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Sarah Pass

Sarah Pass

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham Business School

Staff Group(s)
Department of Human Resource Management


Dr Sarah Pass is a Senior Lecturer in HRM. She has over twenty years of teaching experience across undergraduate, postgraduate and executive levels. In her current role, Sarah teaches on postgraduate and executive modules for both full-time, part-time and online students. Sarah specialises on research methods, consultancy projects and employee engagement modules.

In addition to teaching, Sarah is an Ambassador for Engage for Success a not-for-profit movement that was tasked by the UK Government in response to recommendations from the MacLeod Review (2009) around the importance of employee engagement. Engage for Success encourages research through Thought and Action Groups and deliver events and workshops through regional groups. Sarah is the Chair for the Line Manager Thought and Action Group, Engagement Champions Thought and Action Group, and East Midlands Regional Group. In addition, Sarah is Co-Chair for the Behavioural Science Thought and Action Group with Professor Thorsten Chmura.

Career overview

Prior to her role at Nottingham Business School, Sarah was working at the University Of Nottingham as a Research Fellow in Organisation Studies at the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC NDL). Sarah was previously employed by the CIPD as a HR Advisor in their Research and Policy Unit. Her role was predominantly associated with the CIPD focus on sustainable high performance and she was involved in projects covering sustainable high performance, innovation, diversity, and international issues of HRM. In addition, Sarah worked at the University of Manchester as a Lecturer in International HRM, and at Cardiff University as a tutor and research fellow. Alongside her posts in academia, Sarah has undertaken consultancy work for the CIPD, NHS and public sector organisations.

Sarah's PhD was sponsored by the EPSRC and focused on employee motivation and high performance work systems, and was completed at Cardiff University. She then went on to do an ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Sarah has an MSc in HRM, a Diploma in Social Science research methods, and a BA(Hons) in Psychology and Sociology. In addition, she has been awarded a HEA Fellow, an Academic Associate of the CIPD, holds PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner status, and holds an ILM in Leadership and Management.

Research areas

Exploring line managers role in the implementation of employee engagement (2016 - )

Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University

Case study research exploring the role of line managers in developing and sustaining employee engagement. The research is part of a portfolio of work for Engage for Success’ Line Manager Thought and Action Group (TAG), which Sarah is currently the TAG lead.

Integration of Health and Social Care Services (2013 - )

Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University

The Health and Social Care Act (2012) places a duty on Clinical Commissioning Groups to establish integration by 2018, but little is known about how this is to be achieved or what integration means. For integration to be successful, radical changes are needed in the way people work. Funded by NTU’s Seedcorn Fund, the focus of the research is to gain a clearer understanding of what integration means in practice and explore ways to increase engagement with new ways of working.

Implementing research into practice (2009 - 2013)

CLAHRC-NDL, University Of Nottingham

CLAHRC-NDL is a health research collaboration between the University Of Nottingham and NHS organisations across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). One of the primary functions of CLAHRCs are to improve patient outcomes by implementing findings from research into clinical practice. Sarah worked as a Research Fellow in the Implementation Theme, exploring the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of research with a focus on organisational behaviour.

Workforce Planning: right people, right time, right skills (2010)

Angela Baron, Rebecca Clake, Paul Turner, and Sarah Pass

Sarah was approached by the CIPD to undertake case study research on workforce planning. The CIPD had recognised that HR practitioners understood the importance of workforce planning, but for many there was a ‘knowing-doing’ gap. The focus of the project was to provide case examples of ‘good practice’ and learning as part of a CIPD guide. Sponsored and funded by CIPD.

Managing people in Networked Organisations (2007 - 2008)

Mick Marchington, Sarah Pass, Marilyn Carroll, Damian Grimshaw, and Jill Rubery

The research project focused on the role of the HR function in multi-employer networks, exploring the complexities of managing people in situations where the delivery of services depends on multiple organisations working together. Interviews were conducted within four case study networks. Having been approached by the CIPD, Sarah secured funding and worked as joint project lead. Sponsored and funded by CIPD and Department of Health

Generation Y employees and Web 2.0 technologies (2007 - 2008)

Julian Birkinshaw and Sarah Pass

The research project looked at the extent to which organisations were pursuing management innovation with specific focus on the changes some organisations were putting in place in response to two important trends in the workplace; the arrival of Generation Y employees, and the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies. The project was funded by the CIPD.

Evaluating Partnership Working (2007)

Sarah Pass

Sarah was approached by the Department of Health to undertake a literature review on partnership working, to provide them with a guide to good practice. Funded by Department of Health

Improving Health through HRM (2005  -2007)

Paula Hyde, Ruth Boaden, Penny Cortvriend, Claire Harris, Mick Marchington, Sarah Pass, Paul Sparrow, and Bonnie Sibbald

The Project examined how HRM can help NHS organisations achieve their goals, and focused on the individual as the link between HRM and performance. The research was carried out by a multidisciplinary team and involved six case study organisations from acute, mental health and primary care sectors. Sponsored and funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Unit, CIPD, and Healthcare People Management Association.

Looking inside the ‘black box’: Employee opinions of HRM/HPWS and organisational performance (2000 - 2004)

Sarah Pass

Sarah’s doctoral thesis focused on the examination of the ‘causal-chain’ between HRM/HPWS and organisational performance from the perspective of employees, probing models of discretionary effort and labour process theory. The research sought to evaluate how and why a relationships occurs, specifically, whether this relationship was the outcome of increased motivation, or the result of work intensification. The research was supervised by Peter Turnbull (Cardiff University) and sponsored by the EPSRC.

External activity

Sarah is involved with the Engage for Success movement and is the project lead for their Line Manager Thought and Action Group (TAG).

Sponsors and collaborators

Sarah is currently working in collaboration with Engage for Success on case study research around the role of line managers and employee engagement. She has collaborated with the University of Manchester, the University of Nottingham, London Business School, CIPD, Department of Health, PPMA, Nottingham City Council, Sheffield City Council, and she has received sponsorship from the CIPD, Department of Health, EPSRC and ESRC.


Hall, C., Moldavsky, M., Taylor, J.A., Sayal, K., Marriott, M., Batty, M., Pass, S. and Hollis, C. Implementation of Routine Outcome Measures in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the UK: A literature review and critical perspective, European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (revise and resubmit).

(2013) Moldavsky, M., Pass, S. and Sayal, K. Primary school teachers’ attitudes about children with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder and the role of pharmacological treatment, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

(2012) Batty, M., Moldavsky, M., Sarrami Foroushani, P., Pass, S., Marriott, M., Sayal, K. and Hollis, C. Implementing routine outcome measures in child and adolescent mental health services: from present to future practice, Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

(2012) Sayal, K., Daley, D., James, M., Yang, M., Batty, M., Taylor, J.A., Pass, S., Sampson, C.J., Sellman, E., Valentine, A. and Hollis, C. Protocol evaluating the effectiveness of a school-based group programme for parents of children at risk of ADHD: The ‘Parents, Teachers and Children WORKing Together (PATCHWORK)’ cluster RCT protocol, BMJ Open, 2.

(2009) Rubery, J., Marchington, M., Grimshaw, D., Carroll, M. and Pass, S. Employed under different rules: the complexities of working across organisational boundaries, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 2: 413-427.

(2005) Pass, S. and Hyde, P.  ‘HRM or People Management: What does it say on the tin?’ Management Research News, 28(9):16-18.

See all of Sarah Pass's publications...