Professor Tony Dobbins

Professor Tony Dobbins

Department of Management
Professor of HR Management & Employment Relations
Programme Director: MSc Human Resources Management

Contact details

Department of Management
JG Smith Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Tony is Professor of HR Management & Employment Relations. He joined Birmingham Business School in May 2018, from Bangor University. Tony has twenty years of employment relations experience as an academic, researcher, and journalist, including eight years working for Industrial Relations News, Dublin.

He has various research interests in the area of work and employment, and is an Editorial Board member of the journal Work, Employment & Society.


  • PhD Industrial Relations, University of Limerick, Ireland.
  • MA Industrial Relations, University of Warwick.
  • BA HRM & Business Administration, Keele University.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE), Bangor University.


Tony is Professor/Chair of HR Management and Employment Relations, Birmingham Business School. Previously, he was Professor of Employment Studies and Subject Head of the Management Group at Bangor Business School, Bangor University. Tony was also employed in various posts in both academia and the private and public sectors. He was an Irish Research Council funded Research Fellow at the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, National University of Ireland Galway, and spent eight years as a journalist in Dublin with Industrial Relations News.

His research interests include: employee voice/industrial democracy; workplace partnership; sociology of work, conflict and resistance at work; employment and skills in labour markets; the living wage/low pay. His research has been funded by several bodies (European Commission, Irish Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust). He has published in journals such as British Journal of Industrial Relations, British Journal of Management, Human Relations, Human Resource Management Journal, Work Employment & Society.

He is on the Editorial Board of Work, Employment & Society, and an external expert advisor for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound). Tony engages in regular knowledge exchange in various media, including: BBC Radio 4, The Conversation, The Guardian, i newspaper, Canada Globe and Mail. He also has external research experience and impact involving wider engagement with practitioners and policy-makers, through a range of employment relations/HRM projects with various organisations like the European Commission, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Ireland’s National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO). 

Postgraduate supervision

Tony would be interesting in supervising PhD students in the following research areas:

  • Employee voice/silence/industrial democracy;
  • Worker cooperatives;
  • Sociology of work, conflict and resistance;
  • Employment and skills in labour markets;
  • Experiences of precarious work, self-employment;
  • Low pay/living wage;
  • Employment regulation.


Research interests

  • Employee voice/industrial democracy;
  • Workplace partnership;
  • Sociology of work, conflict and cooperation;
  • Employment and skills in labour markets;
  • Low pay/living wage;
  • Employment regulation;
  • Comparative employment relations.


Tony’s research projects have been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, ESRC, European Commission.

Other activities

  • External examiner at Dublin City University and University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland;
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy;
  • Member of British Academy of Management (BAM), British Sociological Association (BSA), British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE);
  • Affiliate of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD);
  • Academic member of Research associate of MPOWER - Massey People, Organisation, Work and Employment Research hub, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand;
  • Research associate of Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway, Ireland.


Hughes, E., Dobbins, T. and Murphy, S. (2018), ‘Going Underground’: a tube worker’s experience of struggles over the frontier of control’, Work Employment and Society, On The Front Line.

Dobbins, T. and Plows, A. (2017) ‘Labour Market Intermediaries: a corrective to the human capital paradigm (mis)matching skills and jobs?’, Journal of Education and Work, 30(6): 571-584.

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T. (2017) ‘The chimera of sustainable labour-management partnership’, British Journal of Management, 28(3): 519-533. 

Dobbins, T., Dundon, T., Cullinane, N., Hickland, E. and Donaghey, J. (2017) ‘Employment regulation, game theory, and the lacuna in employee participation in liberal economies’, International Labour Review, 156(3-4), 395-422.

Cullinane, N., Hickland, E., Dundon, T., Dobbins, T. and Donaghey, J. (2017) ‘Triggering Employee Voice under the European Information and Consultation Directive: A non-union case study’, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 38 (4): 629-655.

Dundon, T. and Dobbins, T. (2015) ‘Militant partnership: a radical pluralist analysis of workforce dialectics’, Work Employment and Society, 29 (6): 912-931.

Dundon, T., Cullinane, N., Donaghey, J., Dobbins, T., Wilkinson, A., & Hickland, E. (2015) 'Double Breasting voice systems: an assessment of motives, arrangements and durability', Human Relations, 68 (3):489-513.

Dobbins, T., Plows, A. and Lloyd-Williams, H. (2014) ‘‘Make do and mend’ after redundancy at Anglesey Aluminium: critiquing human capital approaches’, Work Employment and Society, 28(4): 515-532.

Cullinane, N. and Dobbins, T. (2014), ‘Considering the Impact of the ‘Right to Bargain’ Legislation in Ireland': A Review, Industrial Law Journal, 43(1): 52-83.

Dundon, T., Dobbins, T., Hickland, E., Cullinane, N. and Donaghey, J. (2014), ‘Employer occupation of regulatory space for the Employee Information and Consultation (I&C) Directive in Liberal Market Economies’, Work Employment and Society, 28(1):21-39. 

View all publications in research portal


Labour market supply (skills) and demand (job opportunities). Workplace democracy, employee voice and silence, trade unions. The living wage and low pay. How the employment relationship is regulated.