Doctoral Academy

An active doctoral programme

Student leaning on bannister

Postgraduate researchers are integrated into all activities of CERIC and participate in workshops, teaching, and research as well as regularly submitting their work to leading academic journals and conferences.

CERIC encourages applications for doctoral study in its core themes of interest. Where appropriate, members will work with applicants to identify funding opportunities and prepare applications. Interested applicants should contact members of staff at the start of each calendar year.  

Doctoral Conference

The Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) warmly invites postgraduate researchers at all stages of their studies to attend and participate in our annual Doctoral Conference. Abstracts are invited from a broad spectrum of employment relations themes covering any aspect of:

  • Work
  • Employability
  • Labour Markets
  • Industrial relations / trade union movements
  • Human Resource Management

CERIC is pleased to offer a prize for the best presentation, which will be the costs (up to £400) to cover attendance at a leading national conference of the student’s choice. There is also a prize of £100 for the best poster. 

Past programmes

Detailed highlights of last year's conference, as well as photos of the event and reflections by some of the attendees can be found here.

Previous Conference programmes:

Recently completed PhD projects

Zyama Ciupijus (2015)

'Socio-economic experiences of Central Eastern European migrants in Yorkshire'

The project’s aim is to explore working and non-working lives of the accession countries’ citizens in Britain. In particular, I am interested in a number of themes: migrants’ livelihood strategies, interactions with social support groups and the affects of EU citizenship on labour migration from post-communist Central Eastern Europe. Furthermore, on the basis of research findings, I critically examine the view portraying Central Eastern European mobility with the enlarged EU as a predominantly circular and temporary phenomenon. The study employs a qualitative research design – the main bulk of data is expected to be collected via biographical semi-structured interviews.

Supervised by Robert MacKenzie and Chris Forde (LUBS funded).

CERIC profile

Jo Cutter (2015)

'Getting learning into the bargain: trade union strategies for bargaining over learning in the workplace'

 Supervised by Mark Stuart and Hugh Cook.

Nicholas Jephson (2014)
Nick Jephson

‘The Perceptions and Prospects of Future Professionals’

This PhD research project explores current perceptions of the meanings and experiences of ‘professional’ work and the ‘professional project’. More specifically, it is focused on the changing profiles and perceptions of trainees in UK accounting firms. The project will utilise insights gained from examinations of national statistics as well as interviews with senior partners and trainees in UK accountancy firms. Contemporary perceptions of professional socialization and organizational and occupational commitment will be investigated. The professional education of accounting trainees, and the varying stages at which this takes place in different employment models, will also be explored.

Supervised by Chris Forde and Robert MacKenzie. (ESRC Funded).

Hugh Cook (2013)

Dr Hugh Cook is a Lecturer in Employment Relations and HRM at Leeds University Business School. Visit his CERIC profile.

Kathryn Hartley (2013)

'Role transition and hybridisation of the medical identity:The impact of leadership development on doctors in the UK National Health Service'

Supervised by Ian Kirkpatrick and Gail Clarkson. (ESRC Funded).

Hadi El Farr (2012)

'HRM and knowledge management: a case study of the management consultancy sector'

The aim of the research is to provide empirical evidence on the relationship between human resources management and knowledge management. The focus of the study is management consultancy firms in the United Kingdom. The study will focus on several human resources practices such as recruitment and selection, compensation management, performance appraisal, training and development and career and retention management. The research is divided into two stages. The first is extensive and explorative in nature, where a survey is employed to scan the field. The second is intensive in nature, where two case studies are employed to understand in-depth the findings of the survey.

Supervised by Ian Kirkpatrick and Chris Forde

Christiana Ierodiakonou (2012)

'The work-family choices of women in Cyprus: An international approach'

This study focuses on the choices women make between work and family in Cyprus, a country in the under-explored southern welfare regime. The aim is to contribute to debates about preference, choice, agency, and modernity and to critically explore the suitability of preference, structuration, and modernisation theories in the ways women’s choices change over time in the specific context. Data have been collected through in-depth biographical interviews with forty Cypriot women of different ages. Through women’s narratives, I discuss the structural, cultural, and individual factors that influence women’s work-family choices, as well as the ways in which the influence of these factors has changed over time.

Supervised by Jean Gardiner and Jennifer Tomlinson.

Alison Lewis (2012)

'Human Resource Outsourcing: Implications for a new breed of business partner'

Proponents of outsourcing view it as an invaluable chance to achieve efficiencies, augment organisational capabilities and improve business performance.  The use of HR outsourcing (HRO) is becoming increasingly attractive. It is a means by which business leaders seek functional improvements and increased value-added from the HR function, and for the HR function, enhanced strategic involvement. Unfortunately the two are not mutually exclusive. My research makes an empirical contribution and assesses the impact that HRO is having on the role and profile of the HR function within the organisation.

The research is based on three phases. The first phase has been conducted alongside the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and assesses the nature and extent of outsourcing in the UK, as well as the levels of involvement that HR managers have during the HRO lifecycle. The second phase involves interviews with outsourcing and non-outsourcing HR managers alike. This unpacks some of the issues raised in the survey and increases understanding of what HR managers think about outsourcing, their role in it and how important they think their organisational role is. In an attempt to corroborate findings from these first two stages, a series of case studies are then conducted.  During this stage, data is gathered from a range of organisational stakeholders other than the HR function.

Preliminary findings so far reveal that HR managers working in non-outsourcing environments not only have the skills they need, but are more integrated within the organisation and are able to assume greater strategic involvement.  These managers are multi-disciplinary in nature, with a desire and ability to work across the organisation. On the contrary, those HR managers engaged in outsourcing fail to adopt a strategic role and often do not have the skills to be able to break down the preconceptions traditionally associated with them. A possible outcome – the weakened ability not only to achieve normative HR outcomes, but also little awareness and ability to achieve that elusive bundle of HR practices leading to high performance.

Supervised by Ian Kirkpatrick and Mark Stuart. (ESRC Funded). 

Charles Umney (2012)

'The western labour movement’s responses to economic liberalisation in China'

This project examines how British trade unionists have reacted to globalisation. It can be roughly divided into two stages. Firstly, I have used an exploratory, interview-based approach to data gathering to look at a wide range of organisations, building up an initial overview of the processes that have been at work and the issues that have been the most pressing. In particular, I look at the ways in which union officials have acted: have their strategies been pushed in certain ways from below or do they instead seek to build consensus and influence the way their membership views globalisation and international solidarity? Secondly, I focus more closely on a case study of two maritime trade unions. I aim to compare and contrast their approaches to internationalisation and consider the way the different experiences of their members have resulted in different attitudes and strategies.

Supervised by Mark Stuart and Ian Greer. (ESRC funded).

CERIC profile

Emma Roberts (2011)

'The customisation of working patterns: the impact and limitation of Agency in the work-care projects of employees'

The thesis examines the transitions in working patterns, such as a move to reduced hours or compressed working weeks, which are adopted by employees to improve their so-called work-life balance. Specifically, it compared the experiences of parents and those without child-care responsibilities as a critique of the, often implicit, conflation of ‘life’ with family and child-care. The study was designed to address the question of why employees with no child-care responsibilities pursued customised working patterns despite the financial and career penalties involved. Using Beck’s Individualization thesis, it is suggested that these experiences can be characterised as employees seeking an ‘individualized’ solution to reducing the impact and intrusion of high work intensity.

Supervised by Jean Gardiner, Nicky Shaw and Jenny Tomlinson.

Ian Greenwood (2009)

'The process and consequences of industrial restructuring and plant closure: a case study from the UK steel industry'

Supervised by Mark Stuart and Phil Hodkinson.

CERIC profile

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos (2009)

'An empirical investigation of employee training and development in Greek manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)'

My main research interests lie in the area of skills formation within advancing economies. My recent empirical work has focused mainly on the nature of employee training and development in industrial SMEs in the context of Greece and the determinants of formal training provision, as well as informal learning within Greek small enterprises. I have conducted both quantitative and qualitative research around this area and my goal is to find out how training is implemented in small industrial firms in advancing economies (like Greece) and how it can contribute towards small firm success.

Supervised by Mark Stuart and Chris Forde.

Khalid Al-Horr (2009)

'Political contingency and the implementation of localisation policies: a case study of Oil and Gas sector in Qatar'

Supervised by Chris Forde and Rob Mackenzie.

Current students