Cecile Guillaume

Dr Cecile Guillaume

Reader in Organisation Studies and SBS Director of internationalisation


Affiliations and memberships

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Academic member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development


Research interests

Research projects


G. Kirton, Cecile Guillaume (2022)Towards 'Racialising' the Union Agenda on the Front Lines of Healthcare Professions, In: Work, employment and society Sage

A persistent problem in trade unions is the discrepancy/tension that exists between their progressive national equality-seeking agenda and the translation of equality principles into workplace activism and their application to members' everyday working lives. Building on the notion of 'feminising' the union agenda, this article explores professional unions' efforts towards 'racialising' the agenda, which is a neglected equality focus in extant literature. The study is located within nursing and midwifery in NHS workplaces where the existence of racism has long been recognised by all employment relations actors. It investigates how the national union anti-racism project is implemented by workplace union representatives. While it reveals recognition of the existence of workplace racism among union representatives, a degree of denial and discomfort also exists. This, combined with the absence of the empowering union strategies that might be expected, hinders the delivery of a racially inclusive union agenda on the front lines of healthcare.

Cecile Guillaume (2022)Legal Expertise: A Critical Resource for Trade Unionists? Insights into the Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail, In: Industrial Law Journal51(1)pp. 38-61 Oxford University Press

Based on in-depth qualitative research conducted in one of the major French trade unions (the CFDT), this article explores to what extent and under what conditions trade unions adopt different legal practices to further their members' interests. In particular, it investigates how 'legal framing' has taken an increasingly pervasive place in trade union work, in increasingly decentralised industrial relations contexts, such as France. This article therefore argues that the use of the law has become a multifaceted and embedded repertoire of action for the CFDT in its attempt to consolidate its institutional power through various strategies, including collective redress and the use of legal expertise in collective bargaining and representation work.

Cécile Guillaume, Sophie Pochic (2021)Understanding the underrepresentation of women in union leadership roles: the contribution of a career methodology, In: Handbook of Research Methods on Gender and Managementpp. 249-264 Edward Elgar Publishing

This chapter argues that a methodology based on the interactionist concept of career offers an innovative research design for understanding the (un)making of women's underrepresentation in union leadership positions. Drawing on a comparative research project that investigated four unions in France and the UK, it presents and illustrates this methodology. It investigates how different institutional, organizational and individual processes shape union careers and contribute to the reproduction of inequality regimes within trade unions, while unveiling the conditions, including individual agency and equality policies, that have enabled progress to be made in some unions.

G. Kirton, CECILE GUILLAUME (2022)Walking a fine line’: union perspectives on partnership in nursing and midwifery workplaces, In: Economic and industrial democracy
Cécile Guillaume, Vincent-Arnaud Chappe (2021)Mobilizing Employment Discrimination Law. The Litigation Strategies of British and French Trade Unions Compared, In: Journal of Law and Society Wiley

Based on cross-national comparative research conducted in France and the UK, this article explores to what extent and under what conditions trade unions situated in different legal systems have turned to the courts to challenge discrimination at work. It investigates the interplay between a broad range of structural factors that offer specific opportunities, and the way trade unionists interpret contexts to promote legal mobilisation in addition to or in place of other repertoires of action. In so doing, it contributes to the understanding of employment discrimination law enforcement and the role of micro-level actors in enabling litigation strategies.

This book explores the representation of women and their interests in the world of work across four trade unions in France and the UK. Drawing on case studies of the careers of 100 activists and a longitudinal study of the trade unions' struggle for equal pay in the UK, it unveils the social, organizational, and political conditions that contribute to the reproduction of gender inequalities or, on the contrary, allow the promotion of equality. Guillaume’s nuanced evaluation is a call to redefine the role of trade unions in the delivering of gender equality, contributing to broader debates on the effectiveness of equality policies and the enforcement of equality legislation.

Additional publications