Nancy Harding enrolled for her first degree, in Management Studies at the University of Wales in Cardiff, when she was 27. Having enjoyed the experience so much, she stayed on for another three years to study for her PhD. She then held various short-term research posts, including researching and developing policies for equal opportunities for women in the National Health Service, and a series of studies of the management of home care services in Wales.
In 1993 she was offered her first lectureship, at the University of Wales in Swansea, where she taught health management at master's level in Wales and in south-east Asia. That led to a lectureship at the Nuffield Institute for Health, University of Leeds, and promotion to senior lecturer. Nancy joined University of Bradford School of Management with the aim of extending her research and teaching from the public sector into private sector organisations. She became Professor of Organization Theory in 2009.
Nancy’s research is focused on working lives, which she studies from a broadly critical management studies perspective. She is interested in moving beyond traditional critical approaches that explore exploitation and control and resistance, and argues that we need to develop a language that allows us to be critical of the sheer tedium to which many people are subject while at work, and the effect of hierarchy (e.g. management/staff; leader/follower) on identities.