Professor Tony Dobbins

Professor Tony Dobbins

Department of Management
Professor of Employment Relations & HR Management
Director of MSc HRM Programmes

Contact details

Address
Room G133, University House
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Tony is Professor of Employment Relations & HR Management at Birmingham Business School. He is part of the Organisation, Work and Employment (OWE) group in the Department of Management. He joined Birmingham Business School in May 2018, from Bangor University. Tony has over twenty years of employment relations experience as an academic, researcher, and journalist in the UK and Republic of Ireland, including eight years working for Industrial Relations News, Dublin. He has various research interests in the area of work and employment.

Qualifications

  • 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.

Biography

Tony is Professor of Employment Relations & HR Management in the Department of Management at Birmingham Business School. He is part of the Organisation, Work and Employment (OWE) group, and the employment relations, trade unions and employee voice research stream. He also leads the Labour Governance and Employee Voice cluster in the Workplace Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC). Tony is Programme Director for the MSc HRM. He joined Birmingham Business School in May 2018, from Bangor University, where he was formerly Professor of Employment Studies. Tony has over twenty years’ employment relations experience as an academic, researcher, and journalist in the UK and Republic of Ireland, including eight years working for Industrial Relations News, Dublin.

Tony is Visiting Professor at Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland; Visiting Professor at Centre for Labour Studies at University of Malta; President of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA); a former member of the Editorial Board of Work, Employment & Society (WES).

His research interests in the area of work and employment include: employee voice and silence/industrial democracy; trade unions (workplace partnership, union recognition); the living wage/low pay; sociology of work, conflict and cooperation at work; employment and skills in regional labour markets; the future of work. 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 peer-reviewed academic journals such as British Journal of Industrial Relations, British Journal of Management, Human Relations, Human Resource Management Journal, Work Employment & Society.

Tony also engages in regular knowledge exchange and public engagement in various media, including: BBC, Al Jazeera, RTE, The Conversation, The Guardian, i newspaper, Huffington Post, Canada Globe and Mail, People Management. He also has external research experience and impact involving wider engagement with practitioners and policy-makers, through a range of employment relations projects with various organisations like the European Commission/European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Ireland’s National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO). 

Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching:

  • International HRM (Part-Time Programme, Singapore)
  • HRM (UG Major Minor and Accounting &Finance) (21656/03059).

Postgraduate Teaching:

  • MSc HRM (HRM) (24273).

Postgraduate supervision

Tony is interested in supervising PhD students in the following research areas:

  • Living wage/low pay;
  • Employee voice/silence/industrial democracy at work;
  • Trade unions (workplace partnership, union recognition);
  • Worker-owned cooperatives;
  • Sociology of work, conflict and cooperation;
  • Employment and skills in labour markets;
  • Regulation of employment;
  • Comparative employment relations
  • Future of work, politics of work

His preference is for PhD students who use qualitative research methods and who adopt a critical perspective on work and employment issues. Tony has supervised 3 PhD students to completion.

Research

Research interests

  • Living wage/low pay;
  • Employee voice/silence/industrial democracy at work;
  • Trade unions (workplace partnership, union recognition);
  • Worker-owned cooperatives;
  • Sociology of work, conflict and cooperation;
  • Employment and skills in labour markets;
  • Regulation of employment;
  • Comparative employment relations (notably the Republic of Ireland)
  • Future of work, politics of work.

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

Other activities

  • President of British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA);
  • Visiting Professor at Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland;
  • Visiting Professor at Centre for Labour Studies, University of Malta;
  • PhD external examinations at University of Western Australia, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, Keele University;
  • External examiner for UG and PG taught programmes at Dublin City University and University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland;
  • External examiner for Bachelor in Work and Human Resources at Centre for Labour Studies, University of Malta.
  • Grant assessor for British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, and Research Council of Norway;
  • External assessor for academic promotion panels;
  • 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);
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy;
  • 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.

Publications

Recent Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (past 5 years only)

Hughes, E. and Dobbins, T. (2021), ‘Frontier of control struggles in British and Irish public transport’, European Journal of Industrial Relations.

Dobbins, T., Cullinane, N. and Sheehan, B. (2020), ‘Ireland’s conundrum on union bargaining rights: assessing the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2015’, Industrial Relations Journal, 51(1-2): 75-91.

Hickland, E., Cullinane, N., Dobbins, T., Dundon, T. and Donaghey, J. (2020), ‘Employer Silencing in a Context of Voice Regulations: Case Studies of Non-Compliance’, Human Resource Management Journal. 

Hughes, E., Dobbins, T. and Merkl-Davies, D. (2020), ‘Moral economy, solidarity and labour process struggle in Irish public transport’, Economic and Industrial Democracy.

Hughes, E., Dobbins, T. and Murphy, S. (2019), ‘Going Underground’: a tube worker’s experience of struggles over the frontier of control’, Work Employment and Society, 33(1), 174–183.

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. 

Recent Book Chapters (past 5 years)

Dobbins, T. and Wilkinson, A. (2020). Downsizing. In A. Wilkinson, T. Dundon, and T. Redman. Contemporary HRM: Texts and Cases (6th edition). Pearson.

Johnstone, S. and Dobbins, T. (2020). Employment Relations in the United Kingdom. In Bamber, G.J,. Lansbury, R. Waile, N. and Wright, C.F. (2020) International and Comparative Employment Relations: Globalisation, Regulation and Change (7th edition). Sage.

Prowse, P., Dobbins, T., and Fells, R. (2020), ‘A case study of the Living Wage’. In T. Dundon and A. Wilkinson (eds), Case Studies in Work, Employment and Human Resource Management. Edward Elgar. 

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T. (2020), ‘Employee Representation in Non-union Voice Regimes’. In A. Wilkinson, J. Donaghey, T. Dundon and R. Freeman (eds), Edward Elgar Handbook of Employee Voice, (2nd edition). Edward Elgar.

Donaghey, J., Dundon, T., Cullinane, N., Dobbins, T. and Hickland, E. (2019), ‘Managerial silencing of employee voice’. In P. Holland and J. Teicher (eds), Employee Voice @ Work. Springer.

Cullinane, N., Hickland, E., Dundon, T., Dobbins, T. and Donaghey, J. (2018), ‘Accessing the Law to Enforce Employment Rights: A Case Study of Worker Activism in a Non-Union Workplace’, Sage Research Methods Cases Business and Management. Sage Publishing. 

Wilkinson, A., Dobbins, T. and Redman, T. (2016), ‘Downsizing’, Chapter 14. In A. Wilkinson, T. Redman and T. Dundon. Contemporary HRM: Texts and Cases (5th edition). Pearson.

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T. (2016), ‘Workplace partnership in Ireland: irreconcilable tensions between an ‘Irish third way’ of voluntary mutuality and neo-liberalism’. In S. Johnstone and A. Wilkinson (eds), Developing Positive Employment Relations. Palgrave Macmillan.

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T. (2016), ‘Ireland case study: workplace cooperation at Aughinish Alumina’. In S. Johnstone and A. Wilkinson (eds), Developing Positive Employment Relations. Palgrave Macmillan.

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T. (2015), ‘The EU Information & Consultation Directive in voluntarist economies’. In S. Johnstone and P. Ackers (eds), Finding a Voice? Employee Representation in the New Workplace. Oxford University Press.

Recent Media Outputs

Al Jazerra

Friday May 29th 2020. Live interview about workers' rights, working conditions, Job Retention Scheme, job losses, alternatives to redundancies. 
https://mediaview.aljazeera.com/video/vrrDJr3QIN

BBC

  • Briefing on bogus self-employment for BBC Radio 5 Live, October 2016.

RTE (Ireland’s national state broadcaster):

RTE Brainstorm - Will Brexit see a rollback of workers' rights in Northern Ireland and Britain? 
https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2019/0326/1038652-will-brexit-see-a-rollback-of-workers-rights-in-the-uk/

Huffington Post:

November 2018, We Might Have A New 'Living Wage', But Low Pay Is Entrenched In UK 
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/living-wage_uk_5be30593e4b0f5f96db2400c

July 2018, Why A Job Guarantee Should Be A Basic Human Right 
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/why-a-job-guarantee-is-a-basic-human-right_uk_5b364742e4b0121d528acb54

May 2018, Why We Badly Need ‘Trickle-Up Economics’ To Boost Workers' Pay 
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/why-we-badly-need-trickle-up-economics-to-boost-workers_uk_5b058e63e4b0b22f55b90f16

Tribune:

The Conversation:

Futures of Work

The Globe and Mail (Canada):

Guardian Letters:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/sep/10/ba-pilots-are-better-off-than-cabin-crew

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jun/01/strikes-are-low-but-discontent-is-expressed-in-other-ways

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/07/why-a-jobs-guarantee-would-benefit-us-all

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/15/local-us-campaigns-boosted-living-wage

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jun/16/rise-of-bad-bosses-and-insecure-workers

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/14/fine-words-from-the-new-tory-pm-but-can-and-will-she-deliver

People Management:

Why the most effective employee benefits don’t have to cost you anything, August 22, 2019
https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/long-reads/articles/most-effective-employee-benefits-dont-cost-anything

Quoted in E. Howlett (2019) Two decades on, has the minimum wage worked? September 28, 2019.
https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/long-reads/articles/two-decades-minimum-wage-worked

Birmingham Business School blog

Furlough vital for mitigating redundancy and health & safety crises. May 20th 2020.
https://blog.bham.ac.uk/business-school/2020/05/20/furlough-vital-for-mitigating-redundancy/

Why a future politics of work is paramount after Covid-19. April 24th 2020.
https://blog.bham.ac.uk/business-school/2020/04/24/new-future-politics-of-work/

Education on Workers’ Rights and Working Class History Vital for Democracy. November 13th, 2019.
https://blog.bham.ac.uk/business-school/2019/11/13/education-on-workers-right/

The National Living Wage: Is this a ‘Real Living Wage’? March 29th, 2019.
https://blog.bham.ac.uk/business-school/2019/03/29/the-national-living-wage-is-this-a-real-living-wage/

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Tony’s key research areas are labour market supply and demand, workplace democracy, living wage, low pay, employee voice and silence, trade unions and how the employment relationship is regulated