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.

Back to staff profile

Area of Expertise

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

Back to staff profile


Introducing Fair Work through 'soft' regulation in outsourced public service networks : explaining unintended outcomes in the implementation of the Scottish living wage policy
Cunningham Ian, James Philip, Baluch Alina, Cullen Anne Marie
Industrial Law Journal Vol 52, pp. 312-341 (2023)
Conceptualising employee voice in the majority world : using multiple intellectual traditions inspired by the work of Mick Marchington: employee voice in the majority world
Dibben Pauline, Cunningham Ian, Bakalov Nikola, Xian Huiping
Human Resource Management Journal Vol 33, pp. 564-577 (2022)
'Reward to Retain' Evaluating the Impact of ENABLE and UNISON's Agreement to Improve Recruitment and Retention through Fair Work : Reward to Retain
Cunningham Ian, Baluch Alina, Jendro Eva, Scholarios Dora, Johnstone Stewart, James Philip
Benchmarking Pay and Conditions in the Scottish Voluntary Sector : 2022
Cunningham Ian, Nikolva Marina, James Philip, Baluch Alina, Young Doug
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)
Privatizing the sacrifice : individualized funding, austerity and precarity in the voluntary sector in Australia and Scotland
, Cunningham Ian, ,
The Changing Politics and Policy of Austerity (2021) (2021)

More publications

Back to staff profile


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.

Back to staff profile

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

Cost Of Living – Making the most of research
International Labour Process Conference 2023
The Care Necessities – Developing Inclusive Digital Technologies for Scotland’s Post Pandemic Social Care 
Digital program Monthly sessions
Technology Enabled Care Programme of the Scottish Government
Benchmarking Pay and Conditions in the Scottish Voluntary Sector 2022

More professional activities


Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland - benchmarking study of pay and conditions continued
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2024 - 30-Jan-2024
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator)
16-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2023
Long-term Care Research Project for Public Services International (PSI) Federation
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator)
18-Jan-2022 - 28-Jan-2023
Amplifying Employee Voice and Hearing the Unheard: A Multidisciplinary Study of Contemporary Working Lives in Deindustrialised Communities
Johnstone, Stewart (Principal Investigator) Briken, Kendra (Co-investigator) Cunningham, Ian (Co-investigator) Hadjisolomou, Tasos (Co-investigator) McCarthy, Tony (Co-investigator) McIntyre, Stuart (Co-investigator) Scholarios, Dora (Co-investigator) Taylor, Philip (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2025
Re-examining the role of line manager in managing sickness absence during and post-pandemic and the issue of legitimacy of sickness: Informing policy and practice for a fairer workplace
Hadjisolomou, Tasos (Principal Investigator) Cunningham, Ian (Co-investigator) Remnant, Jennifer (Co-investigator)
20-Jan-2022 - 19-Jan-2024
Long-term Care Research Project for Public Services International (PSI) Federation.
Cunningham, Ian (Principal Investigator) Charlesworth, Sara (Principal Investigator) Daly, Tamara (Academic)
The purpose of this project is to provide trade unions with an evidence-based campaigning resource on the type of reforms that might be put into place to achieve high quality national long term care systems in both developed and emerging economies to benefit workers, care recipients and society.
15-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2022

More projects

Back to staff profile


Professor Ian Cunningham
Head Of Department
Work, Employment and Organisation

Tel: 548 3972