David Watson is a senior research associate on the Work, Learning and Wellbeing evidence programme for the Economic and Social Research Council funded What Works Wellbeing Centre.

I joined Norwich Business School in December 2015 and I am an experienced qualitative researcher with training in both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have worked on research projects in a number of settings, including social movements, community organisations and with vulnerable groups in deprived areas. I also have experience of working in a number of settings outside academia including local government and the third sector.

I recently completed my PhD at the University of Essex where I have also undertaken an MA in Sociological Research Methods (Distinction). My background is interdisciplinary as I also have a BA in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield. My PhD research explored how alternative organisations within the food system impacted on well-being and as a research associate at UEA I have explored the well-being impact of different interventions in the sphere of work and learning. More specifically my research interests include, but are not limited to: political economy of the food system, alternative organisations and economies, green Marxism, Marx’s concept of alienation environmental sociology, well-being theory – in particular the capabilities approach and the role of well-being in guiding policy.


Journal articles and book chapters



Watson, D., Tregaskis, O., Gedikli, C., Vaugh, O. & Semkina, A. (Forthcoming) “Well-being through learning: A systematic review of learning interventions in the workplace and their impact on well-being” European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology

Daniels, K., Watson, D. & Gedikli, C. (2017) “Well-being and the social environment of work: A systematic review of intervention studies” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14(8), 918; doi:10.3390/ijerph14080918 


Daniels, K., Gedikli, C., Watson, D., Semkina, A., Vaughn, O. (2017). "Job design, employment practices and well-being: A systematic literature review of intervention studies and a consideration of effects on performance", Ergonomics. Doi: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1303085

Smith Maguire, J., Watson, D.J., Lang, J.T., (Ed.). (2017) Special Issue on “The Question of ‘Alternatives’ within Food and Drink Markets and Marketing: introduction to the special issue”, Journal of Marketing Management



Boehm, S., Misoczky, M. C., Watson, D. & Lanka, S. (2015) “Alternative to Green Growth? Possibilities and contradictions of self-managed food production” in Dale, G, Mathai, M V, De Oliveira J A P, (eds.) Green growth: Political Ideology, Political Economy and Policy Alternatives, Surrey: Zed books


Other publications


What Works centre for Well-being, (2017). Series of research briefs on work, learning and well-being Retirement and Wellbeing; Unemployment and Re-employment and Wellbeing; Job Quality and Wellbeing; Learning at work and Wellbeing


Watson, D, Boehm, S & Bharucha, Z (2014) “Should we feel sorry for Tesco? The human cost of cheap food” The Coversation


Watson, D. (2010) ‘The Distinction between Deep and Shallow Ecology; Does Deep Ecology Have Anything to Offer?’ in The Graduate Journal of Sociology No.10, Colchester: University of Essex


Selected presentations, public talks and conference Papers


Watson, D., (2017) Treating a schizophrenic food system: Beyond the appropriation of alternatives and condemnation of the conventional, a dialectical approach, Critical Managrment Studies Conference, Liverpool 3-5th July.

Watson, D., (2017). Growing wellbeing: The benefits of productive relationships with plants. NBS Café Conversations series, North Café Bar, Norwich 11th May.


Watson, D., Daniels, K., Gedikli, C., Semkina, A., Vaughn, O. (2017). ‘Workplace Learning and Wellbeing: A Systematic Review’ Work, Learning and Wellbeing Conference, University of East Anglia, 12th January.


Watson, D., Tregaskis, O., Gedikli, C. (2016). ‘Adult Community Learning and Wellbeing: A Review of the evidence’. Learning for Health: A prudent approach to well-being. Learning and Work Institute, Newport South Wales 1st December.


Watson, D. (2016) ‘Lessons from the fields: The case for community-based food and organizing for well-being’. ESI wellbeing seminar series 12th October.



Watson, D. (2015) “Exploring a flexible framework for the measurement of well-being” Essex Business School Research Conference, University of Essex 13th May


Watson, D. (2014) “Working the Field: A Marxist interpretation of labour in Community Supported Agriculture” The Fruits of our Labour: Work, Labour and the political economy of our food system (part of ESRC seminar series, The Future of our Food), Essex Sustainability Institute, 29th October


Watson, D (2014) “The Role of Community Food in Promoting Well-being: Evidence for a New Paradigm” Fourth International Conference on Food Studies, University of Monash Prato Centre, 20-21st October


Watson, D. (2014) “Community food projects: De-alienating everyday life in response to capitalism” What’s so critical about your critical management studies PhD, University of Leicester, 16-17th September, 2014


Watson, D. (2014) “Exploring Alternatives; the Role of Community Food Initiatives in Enhancing Wellbeing in the East of England” European Society for Rural Sociology Summer School, Centre Olivier de Serres Ardeche 8-12th September


Watson, D (2014) “Exploring Alternatives: The Impact of Community food on Well-being” Presentation given to Tendring Eco Group, 12th May


Watson, D & Boehm, S (2014) “Food, capitalism, crisis: Potential for feeding a post-growth economy” Organizing for the post-growth economy, Copenhagen Business School, 8-9th May


Watson, D (2013) “Food security: Defining the debate” Nine Billion Essex University and Writtle College Interdisciplinary Conference, 23rd November



All Publications

Watson, D., Tregaskis, O., Gedikli, C., Vaughn, O., Semkina, A.


Well-being through learning: A systematic review of learning interventions in the workplace and their impact on well-being,

in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology

Full Text UEA Repository


(E-pub ahead of print)

Daniels, K., Bryan, M., Connolly, S., Gedikli, C., Tregaskis, O., Watson, D.


Fostering wellbeing,

in Impact : Social Sciences and Humanities - Broading the Conversation.

Science Impact Ltd

pp. 42-44

(Other chapter contribution)


Daniels, K., Bryan, M., Connolly, S., Gedikli, C., Tregaskis, O., Watson, D.


Work, Learning and Wellbeing – ESRC,

in Impact



pp. 42-44

Full Text UEA Repository



Daniels, K., Watson, D., Gedikli, C.


Well-being and the social environment of work: A systematic review of intervention studies,

in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health



article no. 918

Full Text UEA Repository



Daniels, K., Gedikli, C., Watson, D., Semkina, A., Vaughn, O.


Job design, employment practices and well-being: a systematic review of intervention studies,

in Ergonomics



pp. 1177-1196

Full Text UEA Repository



Smith Maguire, J., Watson, D., Lang, J.


The question of ‘alternatives’ within food and drink markets and marketing: introduction to the special issue,

in Journal of Marketing Management



pp. 495-501

Full Text



Key Research Interests

My research interests are broad, but I have a particular interest in the concept of well-being, both as an evaluative tool and its potential for guiding policy formation and implementation. I’m also interested in the sociology and political economy of the food system and alternative food systems.

My PhD research occurs at the nexus of an increasing interest in well-being as a concept for evaluating and shaping policy and the interest and expansion in alternative food system and within that community food initiatives. The study looks at the experience of participation in community supported agriculture and community gardens utilising predominantly ethnographic methods and semi-structured interviews. I am interested in how such initiatives function as a response to the contemporary crises within the food system and the application of a well-being approach to understand their impact

My previous research has looked at the framing of social movements and how this relates to their appeal. I have also carried out in depth ethnographic work to understand the experience of vulnerable groups living in an area of multiple deprivation this was part of a research project which was community led and involved working with multiple stakeholders, including local authorities, police and health services and charities.

Teaching Interests

I have experience of teaching undergraduates in modules on International Business Environment and Organisational Behaviour as well as an interdisciplinary module on Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action. I am also and associate fellow to the Higher Education Academy and have given occasional lectures on other areas such as sustainability and alternative and local food.