Dr Patrick McGovern

Dr Patrick McGovern

Associate Professor (Reader) in Sociology

Department of Sociology

Room No
Key Expertise
Employment, Sociology of Work, Economic Migration, Theory

About me

Dr Patrick McGovern is Director of the MSc International Migration and Public Policy and an Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Sociology.

He specialises in two areas: economic sociology and international migration. He is currently working on three research projects that are motivated by his interests in work, economic conflict and social inequality.

One project focuses on problems of theory and method within the qualitative case study tradition in industrial relations and the sociology of work. Drawing on an analysis of studies published in eleven major journals over a fifteen year period this work is intended to open up a discussion about the current state of theorising in employment relations research. In doing so, he hopes to address some of the mystique around workplace case study research.

With colleagues from the Universities of Amsterdam, Harvard, Luxembourg, and Sydney, he is currently investigating trends in immigration policy across major OECD countries. Known as the ‘IMPALA Project', this innovative, multi-disciplinary endeavour seeks to develop comparable measures of restrictiveness based on the creation of database of national immigration policies relating to economic, family, humanitarian and student migration (http://www.impaladatabase.org/). Along with Eiko Thielemann (LSE), he is using IMPALA data to examine changes in labour market access across different categories of migration.

Finally, Pat is working with Martin Bauer (LSE) on a project that examines the way income inequality is framed in mass media discourse. Remarkably, the explosion of mass media interest in pay, especially in the form of “executive compensation” for CEOs, has been largely ignored by cultural sociologists, social psychologists and media scholars. Funded by the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute this project will explore the way different moral and market justifications are used in discussions of rising income inequality.

Pat holds a doctorate from Oxford University and First Class degrees in Sociology (BSc) and Industrial Relations (MSc) from University College, Dublin. He has served on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Industrial Relations, The British Journal of Sociology and Work, Employment & Society.

Selected Publications


Market, Class, and Employment (with Stephen Hill, Colin Mills, and Michael White). Oxford University Press, 2007.

HRM, Technical Workers and the Multinational Corporation. London: Routledge, 1998.

 McGovern1  McGovern2

Articles and Book Chapters

(2017) (with Diego Alburez-Gutierrez) ‘Who Takes Workplace Case-study Methods Seriously? The Influence of Gender, Academic Rank and PhD Training,’ Industrial Relations Journal, 48, 2: 98-114.

(2016) (with Michel Beine, Anna Boucher, Brian Burgoon, Mary Crock, Justin Gest, Michael Hiscox, Hillel Rapoport, Joep Schaper, Eiko Thielemann) ‘Comparing Immigration Policies: An Overview from the IMPALA Database’ International Migration Review, 50, 4: 827-863.

(2015) (with Michel Beine,  Brian Burgoon, Mary Crock, Justin Gest, Michael Hiscox, Hillel Rapoport, Eiko Thielemann) ‘Measuring Immigration Policies: Preliminary Evidence from IMPALA’, CESifo Economic Studies, 61, 3-4: 527-559.

(2014) (with Justin Gest, Anna Boucher, Suzanna Challen, Brian Burgoon, Eiko Thielemann, Michel Beine,  Mary Crock, Hillel Rapoport, Michael Hiscox) Measuring and comparing immigration, asylum and naturalization policies across countries: challenges and solutions Global Policy Journal, 5 (3). 261-274.

McGovern, Patrick (2014) Contradictions at work: a critical review Sociology, 48 (1). 20-37.

McGovern, Patrick, (2013) ‘The Experience of Work in Comparative Perspective’ in Carola Frege and John Kelly (eds) Comparative Employment Relations in the Global Economy, London: Routledge

Inequalities in the (De-)Commodification of Labour: immigration, the nation state, and labour market stratification Sociology Compass, 6 (6). (2012) pp. 485-498.

Richard Hyman: Marxism, Trade Unionism and Comparative Employment Relations Frege, Carola M. and Kelly, John and McGovern, Patrick British Journal of Industrial Relations, 49 (2). (2011) pp. 209-230.

The Young Lipset on the Iron Law of Oligarchy: A Taste of Things to Come.’ British Journal of Sociology, 61 (s1). (2010) pp. 29-42.

Will the Economic Downturn Alter Current Work-life Strategies? The Debate on Work-life Balance is Still in its Infancy.’ Personalführung, 2. (2009) pp. 40-45.

Immigration, Labour Markets and Employment Relations: Problems and Prospects.’ British Journal of industrial relations, 45 (2). (2007) pp. 217-235.

Bad Jobs in Britain: Non-standard Employment and Job Quality.’ McGovern, Patrick and Smeaton, Deborah and Hill, Stephen (2004) Work & Occupations, 31 (2). (2004) pp. 225-249.

"High-Performance" Management Practices, Working Hours and Work-life Balance.’ White, Michael and Hill, Stephen and McGovern, Patrick and Mills, Colin and Smeaton, Deborah British Journal of Industrial Relations, 41 (2). (2003) pp. 175-195.

Rational Choice Theory, The "New Economic Sociology" and Functionalism.’ Work, Employment & Society, 17 (4). (2003) pp. 747-756.

Globalization or Internationalization? Foreign Footballers in the English League, 1946-1995.’ Sociology, 36 (1). (2002) pp. 23-42.