Roger Undy

Roger Undy

Emeritus Reader and Emeritus Fellow

Saïd Business School 
Executive Education Centre 
University of Oxford 
Egrove Park 
OX1 5NY 


Roger Undy joined Templeton (formerly known as the Oxford Centre for Management Studies), in 1972.


On leaving school Roger served an apprenticeship, as a maintenance fitter (see Times Higher Education, Jan 1st 1999), at Boots the Chemists in Nottingham. He left Boots in 1967 after winning a TUC (Trades Union Congress) Scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford. After two years at Ruskin, reading for the University`s Special Diploma in Social Studies, he won  a 'State Scholarship for Mature Students' and moved to Wadham College, Oxford to read History and Economics.

On leaving Wadham, in 1972, he joined the Oxford Centre for Management Studies (OCMS) subsequently Templeton College, as a Research Associate. He initially worked for the late Lord (Bill) McCarthy, on a study of British trade unions. This research was funded by the Department of Employment and resulted in 'Change in Trade Unions' (Undy, et al Hutchinson 1981).

During his 40 years plus employment at OCMS and Templeton College (the forerunners of the Said Business School and Green Templeton College) Roger held all the main College posts, including Acting President, Vice President, Senior Tutor and Dean. When holding the positions of both Acting President and Dean (1991 and 1992), he represented Templeton College in negotiations with the University (VC and Chair of General Board) over the proposed new Business School.

However, the tentative agreements reached in these talks regarding the College`s relationship with the new Business School were later ditched by the University (see Graves D, 2001 'Templeton the First Thirty Years' pages 126-128,).

As for research Institutions, in 1985 Roger founded and then became Director of the Oxford Institute for Employee Relations (OXIFER). By 1996, OXIFER had a membership of seven academics and an extensive research agenda including, inter alia, studies of:  Performance Related Pay; Employment Relations in the Public Sector; the Impact of Labour Legislation on Trade Unions; and the work of ACAS. Roger was given the title of University Reader in 1996, after being made a University Lecturer in Industrial Relations in1994.

Between 1988 and 2016 Roger`s own research primarily focussed on: the Structure and Governance of Trade Unions; Labour Law as applied to Trade Unions; and the interface between Government and Trade Unions. The studies of trade union structure proved to be of significant value to SBS in 2015 when the School successfully included  in its REF submission of 'Impact Cases' an article titled 'Changing the merger strategies of Trade Unions', Roger Undy, 2015, which drew extensively on Undy R (2008) 'Trade Union Merger Strategies' OUP.

At present (September 2016), with the assistance of research expenses provided by SBS, Roger is working on an article titled 'The Making of UNITE the union'. This will analyse an amalgamation which in 2007 created Britain`s largest Private Sector union, and subsequently led to UNITE the union playing a central role in the campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour Party.


Roger's areas of expertise include:

  • Causes, consequences and outcomes of trade union mergers
  • Industrial relations and trade unions
  • Labour negotiations

Read Roger's research.


Roger has engaged widely in academia during his career.

Throughout his 40 years in Oxford Roger has voluntarily supported, first, the Oxford University Branch of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and more recently, after a merger, the Oxford Branch of the University and College Union (UCU). For those unfamiliar with the formal system of Industrial Relations at the University of Oxford, the UCU is presently the union recognised for representing Oxford`s Academics and Academic Related Staff in both individual cases and at the University`s Joint Consultation Committee (JCC).

Roger was President of the Oxford UCU between 2009 and 2012 and has been (and still is) a UCU Case Workers. Also, in 2014 and 2015 he was one of the Oxford UCU`s members who met the Head of University HR to discuss proposed changes in Statute XII which, for the uninitiated, helps protect Academics` and Academic Related Staffs` terms and conditions of employment.


Roger has extensive teaching experience.

During his long spell at the Oxford Centre for Management Studies, Templeton College and Saïd Business School, Roger generally taught Industrial Relations to Executives and Senior Managers; Postgraduates and Undergraduates.

Teaching Industrial Relations to Executives and Senior Managers usually involved developing and delivering tailor-made sessions of interest to participants on a wide range of Commissioned, Customised or Open Courses. Also specific courses were designed to meet the needs of specialists in Industrial Relations, including members of Templeton College`s Personnel Directors Forum (PDF) which for many years included, inter alia, the Personnel Directors of: the University of Oxford; Thames Water; Austin Rover; and British Gas.