Meet our Students: Justin Field, graduating with a PhD on October 28 2017

This post is part of our series about the individual experience of studying with UNE Business School – we’ll be talking to current students, graduates and alumni over the coming months. If you have a story to share, or know someone who does, let us know via email.


Post-ceremony (L – R):
Professor Alison Sheridan, Dr Justin Field and Dr Theresa Smith-Ruig.
Professor Sheridan and Dr Smith-Ruig supervised Justin’s PhD and were very pleased to process for his graduation ceremony.


Dr Justin Field

Doctor of Philosophy – “Crafting careers in a technology-enabled flexible work environment”,  2014 – 2017, conferred at UNE October 2017

Justin has come to a PhD in Organisational Behaviour and Strategic Human Resource Management by way of a broad range of other study and qualifications – he holds a Bachelor of Science from Rhodes University and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Pretoria, both in South Africa.

In Australia, Justin has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment from Macarthur Community College and a Level 2 Coaching Certification from the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership. He holds these qualifications in addition to a Master of Organisational Development and Strategic Human Resource Management and the Master of Business Administration from UNE.

Where have these qualifications taken Justin so far?

A South African-born Australian, Justin has worked for Oracle in a range of different roles and careers over the past 18 years. He started as an implementation consultant, assisting customers with HR, payroll and talent management systems. This work took him around Australia, as well as to New Zealand, Hong Kong and the United States of America. Next, a move to Oracle company headquarters in San Francisco gave him the chance to work in the research and development group. A relocation back to Sydney has seen Justin become part of the HR community as an organisational development consultant. In this current role, Justin works on Oracle’s performance appraisal and talent management processes – and from here comes a new interest in HR analytics.

With his background working in career development, Justin made the decision to begin a PhD with UNE Business School.

My PhD grew naturally out of my relationship with the University from my two previous Masters degrees.  I felt the University would offer the right environment for a part-time, distance PhD. 

Of his thesis topic, Justin notes “[c]areer development has always been one of the principal focus areas for organisational development at Oracle.  I was interested to learn more about academic theories of career development.  Furthermore, Oracle has a well-utilised flexible working policy.  I was intrigued to know what happened to the careers of employees who worked from home, or remotely, or part-time or those who took sabbaticals.  Finally, I was curious about the role of mobile communication technologies and the interplay with flexible working and career development.”

Justin was supervised by Dr Theresa Smith-Ruig (Principal Supervisor) and Professor Alison Sheridan (Co-supervisor). Theresa’s focus on career development and strategic human resource management proved great experience to guide Justin’s thesis, greatly supported by her knowledge in qualitative methods, which Justin used in his project. Alison’s focus on gender in organisations was highly relevant to Justin’s study of career trajectories of men and women in the information technology sector – he shares that her long experience as a PhD supervisor and examiner helped to frame a pragmatic approach to his project.

Between full-time work and study, Justin has kept busy – he describes his thesis as his work-life balance (but admits he managed to keep up with regular swimming and walking the dog)!

Justin may also be familiar to UNE Business School students as a co-ordinator of MM439 Strategic Human Resource Management and is currently engaged with UNE as an Adjunct Lecturer. He continues in his role with Oracle, is writing up two journal articles, and is also working towards the ANZAM conference in December, where he’ll be presenting some of his ideas about bounded careers and the boundaryless work–life life interface, flowing out of his thesis.

We congratulate Justin on this significant achievement, and are pleased to see him graduate this weekend – we look forward to keeping in touch and seeing where his research takes him next.


  • Marilynne Pros-Vale says:

    Justin, these comments have encouraged me to think about what I may do after May 2018 when I hope to complete my MSODHRM at UNE. I work from a home office as a self-employed HR consultant, recruiter and resume writer. I run and operate a very small business and my current studies have given me the knowledge to escalate my business and ensure it’s viability long term. However, my career due to my remote situation concerns me so your topic has given me something to think about. Thank you.

  • Dr Justin Field says:

    Marilynne –

    All the best with the MSODHRM! Being remote need not be a career barrier as there are plenty of study options and plenty of employment options that fit well with working from home. My own research shows that in the right context, working remotely is career-neutral, and some of my study’s participants were able to soar, despite not working in the traditional office.


  • Nina Witenden says:

    Justin was my co-ordinator in MM439, he has a wealth of knowledge and experience which he shares generously, I appreciate every interaction with Justin. Congratulations.

    Regards Nina

  • Carys Chan says:

    A little too late, but heartiest congratulations to my friend and co-author Dr. Justin Field! You inspire me to become a better version of myself each day. Much love and thank you!

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