Dr Xanthe Whittaker

Dr Xanthe Whittaker


2016    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)   
2001     BPPM Public Policy and Management (Hons), University of Melbourne

Associations and Professional Memberships:
British Sociological Association (BSA)
British Universities Industrial Relations Associations (BUIRA)

2016 - Present : Teaching Fellow in Human Resource Management, University of Leeds Business School.

2015 - 2016: Interviewer, Health working lives: a longitudinal study of early career clinicians expectations and experiences of work, employment and career in the NHS. School of Management, University of Leicester.

2014 - 2016: Associate Tutor, University of Leicester Business School

2013 - Present: University of Leicester Business School funded Doctoral Researcher

2009 - 2010: Research coordinator, x:talk project Human Rights Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking. European Commissions Daphne programme.

2008 - 2009: Researcher. ISET, London Metropolitan University. ESRC project Migrants in the UK   Sex Industry.

My research considers digital transformations of work and their effect on the employment relationship, with a particular focus on social, political and ethical aspects of the development of technology in the labour process. My doctoral research was an ethnographic study of newspaper journalism, focusing on the effect of digitalisation on the content and organization of work in newsrooms, on contracts of employment for journalists and employment relations.

I have worked to bring researchers on digital transformations of work into conversation; drawing together insights from inside and outside the academy, as well as from disciplines including sociology of work, organisation studies, media and cultural studies. In 2017 I convened a stream on Digital Labour at the International Labour Process Conference held in Sheffield.

In 2018, I co-edited a collection of essays, Humans and Machines at Work, which came out of a symposium at WZB in Berlin 2016 and includes discussions of monitoring and surveillance, automation, the gig economy and the quantified self in the workplace from different disciplinary perspectives.

I am currently developing a research agenda that extends my research on the digital transformations of work and, in particular, the use of automation, people analytics and AI/machine learning in HRM, looking at the social, political and ethical challenges these pose for employment relations. My postdoctoral research looks at how people analytics, and especially algorithms and machine learning, are being applied to the HR function. In particular it examines whether the automation of aspects of HR decision-making in, for example, recruitment and selection, performance management, and attrition modelling are being used to address, or are having an effect on, employee well-being, quality of work, diversity and bias in HR decision-making. 

My research interests include digital transformations of work, people analytics, the effects of technology on work and society, labour process theory and organisational ethnography.

I am interested in supervising doctoral students with interests in any of the above.


LUBS0060 Introduction to HRM

LUBS1760 Business & Society (Organisation Theory)

LUBS3855 Strategic Human Resource Management

LUBS5330M Human Resources Management

LUBS5342M People Analytics: Strategy and Practice

LUBS5443M Change Management  and Communications

LUBS5842M Strategic HRM and Talent Management


LUBS3185M People Analytics: Strategy and Practice 

LUBS5320M Training & Development

LUBS5592M - Research Methods and Practice for Consultants

I principally teach strategic HRM and people analytics but also cover modules in sociology of work, critical management studies and business ethics. I currently teach on foundation, masters and MBA courses in the Work and Employment Relations Division. In August 2016 I was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

In addition to my academic teaching, I have a background in critical pedagogy and have worked in teaching settings with marginalised groups, including Somali women refugees and migrant sex workers. I have a long-term commitment to working with students to create learning environments that are inclusive, enable participation and that recognise the role learning plays, not just in the development of skills and employability, but in the wider context of democratic participation in civil society and in social change.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Current postgraduate researchers