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Associate Professor Barbara Bechter

Associate Professor in HR Management, Department of Management & Marketing

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Associate Professor in HR Management, Department of Management & Marketing in the Business SchoolMHL 518+44 (0) 191 33 45743
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing  


Barbara is Associate Professor in Human Resource Management. She holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Vienna. Prior to joining Durham University Business School in June 2015, she taught at the York Management School. She is an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). In 2018, she become a member of the International Labour and Employment Relations Association - ILERA - Executive Committee. Since February 2021, Barbara is Co-Director of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing.

Barbara is interested in international and interdisciplinary research at the intersection between work organizations, society and economy. The scope of her research activities covers research on comparative Human Resource Management, including the international level, and issues concerning individual and collective aspects of the employment relationship. Such aspects are performance management and employee voice, and cross-national and cross-industry differences in the organisational and institutional regulation of employment relationships. She is especially interested in the link between employment and health. Her methodological background covers statistical and qualitative research techniques, with a special expertise in causal case study analysis in small N research. Barbara has extensive experience in externally funded projects. She has successfully developed and led multidisciplinary projects and managed international project teams to produce a successful track record of timely academic publications. She is also interested in contributing to the policy debate around work and employment. Her work is of interest to international organizations, e.g. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), and the European Commission.

Recent Projects

2021 - 2023:

Health Risk Outlooks by Social Partners (HEROS). A multi-level analysis of health and safety policy interventions by social partners to identify effective ways to ensure better protection of employees at work. Barbara is the principal investigator of this international collaborative project funded by the European Commission.

2018 - 2020:

European, National and Transnational Industrial Relations: Visible and Invisible Hands in European and National Wage Setting (ENTIRE VIEW). This international collaborative project is funded by the European Commission to investigate and analyse the reasons for differences in wage developments within the European Union member states (

2016 - 2018:

Social Partner Engagement and Effectiveness in European Dialogue (SPEEED). The project investigates the capacity of trade unions and employer organisations in the hospital and metal sector in the European Union member states to influence policy making at the European sectoral level. Barbara is the principal investigator of this international collaborative project which has been funded by the European Commission (SPEEED project report available upon request).

PhD Supervision

Applications are encouraged in the fields of Human Resource Management and Employee Voice and Employment Relations. Areas of special interest are: the effect of digital technologies on working lives, how employment matters to health, and comparative research such as the regulation of employment issues in different national institutional settings and industry contexts.


Barbara is Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at the Durham University Business School. She received her PhD form the University of Vienna, Austria in 2009. Prior to her current position she was Lecturer of Human Resource Management at the University of York (2012-2015), before moving to the UK she worked as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics at the University of Vienna (2010-2012).

Research interests

  • Comparative Human Resource Management
  • European Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations
  • International Employment Relations
  • Comparative Research Methods


Chapter in book

  • Bechter, Barbara. & Brandl, Bernd. (2015). Recent Developments in European Industrial Relations. In Industrial Relations in Europe 2014. European Union. European Commission: Brussels.
  • Bechter, B. (2013). Seniority. In Sociology of Work Encyclopedia. Smith, V. SAGE. 757-759.
  • Bechter, Barbara. & Brandl, Bernd. (2013). Overview of European, national and public sector industrial relations. In Industrial Relations in Europe 2012. European Union. European Commission: Brussels. 21-52.
  • Bechter, B. (2011). Changing collective bargaining: pay flexibility and the search for a fair model. In Changing Labour Relations between Path Dependency and Global Trends. Baglioni, M. & Brandl, B. Peter-Lang. 111-124.
  • Arrowsmith, J., Nicholaisen, H., Bechter, B. & Nonell, R. (2008). The management of variable pay in banking: forms and rationale in four European countries. In Challenges in European Employment Relations. Blanpain, R. & Dickens, L. Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands: Kluwer Law International. 201-240.

Journal Article

Supervision students

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