Katja Knauthe

Visiting Academic, PhD Student

Katja is a PhD student of sociology and comes from Germany. In a cooperative process, she is doing her dissertation at the University of Dortmund and the Zittau/Görlitz University of applied sciences. Katja’s dissertation project with the focus on “Compatibility of care and work from an organizational sociological perspective” is supervised by Professor Dr Monika Reichert and Professor Dr Andreas Hoff. Both have made a significant contribution to national and international research on the topic of the compatibility of care and work. Katja’s dissertation is a country innovation doctorate and is financially supported by the European Social Fund through a three-year scholarship.

In the second year of her PhD, Katja came to the University of Sheffield from September 2018 to February 2019 as a visiting academic to share research approaches, strategies and experiences with the Sustainable Care team. In particular, work package B2 (Combining Work and Care) under the direction of Professor Jason Heyes deals with the focus on “Combining work and care” in the same thematic field as Katja does. Among other things, they are researching the possibilities for care leaves in their respective countries. This provides a starting point for a comparison of countries between Germany and Great Britain.

It is interesting to note that organisations in both countries face the same challenges in reconciling care and work but have developed different strategies to cope with them. While the legislation plays only a subordinate role in the UK compared to Germany due to the liberal welfare regime, Germany does not have the supporting instruments of established organisations such as Carers UK or Employers for Carers. The aim of their two projects is to compare the different approaches at the political and entrepreneurial levels in order to obtain information on how compatibility problems in companies develop under different conditions and how they can best be solved. After their evaluation, research results will be available for policy and company consulting.

Katja says “Since the beginning of my stay at the University of Sheffield, I have been a welcome member of the “Sustainable Care” team. I was fully involved in the processes and had the opportunity to participate in team meetings, workshops and conferences. I was able to gain new aspects, broaden my perspectives and engage in interesting discussions. Especially valuable for me was and is the fact that so many PhD students are involved in the project with their own focus. We have been able to form a good network and will continue to share our ideas and work together in the future.”