Professor John Buchanan is a member of the Business Information Systems Discipline at the University of Sydney Business School, and co-director of the university's Mental Wealth Initiative. Previously, between 1988 and 1991 he was part of the team that undertook the first Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS). In 1991, he joined the Workplace Research Centre (formerly acirrt) and served as its Director from 2005 - 2014. From 2015 to 2020 he was Head of the Discipline of Business Analytics in the Business School.
Between 1988 and 1991 he was part of the team that undertook the first Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS). He joined the Workplace Research Centre (formerly acirrt) in 1991 and has been its Director since 2005. Until recently his major research interest has been the demise of the classical wage earner model of employment and the role of the state in nurturing new forms of multi-employer co-ordination to promote both efficiency and fairness in the labour market. Building on this research, he is now devoting special attention to the evolution of working life transition, the dynamics of workforce development and the connection between work, health and wellbeing.
He was one of the authors of Australia at work: just managing? (1999) of Fragmented Futures: New Challenges in Working Life published by Federation Press in 2003. These texts provide an overview of the restructuring of work in Australia since the 1970s. In 2013 he co-edited Inclusive Growth in Australia: Social policy as economic investment, published by Allen & Unwin together with Paul Smythe. He part of the editorial group that produced the Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training, published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
His most recent research has been examining how data science can help redefine the foundations and operating principles for vocational education in Australia.