Dr. Thomas Hastings

Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management (HRM)

Room A014
Phone: +44 (0)114 222 3222
Email: t.hastings@sheffield.ac.uk
Twitter:  @WOERRCsheffield

I first joined Sheffield University Management School as a post-doctoral Research Associate in 2014 (working with Jason Heyes) researching labour market policy change in EU countries (under the rubric of ‘flexicurity’). Subsequent to this work I have undertaken different research projects for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), most notably via the funded project Strengthening Labour Administration. Project outputs to date have included numerous reports and the production of an ILO toolkit Extending Labour Inspection to the Informal Economy geared for training labour inspectors in all regions of the world. In 2016 I was appointed as Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management.

Linked to the above work with the ILO I have increasingly adopted an international approach to my research, incorporating fieldwork and research dissemination in a range of geographical locations/regions in addition to the UK (notably Ireland, South Africa and the USA). In line with this international experience I am interested in comparative political economy approaches involving research in these and other countries, as well as in-depth research in single country cases. For instance, with support of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), in 2016 I undertook a visiting researcher role at the University of Cape Town (UCT). In addition to developing links with colleagues in the Department of Political Studies and the Institute of Development and Labour Law respectively (both at UCT) I supplemented existing research into labour regulation via in-depth case studies of work in wine/agriculture production in South Africa. This fieldwork is geared towards academic outputs associated with labour regulation, inspection and labour agency in global production networks/global value chains, and dovetails from my earlier research and toolkit production work on the informal economy for the ILO.

The above research has benefited from my interest in space and place associated with my background is in economic geography. Over three degrees in human/economic geography I developed a theoretical interest in institutional approaches to labour markets, their regulation and the changing nature of work and employment. My doctoral research (PhD from the University of Glasgow, 2011) focussed on service work realities in post-industrial Glasgow with a view to contributing to research into labour geography and debates on worker agency. After completing my PhD I undertook a role as Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate at the Saïd Business School (University of Oxford) where I conducted research on behalf of the Association of Convenience Stores exploring the role of small shops in local places and labour markets.

Teaching and Learning

I have experience of teaching in schools based in Geography, Business and Management. Outside of university teaching I have also conducted training on behalf of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This experience includes the training of labour inspectors associated with the national labour inspectorates of South Africa and Ireland.

I am a firm believer in research-led teaching, and where relevant/possible I like to bring examples of first-hand research knowledge, findings and outputs into the classroom. Perhaps linked to my own student experience of geography fieldtrips, I am also enthusiastic about bringing students ‘into the field’ to supplement their learning experience. This is exemplified by my ongoing commitment to the Global Learning Opportunities in Social Sciences (GLOSS) and Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) which offers opportunities for students to attend major international summits during the academic year. In recent years I have accompanied and supervised students (with Jason Heyes) on trips to attend Sessions of the ILO Governing Body, based at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva. Learnings from this experience have the added benefit of drawing on practitioner (i.e. not only academic/researcher) knowledge, as trips typically involve the chance for students to interact with leading international experts/ practitioners who work for the ILO on a range of labour and employment related challenges pertinent to the world today. In association with this initiative in 2016 I was recognised with a Senate Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (Collaborative Activities).


I am interested in supervising students who hold a broad range of interests related to labour market policy, regulation, labour geography, workplace sociology (including HRM research) and general experiences of work and employment.

Selected grant capture

  • ESRC Studentship for +1 MA in Human Geography Research (University of Sheffield), £12,000; Awarded ESRC Studentship to conduct +3 PhD in Human Geography (University of Aberdeen/Glasgow, £36,000, 2007-2011).
  • ESRC Impact Accelerator Collaborative R&D Award (1st November 2014 - 30th September 2015, with Jason Heyes). Named researcher on Strengthening Labour Administration project (partnered with the International Labour Organisation; funding total: £29,000).
  • UACES Small Event Grant (13th February 2015): Flexicurity: Future directions in the age of austerity (£1,000).
  • Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Research Mobility Programme. Named researcher ‘Investigating the impact of labour inspection reforms on labour standards in South Africa’ – funding for collaboration with the University of Cape Town (£2,500). 2016.

Research Interests

  • Labour Geography
  • Labour Administration
  • Labour market policy change: in particular changes to employment regimes, labour policies and consequences for work/employment relations since the 2008 financial crisis
  • Labour inspection, challenges associated with upholding labour standards and theories of labour regulation
  • Emerging research interest in the football industry and its relationship with labour markets

Peer-reviewed journal articles:

Hastings T and MacKinnon D (2016) Re-embedding agency at the workplace scale: Workers and labour control in Glasgow call centres, Environment and Planning A. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X16663206

Hastings T (2016) Moral Matters: De-Romanticising Worker Agency and Charting Future Directions for Labour Geography, Geography Compass 10(7). DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12272

Hastings T and Heyes J (2016) Farewell to Flexicurity? Austerity and Labour Policies in the EU, Economic and Industrial Democracy. Published online before print March 2, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0143831X16633756


Heyes J and Hastings T (2015), Extending Labour Inspection to the Informal Economy. Toolkit prepared for the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Available online: www.ilo.org/labadmin/info/inst/WCMS_422044/lang--en/index.htm

Selected Reports and Working Papers:

Hastings T (2016) Rapporteur report: Workshop on Labour Administration Reforms and Innovations: Efficiency and Outreach. Prague, December 8th-10th, 2015. Report prepared for the International Labour Organisation.

Heyes J and Hastings T (2015), Comparative Developments in Labour Administration. Report prepared for the International Labour Organisation.

SPERI Paper No. 22: Inequality Redux (2015). Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute. Available online: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/SPERI-Paper-22-inequality-redux.pdf

Hastings T (2013) Rapporteur report: Workshop on Labour Administration– International Training Centre, Turin, December 9th-12th, 2013. Report prepared for the International Labour Organisation.

Blogs and Comment pieces:

Hastings T (2016) “Third party ownership: Big Sam, football and capitalism”, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) Comment, 18th October 2016. Available online: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2016/10/18/third-party-ownership-big-sam-football-and-capitalism/

Hastings T (2016) “Lionel’s messy tax affairs are part of a bigger problem in football”, The Conversation (Business/Economy), 7th July 2016. Available online: https://theconversation.com/lionels-messy-tax-affairs-are-part-of-a-bigger-problem-in-football-62184

Hastings T (2016) “Behind the unpredictable Premier League year that put Leicester top of the pile”, The Conversation (Business/Economy), 5th March 2016. Available online: https://theconversation.com/behind-the-unpredictable-premier-league-year-that-put-leicester-top-of-the-pile-54605

Hastings T (2015) “Convenience and controversy: the Uber business model could be here to stay”, The London School of Economics (LSE) and Political Science blog, 30th October 2015. Available online: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/convenience-and-controversy-the-uber-business-model-could-be-here-to-stay/

Hastings T (2015) “Variations in austerity-based reform”, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) Comment, 26th August 2015. Available online:

Hastings T (2015) “Inequality Redux IV: Shedding light and turning down the heat in the debate on welfare reform”, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) Comment, 12th March 2015. Available online: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2015/03/12/inequality-redux-iv/

Hastings T (2015) “Quantifying employment protection”, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) Comment, 21st January 2015. Available online: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2015/01/21/quantifying-employment-protection/

Hastings T and Reynolds J (2012) Is Small Social? Understanding The Social and Economic Importance of Convenience Stores, Retail Digest, Winter 2012 (pp. 24).