Professor Ian Cunningham

Head Of Department

Work, Employment and Organisation

Personal statement

Ian Cunningham is Professor of Employment Relations in the Department of HRM. He is an Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and between 2010 - 2013 he was Treasurer of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA). Professor Cunningham's research interests include voluntary sector employment relations, sickness absence and disability management, employee involvement and participation and public sector employment relations during austerity. Professor Cunningham has published in a wide range of HR and public administration journals and has strong research links with scholars from Canada and Austrlia. He is currently supervising four Phd students.


Has expertise in:

    Non-profit employment relations

    Social Care work

    Impact of public service austerity

    Union organising in the non-profit sector

    Employment relations in the public sector

    Absence and disability management

    Involvement and participation

    Line managers and employee relations


The influence of 'soft' Fair Work regulation on union recovery : a case of re-recognition in the Scottish voluntary social care sector
Cunningham Ian, James Philip, Baluch Alina
Industrial Relations Journal Vol 53, pp. 261-277 (2022)
Supply chain regulation in Scottish social care : facilitators and barriers
James Phillip, Baluch Alina M, Cunningham Ian, Cullen Anne-Marie
Economic and Industrial Democracy (2021)
Diaries from the front line - formal supervision and job quality among social care workers during austerity
Cunningham Ian, Lindsay Colin, Roy Chandrima
Human Resource Management Journal Vol 31, pp. 187-201 (2021)
Working in the Context of Austerity : Challenges and Struggles
Baines Donna, Cunningham Ian
Understanding austerity : its reach and presence in the changing context of work and employment
Baines Donna, Cunningham Ian
Working in the Context of Austerity Challenges and Struggles (2020) (2020)
Trends in collective bargaining, wage stagnation and income inequality under austerity
Cunningham Ian, James Philip
Working in the Context of Austerity Challenges and Struggles (2020) (2020)

More publications


Professor Ian Cunningham currently teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate in employee relations.

Along with Dr Colin Lindsay Ian has developed an Honours level module in HRM and Employee Relations in Public Services.

Research interests

Professor Ian Cunningham's research interests include employee relations in voluntary organisations, absence and disability management, employee involvement in voluntary organisations and employment relations in the public services during austerity. In recent years in has published a book with Routledge (2008) entitled 'Employment Relations in the Voluntary Sector'. In addition, with Professor Phil James he published an edited volume entitled 'Voluntary Organisations and Public Service Delivery', Routledge. This includes contributions from scholars from the UK, Canada, Australia and the United States. Ian has been involved in 7 funded research projects in recent years, including two with a international comparative aspect. Currently he is working with Professor Donna Baines of McMaster University on a project examining precarious work among the non-profit workforce. Ian is currently beginning work looking at employment conditions in voluntary and private care providers in Scotland. His other research interests include employee absence and disability, involvement and participation and public service employment during austerity. Professor Cunningham currently has four Phd students.

Professional activities

External Examiner HRM Programmes
External Examiner
A view from here
Keynote/plenary speaker
Sage (Publisher)
Guest editor
Benchmarking Pay and Conditions in the Social Care sector
Skills for Care and Development (External organisation)
Invited seminar speaker, University of St Andrews School (29/10/10), Third Sector Research Forum, Challenging Times: Voluntary Sector Employee Relations in Recession
Invited speaker

More professional activities


Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland - benchmarking study of pay and conditions
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator)
12-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
The Care Necessities - Developing Inclusive Digital Technologies for Scotland’s Post Pandemic Social Care (Digit Innovation Fund)
Briken, Kendra (Principal Investigator) Cunningham, Ian (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
‘Reward to Retain’ Evaluating the impact of ENABLE and UNISONS’s agreement to improve recruitment and retention through fair work
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator) Baluch, Alina (Co-investigator) Jendro, Eva (Co-investigator) Scholarios, Dora (Co-investigator) Johnstone, Stewart (Co-investigator) James, Philip (Co-investigator)
Research undertaken in Enable explored issues around recruitment, retention reward and retention in the organisation. The research proposal aimed to address the following objectives: 1. Why staff join and remain within ENABLE in light of the agreement with UNISON; 2. What changes the agreement has made to the organisation’s attraction and selection strategies; 3. How these changes have impacted on service quality; and 4. How the values of Fair Work can be progressed in future relations between ENABLE and UNISON.
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2021
Benchmarking Pay and conditions 5
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator)
12-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2019
Understanding rationale, process and impact when third sector providers withdraw from service provision
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 28-Jan-2019
Employee Turnover in Voluntary Sector Social Care
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator) Scholarios, Dora (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2018

More projects


Work, Employment and Organisation
Duncan Wing

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