

I am retired from a full time position at Memorial University but continue to be involved in research and writing. Among other things, I am working with a group of health and safety activists in Ontario to write a paper on knowledge activism as an approach to health and safety representation. I am also doing a project with Eric Tucker looking at the record of worker participation in the development of COVID work safety protocols and practices in Canada.


My first two university degrees were in psychology and my initial research focus was on mental health and social networks.   Given my social network interest, I switched to a doctoral program in sociology to work under Dr. Barry Wellman at University of Toronto. However, as I become more involved as a labour union activist and executive officer, my interests shifted to the study of work and organizations, and more specifically, occupational health.  Before completing my degree, I took a position as a union staff representative and researcher in Toronto. However, when my partner got a position at the University of Windsor, and my degree in hand, I applied for a post-doc to look at recent reforms in the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.  In 1992, I obtained a second post-doc to look at the development of sustainable farming methods in southwestern Ontario and their impact on environmental and health practices while teaching part time.  I took a full-time position with the University of Windsor sociology department in 1994 while continuing my work on sustainable farming which I then expanded to include organic farming.  I and several Windsor colleagues and local labour activists started an independent Labour Studies degree programme in 1996.  We did some interesting things over the next fifteen years including the foundation of an annual labour arts festival, a high school labour education programme, an applied research programme for local unions and a worker action center aimed at advocating for non-union workers.   In an attempt to build up the research capacity of the labour studies programme, I worked with colleagues in criminology and sociology to fund and complete research projects on topics such as the policing of labour, the effects of lean production on occupational health, work injury reporting, and vulnerable workers.  Around 2008, I was also asked to join an emerging collaborative group called LOARC which involved senior union health and safety staff, occupational clinic research staff, and university researchers. LOARC was aimed at doing applied research directly aimed at helping unions and workers to address health and safety issues at the workplace level.  I was involved in two main studies with this group but education was also a key element which meant the group organized several seminars, webinars and the production of printed materials for unions and workers. Throughout my tenure at Windsor, I was active in my faculty union serving in several executive and front-line capacities locally and provincially, including the chair of both the union’s health and safety committee and the grievance committee.  In 2013, I moved to Memorial University where my partner had taken a senior administrative position.  I continued to work on a major project on employment standards and precarious employment with Leah Vosko et al. and worked with my new Memorial colleagues on a couple of projects related to PTSD and safety climate.   Along with joining the sociology department, I served for four years as the Director of two interdisciplinary programs – the Master of Employment Relations Programme and the Police Studies programme.  Given my partner’s senior administration position, I did not pursue the same level of faculty union activity at Memorial. However, I did become a health and safety representative and then co-chair on the joint occupational health and safety committee. I retired in September 1 2019, finally getting the time to finish a book I should have finished years ago.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Sociology of Work and Health, Sociology of Labour, Organizational Psychology and Sociology, Policing, Corporate Crime, Labour Law, Sustainable Agriculture, Labour Unions

Personal Interests

    Food (Cooking and Eating), National/Global Politics,Travelling, Boating and Kayaking, Hiking


Featured Title
 Featured Title - The Subjectivities and Politics of Occupational Risk - Hall - 1st Edition book cover


Canadian Public Policy

Occupational Stress Injuries in Two Atlantic Provinces: A Policy Analysis

Published: Dec 31, 2020 by Canadian Public Policy
Authors: A. Hall, R. Ricciardelli, Kathleen Sitter et al.
Subjects: Sociology & Social Policy, Health and Social Care, Law

In this article, we focus on examining legal reforms, specific policy, and collective bargaining agreement developments shaping the public and political demand for presumptive PTSD legislation in the two Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canadian Journal of Law and Society

Making or Administering Law and Policy? Discretion and Judgment in Employment Standards Enforcement in Ontario

Published: Dec 31, 2020 by Canadian Journal of Law and Society
Authors: Tucker, Eric; Hall, Alan; Vosko, Leah; Hall, Rebecca; Siemiatycki, Elliot

Taking an interdisciplinary approach which draws on political, sociological and legal analysis, we propose a new conceptual framework for understanding enforcement decisions by employment standards officers, one that draws a sharper distinction between discretion and judgment and teases out distinct levels in the scope and depth of decision-making.

Economic and Industrial Democracy

Dealing with the Hard Cases: Front-Line Constraints and Strategies in Employment Standards Enforcement

Published: Dec 05, 2018 by Economic and Industrial Democracy
Authors: Alan. Hall, Rebecca Hall and Nicole Bernhardt
Subjects: Sociology & Social Policy, Work & Organizational Psychology, Law

This paper identifies the perceived influence of policy, resource and legislative requirements in shaping how employment standards enforcement officers deal with what they consider to be the more difficult cases, while also considering the extent to which the officers’ actions are understood by them as discretionary.

Health, Risk and Society

Trust, uncertainty and the reporting of workplaces hazards and injuries

Published: Nov 08, 2016 by Health, Risk and Society
Authors: Alan Hall
Subjects: Sociology & Social Policy, Health and Social Care, Work & Organizational Psychology

In this article, I use qualitative interviews with 121 workers in several industry sectors in Canada in temporary and permanent employment to examine the different ways in which workers managed and coped with workplace safety hazards given varying levels of employment insecurity.