Dr Virginia Fisher

Dr Virginia Fisher

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Human Resource Studies

Plymouth Business School (Faculty of Business)


Associate Professor (HR & Leadership)


  • BA (Hons) Medieval and Modern History (University of Birmingham) 2(i)
  • PG Diploma in Personnel Management (University of Aston)
  • MA in Industrial Relations (University of Warwick) Distinction
  • Doctorate in Education (University of Keele)

After a varied career in public sector Human Resource Management, I entered higher education with the University of Wolverhampton as a senior lecturer in HRM. During this time I studied for a doctorate part time at Keele University. This involved researching the entrenched and largely invisible nature of gendered organisational cultures of higher education. This doctorate was the logical continuation of my long involvement in, and commitment to, equality and diversity in the workplace and broader society.

I joined Plymouth University in 2010 as an Associate Professor in Human Resource Studies and also as the Programme Leader for the CIPD professionally accredited MA in Human Resource Management. 

From 2013 to 2017, I undertook the management role of Associate Head (Graduate Studies) for the (then) new Plymouth Graduate School of Management. I was a member of the PGSoM senior executive team and responsible for all aspects of teaching and learning within the school, working closely with subject heads, programme leaders and faculty administrators. I provided leadership which enhanced both learning and the broader student experience. This was a very exciting and challenging role which absorbed me totally for four years and from which I learned much.

In 2017, I resumed my Associate Professor role, giving me the opportunity to re-focus and broaden my gender research to include funded projects for ACAS, to develop a new undergraduate module in gender and work, to begin two new trade union roles as University Branch Equality Officer and member of the UCU LGBT+ national standing committee. I am currently leading a university funded research project which is investigating the silences surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace.

Professional membership

SFHEA Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

MCIPD Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development 

Teaching interests

  • HRL308 Gender at Work - Module Leader
  • HRL705 Managing Equality and Diversity - Module Leader
  • HRL701 Contemporary HRM in Context - Module Leader
  • HRL713 HR Research Report (MAHRM) - research supervisor
  • STO711/712 Research Project (MBA) - research supervisor
  • BUSM301 Project - supervisor

Research interests

  • My doctorate was an exploration of the gendered work cultures of higher education.
  • My research interests include gender, management, diversity, managerialism, higher education and ethnographic research.
  • I am currently leading a university funded project which is investigating the silences which surround sexual harassment in the workplace.

Publications, conference papers and book reviews.

  • Fisher, V. & Kinsey, S. (2018) 'Lifting the lid on sexual harassment and power in the workplace' Paper delivered at the CIPD Applied Research Conference, Nottingham Trent University, 6th December.
  • Fisher, V., Kinsey, S. & Saundry, R. (2017) 'The myth of devolution? The role of HR practitioners in the management of workplace conflict' Paper delivered at the CIPD Applied Research Conference, University of Strathclyde, December.
  • Saundry, R., Kinsey, S. & Fisher, V. (2017) 'HR structures in the management of conflict: the ghettoising of employee relations' Paper delivered at the CIPD Applied Research Conference, University of Strathclyde, December.
  • Fisher, V. (2017) Book review of Flynn, Haynes & Kilgour (2016) Overcoming challenges to gender equality in the workplace, in a special edition of the International Journal of Management Education 15 pp 393-394
  • Fisher, V., Kinsey, S. & Kelland, J. (2016) ESRC Festival of Social Science event leaders. 'The Real Game of Thrones:Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Career Choices for Sixth Form Girls', Marine Academy Plymouth, November 10th.
  • Kinsey, S. & Fisher, V. (2016) 'The Future of Human Resources'. Speakers at the CIPD Devon and Cornwall Annual Conference October 12th.
  • Fisher, V. & Kinsey, S. (2016) 'Time for HR to take a stand, or "No More Being Management's Bitch". Speakers at the CIPD West of England Branch Annual Conference, March 11th.
  • Fisher, V. & Kinsey, S. (2014) 'Behind closed doors! Homosocial desire and the academic boys club' Gender in Management: An International Journal. 29(1)
  • Kinsey, S. & Fisher, V. (2013) 'Pursuing professional legitimacy through neo-liberal identification: the failed case of the HR function'. Paper presented to the 8th Critical Management Conference, Manchester Business School, 10-12th July.
  • Fisher, V. & Kinsey, S. (2012) 'The academic boys club: homosocial desire at work'.  Paper presented to the British Academy of Management Conference 11-13 September 2012 (Cardiff Business School).
  • Janes, K. & Fisher, V. (2012) 'LGBT experiences of equality in local government: rhetoric or reality.' Paper presented to the Gender Work & Organization 7th international interdisciplinary conference 27th-29th June 2012.
  • Fisher, V. (2011) 'Women and research in British universities: an institutional case study' International Journal of Management Concepts & Philosophy 5(4) pp311-332
  • Fisher, V. (2010) 'Mobilising academic masculinities: the best kept secret?' Paper presented to the Gender Work & Organization 6th International Interdisciplinary Conference 21st-23rd June, Keele University.
  • Fisher, V. (2010) ‘Women in research at the University of Wolverhampton’. Report published by the University of Wolverhampton. 
  • Fisher, V. (2009) ‘Double double toil and (gender) trouble’: a feminist ethnography of the performance of gender and sexuality within a business school. (Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Keele).
  • Fisher, V. (2007) ‘You need tits to get on round here: gender & sexuality in the entrepreneurial university of the 21st century’. Ethnography 8(4) pp 503-517