Johanna Weststar

Johanna Weststar

Associate Professor
Adjunct Professor with Psychology
PhD, Industrial Relations & Human Resources, University of Toronto (2007)

Office: SSC 4427
Phone: 519-661-2111 x86148


Johanna joined the faculty at Western in 2012 after spending four years at the Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University in Halifax. Johanna is an Adjunct Professor in the I/O Psychology Area at Western where she supervises graduate students. See the "Weststar lab" page for current projects. She is also an Affiliate to the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Western. Johanna specializes in labour and employment relations. Her primary area of research is the video game industry where she is interested in issues of workplace citizenship, representation and unionization, working conditions and the labour process, project management and occupational identity. She has also published research on workplace learning among computer programmers, labour representation on pension boards, pregnancy leave policies, industrial relations climate and the role of labour relations officers and underemployment. Johanna is a Past President of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association ( CIRA), a member of the International Labour and Employment Relations Association ( ILERA) Executive Committee and the Acting President of the Editorial Committee of the Canadian employment relations journal Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations. Johanna is also a member of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work ( CRIMT). A selection of academic papers are open access at  Scholarship@Western and numerous public reports about quality of work life in the digital game industry can be found at GameQoL.   


Industrial and labour relations, labour studies, project management, employee training and development


Industrial and labour relations, union renewal, project-based work, digital and cultural labour, representation and citizenship at work, pension board governance, underemployment, workplace learning


Weststar, J., Kwan, E. & Kumar, S. (November 20, 2019). Developer Satisfaction Survey 2019 Summary Report. International Game Developers’ Association. 

Weststar, J. & Legault, M.-J. (2019). Building momentum for collectivity in the digital games community  Television and New Media, 20(8): 848-861.

Campbell, S. & Weststar, J. (2019). Peering inside the ‘black box’: The impact of management-side representatives on the industrial relations climate of organizationsLabor Studies Journal, 45(3): 250-272.  

Weststar, J, & Legault, M-J. (2018). “Women’s experiences on the path to a career in game development.”  Feminism in Play. Gray, Voorhees & Vossen (Eds.). Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 105-123 

Legault, M.-J. & Weststar, J. (2017)  Videogame developers among ‘extreme workers’: Are death marches over?  E-journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, 6(3): 1-29.   

Weststar, J. & Legault, M-J. (2017) Why might a video game developer join a union?  Labor Studies Journal, 42(4): 295-321.  

Skerrett, K., Weststar, J., Archer, S. & Roberts, C. (Eds.). (2017).  The Contradictions of Pension Fund Capitalism . Labor and Employment Relations Association Research Volume. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Weststar, J. (2017). Critical perspectives from the field of pension fund education. In  The Contradictions of Pension Fund Capitalism . Skerrett, Weststar, Archer & Roberts (Eds.). Labor and Employment Relations Association Research Volume. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Weststar, J. & Verma, A. (2017). Protector or activist? Consistency and contradiction in labor’s voice on pension boards. In  The Contradictions of Pension Fund Capitalism . Skerrett, Weststar, Archer & Roberts (Eds.). Labor and Employment Relations Association Research Volume. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Weststar, J., Legault, M-J., Gosse, C. & O’Meara, V. (2016).  Developer Satisfaction Survey 2014 & 2015: Diversity in the game industry report. International Game Developers Association.

Weststar, J. (2015). Understanding video game developers as an occupational communityInformationCommunication and Society, 18(10):1238-1252.

Legault, M. J. & Weststar, J. (2015). The Capacity for Mobilization in Project-Based Cultural Work: A Case of the Video Game IndustryCanadian Journal of Communication, 40(2): 203-221.

Peticca-Harris, A., Weststar, J. & McKenna, S. (2015). The perils of project-based work: Attempting resistance to extreme work conditions in video game developmentOrganization, 22(4): 570-587.

Sayce, S., Weststar, J. & Verma, A. (2014). The recruitment and selection of pension trustees: An integrative approachHuman Resource Management Journal, 24(3): 307-322.

Weststar, J. (2012). Negotiating in silence: Experiences with parental leave in academiaRelations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 67(3), 345-367.

Verma, A. & Weststar, J. (2011). Token presence or substantive participation? A study of labor trustees on pension boardsJournal of Labor Research, 32(1), 39-60.

Weststar, J. (2011). A review of women’s experiences of three dimensions of underemployment. In D. Feldman & D. Maynard (Eds.).  Underemployment: Psychological, Economic and Social Challenges. New York, NY: Springer Publishing. Chapter Six. 

Weststar, J. (2009). Worker control as a facilitator in the match between education and jobsBritish Journal of Industrial Relations, 47(4), 723-740.