start of page content

Professor Helen Francis

Professor Helen Francis

Honorary Professor in Human Resource Management


Helen has many years' experience in leading research, teaching and commercial developments in human resource management, including the development of frameworks which successfully bridge academic and practitioner interests. She has published in a wide range of academic and practitioner journals / textbooks, challenging taken-for-granted ideas about organisation and management in the pursuit of more 'balanced' HR agendas and responsible enterprise.

Helen previously worked at Edinburgh Napier University, where she was awarded the title of emeritus professor on retiring from the Business School. A Fellow of the CIPD, Helen's current teaching and research interests include critical discourse analysis; the changing HR function and employee-line manager relationships, employee engagement and workplace conversations. Helen achieved the lifetime award of 'Outstanding Contribution to the Scottish HR Profession' in 2013 (HR Network Awards Scotland).

Research specialisms

HRM, Discourse Analysis, Dialogue, Engagement, Paradox

Selected publications

Francis, H. and Keegan, A. (2018) 'The ethics of engagement in an age of austerity: a paradox perspective', Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN1573-0697.

Francis, H. and Baum T. (2018) 'HR Transformation within the hotel industry: building capacity for change', Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 10, 1, 86-100.

Francis, H. (2016) 'The HR function and Business Partnering', in Wilkinson A. and Johnstone, S. (eds) The Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Cheltenham.

Francis, H., Parkes, C. and Reddington, M. (2014) 'E-Hr and International HRM: a Critical Perspective on the discursive framing of e-HR', Special Issue on International HRM, International Journal of HRM, 25, 10, 1327-1350. DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.870309

Francis, H., Ramdhony, R., Reddington, M., Staines (2013) 'Opening Spaces for Conversational Practice: A Conduit for Productive Working Arrangements', Special Issue on Employee Engagement, International Journal of HRM, 24, 13, 2713-2741. DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.781530

Francis, Helen, and Martin Reddington. 'Employer branding and organisational effectiveness.' W: People and Organisational Development, A New Agenda for Organisational Effectiveness. Red. H. Francis, L. Holbeche, M. Reddington. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, London.
View chapter as a free sample from CIPD.

Francis, H., Holbeche, L. and Reddington, R. (eds) (2012) People and Organisational Development: A New Agenda for Organisational Effectiveness, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, London.

Keegan, A and Francis, H (2010) 'Practitioner talk: The changing textscape of HRM and emergence of HR Business Partnership', International Journal of Human Resource Management. DOI: 10.1080/09585191003729341

Francis, H. and Cowan, J. (2008) 'Fostering an action-reflection dynamic amongst students practitioners', Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol 32 No 5, 336-346. DOI: 10.1108/03090590810877067

Keegan A and Francis, H (2008) 'Technology and Strategic Roles: Considering the Social Implications', In Martin, G., Reddington, M. and Alexander, H. (eds.) Technology, Outsourcing and Transforming HR: Potential, Problems and Guidance for Practitioners, Butterworth-Heineman, Oxford, pp. 345-362.

Francis, H. (2007) 'Discursive Struggle and the Ambiguous World of HRD', Advances in Developing Human Resources Vol. 9, No. 1, PP. 83-96. DOI: 10.1177/1523422306294497

Francis (2006) 'A Critical Discourse Perspective on Managers Experiences of HRM', Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 1, 2, pp. 65-82. DOI: 10.1108/17465640610686343

Francis, H. and Keegan, A. (2006) 'The changing face of HR: in search of balance', Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp.231- 249. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2006.00016.x