Dr Rory Donnelly

Dr Rory Donnelly

Business School
Reader in HRM & OB
Head of Department: OWE

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 5144
+44 (0) 121 414 2982
Birmingham Business School
University House
B15 2TT

I am the Head of the Organisations, Work and Employment Department (OWE). The department comprises over 15 members of faculty who are active in critically focused and theoretically informed research and teaching on contemporary management, work and employment in organisations.

I am also the Director of the MSc HRM Programme at the Business School. Two pathways are offered on the programme, one of which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which provides students with access to membership of the profession. Details on the programme and two pathways can be found on the School's postgraduate taught webpages.

I am a Reader in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour. I joined Birmingham Business School as a Lecturer in April 2009, having previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Manchester Business School (2007–09) and Research Associate for the European Work and Employment Research Centre (2005–07).

As a Research Associate, I worked on two large internationally comparative projects, the DYNAMO project (FP6) and an EU-funded network coordination project (Expert Group on Gender, Social Inclusion and Employment). I then took up the position of Postdoctoral Fellow at MBS undertook a comparative study of careers and employment among management and IT consultants in the UK and the USA, which was funded by the British Academy. Building on this line of research at Birmingham, I then conducted a primary study into the HRM challenges faced by IT services firms in India.

In 2012, I successfully won funding from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Foundation to examine the role of recognition and reward in shaping the value creation and capture behaviour of IT workers in the UK and USA. This project will run until 2015.

I teach HRM to postgraduate students and Employment Relations to undergraduate students across the suite of business programmes delivered by the school. I have supervised a wide range of student dissertations from undergradute to doctoral-level. My fields of expertise are Human Resource Management, Organisational Behaviour and Employment Studies. My principal research interests lie in comparative employment systems, international HRM, the employment relationship, changing career dynamics and the knowledge economy.



  • BA (University of Manchester)
  • MSc (UMIST)
  • PhD (Manchester Business School)


Rory teaches the following modules:

  • HRM on the MSc HRM Programme
  • Employment Relations on the School's Undergraduate programmes 

Postgraduate supervision

I would be interested in PhDs that examine any of the following areas:

  • The knowledge economy and knowledge workers, such as management and IT consultants
  • Internationally comparative research on HRM and employment systems/relations
  • Flexible working and the reconciliation of work and private life

I prefer to supervise PhD students who use qualitative research methods.

Other activities

Professional memberships and academic affiliations

  • Full Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Member of the British Psychological Society (Psychological Testing Level A & B)
  • Affiliate of the Sloan Industries Group and member of the Academy of Management.
  • Associate of the European Work and Employment Research Centre, Manchester.


Refereed Journal Articles

Donnelly, R. (2015) ‘Gender, careers and flexibility in consultancies in the UK and the USA: a multi-level relational analysis’. IJHRM, 26 (1): 80-99.

Donnelly, R. (2011) ‘The organisation of working time in the knowledge economy: An insight into the working time patterns of consultants in the UK and the USA’. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 49 (S1): 93-114. 

Donnelly, R., Grimshaw, D. and Miozzo, M. (2011) ‘Does the UK have a “comparative institutional advantage” that is supportive of the IT services sector’. New Technology, Work and Employment, 26 (2): 98-112. 

Donnelly, R. (2011) ‘The ambiguities and tensions in creating and capturing value: Views from HRM consultants in a leading consultancy firm’. Human Resource Management, 50 (3): 429-444. 

Donnelly, R. (2011) ‘The coalescence between synergies and conflicts of interest in a top consultancy firm: An analysis of the implications for consultants’ attitudes and behaviours’. Human Resource Management Journal, 21 (1): 60-73. 

Donnelly, R. (2009) ‘Career behavior in the knowledge economy: Experiences and perceptions of career mobility among management and IT consultants in the UK and the USA’. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75 (3): 319-328. 

Donnelly, R. (2009) ‘The knowledge economy and the restructuring of employment: The case of consultants in a contemporary bureaucratic setting’. Work, Employment and Society, 23 (2): 323–341. 

Donnelly, R. (2008) ‘Careers and temporal flexibility in the new economy: An Anglo-Dutch comparison of consultancy’. Human Resource Management Journal, 18 (3): 197–215.

Donnelly, R. (2008) ‘The Management of Consultancy Knowledge: An internationally comparative analysis’, Journal of Knowledge Management, 12 (6): 71–83.

Donnelly, R. (2006) ‘How ‘Free’ is the Free Worker? An investigation into the working arrangements available to Knowledge Workers’, Personnel Review, (35) 1: 78–97. 


Book Chapters

Donnelly, R. (2011). ‘Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour’ in Butler and Rose (eds.) Introduction to Organisational Behaviour, London: CIPD.

Donnelly, R. (2012) ‘Changing Organizational Hierarchies’ in Dundon, T. and Wilkinson, A. (eds.) Case studies in people management, strategy and innovation. Australia, Victoria: Tide University Press.

Rubery, J., Grimshaw, D., Donnelly, R. and Urwin, P.(2009), ‘Revisiting the UK national model: from basket case to successstory?’ In G. Bosch., S. Lehndorff and J. Rubery (eds.), EuropeanModels in Flux. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.



Rubery, J. , Grimshaw, D., Smith, M. and Donnelly, R. (2006) The National Reform Programme 2006 and the gender aspects of the European Employment Strategy. Prepared for the Equality Unit, European Commission.

Fagan, C., Donnelly, R., Urwin, P. and Tavora, I. (2005) Gender Mainstreaming in the 2005 National Action Plan Implementation Reports for the Social Inclusion Process – the coordinators’ report. External report commissioned by and presented to the EC Directorate General Employment and Social Affairs, Unit G1.

Rubery, J., Grimshaw, D., Figueiredo, H., Smith, M. and Donnelly, R. (2005) The National Reform Programme 2005 and the gender aspects of the European Employment Strategy. Prepared for the Equality Unit, European Commission.

Fagan, C., Rubery, J., Urwin, P. and Donnelly, R. (2005) An evaluation of the gender dimension to the national action plan for social inclusion 2005 – the UK national report. Prepared for the Equality Unit, European Commission.

Fagan, C., Donnelly, R. and Rubery, J. (2005) The reconciliation of work and private life in the UK. Report prepared for the Equality Unit, European Commission.


Book reviews

Freelancing Expertise: Contract Professionals in the New Economy by D. Osnowitz (2010). Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Reviewed for Administrative Science Quarterly.