Alex J. Wood is a sociologist of work and employment, focusing on the changing nature of employment relations and labour market transformation.

Alex previously researched online labour markets and virtual employment relations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia as part of the “Microwork and Virtual Production Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia” project. This project investigates the economic and social implications of new forms of economic activities in the context of ICTs for development.

Alex completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge Department of Sociology where he also worked as Research Associate on an ESRC impact acceleration project to evaluate potential ways of reducing workplace stress resulting from insecure scheduling.

Alex’s PhD (2015) is titled the “The insecure worker: workplace control in the 21st Century”. His PhD focuses on the changing nature of flexible and insecure forms of work such as zero hour contracts. New patterns of working-time flexibility and how this relates to insecurity, well-being, and issues of workplace control and resistance being central to account developed.

He also has a long standing interest in the relationships between industrial relations, union renewal and emerging forms of workplace representation and new patterns of class and inequality.

Previously he received his MPhil in Sociology from the University of Cambridge (2011) with distinction. He received a first class BSc (hons) degree in Politics and Sociology, from Aston University (2009).

Research interests

Job insecurity; firm flexibility; workplace control and resistance; industrial relations; union renewal and new forms of workplace representation; sociology of labour markets; economic sociology; class and inequality; online and digital labour.

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, October 2019 –
  • Researcher, November 2015 – September 2019


Current projects

Past projects


  • Wood, A. and Burchell, B.J. (2018) "Unemployment and Well-Being" In: Cambridge Handbook of Psychological and Economic Behaviour Lewis, A. (eds.) 2nd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 234-259.
  • WOOD, A.J. and Burchell, B. (2017) "'You Are Never Secure'" In: World Factory Svendsen, Z. and Daw, S. (eds.). London: Nick Hern Books. 324-327.

Conference papers

  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", Development Studies Association 2016. DSA 2016: Development Studies Association Conference.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2016) "The new frontier of outsourcing: online labour markets and the consequences for poverty in the Global South.", Work, Employment and Society Conference. SAGE Publications (UK and US).
  • Wood, A. (2016) "Temporal flexibility: scheduling gifts and the obscuring of employment relations", British Universities Industrial Relations Association Conference 2016.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", GPNs and social upgrading: labour and beyond - Workshop.
  • Wood, A. (2014) "The Rise of the Network Labour Movement: the Case of OUR Walmart", British Universities Industrial Relations Association Conference 2014.
  • Wood, A. (2013) "Flexible despotism: workplace control in the informational age", Work, Employment and Society Conference 2013. SAGE Publications (UK and US).

Journal articles


  • Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Wood, A., Barnard, H., Hjorth, I. and Peter Simon, D. (2017) "The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins" In: The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.
  • Wood, A., Burchell, B.J. and Coutts, A. (2016) From Zero Joy to Zero Stress: Making Flexible Scheduling Work - The University of Cambridge Zero2Zero Workshops.
  • Wood, A. and Burchell, B.J. (2014) "Zero hour contracts as a Source of job insecurity" In: Report submitted March 2014 to the UK Government Department of Business Innovation and Skills Consultation on Zero Hour Contracts and presented at the International Labour Process Conference.
  • Wood, A. (2013) "Organising the future" In: A report for the Union of Shop, Distribution and Allied Workers (USDAW).


  • Pasquier, V. and Wood, A. (2018) "The power of social media as a labour campaigning tool: lessons from OUR Walmart and the Fight for 15", ETUI Policy Brief N° 10/2018.European Economic, Employment and Social Policy. Brussels: European Trade Union Institute. 1-6.

Internet publications

  • WOOD, A.J. (2018) Post-work fallacies and the social reproduction of capitalism. Bristol University Press.
  • Wood, A.J. and Graham, M. (2018) The government consultation on employment classification and control: a response.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Anwar, M. and Ramizo Jr, G. (2017) Minimum wages on online labour platforms: a response to the ETUI and IG Metall's request for comment.
  • Graham, M. and Wood, A. (2016) Why the digital gig economy needs co-ops and unions. openDemocracy.