Gillian Symon


  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Personal profile

Gillian has research interests in identity at work; meaningful work; work-life boundaries; digital technologies, work and organizational change; sociomateriality; and new forms and spaces of working.  Gillian was Co-Founder and Co-Director (with Dr Yingqin Zheng, now of Essex Business School) of RHUL's interdisciplinary Digital Organisation and Society Research Centre

Projects in which Gillian has been involved in recent years include:

Smartphone Use on the Railway (British Academy funded)

With Professor Katrina Pritchard of (University of Swansea), Gillian has investigated the implications of smartphone use for identity, visual information sharing and organizational time narratives.  Latest publication:

Pritchard, K., & Symon, G. (2023). Urgency at work: Trains, time and technology. New Technology, Work and Employment, 38/3, 453-471.

Digital Brain Switch Project (EPSRC-funded)

Gillian was a co-investigator on this interdisciplinary project involving Lancaster University (lead partner), Open University and University of Kent.  Through video diaries and interviews, researchers investigated contemporary boundary work involving digital technologies.  For more on this see the legacy project website and The Conversation.   Based on this work, she has facilitated workshops that encourage social entrepreneurs to reflect on their own work-life boundaries.  Latest publication:

Chamakiotis, P., Symon, G. & Whiting, R. (Online First). Agentic interplay between hybridity and liminality in contemporary boundary work.  Information Systems Journal.

Digital Ministry in the Church of England

Gillian, Rebecca Whiting (Birkbeck University of London) and Rebecca Taylor (Southampton University) have been exploring the move to digital ministry for clergy, with a particular focus on meaningful work, wellbeing and resistance.  Recent presentations on this work include at EGOS (2023), WES (2023) and Ecclesiology and Ethnography (2023) conferences.  Reports, presentations and briefing documents can be found at:

Church of England Living Ministry Resources (Digital technology in churches)

Report: “The Reformation of the 21st Century”?

Research Practice

Gillian also has an interest in research practice and new methods of research inquiry.  She has edited four qualitative research method compendia with Professor Catherine Cassell (Durham Business School), including Qualitative Organizational Research.  Catherine and Gillian are founding editors of the journal Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management.  Most recently, Gillian has edited a compendium on research methods for digital work with colleagues Prof Katrina Pritchard (University of Swansea) and Christine Hine (University of Surrey):

Symon, G., Pritchard, K. and Hine, C. (Eds) (2021).  Research Methods for Digital Work and Organization.  Oxford: OUP