Animals at Work and in Society

PAWWS develops multidisciplinary cooperation between animal organization research, veterinary medicine and social and health sciences to promote the well-being of people and animals at work in a new and integrated way. Empirically, researchers focus on human-dog working relationships in organizations, such as service, scent detection, therapy, pain and cancer dogs in the workplace.

HAW – human-animal work

Knowledge about interconnected human and animal wellbeing in human-animal work (HAW) is currently very limited despite scholars pointing out that globally hundreds of millions of humans work daily with animals, and the economic impact of human-animal work exceeds many nations’ GDP (Hannah & Robertson, 2017).

Considering that humans and animals work side-by-side in many contemporary work contexts, animals are not beyond or detached from human organizing. Rather, they are a constituent and inseparable part of such organizing (Hannah & Robertson, 2017; Sage et al., 2016).

Human-animal work contexts are societally, economically, and medically important in the world of work, deserving thus full scholarly attention. Meanwhile, human-animal work relationships are always complex, contextual and affectual.

Most animals have not entered work relations freely, and human-led work organizations should further consider nonhuman interests in their practices. In some situations, domesticated animals do voluntary work for and with humans (e.g. in homes involving care) (Coulter, 2016), but oftentimes this is not recognized by humans as ‘work’.

In project PAWWS we focus on the everyday practices of organizing human-animal work (HAW), the multifaceted ethical debates around animal interests, and how to include animal voices into discussions of work ethics, responsibility, human and animal health issues, and wellbeing.

This includes how to conduct multispecies research in practice and represent animal interests at work in new, affirmative ways to create less humancentric, positive changes for multiple species in organizations and society.

PAWWS contributes to HAW and sociology of work through, multispecies relationality, animal voice/agency across different empirical contexts involving human-dog work. In this way, PAWWS contributes to how animals can be voiced and considered more ethically as agents and subjects in their own right.


Coulter, K. (2016). Animals, work, and the promise of interspecies solidarity. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hannah, D., & Robertson, K. (2017). Human-animal work: A massive, understudied domain of human activity. Journal of Management Inquiry, 26(1), 116–118.

Sage, D., Justesen, L., Dainty, A., Tryggestad, K., & Mouritsen, J. (2016). Organizing space and time through relational human–animal bound- ary work: Exclusion, invitation and disturbance. Organization, 23(3), 434–450.