Who inspires our academics?

Professor Ruth Simpson, Director of Research and Deputy Head of School in Brunel Business School, talks of her role model – Betty Friedan:

For me one person stands out who was inspirational and that was Betty Friedan who published a feminist book: The Feminine Mystique in 1963 – and which I didn’t actually read until much later when I was a mother with young children. The book spoke to me about my experiences up til that time – at university especially where I encountered a level of sexism that had not been present at my (all girls’) school and which I had found shocking and difficult to manage. The book looked at the ‘mystique’ of femininity, contrasting this with the reality of many women’s lives (she interviewed housewives – a largely invisible group). Many women (including myself) felt that as a result of the book they had a language on which to hang their discontent and their experiences of sexism. She is credited with helping to ‘kick-start’ the feminist movement at the time. As some of you may know, I have been a feminist ever since.


Prof Ruth Simpson is Professor of Management at Brunel Business School. She has a background in Economics and Organization Studies and for several years specialised in teaching economics to MBA students. She has taught Economics and Social Science at the Open University and has external examining experience in Human Resource Management. She is currently teaching Management and Gender and Organization. She has published widely in her research area of Management Education and Gender and Organizations, including the Academy of Management (Learning and Education) Journal, Human Relations and Work Employment and Society. She is a member of the Centre for Research in Emotion Work and Employment Studies (CREWES) and is co-founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Work Organization and Emotion.

Prof Simpson is a member of the Work and Organisation Research Centre. Members of WORC undertake applied research into all aspects of performance in the workplace, individual well-being and performance, and Human Resources Management in its broadest sense. Using a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, our work investigates current and pressing issues in performance at three levels of analysis – the individual, the workteam, and the wider organisation. We publish in top-tier outlets internationally, advise organisations in partnership, and seek to generate innovative scientific understanding and professional practice in a diverse set of areas of work performance.

WORC has four main areas of research:

  • HRM
  • Performance at Work
  • Social Identity
  • Organisational Processes


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