Ruth Barton

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Ruth Barton

Senior Lecturer in Management

Room 414 , Centenary Building

03 6226 2807 (phone)

Dr Ruth Barton is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management and Marketing. She has been a Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery grant on Trade Unions and Industrial Regeneration in North West Tasmania. Her research interests are in the areas of labour, work, trade unions and industrial regeneration. Before joining the University of Tasmania, she held academic positions at RMIT and Monash Universities and have worked in the trade union movement and for Telstra.


I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management and Marketing. Prior to joining the University of Tasmania, I was a lecturer in the School of Management at RMIT University. Prior to this I worked as a Research Fellow at Monash University, as an organiser with Professionals Australia and the CPSU/SPSF in Victoria and started her working life as a market researcher. and customer satisfaction analyst at Telstra in Tasmania and Victoria.

Career summary


DegreeThesis titleUniversityCountryDate of award
PhDTrade Unions and the Restructuring of BT and TelstraMonash UniversityAustralia2005
Master of Commerce University of MelbourneAustralia1997
Graduate Diploma in Business Studies University of New England


Master of ArtsCooperation and Labour Management at EZ and Cadbury Between 1918 and 1939University of TasmaniaAustralia1990
Bachelor of Arts (Hons)Cadburys at Claremont: An Antipodean BournevilleUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia1982

Languages (other than English)

  • French (basic)


Professional practice

  • The Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
  • The Australian Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ)

Administrative expertise

I have been a discipline leader and a member of the workloads committee.


Labour; employment; work; regions; labour history; privatisation, occupational health and safety

Teaching expertise

  • Employment relations
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Work and employment
  • Organisational behaviour
  • Negotiation

Teaching responsibility

Research Appointments

I have been an assessor for the Australian Research Council and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) and a Convenor of the Work, Employment and Social Movements Thematic Group - The Australian Sociological Association.

Research Invitations

Coresearcher on CRIMT (Centre de Rechereche Interuniversitaire sur la Mondialisation et le Travail) Partnership Project: Institutional Experimentation for Better Work. Partnership Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and have held visiting positions at the Université de Montréal and the University of Bristol.

View more on Dr Ruth Barton in WARP


  • Work
  • Employment
  • Employment relations
  • Labour History
  • Deindustrialisation

My research involves work and employment and specifically about how people adapt and change the world that they find themselves in. Specifically, my interest lies in work, labour and collectivity and more specifically trade unions and they ways that they attempt to use their collective power and resources to change the world around them.

Research Themes

Ruth’s research aligns with the University’s research theme of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Her research interests focus is on work, employment and regeneration. This has been the core focus for two main strands of work. The first has been on trade unions and how they both adapt to change and are agents of change. One aspect of this has been her current work with international researchers on the decentralisation, collective bargaining and equity. The second has been on labour’s role in deindustrialisation and regeneration, with a particular focus on North West Tasmania. This research work builds upon close engagement with trade unions and has been evident in a number of research projects that Ruth has worked across, in both an individual and collaborative manner. Ruth has combined the synergies in each of these areas to build a coherent intellectual project based on an overarching narrative on the restructuring of trade unions and regions. The most current iteration of this is research on APPM worker housing in Burnie and the proposed development of a digital walking trail.


I am currently involved in a research project with researchers from Canada, France and Denmark that looks at the effects of the decentralisation of collective bargaining on equity and fairness for workers.


Dupuy, C, Jalette, P, Béthoux, E, Barton, R, Laroche, M Ilsoe, A, Larsen, T and Navrbjerg, S, ‘Company-level Collective Bargaining and the Dynamic of Inequality. Comparative Perspective: France, Australia, Canada and Denmark’, ESCP Europe, €38,580, 2018-2020.

Fairbrother, P, Barton, R and Cairns, G, ‘Trade Unions and Industrial Regeneration in North West Tasmania’, Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP14012389), $485,000, 2014-2016.

Current projects

The first research project I am currently involved in is with the Burnie Historical Society and researchers from the Universities of Melbourne and New South Wales that will research the history of APPM worker housing in Burnie and will aim at developing a digital walking trail from this.

The second project is with academics from Europe and Canada on the impact of the decentralisation of collective bargaining on equity and fairness.

Fields of Research

  • Industrial and employee relations (350504)
  • Organisation and management theory (350709)
  • Employment equity and diversity (350502)

Research Objectives

  • Employment patterns and change (230501)
  • Industrial relations (150301)
  • Understanding Australia's past (130703)
  • Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services (280106)


My research has been published in a wide range of journals across a number of disciplines. These include Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, Labour History, the Journal of Industrial Relations, Antipode and Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations.

Total publications


Journal Article

(10 outputs)
2021Barton R, Bethoux E, Dupuy C, Ilsoe A, Jalette P, et al., 'Understanding the dynamics of inequity in collective bargaining: evidence from Australia, Canada, Denmark and France', Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 27, (1) pp. 113-128. ISSN 1024-2589 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/1024258920981827 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1


2021Barton R, Mees B, 'The charismatic organization: Vision 2000 and corporate change in a state-owned organization', Enterprise & Society pp. 1-22. ISSN 1467-2227 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/eso.2021.43 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mees B


2020Barton R, 'Trade unions and industrial regeneration in North West Tasmania: moving beyond lock-in?', Environment and Planning A, 53, (2) pp. 332-348. ISSN 0308-518X (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0308518X20949264 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1


2018Barton RT, ''Our Tarkine, Our Future': The Australian Workers Union Use of Narratives Around Place and Community in West and North West Tasmania, Australia', Antipode, 50, (4) pp. 41-60. ISSN 1467-8330 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/anti.12353 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 8


2015Barton R, ''Good Riddance to the Stinkin' Place': Deindustrialisation and Memory at Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in Burnie, Tasmania', Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History, 109 pp. 149-167. ISSN 0023-6942 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5263/labourhistory.109.0149 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2


2014Barton RT, Fairbrother P, 'What can unions do? Addressing multinational relocation in North West Tasmania', Journal of Industrial Relations, 56, (5) pp. 691-708. ISSN 0022-1856 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0022185614533693 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Fairbrother P


2011Barton R, 'The State, Labour Management and Union Marginalisation at Electrolytic Zinc, Tasmania, 1920-48', Labour History, 101 pp. 53-70. ISSN 0023-6942 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5263/labourhistory.101.0053 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1


2011Barton R, Van den Broek D, 'Agency and the deunionisation of managers in an Australian telecommunications company', Journal of Management & Organization, 17, (2) pp. 210-225. ISSN 1833-3672 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/S1833367200001620 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 1


2009Barton R, Fairbrother P, 'The Local is Now Global: Building a Union Coalition in the International Transport and Logistics Sector', Industrial Relations, 64, (4) pp. 685-703. ISSN 0019-8676 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.7202/038879ar [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 10


2007Barton R, Fairbrother P, ' 'We're here to make money; we're here to do business': privatisation and questions for Trade Unions', Competition & Change, 11, (3) pp. 241-259. ISSN 1024-5294 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1179/102452907X212410 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2


I have been a researcher on grants that examine work, employment and justice and have worked with trade unions, business and community organisations in these projects.

Dupuy, C, Jalette, P, Béthoux, E, Barton, R, Laroche, M Ilsoe, A, Larsen, T and Navrbjerg, S, ‘Company-level Collective Bargaining and the Dynamic of Inequality. Comparative Perspective: France, Australia, Canada and Denmark’, ESCP Europe, €38,580, 2018-2020.

Fairbrother, P, Barton, R and Cairns, G, ‘Trade Unions and Industrial Regeneration in North West Tasmania’, Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP14012389), $485,000, 2014-2016.

I have successfully supervised two Doctoral and one Masters student to completion. I am approachable and keen to supervise HDR students in the areas of work, employment or deindustrialisation.