Dr Martin James PhD MA BA(Hons) PgDip

Dr  Martin James

Department of Management
Lecturer in Management

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
The Lodge
University House
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr James is a multi-disciplinary scholar specialising in organisational behaviour, political economy and the sociology of management.

He is a member of Birmingham Business School’s (BBS) Organisation, Work and Employment (OWE) research group, and has carried out empirical studies in several “blue chip” private and public sector settings. One such undertaking provided the data set for his PhD which was awarded by Warwick Business School, the University of Warwick, in 2020.

Before joining BBS in January 2022, Dr James taught at the universities of Warwick, Leicester and Swansea. Earlier in his career he gleaned critical insights across a range of front-line and graduate management roles in corporate contexts. These experiences provide Dr James with a rich tapestry of teaching materials that he now utilises for enhanced higher education learning.

Dr James has contributed to the national news agenda, featuring on the BBC News and in Business News Wales. His work has been presented at international conferences in London, New York and Buenos Aires in recent years.


  • PhD in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, 2020
  • MA in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, 2005
  • PGDip in Personnel Management (CIPD), Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, 2005
  • BA (Hons) in Sociology, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, 2002


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, Dr James 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 proposals.

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.


  • Human Resource Management (BSc Business Management)
  • Organisational Behaviour (MBA & GDBA)
  • Organisational Studies (BSc Business Management)


Dr James designed and delivered the evaluation framework for Vibrant & Viable Places, the Welsh Government’s flagship regeneration policy (2013-present). The work was performed in association with the Welsh Government’s Knowledge & Analytical Services (KAS) and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).

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