Organisations, Work and Employment

The Organization, Work and Employment Research Group provide critically focussed theoretically informed empirical research on work and employment in contemporary organizations in the public and private sectors. OWE members are drawn from the Department of Management and have developed a strong international focus with research and scholarly partners in the United States, Canada, and other countries, particularly in Europe. Members of the OWE group regularly undertake commissioned research and consultancy for employers, trade unions, government departments and supra national agencies such as the European Trade Union Confederation, for example, Ian Clark has produced material for the Treasury Select Committee and the Financial Services Authority.

Collaborative research has been undertaken with the Centre for Economic Policy Research in Washington DC and with Cornell University (the movement to financial capitalism), De Montfort University (HRM in Multinationals and Migrant Workers) and the Universities of Cardiff (labour standards in global value chains), Edinburgh Napier (social care workforce research), Manchester Business School (Knowledge workers) and UCLA (employment conditions and job quality in retailing), Nottingham and Duisberg-Essen (entrepreneurship and careers) and Sheffield (organisation theory)..

Member profiles

Follow links for publications and PhD supervision

In addition to the Undergraduate Suite of Programmes in Business and Management (Programme Director: Joanne Duberley), The OWE group manage two of Birmingham Business School’s premier research-led Master’s Programmes.

Human Resource Management (MSc.) accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Programme Director Rory Donnelly and International Business (MSc.), Programme Director David Perman.

Research Areas

The research and scholarship undertaken by the OWE group covers three broadly defined areas:

  • Human Resource Management and Employment Relations
    Specific research areas include training and development, management development, leadership, the market for corporate control, new models of capitalism, HRM in multinational firms, the financial crisis, labour market regulation and the role of the state. For example, Edwards is a member of the Intrepid network which is using surveys of multinational companies in a total of nine countries to examine emerging forms of employment systems and the extent to which there is a model of global best practice.
  • Globalization
    Specific research areas include global value chains (GVCs), corporate social responsibility, the internationalization of firms and capital, private equity and the emerging system of multilevel governance of employment. For example, systems of labour governance in GVCs including: labour codes of conduct, international framework agreements (IFAs) and fair-trade certification schemes and the role of civil society organisations, including trade unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the development of social responsibility programmes.
  • Organization Studies
    Specific research areas include organizational transformation and the management of change, knowledge management, the changing nature of careers and new organizational forms. For example, The changing nature of universities and academic entrepreneurialism, the careers of women engineers and scientists and the changing nature of retirement.

OWE group members consistently publish in journals ranked as 4* world-leading and 3* internationally excellent by the Association of Business Schools. These journals include The British Journal of Industrial Relations, The British Journal of Management, Human Relations, Human Resource Management Journal, the Journal of Management Studies, the International Journal of Human Resource Management The journal of Vocational Behavior and Work Employment and Society. See member pages for specific details. Edwards is the Editor-in-Chief of Human Relations.

Associated Research Centres

Centre for Research on the Economy and Workplace (CREW)

CREW promotes quality research on the economy and workplace in the areas of workplace performance and productivity with an emphasis on how workplaces are managed and human resources developed and utilised under different ownership regimes. CREW has a critically focussed comparative and international orientation which contributes to contemporary academic, practitioner and policy debates, for example Pamela Robinson examines labour standards and employment conditions in the global supply chains that support international retailers, with a particular emphasis on the role of institutional actors involved in the development of sustainable business practices.



Head of Group: Dr Rory Donnelly

Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5144

Fax:  +44 (0) 121 414 2982



Administration: Jane Whitmarsh

Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3419


Enquiries about PhD applications should be directed to the PhD office.