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Dr Alexandra Bristow

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in People and Organisations
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for People and Organisations
  • alexandra.bristow

Professional biography

Alexandra Bristow is a Lecturer in People and Organisations at the Open University Business School. She previously worked at the Universities of Birmingham, Surrey and Lancaster, where she completed her PhD in the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Surrey.

Research interests

Alex's research takes a critical approaches to management, work and organisation. It focuses on power and its relationship with other issues (e.g. resistance, change, knowledge, learning, identity and new technology) faced by people in organisations. Current projects include the changing nature of academic labour, the experiences, trajectories and identities of early-career professionals, the organisational impact of Brexit, Trumpism and populism, the production of knowledge and research philosophies in the field of management, and power, change and learning in public service organisations. She is a member of the Centre for Knowledge in Organisations and Professions (CKOP) and the Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL).

Alex's PhD thesis on 'The Production of Objectivity in Organisation Studies: An Analysis of Some of the Field's Leading Journals' is a joint winner of the Best Dissertation Award (2011) of the Academy of Management CMS Division. Her work has been published in a number of international journals, including Academy of Management Learning and EducationOrganizationOrganization Studies, Ephemera, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Culture and Organization, and Journal of Trust Research. She has also contributed chapters to the edited books on The SSCI Syndrome in Higher Education (2014), and The Dark Side 2: Critical Cases on the Downside of Business (2013). Alex is currently a guest editor with Sarah Robinson of a special paper series of Organization on 'Populist Responses to Austerity and Cultural Change: Brexit, Trumpism and Beyond' - the longest-running special paper series of the journal. She is also an editorial board member of Organization.

Alex has supervised four Doctoral students to successful completion, with three further supervisions currently in progress. She is the Deputy Director of Research Degrees for the Faculty of Business and Law, and she is also actively involved in the training and development of Doctoral students at institutional and national levels. She is a regular contributor to the British Academy of Management annual PhD Symposium, leading the session on 'Management Research: Philosophy and Design'. At Surrey, she has contributed to the development of the innovative IPhD programme, and designed and led the core Doctoral training module 'Foundations of Management Research'. Alex welcomes interest from potential PhD students in her areas of research.


Teaching interests

Alex has taught at all Higher Education levels (PhD, MBA, MSc and undergraduate), modes of delivery (full-time, part-time, executive, international, face-to-face, distance learning, online), and cohort sizes. She has successfully designed, validated, delivered and led modules and programmes in a range of subject areas and levels. She has also supervised over 30 postgraduate taught students (MBA and MSc) to successful completion of their dissertations.

Alex's favourite subjects to teach are power and politics, resistance, change, organisational meta-theory, the philosophical and theoretical foundations of the management field, and management research philosophies. She contributed to the Research Philosophies chapter in the 7th edition of the Saunders et al (2016) bestselling Research Methods for Business Students textbook. The chapter is freely available on and has been downloaded over 3,000 times by students and researchers around the world.


Academic Arrhythmia: Disruption, Dissonance and Conflict in the Early-Career Rhythms of CMS Academics (2019-07-08)
Bristow, Alexandra; Robinson, Sarah and Ratle, Olivier
Academy of Management Learning and Education, 18(2) (pp. 241-260)
Brexiting CMS (2018-09-01)
Bristow, Alexandra and Robinson, Sarah
Organization, 25(5) (pp. 636-648)
Labour pains: Starting a career within the neo-liberal university (2017-11)
Robinson, Sarah; Ratle, Olivier and Bristow, Alexandra
Ephemera: theory & politics in organizations, 17(3) (pp. 481-508)
Beyond the Single Organization: Inside Insights From Gaining Access for Large Multiorganization Survey HRD Research (2017-09-15)
Saunders, Mark N. K.; Gray, David E. and Bristow, Alexandra
Human Resource Development Quarterly, 28(3) (pp. 401-425)
Being an Early-Career CMS Academic in the Context of Insecurity and ‘Excellence’: The Dialectics of Resistance and Compliance (2017)
Bristow, Alexandra; Robinson, Sarah and Ratle, Olivier
Organization Studies, 38(9) (pp. 1185-1207)
Why the epistemologies of trust researchers matter (2015)
Isaeva, Neve; Bachmann, Reinhard; Bristow, Alexandra and Saunders, Mark N.K.
Journal of Trust Research, 5(2) (pp. 153-169)
On life, death and radical critique: A non-survival guide to the Brave New Higher Education for the intellectually pregnant (2012)
Bristow, Alexandra
Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28(3) (pp. 234-241)
[Review] Organizing Words: A Critical Thesaurus for Social and Organization Studies by Yiannis Gabriel, 2008 (2009-11-01)
Bristow, Alexandra
Management Learning, 40(5) (pp. 617-621)
Fragments and Links: Organizational Actor‐World of the Harry Potter Phenomenon (2007)
Bristow, Alexandra
Culture and Organization, 13(4) (pp. 313-325)
Understanding research philosophy and approaches to theory development (2015-07-23)
Saunders, Mark N. K.; Lewis, Philip; Thornhill, Adrian and Bristow, Alexandra
In: Saunders, Mark N. K.; Lewis, Philip and Thornhill, Adrian eds. Research Methods for Business Students (pp. 122-161)
ISBN : 1292016620 | Publisher : Pearson Education | Published : Harlow
Perishing Confucius: An Analysis of a Rupture Point in the Discourse of Taiwanese "New Higher Education" (2014)
Wu, Li-ying and Bristow, Alexandra
In: Chou, Chuing Prudence ed. The SSCI Syndrome in Higher Education: A Local or Global Phenomenon. Comparative and International Education (pp. 127-140)
ISBN : 978-94-6209-407-9 | Publisher : Sense Publishers (Springer) | Published : Rotterdam
Milk or wine come rain or shine: Culture and politics in a Dutch-Belgian banking group after an international takeover (2013-08-06)
Bristow, Alexandra
In: Fatien Diochon, Pauline; Raufflet, Emmanuel and Mills, Albert J. eds. The Dark Side 2: Critical Cases on the Downside of Business (pp. 187-196)
ISBN : 9781906093976 | Publisher : Greenleaf Publishing in association with GSE Research
Management Research (2009)
Bristow, Alexandra
In: Wankel, Charles ed. Encyclopedia of Business in Today's World
ISBN : 9781412964272 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Success in Challenging Times: Generating Social Capital [Summary Report] (2014-05-07)
Gray, David E.; Saunders, Mark N. K.; Bristow, Alexandra and Goregaokar, Harshita
Kingston Smith LLP
Success In Challenging Times: Generating Social Capital [Full report] (2014-05-07)
Gray, David E.; Saunders, Mark N. K.; Bristow, Alexandra and Goregaokar, Harshita
Kingston Smith LLP, London.