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Professor Tony Royle
Chair in Human Resource Management



Professor Tony Royle is Chair of the Human Resource Management Group at the School for Business and Society and previously held posts as Professor at the Bradford University Management School, UK; Senior Lecturer at the University of Galway (NUIG), Ireland; and Reader at the Nottingham Business School, UK.

Tony is the author of Working for McDonald’s in Europe and co-author of Labour Relations in the Global Fast-Food Industry and has appeared on radio and television in a number of countries. His work has been reported in UK national newspapers such as the Financial Times and in national newspapers in other countries. He regularly acts as an advisor for various media including the BBC and US online media such the New York Times, Huffington Post, Bloomberg and Minyanville. He has also acted as advisor for a number of national and international bodies such as the European Parliament, the International Labour Organization and various national unions including the US Service Employees International Union and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo). His work is widely used as a resource for teaching in many universities around the world and some of which has been published in German, Italian and Spanish.

Tony served for six years as a member of the Executive of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, was for three years a member of the UK Economic and Social Research Council and was also a member of the Executive Council of the Irish Association of Industrial Relations from 2006-2013. He has held a number visiting appointments including Visiting Professor at the Marco Biagi Foundation at the University of Modena, Italy as Visiting Senior Research Fellow posts at the Universities of Keele and Hertfordshire. Tony is a member of several editorial boards and regularly acts as an External Examiner for several British and Irish Universities at PhD level, masters and undergraduate levels.

Subject Group

Work Management and Organisation



Tony’s main research interests are in international and comparative employment relations and in particular employment relations in multinational corporations. He has particular expertise regards the national employment relations systems of a number of European countries; the regulation of multinational enterprises (international labour standards, CSR and international union organisation), social regulation and policy in the European Union; and employment relations in low-paid service sectors such as fast-food, retail hyper/supermarkets and airlines. Along with colleagues from a number of universities in Japan, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Spain, Sweden and Italy he has acquired research funding from the Hans Boeckler Stiftung, the European Commission and the Nomura Fund. More recently, Tony has been undertaking research on the gig economy (in particular the impact of platform work and the experiences of and outcomes for ride hailing and food delivery workers).

Current projects

Tony is currently working with colleagues on employment relations in multinational enterprises in the Spanish and Irish retail and with colleagues from Cornell University on a funding bid for a new international project on the regulation of employment in franchises and the fast-food industry.



Selected publications

Royle, T. and Rueckert, Y. (2022) ‘McStrike! Framing Political Opportunity and the Development of a Collective Identity, McDonald’s and the Fast-Food Rights Campaign’, Work, Employment and Society, 36, 3: 407–426.

Cavallini, M., Gold, M., Royle, T. and Senatori, I. (2016) ‘The Effects of National Institutional Contexts and the Recast Directive on the European Works Council at UniCredit’, European Journal of Industrial Relations, forthcoming

Royle, T. (2015) ‘The fight-back against income inequality starts at McDonald’s’, The Conversation, 16 February 2015, 10.50am GMT,

Cotton, E. and Royle, T. (2014) ‘Transnational organizing: a case study of contract workers in the Colombian mining industry’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, December, 52, 4: 705-724.

Geppert, M., Williams, K., Wortmann, M., Czarzasty, J., Kağnıcıoğlu,D., Köhler, H-D., Royle, T., Rückert, Y., Uçkan, B. (2014) A Critique of Varieties of Capitalism: Employment Relations in the Hypermarket sector in Seven European Countries, European Journal of Industrial Relations, January, 20, 3: 255-71

O’Sullivan, M. and Royle, T. (2014) Everything and Nothing Changes: Fast-Food Employers and the Threat to Minimum Wage Regulation in Ireland, Economic and Industrial Democracy, February,35, 1: 27-47 

Curley, C. and Royle, T. (2013) ‘The Degradation of Work and the End of the Skilled Emotion Worker at Aer Lingus: Is it all Trolley Dolleys now?’, Work, Employment and Society, 27, 1, 105-121

Burbach, R. and Royle, T. (2013) ‘Levels of e-HRM adoption in subsidiaries of a US multinational corporation: the mediating role of power, politics and institutions, European Journal of International Management, 7, 4: 432-449

Royle, T. and Urano, E. (2012) ‘A New Form of Union Organizing in Japan? Community Unions and the Case of the McDonald’s ‘McUnion’, Work, Employment and Society, 26, 4: 606-622.

Royle, T. (2012) ‘Socially Inclusive or Exclusive? An Analysis of European Social Policy, Legislation and European Case Law’, Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, 80, 25-48.

Royle, T. (2011) ‘La svolta dell’OIL per i principi promozionali e la “privatizzazione” dei diritti dei lavoratori: un’analisi dei Labour Standards, dei principi di autoregolazione e delle clausole sociali’, Diritto delle Relazioni Industriali, 1: 263-294.

Burbach, R. and Royle, T. (2010) ‘Talent on demand? Talent Management in the German and Irish Subsidiaries of a US Multinational Corporation’, Personnel Review, 39, 4: 414-431

Royle, T. (2010) ‘The ILO’s shift to promotional principles and the ‘privatization’ of labour rights: An analysis of labour Standards, Voluntary self-regulation and social clauses’, International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, 26, 3: 249-272

Royle, T. (2010) ‘McDonald’s and the Global ‘McJob’: A longitudinal study of work, pay and unionization in the international fast-food industry’, (US) Labor History, 51, 2, 249-69.

Royle, T and Ortiz, L. (2009) ‘Dominance Effects from local competitors: setting institutional parameters for employment relations in multinational subsidiaries; a case from the Spanish supermarket sector’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 47, 4: 653-675.

School for Business and Society
University of York
Church Lane Building
York Science Park
York YO10 5ZF

Telephone: +44 (0) 1904 325061
Room: CL/A/145

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