I studied Sociology at Renmin University of China before I worked in China's post and telecom industry for a number of years. I then studied at Keele University for both my MA and PhD degrees in HRM and Industrial Relations before I was employed as a lecturer at Middlesex University in London. In 2010 I returned to Keele Business School as a lecturer in HRM.
I am an Academic Associate Member of CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), Fellow of Higher Education Academy, and Visiting Professor at Capital University of Economics and Business, China.
Research and scholarship
My main research interests include performance management in health services, decent work, work-life balance, migrant workers, employee misbehaviour, entrepreneurship, leadership, international strategic HRM, the emerging trade unionism and labour movement in China. My research also investigates the role of Chinese trade union organisations on collective wage consultation and strikes, alternative labour dispute resolution mechanisms, and the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on the challenges of developing countries’ labour market, income and employment.
Currently I am the PI of a Research England project ‘Decent work in time of Covid: Policy implications and challenges for the Midlands’, exploring how the Covid-19 crisis has exposed gaps in the provision of fair working opportunities in the Midlands as the region looks to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.The research is collaborated between KBS and University of Birmingham, aimed at providoing recommendations to government departments, organisations and community groups to increase the provision of ‘decent work’ - access to work that is productive, delivers a fair income, ensures security in the workplace, and provides social protection for families – for individuals across the region.
The ‘Decent work’ project brings together the perspectives of key stakeholders including the government, business societies, employee associations and other public organisations on the current decent work policies and will determine how these can be changed or refined to help with economic recovery and achieve sustained and inclusive economic growth across the region. The research will support the Keele Deal | Recovery which aims to create a powerful and wide-ranging programme of contributions aimed at achieving a major impact on the region’s recovery and building long-term resilience.
My previous projects includs a Leverhulme project ‘Collective pay determination and the changing labour relations in globalised China’ (PI, 2015-17, £105,800), which looked at the recent development of wage consultation, trade unions and labour relations in foreign invested firms in a number of regions in China. This large scale, international, interdisciplinary research was collaborated by a team of academics based in four universities: Keele University (UK), SOAS University of London (UK), Capital University of Economics and Business (China), and Shandong University of Finance and Economics (China).
In 2018-2019, I was the PI of a GCRF (Research England Global Challenges Research Fund) project “Foreign investment, labour market and employment relations: the challenges of Kenya’s sustainable development”, with a budget of £25,750. Co-investigators include colleagues based in Keele, Kenyatta University, Kenya, and Sun Yat-Sen University, China.
I am a member of the editorial boards of:
- The International Journal of Human Resource Management
- Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources.
I welcome potential research students whose projects are in the areas of people management and industrial relations focusing on employee resistance, workplace conflict and management practices. I am also interested in the development of the digital economy, the labour market, decent work and regulatory policy implications. Some of the projects that I have been engaging include:
- People management strategies
- Decent work, policy development and regional economy
- Impact of foreign investment on Kenya's labour market and decent work
- Employment relations and trade unionism in China
My current PhD students are:
- Chris Whitmore (August 2013-): Trade unionism in English schools. PhD, part-time
- Richard Gallagher (September 2016-): The mobilization of industrial action in British Airways: A case study of the 'mixed fleet' strike 201. PhD, full-time
- Zhonglin Liu (September 2016 -): Strategic integration, HRM, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions: a case study of a multinational corporation in China. PhD, full-time
- Kejin Li (September 2018-): Payment system reform in public hospitals in Yuanna province in the context of China's healthcare reform: the impact on doctors' job satisfaction and performance. PhD, full-time
- Mary Wallin (May 2021-): The effect of tattoos on employability in the workplace. PhD, part-time
Past PhD students:
- Mengyi Xu, PhD (2015 - 2019): Work-life balance in China: perspectives of urban female white collar employees.
- Year 2 Employee Resourcing, Social Enterprise and Alternative Organising
- Year 3 Pay and Performance
- MA Employment Relations and Reward
- MBA Human Resource Management
Full Publications Listshow
Book review: Anita Chan (ed.), Walmart in China. Work, Employment and Society. doi>2013.
Chinese Medical Doctors Association: A New Industrial Relations Actor in China's Health Services?. Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, 74-97, vol. 1(66). link>2011.
Dockworkers’ resistance and union reform within China’s globalised seaport industry. In Chinese Labour in the Global Economy Capitalist Exploitation and Strategies of Resistance. Routledge. doi>2017.