Education Advice and Consultancy Interests
I am a sociologist. I also consider myself to be a critical social theorist and a critical realist. So, my current research - which informs my consultancy interests - focuses on human resource management, work, social class, of course caste, diversity and discrimination, social media, women and exclusion. I am very interested in studying social stratiﬁcation(s) and how this generates winners and losers, subjecting some social groups to unfair treatment in society and within the work place.
My doctoral study focused on the very complex social configuration found within postcolonial Sri Lanka, laying the foundations for developing my thinking and research work through those lines, where even the demarcations of caste and class are blurred. My work identified that there are two opposing social systems which coexist in Sri Lanka. One social system is based on traditional precolonial lifestyle mainly based on the caste system, agricultural system and a religious system. The other identifiable social system, which co-exists along side this traditional social system, is typified by a social class system rooted in the colonisation that lasted over 450 years in Sri Lanka. So individuals are subjected to the emergent powers of both of these social systems, and the intriguing question remains of how Sri Lankan management practices actually capture the tensions with which these individuals are confronted.
Further to this critical observation and to add to this complexity at the intersections of race ethnicity gender disability age sexuality and religion. These aspects are not covered or protected by law in Sri Lanka so we simply choose to overlook overt and covert, or blatant and subtle, discrimination against individuals. There is no analysis of how individuals experience unfair treatment, or even indicators as to how we could trace them. Being a critical social theorist, my interests lie in critical HRM. I ﬁrmly believe that, like many countries, Sri Lanka has not created its own management practices but has simply transplanted Western Theory through human resource management as the means of treating the local individuals.
In the same way that criticism is levelled against HRM for being more rhetoric than reality, it is further criticised for neglecting the human. My previous experience as a human resource practitioner and my readings suggest that although the banner or the label of the department changed to human resource, what we perhaps practice is traditional personal management, not only Sri Lanka but throughout the world. Human resource management theory grossly overlooks the individual and individual reﬂexivity - which is known as the internal condensation - through which we as individuals craft our life journey through the world. What HRM theory prescribes is a unitarist top-down approach and the reality within organisations is far removed from this theoretical stance, which subtle critical organisational analysis will uncover.
So I can help organisations, the founders and the senior managers to better manage their organisations democratically by educating them about these critical dimensions, helping them to address blatant and subtle discrimination by understanding the nature of their organisational cultures and minority groups and by valuing the differences. I'm very happy to talk through these diverse aspects at length, particularly individually or in small groups. My current research focuses on social media and digital distraction based on rural women in Sri Lanka, looking at suppression, patriarchy, social immobility and the biographical consequences of using Facebook. I've also published papers in this area on Sri Lankan women, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, and Sri Lankan society.
Another area is educational consultancy. Want to read more?