Professor Melanie Simms

Professor of Work and EmploymentMelanie Simms

Contact details

  • Tel: + 44 (0) 116 294 4693
  • Email:
  • Office: Room 014, Ground Floor, Fielding Johnson Building
  • Office Hours: TBC

Personal details

Currently I am joint Associate Dean for Research within the School. I have worked at the University of Leicester since September 2013. Prior to that, I have worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Warwick, the University of Kent, Cardiff University and the University of Oxford.

I am joint editor-in-chief of the journal Work, Employment and Society. I am also an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).



Simms, M., J. Holgate and E. Heery. (2013) Union Voices – Tactics and Tensions in UK Organizing. Cornell University Press.

Journal articles

Simms, M. (Accepted) Explaining employer engagement in youth labour market policy in the UK: an interest-based institutionalist account. Human Resource Management Journal.

Simms, M. (2017) Unions and Job Quality: Extending Representation within Structures of Job Regulation. Work and Occupations. 44:1 pp 47-67.

Beck, V., P. Brook, B. Carter, I. Clark, A. Danford, N. Hammer, S. Kanji and M. Simms. (2016) Work, Employment and Society Sans Frontières: Extending and Deepening Our Reach. (Editorial) Work, Employment and Society. 30:2 pp 211-219.

Simms, M and Dean, D. (2015) ‘Mobilising contingent workers: the importance of cultures of solidarity’. Economic and Industrial Democracy. 31:1 pp 173-190.

Simms, M. (2015) ‘Accounting for greenfield union organising outcomes’ British Journal of Industrial Relations. 53: 3 pp 397-422.

Simms, M., J. Holgate and E. Heery. (2014) ‘Evaluating union organising in the UK.’ Warsaw Forum of Economic Sociology no. 7.

Simms, M. (2013) ‘Workplace trade union activists in UK service sector organizing campaigns’. Industrial Relations Journal. 44(4) pp 373-388.

Simms, M. (2012) ‘Imagined solidarities: where is class in union organising?’ Capital and Class. February pp 92 - 110.

Simms, M. (2011) ‘Les militants de terrain dans les campagnes d’implantation syndicale dans le secteur de services en Grande-Bretagne’ La Revue d’IRES. 68. October 2011.

Heery, E. and Simms, M. (2011) ‘Seizing an opportunity? Union organizing campaigns in Britain, 1998-2000’ Labor History. 52. pp 23-47.

Simms, M. and Holgate, J. (2010) ‘10 years of the TUC Organising Academy’ International Journal of Human Resource Management. 21(3) pp 355-370.

Simms, M. and Holgate, J. (2010) ‘Organising for what? Where is the debate on the politics of organising?’ Work, Employment and Society. 24: 1.

Heery, E. and Simms, M. (2010) ‘Employer responses to union organizing’ Human Resource Management Journal. 20 (1) pp 3-22.

Heery, E. and Simms, M. (2008) ‘Constraints on union organising in the United Kingdom’ Industrial Relations Journal. 39 (1) pp 24-42.

Simms, M. (2007) ‘Interest formation in greenfield organising campaigns’ Industrial Relations Journal. 38 (5) pp 434-454.

Simms, M. (2007) ‘Managed activism: two union organising campaigns in the not-for-profit sector’ Industrial Relations Journal. 38 (2) pp 119-135.

Wills, J. and Simms, M. (2004) ‘Building reciprocal community unionism in the UK.’ Capital and Class. Vol. 82.

Simms, M., Heery, E., and Farias, C. (2001) ‘Contingent work in the public sector: a survey of fixed-term contract workers in higher education’ Management Research News. 24 (10/11).

Heery, E., Simms, M., Simpson, D., Delbridge, R., and Salmon J. (2000) ‘Organising unionism comes to the UK.’ Employee Relations. 22 (1).

Heery, E., Simms, M., Delbridge, R., Salmon, J., and Simpson D. (2000) ‘Union organizing in Britain: a survey of policy and practice.’ International Journal of Human Resource Management. 11 (5).

Heery, E., Simms, M., Delbridge, R., Salmon, J., and Simpson, D. (2000) ‘The TUC’s Organising Academy: an assessment.’ Industrial Relations Journal. Vol. 31, No. 5.

Book chapters

Murphy, C. and M. Simms. (2017) ‘Tripartite responses to young workers and precarious employment in the EU.’ E. Parry and J. McCarthy (eds.) Handbook of Age Diversity at Work. Palgrave-Macmillan.

Simms, M., S. Gamwell and B. Hopkins. (2016) ‘Youth Employment Policy: Addressing a Structural Challenge?’ In Steven Williams and Peter Scott (eds.) Work and Employment Relations Under Coalition Government. Routledge.

Simms, M. (2015) ‘Union organizing as an alternative to Partnership. Or what to do when employers can't keep their side of the bargain’ in S. Johnstone and P. Ackers (eds.) Finding a Voice? New Perspective on Employment Relations. Oxford University Press.

Simms, M., Holgate, J. and Heery, E. (2014). 'Evaluating union organising in the UK' in Czarzasty, J. and Mrozowicki, A. (eds.) Trade union organising in Europe: research and practice. Warszawa: Scholar. 17-40.

Simms, M. (2011) ‘Appropriating the brand: union organising in front-line service work’ in M. Brannan, E. Parsons and V. Priola (eds.) Branded Lives: The Production and Consumption of Identity at Work. Edward Elgar.

Simms, M. and Charlwood, A. (2010) ‘Trade unions: power and influence in a changed context’ in T. Colling and M. Terry (eds.) Industrial Relations: Theory and Practice. London: Wiley.

Simms, M. (2006) ‘The transition from organizing to recognition: a case study’ in G. Gall (ed.) Union Recognition: Organising and Bargaining Outcomes. London: Routledge.

Heery, E. and Simms, M. (2006) ‘Union organising under certification law in Britain in G. Gall (ed.) Union Recognition: Organising and Bargaining Outcomes. London: Routledge.

Heery, E., Conley, H., Delbridge, R., Simms, M., and Stewart, P. (2004) ‘Trade union responses to non-standard work’ in G. Healy, E. Heery, P. Taylor and W. Brown (eds.) The Future of Worker Representation. Palgrave Macmillan. Pp 127-150.

Simms, M. (2003) ‘Organising front-line service workers: evidence from four union campaigns’ in G. White, S. Corby and C. Stanworth (eds.) Regulation, De-regulation and Re-regulation: The Scope of Employment Relations in the 21st Century. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of IERA. University of Greenwich.

Heery, E., Delbridge, R., Simms, M., Salmon, J., Simpson, D. (2003) ‘Organising for renewal: a case study of the TUC’s Organising Academy’ in D. Cornfield and H. McCammon (eds.) Labor Revitalization. Research in the Sociology of Work. New York, JAI Press.

Simms, M. (2003) ‘Union organizing in the not-for-profit sector’ in G. Gall (ed.) Union Organizing: Campaigning for Trade Union Recognition. London: Routledge.

Heery, E., Simms, M., Delbridge, R., Salmon, J., and Simpson, D. (2003) ‘Trade union recruitment policy in Britain: form and effects’ in G. Gall (ed.) Union Organizing: Campaigning for Trade Union Recognition. London: Routledge.

Speidel, F. and Simms, M. (2001) ‘The Implications of Economic Globalisation on French and German Industrial Relations’ – The examples of the German and French Automotive Industries’ in Y. Debrah and I. Smith (eds.) Globalisation, Employment and the Workplace: Patterns of Diversity. London: Routledge.

Heery, E., Delbridge, R., Salmon, J., Simms, M., and Simpson, D. (2001) ‘Global labour? The transfer of the organising model to the United Kingdom’ in Y. Debrah and I. Smith (eds.) Globalisation, Employment and the Workplace: Patterns of Diversity. London: Routledge.


I have published widely in the fields of work and employment. Much of my research focuses on the topic of worker voice, especially trade union representation. More recently I have developed research projects in the area of representation of young workers and their transitions into employment. A particular interest in that field is on explaining the behaviour of employers. I work closely with a range of social partners to explore emerging issues affecting employees and managers.

Recent research projects

  • ESRC Paths2Work 
    Research into young people's precarious pathways into work.
  • European Commission NEWIN
    Research into social partner concerns about wage inequalities.
  • European Commission BARSORIS.
    Research into bargaining for precarious workers at sectoral level. 
    Policy summary
  • British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship
    Research into employer experiences of hiring and managing young workers.
  • Hans-Boeckler-Stiftung - Young workers and unions
    5 country comparative study of young workers and their engagement with trade unions.


I have supervised two students to completion and is currently supervising:

I am very interested in supervising students with an interest in topics including: the role of trade unions in contemporary society, politics and economics, youth employment, experiences of managers dealing with young workers etc.

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Contact Details

School of Business
University of Leicester
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