Owen Darbishire

Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Owen Darbishire is the Rhodes Trust Associate Professor in Management Studies (Organisational Behaviour and Industrial Relations) at Saïd Business School and Sue Cormack Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

Owen is known internationally for his research examining how comparative employment systems and work organisation have been evolving, as well as exploring the causes and consequences of changes in the institutional regulation of labour markets across a range of national economies. These include Britain, Germany, Australia, the United States and other countries. In addition, his research explores how varieties of capitalism impact firm performance, the comparative functioning of labour markets, the political economy of changes in labour and employment law, and the impact of new technology on work. A further strand of research explores negotiations in a national and international context. In addition to many articles and book chapters, he is the author (with Harry Katz) of the book 'Converging Divergences: Worldwide changes in employment systems,' Cornell University Press, 2000.

Owen is Director of the Oxford Transition to Leadership Programme, a general management programme for mid-career managers, and through his teaching he also works with undergraduate and postgraduate students through to the most senior leaders of major organisations. His teaching focuses on individual, group and organisational decision making and he is also an experienced teacher of negotiation for senior executives.

An elected member of Saïd Business School Board and former Chair of the Faculty, which he joined in 1996, Owen is also a member of the Governing Body of Pembroke College. For the business school he has been Director of Undergraduate Degrees, Director of the Oxford Advanced Management Programme and Director of the Programme on Chinese Entrepreneurial Development.

Owen has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford where he was an Exhibitioner at Balliol College. He took his MSc and PhD in Collective Bargaining from the School of Industrial and Labour Relations at Cornell University, USA, where he was also later the Brettschneider Scholar in 2008. Visiting appointments include research fellowships in Germany at IAAG, Trier, and the Max-Planck-Institut, Cologne.


  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Employment Relations
  • Decision Making
  • Negotiation
  • Comparative Management


Owen’s research and writing focuses on how labour markets, employment patterns and work are changing internationally.

His current focus is on the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Ireland. As a researcher Owen has worked at a number of highly-respected institutions in the United States, Britain and Germany.

Comparative Labour and Employment Relations

In examining how corporations respond to such pressures as new technology, increased competition and the deregulation of markets, Owen’s research explores the influence of national systems of corporate governance and industrial relations. The research also focuses on patterns of change in labour and employment law and how varieties of capitalism impact on the success of firms in different sectors over a 30-year time span. This research adopts a comparative historical perspective to the political economy of labour markets. A particular focus has been his international research in the telecommunications and automotive industries.


  • Owen Darbishire
Organisation Studies
  • Alexander JS Colvin,
  • Owen Darbishire
Organisation Studies

International employment relations: The impact of varieties of capitalism(opens in new window)

  • Chapter
  • Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management, Second Edition
  • A Colvin,
  • O Darbishire
Organisation Studies

Work and skills in the telecommunications industry(opens in new window)

  • Chapter
  • Emerging Digital Spaces in Contemporary Society: Properties of Technology
  • O Darbishire
Organisation Studies

Convergence of Labor Law in the Anglo-American Countries

  • Chapter
  • Labor and Employment Relations Association Series: Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting
  • A Colvin,
  • O Darbishire
Organisation Studies
See more publications


Owen’s work has an impact on individuals, their organisations and the wider business community through his undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

His work with an extensive number of individual organisations via customised executive education programmes also has an immediate effect on those organisations’ specific development, decision-making and strategy.

In his field of research expertise, Owen is a member of the Editorial Board for the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Within the University of Oxford, he has always contributed widely to the life and organisation of the University at the college, department and extra-curricular level. His current posts include membership of the Governing Body of Pembroke College, Elected Member of the Saïd Business School Board, the Committee of the Oxford University Rugby Football Club, and Senior Member of the Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club. Outside university life, Owen also plays an active, voluntary part in a number of schools and trusts and is a Trustee of the Horlock Educational Trust, Governor of Abingdon School, Oxfordshire and, until recently, governor of Benenden School, Kent.


Owen’s teaching spans every level of education offered by Saïd Business School, from undergraduates to senior leaders.

His engaging teaching style makes a lasting impact, both in the lecture theatre with large cohorts of students as well as in a small group environment, working with senior executives from individual organisations such as BMW or Innocent drinks. His teaching expertise focuses on individual, group and organisational decision-making, organisational behaviour, and negotiation. Owen is Director of the Oxford Transition to Leadership Programme, a modular general management programme for mid-career managers and professionals.

Owen’s teaching:


  • BA Economics and Management – employment relations; organisational behaviour; strategic management
  • MBA – core organisational behaviour course; negotiations elective
  • Executive MBA – core organisational behaviour course; negotiations elective

Executive Education teaching:

  • Director, Oxford Transition to Leadership Programme
  • Oxford Diploma in Organisational Leadership
  • Oxford High Performance Leadership
  • Oxford Programme on Negotiation

Custom Programmes including:

  • ABN Amro
  • Aviva
  • BMW
  • China Construction Bank
  • China Life
  • Industrial & Commercial Bank of China
  • Commerzbank
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Ikea
  • National Audit Office (NAO)
  • Royal Mail
  • BT
  • State Farm
  • Standard Chartered
  • Thyssen-Krupp
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Innocent