Dr James began his career in Human Resources, working alongside the Head of Department at Hardys and Hansons plc (since acquired by Greene King plc) on a series of special projects. He then moved to Hovis Ltd to gain operational and logistical experience within a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market leader.
These roles instilled in Dr James a desire to further explore the nature of industrial relations and employment within “late capitalism.” To that end he won a scholarship for Warwick Business School’s (WBS) MA in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management (2003-05). Dr James finished top of his class with an overall Distinction. His Dissertation was awarded the highest mark across WBS’ Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour programmes.
The strength of his academic performance led to Dr James returning to WBS in 2011 after a period in business and industry. Upon applying for the PhD programme, he was nominated for the Chancellor’s Scholarship (the University of Warwick’s most prestigious award), and was ultimately awarded an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) scholarship to pursue his research.
Dr James’ PhD constituted a ground-breaking combination of Roy Bhaskar’s critical realism and Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis, taking forward scholarly understandings of front-line service work. His research was supervised by Paul Edwards (Professor of Employment Relations, University of Birmingham) Anne-Marie Greene (Professor of Work and Diversity, University of York), Jimmy Donaghey (Professor of OB/HRM, University of South Australia) and Deborah Dean (Associate Professor of Industrial Relations, WBS).
Since being awarded his PhD Dr James has focused on disseminating his research and broadening his teaching profile. At the University of Leicester (2018-20) Dr James taught Managing Diversity at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. A key theme was the analytical significance of “anteriority,” a heuristic device that connects historical agency to contemporary socio-economic conditions.
More recently at Swansea University (2020-22), Dr James added international dimensions to his teaching portfolio by focusing upon international human resource management. He also contributed as a lecturer and moderator to International Management and Global Business Environment modules.
Alongside his own research Dr James has supervised numerous MSc dissertations. He has a 100% track-record of leading students to completion.
Dr James has held several leadership roles since arriving at Birmingham Business School in January 2022. In particular he served as Deputy Director of the HRM MSc programme (September 2022 – December 2022), and as Management Department Education Lead (January 2023 – June 2023). Since July 2023 Dr James has served as Director of the BSc Business Management suite of programmes.