Ruth  Ballardie

Dr Ruth Ballardie PhD, BA(hons), BSc(hons)

Senior Lecturer in Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour

Key details

Dr Ruth Ballardie

Senior Lecturer in Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour

Dr Ruth Ballardie is a Senior Lecturer researching in the sociology of work and organisations, particularly in public sector health care. She currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including International and Comparative Employment Relations, having previously taught a range of Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour courses at Victoria University and at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Ruth won an Australia Post-graduate Award and completed her PhD at Monash University in Social Psychology. 

She was the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on a major Australian funded grant (ARC-Linkage) (2012-2015) investigating 'Work process redesign in public hospitals in Australia and Canada', from which have emerged several publications in international journals. She is now working collaboratively with unions and health departments in developing her current research program on work intensification in nurses' work. This is aligned her general interest in the labour processes and work organisation of public sector workers and in public sector management.

Prior to entering academia Ruth gained professional experience in community mental health.Keywords: sociology of work and organisations: Labour Process Theory; public sector workforce; health and social care organisation and management


2003 - Australian Postgraduate Award (Australian Federal Government)


Member of:

  • British Universities Industrial Relations Association;
  • Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand
  • British Sociological Association
  • International Sociological Association

Research / Scholarly interests

Ruth Ballardie's research interests are in the sociology of work and organisation, and employment relations, in the public sector, particularly health, tertiary education and social care. These are embedded in broader political economic processes, and she also has an emerging research stream in the political economy of wage inequality and the decoupling of wages from productivity growth.

Key funded projects

Dr Ruth Ballardie was recently the post-doctoral research fellow on a large research project, 'Work redesign in public hospitals in Australia and Canada' – funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, 2012-2015 (£120,000). With health care systems across the world experiencing increasing health care costs and system demands, while embedded within the economics of austerity and budgetary restraint, governments and health care managers are keen to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. Lean Management is a popular process aimed redesigning work to increase efficiency while delivering high quality care. This research examined the implementation of work process redesign using Lean Management and the effects on clinical staff in Emergency Departments, wards and theatres in hospitals in Victoria, Australia and Alberta, Canada. Clinical staff have a significant degree of autonomy in how they engage with managerial-led process improvement, and they are able to make use of these projects to achieve improvements in patient care, in ways that are not reducible to notions of 'empowerment' or of 'resistance'. Existing resource limitations and high workloads had a significant impact on the outcomes of projects and their effects. Ruth was the postdoctoral research fellow on this project. Key findings are published in international journals.

A key issue emerging form this research is the need for a more substantial investigation of how clinical staff cope under conditions of work intensification and increasing resource limitations in public hospitals. Ruth is currently developing this research by working with unions and health departments to undertake investigations using a multidisciplinary research team and international collaborations.

Ruth has also worked with community organisations to investigate the effects of the marketisation of social care provision on volunteer sector organisations in regional Australia, and has an emerging project on the changing academic labour processes in online education.

Recent publications

Bartram, T., Stanton, P., Bamber, G.J., Leggat, S.G., Ballardie, R., & Gough, R. Engaging Professionals in Sustainable Workplace Innovation: Medical Doctors and Institutional Work. British Journal of Management. DOI:10.1111/1467-8551.12335. Publication status: Article accepted on 3 October, 2018.

Bamber, G.J., Stanton, P., Gough, R., Bartram, T., Ballardie, R. Leggat, S., & Sohal, A. (2017). Engaging people in process improvement: Insights from a comparative study of Lean implementation in Australian and Canadian public hospitals. Public Money and Management. (Published online Nov. 2017).

Leggat, S., Gough, R., Bartram, T., Stanton, P., Bamber, G.J., Ballardie, R., & Sohal, A. (2016) Process redesign for time-based emergency admission targets.Journal of Health Organization and Management,30(6), 939-949.

Stanton, P., Gough, R., Ballardie, R., Bartram, T., & Bamber, G.J. (2014) Implementing lean management/Six Sigma in hospitals: beyond empowerment or work intensification?  International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(21), 2926-2940.

Bamber, G.J., Stanton, P., Bartram, T., & Ballardie, R. (2014) Human resource management, Lean processes and outcomes for employees: towards a research agenda. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(21), 2881-2891.

Gough, R., Ballardie, R., & Brewer, P. (2014) New technology and nurses. Labour & Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 24(1), 9-25.

Manuscript in Preparation:

Ballardie, R., Gough, R., Burgess, J., & Duffield, C. Modelling 'relations of care' – understanding the dynamics of efficiency, patient care and clinical work in public hospitals. (Under revision following submission to Human Relations)


Ballardie, R., Gough, R., Willis, E., & Bamberry, L.  2018. Nurses responding to work intensification – part-time work and missed patient care. Gender, Work and Organisation Conference. Sydney, June, 2018.

Gough, R., & Ballardie, R. 2017. Doing the job? Nurse patient ratios, patient care and nurse work intensity at a Victorian hospital. AIRAANZ Annual Conference. Canberra, Australia, Feb, 2017.

Ballardie, R., & Gough, R. 2016. The dynamics of hospital 'efficiency' and relations of care. International Labour Process Conference. Berlin, April, 2016.

Ballardie, R., & Gough, R. 2015. 'Leaning' healthcare with limited resources – Emergency Departments in Canada and Australia.  International Labour Process Conference, Athens, April, 2015.