Loading content
Professor Carol Woodhams

Professor Carol Woodhams

Associate Professor in Human Resource Management, Head of Organisation Studies


+44 (0) 1392 722137

Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Professor Carol Woodhams is a Senior Lecturer in HRM and Head of the Department of Organisation Studies. She joined the School in 2009. She was previously a Reader in Human Resource Management and Director of CIPD programmes at the University of Plymouth. Professor Woodhams has been a full time academic since 1992 when she joined Manchester Metropolitan University as a Research Assistant. She was awarded a PhD in Management from that institution in 1998. Prior to her Masters in HRM and an academic career, she was a manager within the hospitality sector working extensively in the UK, USA and Australia.

Professor Woodhams has held six grants during her academic career from bodies including the ESRC, Nuffield Foundation and the European Social Fund. She is best known for her work on equal opportunity and diversity particularly in connection with female employees in SMEs and disabled employees (see publication list). In 2011 she was awarded funding from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development worth £45,000 to support the education of the next generation of HR professionals. She is a visiting Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Business Manchester. The Business School Manchester Metropolitan University. She was a Guest Editor for a Special Issue of the International Journal of Management Reviews: Equality and Diversity in Management edition that was published in April 2012

She has supervised and examined several PhDs.

Outside work, Carol is dedicated to the pursuit of inexpensive world travel and adventure sport. Her most significant achievement to date is the completion of the 2009 Marathon des Sables, a self-supporting multi stage, and multi marathon event in the Sahara desert.


BA (Hons) Psychology, MA HRM (distinction), PhD (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Research clusters

Research interests

  • Organisational equality / diversity strategies and practices
  • Human Resource issues of managing disabled people
  • Disability and the Disability Discrimination Act
  • Gender equality and diversity and small to medium sized enterprises
  • Emancipatory research methodology
  • Gendered career development
  • Equal opportunity in China
  • Intersectional employment disadvantage

Professor Woodhams‘s research interests are largely, but not exclusively, bound by the underlying theme of workplace equality / diversity. She has researched and published theoretical and empirical accounts of human resource issues in managing disabled employees and the underlying principles of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). Disability equality is often analysed politically rather than as a human resources issue. Professor Woodhams‘s research continues to fill that gap.

Her research interests also extend into other, related areas, most notably the areas of gender and small to medium sized organisation human resource practice and gender and employment practices in China. Both topics are under-researched. Prior to arriving at the School, Carol‘s ‘Breakthrough‘ research project, supported by the European Social Fund, realised empirical data on equality / sex discrimination in small to medium sized enterprises (with under 250 employees). Several publications emerged from this project (see below) as well as opportunities for collaboration on research and grant proposals.

Professor Woodhams also has an on-going interest in the area of research methodology. Two streams of discussion are of relevance here. In the first, she is engaged in debates and discussions relating to the politics of researching disability. Her contributions to these debates reframe and critique prescribed practice for disability research. The second, and more recent stream, relates to experiences she has had negotiating and achieving research access to small to medium sized organisations.

Research projects

A more recent stream of Professor Woodhams‘s research work investigates links between the impact of combinations of labour market disadvantage and the impact of this on pay. Her work on equality and the meaning of equality within the experience of Chinese women continues, as does her work on gender and informal small business financing.

External positions

  • Examiner, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Chair, European Academy of Management Special Interest Group: Gender Equality and Diversity in Management
  • Member Editorial Review Board, Gender in Management, an international Journal
  • Treasurer, Gender in Management Special Interest Group, attached to British Academy of Management
  • Associate, Centre for Work and Diversity at Manchester Business School
  • Referee, ESRC

Professor Woodhams teaches all aspects of Human Resource Management policy and practice. In her opinion, "there is nothing more important within a Business School curriculum than educating the next generation of managers in effective people management practice."



Information not currently available