Realising Decent Work in a Globalising World: Dignity of Work and Dignity at Work

27 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2009

See all articles by Greg J. Bamber

Greg J. Bamber

Monash University, Australia; Newcastle University, England

Bob Russell

Griffith University

Date Written: 2008


In an enlightened democratic society, employment should afford people opportunities to work with dignity. Working with dignity is a fundamental part of achieving a good life, yet workplaces and government policies often pose challenging obstacles to the realization of dignity. We elaborate upon notions of dignity by distinguishing between 'dignity at work' and 'the dignity of work'. This discussion is set within the context of historical discussions and policy pronouncements that have reflected on decent work. Next we discuss recent examples of state policy in Australia that may either promote or hinder the realisation of dignity in the two senses that we use the term. We offer examples of two industries which have confronted the challenges of designing work situations that promote more or less dignity; call centres and airlines. The paper aims to assist employers and employees to agree upon the rights and obligations which should apply in their workplaces.

Keywords: decent work, dignity, work situations, call centres, airlines

JEL Classification: J20, J40, J50, M12, M54, P16

Suggested Citation

Bamber, Greg J. and Russell, Bob, Realising Decent Work in a Globalising World: Dignity of Work and Dignity at Work (2008). Available at SSRN: or

Greg J. Bamber (Contact Author)

Monash University, Australia ( email )

Department of Management
27 Sir John Monash Drive, Monash University
Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3145
+61 3 9903 2615 (Phone)

Newcastle University, England ( email )

Business School
Newcastle University
NE1 7RU Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

Bob Russell

Griffith University ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, QLD 4111 QLD 4111

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