Research interests


Emily's research interests span several fields including human resource management with a focus on equality and diversity, organisational behaviour/theory, and cross-cultural management. To date, her research has focused on the impact of research evaluation on female academic careers, pensions and the experiences of older workers, and human resource management (HRM) practices in general. Emily has also been integral in recent projects for the Scottish Government and corporate consultancy at Edinburgh University Business School.


Dr Emily L. Yarrow Thesis Abstract


'National research evaluation and its effects on female academics' careers in the UK'

This research investigated gender equality issues surrounding the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014), and how these may manifest themselves in the career development and career trajectories of female academics in the UK.

The potentially harmful effects of research evaluation on academic careers, the way in which research evaluation and its outcomes are managed and experienced, and the extent to which this may intensify academic work were all considered as well as being integral aspects of the interview guides. However, this research also explored, through some of the emergent themes from the interviews, how research evaluation and its outcomes are used as a vehicle for success by some academics.

Through exploring new managerialism, gendered academic career trajectories and research evaluation, this research compared and contrasted different Schools in Humanities and Social Sciences in an anonymous UK university, in order to provide contemporary insight into the lived experiences of female academics in the context of REF2014.

Media Coverage

April 2017 Article in Times Higher Education (THE) publication

Research evaluation ‘actively contributes’ to gender inequality


A key theme in the reviewed literature was the importance of transparency and accountability in recruitment and selection processes. The notion that research evaluation is damaging for gender equality in the academy is explored to an extent in the literature, but this research further argues that the ability to negotiate managerial control and being politically savvy is increasingly important in academia in the UK.

This study was influenced, in part, by the works of Acker (2006), Bagilhole and Goode (2001), Deem (1998), Halsey (1982), Willmott (1995) and Wilson (1991), as well as the current socio- political academic environment in the UK.


A case study approach, comprising of 80 qualitative interviews in different Schools in Humanities and Social Sciences in an anonymous UK university was adopted. The sample covered a range of female academics from Early Career Researchers to Professors, a range of ages and experiences, as well as Key Respondents, which included Heads of School, Research Directors and REF Managers.


The findings of this study suggest that research evaluation in the UK actively contributes to the continuance of gender inequality regimes, though it may potentially be used as a career- path clarification tool, and so also hold advantages for some women.

Key References

Acker, J. (2006). Inequality Regimes Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations. Gender & Society, 20(4), 441-464.
Bagilhole, B. & Goode, J., (2001). The Contradiction of the Myth of Individual Merit and the Reality of a Patriarchal Support System in Academic Careers A Feminist Investigation. European Journal of Women’s Studies.
Brink, M. van den, M. Brouns& S. Waslander (2006). Does Excellence have a Gender? A National Research on Recruitment and Selection Procedures for Professorial Appointments in the Netherlands. Employee Relations, Vol. 28, 6, p. 523-539.
Deem, R., (1998). “New managerialism” and higher education: The management of performances and cultures in universities in the United Kingdom. International Studies in Sociology of Education. 8(1), 47-70.
Halsey, A. H. (1982). The Decline of donnish dominion?,Oxford Review of Education, 8(3), 215-229.
Willmott, H. (1995). Managing the academics: Commodification and control in the development of university education in the UK. Human Relations, 48(9), 993-1021