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Kiri Langmead

Kiri Langmead

Staff Group(s)
Department of Human Resource Management


Dr Kiri Langmead is a lecturer in Human Resource Management at Nottingham Business School. She teaches on a range of module on the undergraduate platform including Researching People and Organisations, Employment and Enterprise, and Managing and Organising. Kiri is also module leader for the HR Research Project.

Kiri’s research focuses on workplace democracy and non-hierarchical organising, with an emphasis on worker cooperatives. Through this she seeks to extend our understanding of organisational theory and practice to include more empowering, collaborative and participatory forms of organising. By engaging in ethnographic studies and action research her work explores:

  • Participatory decision-making
  • Practices of power and empowerment in non-hierarchical organisations
  • Human resource management in non-hierarchical organisations

Alongside the above, Kiri’s research questions the role and responsibilities of critical management scholars. Specifically she examines how academics can help practitioners to move towards more socially and environmentally responsible form of organising, and the challenges and limitation they face in this endeavour.

Career overview

Prior to starting as NTU Kiri was a Teaching Associate at the University of Nottingham. She has also taught at Sheffield Hallam University where she completed her PhD in April 2018.

Kiri’s PhD combined Ethnography and Solidarity Action Research with two worker cooperative to explore the practice and purpose of democracy in relation to post-capitalist economies. Her interdisciplinary thesis spans Critical Management Studies, Organisational Behaviour, and Economic Geography.

Kiri has also worked and volunteered in the cooperative sector, acting as Secretary, and Governance and Research Assistant.

To date she has worked with six worker cooperatives, advising on a range of issues including organisational structure, decision-making processes, employee voice, and human resource management.

Research areas

Dr Langmead’s research spans Organisational Behaviour, Critical Management Studies and Economic Geography. It covers the following areas:

  • Worker cooperatives and worker emancipation
  • Workplace democracy and non-hierarchical organising
  • Alternative organising and post-capitalist economies
  • Ethnographic and participatory research methods

Her PhD focused on the day-to-day practices and purpose of democracy in small worker cooperatives. The thesis contributes to existing research in three key areas. First it addresses a gap in literature exploring practices of organising in small-scale, UK worker cooperatives. Second, it advances understandings of what constitutes organisational democracy, expanding it beyond formal structures and decision-making processes to incorporate broader ways of thinking, being and acting shared be cooperative members. Finally, it offers new insights into how these ways of thinking, being and acting are used by cooperative members to address the challenges and contradictions arising from their operation within a capitalist economy, and support the creation of post-capitalist economies. By foregrounding already existing practices of non-hierarchical organising and economic cooperation Kiri aims to challenge the necessity and inevitability of capitalism and open spaces for alternative organising.

Alongside the above issues Kiri explores ethnographic and participatory research methods. She has a particular interest in the role of emotion in research, research ethics, and approaches developing constructive and collaborative researcher-organisation relationships. She has published a journal article investigating the role of emotion in organisational ethnography in a special issue of the Social Enterprise Journal, and has run a workshop on participatory research at the annual Royal Geographical Society Conference.

Kiri has presented her research at a national and international conferences including the ICA-CCR International Research Conference, the International Conference in Critical Management Studies, the International Social Innovations Research Conference, the Cooperative Research and Education Conference, and the Annual Ethnography Symposium.

In addition to working on publications from her PhD, Kiri is currently researching employee voice with the CIPD, and the potential and challenges of HRM without hierarchy.

Sponsors and collaborators

Kiri works closely with members of worker cooperatives across the UK.  These relationships play a crucial role in informing and maintaining her practice-focused approach to research.

She is currently writing a journal article in collaboration with Professor Daniel King.


Bennet, E., Langmead, K. and Archer, T. (2015). Editorial: Special Issue - The Third Sector, the State and the Market: challenges and opportunities in an era of austerity. People, Place and Policy Online, 9(2).

Langmead, K. (2017). Challenging the degeneration thesis: the role of democracy in worker cooperatives? Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 5(1), pp. 79-98.

Langmead, K. (2017). From cooperative practice to research and back: Learning from the emotional experience of ethnography with two social enterprises. Social Enterprise Journal, 13(2)