Professor Robert McMurray

BA, MSc, PhD, PGCert

Management School

Associate Dean Education

Professor of Organisation Studies

Robert McMurray with a bookcase in the background.
Profile picture of Robert McMurray with a bookcase in the background.
+44 114 222 3309

Full contact details

Professor Robert McMurray
Management School
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

Professor Robert McMurray joins the Management School on 1 November 2023 as Associate Dean Education.

Robert’s expertise lies in understanding people and their performance in specific contexts. His research has informed health care organisation and workplace wellbeing for over 30 years.  While much of this has focused on work and organisation of healthcare professionals, it has also informed banking, voluntary sectors, social care, deathwork and night-time economies. Through top ranked publications, edited book series, monographs, funded research and popular press Robert’s research has extended our understanding of how emotions, ethics, gender, toxicity, dirt, professionalisation and perceptions impact on work, management and organisation. Robert is also recognised for his pedagogic innovation and practice in respect of student led teaching and learning.

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning (SEDA & IELTS accredited), University of Durham, 2005

  • Ph.D., University of Teesside, Thesis: The averted Gaze: conceptualising collaborative failure in provision of health and social care in the wake of the 1990 NHS and community care act, 2001

  • MSc European Social Policy Analysis, University of Bath, 1994

  • BA Social Policy 1st Class, University of Teeside, 1993

Research interests

Much of my research looks at the important role that emotion plays in leading, managing and organising. It helps us understand the different types of emotions used, why they are used and what their impact is on relations, workers and their organisations. Working with colleagues we have come to define important concepts such as emotional neutrality, emotion switching, emotional dirty work and emotional dispersion. These developments have helped inform the functioning of organisations from the Department of Health to Samaritans, and involved everyone from City Bankers to refuse collectors.

The other dominant theme running through my research is a concern with how we better manage and organise our health care systems.  Our health care professionals are amazing - Covid 19 has only served to reinforce that - but to work effectively they need systems that help rather than hinder their work while also benefiting from processes, support and leadership that cares for our carers. 

Key research interests include:

  • Well-being
  • Healthcare organisation
  • Interorganisational collaboration
  • Professionalisation
  • Toxicity
  • Dirt
  • Emotional labour
  • Deathwork
  • Night time economies
  • Women writers in management and organisation
  • Qualitative methods
  • Organisational ethnography
  • Visual research methods
  • Visual methods in teaching and learning


  • McMurray R & Pullen A (2020) Morality, Ethics and Responsibility in Organization and Management. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McMurray R & Pullen A (2020) Rethinking Culture, Organization and Management. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McMurray R & Pullen A (2019) Gender, Embodiment and Fluidity in Organization and Management. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McMurray R & Pullen A (2019) Beyond Rationality in Organization and Management. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • McMurray R & Pullen A (2019) Power, Politics and Exclusion in Organization and Management. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Thomas W, Hujala A, Laulainen S & McMurray R (2018) The Management of Wicked Problems in Health and Social Care. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ward J & McMurray R (2015) The Dark Side of Emotional Labour. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Kearny, C. McMurray, R. Kelly, C. Cassidy, D & Gallagher, A (2023)  Beyond Business as Usual: Transforming Entrepreneurship in Healthcare and Science. Higher Education Authority (Ireland). €120,000/£105,000.

Humphries, N. McMurray, R. & Byrne, JP. (2022) Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the health workforce. World Health Organisation. $25,000/£20,000.

Griffin, M. Credland, N. Hamilton, P. Kim, J. McMurray, R. Buescher, T. Fishburn, K, Clarke, C (2020) Mental Health and Well-being of Critical Care Nurses: A Study During and Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic. Durham University Pump-priming . £2000

Ward, J & McMurray, R (2019) The UK’s last taboo: death work and the stiff upper lip.  BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants. £9045

McMurray, R  & Linsley, P.  (2018) North York Moors National Park Authority – Measuring Health and Well-being Impact. £9801

Stratling, R. & McMurray, R. Excellent group work by design: developing collaborative life-long learning through scaffolding. British Academy of Management. £3286

McMurray, R. Ward, J & Brown, K Working together: scoping exercise for workforce capacity and planning. 2016-17. £4656

McMurray, R. & Hyde P. Managing to Care: Conference Workshop. Society of Advanced Management Studies. 2014. £3000

McMurray, R & Hyde, P. establishment of OCSig (Organising Care Special Interest Group) 2014 £2000 & £1500 (2016)

McMurray, R.  Dirty work & emotions: organising the good Samaritans Durham Business School Seed corn funding & Dragons Den.  2011/2013. £3,500 

McMurray, R. Visualising Enterprise, Embedding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum, Durham University. 2011 £2,100

Linsely, P & McMurray R.  Risk & the City. University of York Research Pump Priming Fund. 2010 £1500

McMurray, R. Lead Applicant. Evaluating student variation in the construction of meaning: towards a new model of aligned learning, assessment and feedback. Learning and Teaching Projects Fund, UoY, 2009 £1800

Co-applicant. Knowledge Exchange Networks and SME Adoption and Implementation of Managerial Innovation.  White Rose Consortium.  Part of successful bid led by Tom Burgess (Leeds) for funding 3 PhD students shared between York, Leeds, Sheffield. £21,000

Cheater FM, McMurray R, Leese B, Gill C, Sutcliffe R What makes a good first contact nurse in primary care: a national study of patient perspectives and nurse aspirations. Department of Health 2004-6 £206,000

McMurray R, Cheater F, Schwieger M, Mukherjee S, Sinclair S and Coombs J. Empowering parental decision-making in relation to second dose MMR vaccine: User perspectives on the effectiveness and continuity of multi-agency information provision. NHS Executive (Northern and Yorkshire).  2002-3.  £26,000

Cheater F, and McMurray R. Public Health Nursing Mapping Exercise in Leeds Health District. Undertaken on behalf of the Leeds Modernising Community Nursing Steering Group.  2001-2. £3000

Sloper T, McMurray R, Williams J and Lawton D. Disability Survey 2000 - Survey of Young People with a Disability & Sport.  Sport England.  2000-2001. £25,000

Teaching interests

The rewards and challenges of teaching are endless. There is the joy of helping new students grapple with original concepts for the first time. There is the sheer pleasure in helping final year and masters students develop their own research ideas enacted in the field. There is also the collaborative testing of ideas that comes from learning with those who return for executive education. 

For my part, teaching has to excite a romance for ideas. Without interest and engagement there can be no learning. To this end, I have long championed new (innovative) methods where they advance learning. Coupled with my research interest in visual methods, this has led me to pioneer the use of student produced pocket films (You can get a feel for some of the student films on the Management Learning Channel) and photo essays in management education. I also find value in role play, scenarios and case-studies, as well as working with Executives and MBAs to develop Kickstarter-Style business pitches based on work with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs as part of visits to Silicon Valley. I've delivered large lectures and small tutorials, workshops to groups of 80 and individual supervision, I have taught face to face and online, in the UK and around the world. On every occasion it has been a privilege to learn with and from those who are on their own university journey.

Professional activities and memberships

Editor Routledge Focus on Women Writers in Organisation & Management

International editorial board - Management Learning

PhD Supervision
  • Dirt
  • Toxicity
  • Wellbeing
  • Emotional labour
  • Deathwork
  • Healthcare worker wellbeing