Professor Tom Baum

Work, Employment and Organisation


Personal statement

My academic interests address the social and strategic contexts of low skills employment, with particular focus on hospitality and tourism. This interest stems from over 40 years of experience in the strategic planning and development of vocational and professional education and training, as a research director within the public sector, as an educator in universities and as consultant to the private sector and to public sector, internationally funded projects across five continents. A key focus of my work addresses the role of public and private stakeholders in planning and HRD for the diverse employment environment of hospitality and tourism. Much of my strategic development work in this area has been located in developing country contexts in Asia and Africa. I also collaborate in research which addresses related areas of employment including migrant work and episodic, events volunteering. In all my work in these areas, I adopt a critical perspective on work and the workplace in frontline services that include hospitality, tourism and retail and use academic research as the basis for advocacy or intellectual activism designed to promote change. In this context, I am a founder member of the Global Hospitality Research Alliance (GHRA), a community of scholars from around the world with a common commitment to promoting change to work, the workplace and working conditions in hospitality. Post-COVID, I have been actively engaged with a number of policy-focused initiatives that have focused on this area, including the Scottish Fair Work Convention's Inquiry into Hospitality and the ReWage report on hospitality pay and working conditions.

I have recently been CI on two major international research projects. The first is the the One Ocean Hub ( which is a transdisciplinary study of the natural and human ecology of the ocean, focusing on improving the lives of communities in the Global South. The second is a Horizon2020 project focuses on new urban management models and mobilities in Europe and partnering 11 major universities. Prior to this, I led funded projects in partnership with universities in Kenya, South Africa, The Philippines and Uganda.

From 2014 until July 2019, I was the Head of Department in the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation and have previously spent 7 years heading up the former Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management and The Scottish Hotel School. I led the development of overseas partnership programmes in Hong Kong and Iran.  I have published extensively on themes relating to people and work within hospitality and tourism and am regularly invited to address international conferences worldwide. I have also supervised over 40 successful PhD students working in this and related areas of HRD in tourism and hospitality and have been an examiner for over 75 candidates.

I hold or have held visiting appointments to universities in Australia, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Wales. My current Visiting Professorships are with Auckland University of Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Taylors University, Malaysia, the University of Johannesburg and the University of Wales.

I have been a panel member and chair for institutional and programme reviews in 12 countries.

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Area of Expertise

  • Strategic HRD planning in the public and corporate sectors
  • Skills assessments in tourism
  • Education and training for low skills work
  • Volunteer work and volunteer roles in events and tourism
  • Cultural influences on work and workplace behaviour
  • Changing work and employment in frontline services


I hold BA(Hons) and MA degrees in Education from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, an MPhil in Training and Development obtained while working with Nottingham Trent University and a PhD in Tourism Labour Market Studies from the University of Strathclyde. In 2017, I completed my DLitt degree from the University of Strathclyde, based on my published work in the field of tourism and employment over a 30 year period.

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  • International HRM
  • Labour mobility and migration
  • Workforce diversity
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Research Interests

My research focuses on a range of workforce themes and issues in the context of low skills employment. My work places such work in its wider socio-cultural, economic and political contexts. I currently collaborate with colleagues in Australia, China, Hong Kong and New Zealand on projects relating to the first job experiences of teenagers; the future of tourism/ hospitality skills and work; the influence of culture on aspects of management theory; migrant labour in low skills work; gendered work in tourism; and volunteer work in tourism and events.

Professional Activities

The feasibility of teaching and assessing a vocational programme for the UK hospitality sector using blended learning in Further Education
Work, wages and employment in the UK hospitality sector
Universitas Bunda Mulia
Visiting researcher
Rethinking Sustainable HRM: Towards a Common-Good Approach.
Building Employer Brands: The Employee Perspective

More professional activities


Confronting customer abuse and harassment during the Covid-19 crisis? Evidence from Scotland’s hospitality industry
Hadjisolomou, Tasos (Principal Investigator) Baum, Thomas (Co-investigator) Booyens, Irma (Co-investigator) Nickson, Dennis (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
Cities as mobility hubs: tackling social exclusion through ‘smart’ citizen engagement SMARTDEST
Baum, Thomas (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Sambajee, Pratima (Co-investigator)
Cities as mobility hubs: tackling social exclusion through ‘smart’ citizen engagement(SMARTDEST) H2020-SC6-TRANSFORMATIONS-2018
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2022
Informal tourism entrepreneurs in Kenya
Sambajee, Pratima (Academic) Baum, Thomas (Academic) Kiptoo, Maryline (Principal Investigator)
02-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2023
GCRF One Ocean Hub
Morgera, Elisa (Principal Investigator) Baum, Thomas (Co-investigator) Cathcart, Alison (Co-investigator) Clark, Bryan (Co-investigator) Da Lomba, Sylvie (Co-investigator) Heath, Mike (Co-investigator) Revie, Matthew (Co-investigator) Sindico, Francesco (Co-investigator) Switzer, Stephanie (Co-investigator) Vermeylen, Saskia (Co-investigator) Webster, Elaine (Co-investigator) Laverick, Jack (Researcher)
13-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2024
Catering for Scotland's future skills needs: Attracting, training and retaining young chefs
Anderson, Pauline (Principal Investigator) Baum, Thomas (Co-investigator) Bourkel, Tom (Co-investigator)
Research Project Commissioned by SDS (CWBL)

Skills Development Scotland Co Ltd: £14,170.00
03-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2019
Inclusive tourism in the city: how urban tourism can benefit marginalised and vulnerable communities
Baum, Thomas (Principal Investigator) Tomazos, Konstantinos (Co-investigator) Rogerson, Robert (Co-investigator) Vermeylen, Saskia (Co-investigator) Dimitrijevic, Branka (Co-investigator) Horgan, Donagh (Co-investigator)
Multi-disciplinary research-informing workshop, funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman to engage with tourism from a social and economic inclusion perspective in the context of the contemporary city. Involved engagement with this theme from multiple perspectives including gender, economic, employment, human rights, urban planning, architecture, law and anthropology.
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2018

More projects

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Professor Tom Baum
Work, Employment and Organisation

Tel: 548 3954