Research students

The University of Roehampton Business School welcomes enquiries from well-qualified applicants who wish to pursue research studies leading to the award of a PhD. Our PhD programme is an opportunity to undertake a major piece of independent research under the supervision and guidance of an experienced supervisory team. We offer excellent doctoral research opportunities on a full or part-time basis and currently have a community of over twenty PhD students.  Many of our students are sponsored – for instance by RUSI or the Susanna Wesley Foundation – or are on major funded projects such as UNIKE.  Our students are fully integrated into the research environment of the School, and they enjoy the University’s exceptional research facilities.

We always ensure that we have a good fit between the interest of doctoral students and the staff who supervise their research. If you are interested in applying to us for a place on our PhD programme, please explore the research profiles of our staff and their publications. Do feel free to contact potential supervisors individually to discuss possible projects, as well as contacting the Research Degrees Convenor, Dr Leonard Holmes.

Prior to making a formal application, we like to be able to give applicants advice about whether their proposed topic falls within our areas of research interest and expertise, and whether what they propose to undertake as their research study is sufficiently well-developed to enable us to proceed with a formal application.  Further information is available in this document that outlines how you can undertake research studies for a PhD with us. For further general information on Doctoral study, and guidance on making an application, please contact the Research Degrees Convenor, Dr Leonard Holmes.

gloria Appiah PHD

Gloria Appiah: Creative Deviance in Professional Service Firms: A Discursive Practice Approach 
Managers appear to be in a dilema regarding the implications of organizational routines on employee creativity. They are advised to consider a trade-off of one or the other for effective performance outcomes. Yet organizational routines are ubiquitous in organizations and creativity is essential. To find out if this trade-off is necessary, Gloria asks "Are organizational routines really anthitetical to employee creativity?" This essential question forms the basis of her present research which employs a practice approach to illuminate the relationship between the two concepts.

Maria Ash

Maria Ash: Gender Equality in Higher Education: Rhetoric and Reality 
Maria is a senior lecturer in HRM at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her doctoral research concerns gender constructions in UK higher education work environments. In particular, she addresses the curious gap between hope and happening – the manner in which, despite law, policies and best intentions, gender equality is still largely elusive in UK universities.  Maria innovatively uses the theories of Bourdieu and Mouzelis to explicate these issues, especially around issues of position and disposition. 

catherine butcher student

Catherine Butcher: Alternative Forms of University Ownership, Finance and Organisation 
Commercialisation of higher education in the UK and other advanced liberal states has implications for students in terms of access, increasing tuition fees/debt burden, quality of pedagogy and curriculum design.  Catherine is an European Commission-Marie Curie doctoral research fellow under the UNIKE project (Universities in the Knowledge Economy).  Her research explores heterodox forms of university ownership/control, governance, financing, and organisation structure to determine the extent to which this might offer divergent educational outcomes for students. By adopting a qualitative research methodology Catherine will seek ‘resources of hope’ by interrogating the literature.  She will also look for ‘spaces of hope’ from among social economy enterprises such as co-operatives, trusts, mutual and employee owned organisations and will test the usefulness of these new imaginations in the context of two countries - the UK and Australia.

Luke Curran

Luke Curran
Luke holds a scholarship from the Susanna Wesley Foundation and is interested in how local churches make strategic decisions and engage in organisational development.  Much of the current practice is functional and formulaic, particularly when following models endorsed by the church itself and his research is designed to see if these processes can be made more creative, innovative and democratic.  The methodological approach for this is through action research aimed both at improving practice and exploring it through theological reflection.  The first cycle will involve introducing Lego Serious Play into the strategy processes of a local Methodist church and observing the results.

Claire Evans

Claire Evans: Moving the Goalposts:  Women in the Accounting Profession
In common with many other professions and organisations in the UK, accounting has a gendered hierarchy. Claire's research uses a critical perspective to argue that Anglo-American accounting and capitalism have a symbiotic relationship which accounts for the gendering of the accounting profession. She considers the impact of the construction of the 'ideal worker' to reinforce the overt operation of power with the profession.

Malcolm James

Malcolm James: Power and Tax Policy
As a qualified accountant Malcolm first encountered taxation as an area of technical study in which the rules were simply to be mastered and applied to calculate tax liabilities and give advice to clients.  However, he has come to realise that these rules are not immutable and God-given, but are actually social constructs which have evolved as a result of societal relations and the operation of power.  However, the operation of power is not always straight forward and overt and his research explores the various ways in which the operation of power has shaped the UK tax system.

Simon Jewell

Simon Jewell. BSc Hons, MSc (TM), FRAeS
Simon's research examines the innovation relationship between large defence companies acting as Systems Integrators (SI) and Small to Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) as their partners and suppliers within the UK defence market.  Established thinking and research focuses largely on innovation within traditional competitive markets that are oligopolistic in nature, where there are more buyers than sellers.  The UK defence market however is a monopsony, dominated by a single buyer, the UK Ministry of Defence.  The research explores the significance of the market type on innovation and specifically the influence of the buyer upon the SI and SME innovation relationship itself.

Katja Jonsas

Katja Jonsas:  Leading and Living. Women and Academic Leadership in Finland and the UK
Katja is currently working on a European Union MSCA funded research project Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE). In her work she explores the relationship between management and gender. Drawing on semi-structured interviews conducted with academic women working in business schools both in Finland and in the UK, this research explores how the careers of academic women have been shaped by academic, managerial and gender practices.  Katja holds a BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University of Helsinki and a MSc in Social Research from VU University, Amsterdam. Her research interests are gender, higher education policy and exclusion from and inclusion to academia.

catherine kelly student

Catherine Kelly: An Exploration of Epistemic Imbalances in Group Work Decision Making Processes 
Catherine's research has focused on identifying influences which impact on the ways in which knowledge is co-created within small groups. In particular, this has entailed exploring how group deliberation processes may be swayed by factors which are unrelated to the epistemic value of the participants' perspective, resulting in problems of epistemic imbalance.  Catherine's professional background has been as a business researcher in investment banking and in the context of a range of business judgement failures in recent years, it seemed important to look at group deliberation processes in more depth.  In her academic work, she has sought to find new ways to conceptualise this issue, through focusing on how langauge usage may reflect varying capacities and/or willingness to engage with different perspectives in the group context.

Jo Mackowski

Joanne Mackowski: Stirring the pot: Defence Change and the Monstrous Regimen of Women 
Joanne's research focuses on the changing twenty-first century conception of British defence, in the context of the draw down to the 2014 end of British combat campaign in Afghanistan. She argues that the very notion of defence is a social construct, and explores alterations to gender roles, as expressions of wider and more fundamental changes to defence as a whole. In particular, she examines how and why women’s defence roles have changed, what effects these changes have on the identity of individuals and organisations, and what implications there are for defence leadership.


Viktorija Mano:  The Vulnerability of a Small Open Economy in a Situation of Global Fiscal Crisis: The impact of the Greek debt crisis on the FDI in Macdeonia
Viktorija'a area of research is development economics and economic geography. The aim of her thesis is to explore the impact of this crisis on the relationship between two small countries—Greece and Macedonia - who are deeply intertwined and involved in the on-going financial crisis in Europe. Through this she hopes to draw general lessons about the impact of financial liberalisation (FL) on small economies, and to critically evaluate the dominance of a regime of free capital movement, as proposed by international financial institutions (IFI) including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

rafaelli research student

Paola Andrea Raffaelli:  Social & Solidarity Economy in the Context of Global Economic Crisis: A comparison across the experiences of Argentina and the UK
Due to the lack of Government resources to sustain and enhance welfare, Social and Solidarity Economy organizations have gained importance in the last few decades across the world. Paola's research will explore diverse experiences in the Social and Solidarity Economy in Argentina and the UK, the impact on the welfare at the level of both the individual and socially and the relation they establish with the Governments and their public policies.

Christopher Russell

Christopher Russell: Resistance in a Total Institution:  Monks and Techne on Mount Athos 
Chris is a Principal Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University Management School and head of the accounting department there. Chris has a first degree in theology and is a specialist in ICT, which he explores from a social theory perspective. He is undertaking doctoral research on individuals’ resistance to mobile communications technologies. His fieldwork site is Mount Athos in Greece – a peninsula which accommodates a number of monasteries of the Greek Orthodox Church. Primarily using Mouzelis, Chris’ work innovatively explores the ways in which these organisations and the individual monks that are members of them engage with or resist mobile ICTs.

Rodrigo Souza PhD student

Rodrigo Souza: The Construction of Risk: How 'actors' construct the concept of 'risk' in practice in the Brazilian finance sector
Rodrigo's research focuses in the social, political and discursive aspects related to the construction of risk concepts, such as ‘risk culture’ and ‘risk appetite’, and risk management practices in a Brazilian Development Bank. It seeks to understand how individual articulations of "risk" and "risk management" can influence the implementation of a risk management framework.

Beth Stratford

Beth Stratford: Does the Capitalist System of Money Creation Create a Structural Requirment for Growth? 
Beth is studying the impact of the UK housing market on inequality, and on citizens’ attitudes and behaviour in relation to work, environmental protection and materialism. Her aim is to illuminate the extent to which current trends in the housing market conflict with the goal of a ‘steady state’ economy (an economy where the scale of economic activity is relatively stable, and not exceeding ecological limits) and to contribute to the search for practical institutional/policy changes that would: (1) allow us to avoid crises of unemployment, poverty and debt in a low/zero growth economy; (2) support a shift from materialistic to pro-environmental values.

Gabriela Thompson 
Gabriela Thompson: Assessing the Impact of the Managerial Narrative on British Defence.
Gabriela’s research interests lie in the multi-disciplinary analysis of the human dimension (or lack of) in dominant explanations of defence and security. Gabriela’s current research focuses on the ‘managerialisation’ of defence in the United Kingdom - a process which has had a great impact on the defence discourse since the end of the last century. She posits that the notion of ‘management’ has transformed from that of a necessary organisational tool into an all-pervading ideology: ‘managerialism’. Thus she examines how the propagation of this ideology and its artefacts (guidelines, frameworks, schedules, etc) have resulted in ‘good management’ being placed at the core of dominant explanations of defence and security instead of the person. 

Lauren Twort

Lauren Twort: A Critical Investigation of Peacebuilding Techniques in Sierra Leone 
Lauren's main research interest is the subjective and experiential process of peace, recovery and development in a post-conflict or transitional environment. This interest incorporates the dominant approach to peace known as the Liberal Peace, the way this shapes peacebuilding, and the measures of success utilised by development agencies.  Her current research project attempts to alter the point of observation in Sierra Leone, Bo and see peacebuilding as an everyday activity at the local level. To do this she immersed myself within the community and witnessed lived experience. The themes that developed through everyday interactions and interviews challenge the assumptions around the nature and purpose of peace and open up the space of peacebuilding currently dominated by the ‘expert’.

Recent completions:

Moataz Elmassri, Taking Strategic Investment Decisions: The Technical, Methodological and Political

Yalda Haji-Ghassemi, Small to Medium sized firms: how they staff and communicate internationally

Barry Pemberton,