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Kiri Langmead

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

Nottingham Business School

Staff Group(s)
Department of Human Resource Management


Dr Kiri Langmead’s research focuses on workplace democracy and non-hierarchical organising, with a specific focus on worker cooperatives. Through this she seeks to foreground and promote already existing alternatives to the capitalist economy. Her future research will explore employee voice with the CIPD and, the practice, challenges and implications of HRM without hierarchy. In addition, Kiri’s writing explores ethnographic and participatory research methods. In line with these foci, she is a member of the Organising as Practices research group.

In the academic year 2018/19 her teaching will include Foundations in Managing and Organising and Researching People and Organisations. Kiri has recently taught on the MSc Consultancy Experience Project and is a supervisor on the MSc Business Report Project.

Kiri has been a consultant for small-scale worker cooperatives and continues to perform this role alongside her teaching and research.

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.

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)