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Dr Leah Tomkins

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for People and Organisations
  • leah.tomkins

Professional biography

Prior to entering academia, Dr Leah Tomkins held senior leadership positions in Accenture, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), and the Cabinet Office, Whitehall.  She specialised in planning, designing and implementing change management and leadership programmes in both private and public sectors, and both in the UK and internationally. 

Research interests

Key research interests include:

  • philosophical, experiential and critical approaches to leadership
  • identity issues in relation to work, institution and learning
  • phenomenology and hermeneutics
  • organisational sense-making
  • embodiment
  • idiography and the case for the case
  • ethics of care

Recent publications include:

Tomkins, L. & Simpson, P. (2015).  Caring Leadership: A Heideggerian Perspective.  Organization Studies 36(8), 1013-1031.

Tomkins, L. & Ulus, E. (in press).  Is Narcissism Undermining Critical Reflection in Our Business Schools?  Academy of Management Learning and Education.

Tomkins, L. & Ulus, E. (in press).  ‘Oh, was that experiential learning?!’  Spaces, Synergies and Surprises with Kolb’s Learning Cycle.  Management Learning 1350507615587451.

Tomkins, L. & Eatough, V. (2014).  Stop ‘helping’ me!  Identity, Recognition and Agency in the Nexus of Work and Care.  Organization 21(1), 3-21. 

Tomkins, L. & Eatough, V. (2013).  The Feel of Experience: Phenomenological Ideas for Organizational Research.  Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management 8(3), 258-275.

Teaching interests

Teaching modules include:

  • leadership
  • management decision making
  • ethics 
  • stakeholder communication & engagement
  • change management
  • identity - personal, social & institutional
  • critical reflection
  • research methods
  • training and learning
  • human resource management (HRM)


Surveillance, intervention and the politics of care (2019-05-01)
Kubiak, Christopher; Tomkins, Leah and Larkin, Mary
International Journal of Care and Caring, 3(2) (pp. 165-181)
Asymmetries of Leadership: Agency, Response and Reason (2019)
Tomkins, Leah; Hartley, Jean and Bristow, Alexandra
Leadership ((In Press))
‘He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!’: Radicalising hermeneutics with Kafka’s The Castle (2019)
Tomkins, Leah
Tamara, the Journal of Critical Organization Inquiry ((In Press))
Guest Editors’ Introduction: Philosophical Contributions to Leadership Ethics (2018-01-31)
Ciulla, Joanne B.; Knights, David; Mabey, Chris and Tomkins, Leah
Business Ethics Quarterly, 28(1) (pp. 1-14)
Make me authentic, but not here: Reflexive struggles with academic identity and authentic leadership (2017-07-01)
Tomkins, Leah and Nicholds, Alyson
Management Learning, 48(3) (pp. 253-270)
“Oh, was that ‘experiential learning’?!” Spaces, Synergies and Surprises with Kolb’s Learning Cycle (2016-04-31)
Tomkins, Leah and Ulus, Eda
Management Learning, 47(2) (pp. 158-178)
Is Narcissism Undermining Critical Reflection in Our Business Schools? (2015-12-01)
Tomkins, Leah and Ulus, Eda
Academy of Management Learning and Education, 14(4) (pp. 595-606)
Caring Leadership: A Heideggerian Perspective (2015-08-31)
Tomkins, Leah and Simpson, Peter
Organization Studies, 36(8) (pp. 1013-1031)
Stop ‘helping’ me! Identity, recognition and agency in the nexus of work and care (2014-01)
Tomkins, Leah and Eatough, Virginia
Organization, 21(1) (pp. 3-21)
Leadership and the Art of the Invisible (2020)
Tomkins, Leah
In: Abreu Pederzini, Gerardo ed. Considering Leadership Anew: A Handbook on Alternative Leadership Theory ((In Press))
Publisher : Cambridge Scholars
Autoethnography through the Prism of Foucault’s Care of the Self (2020)
Tomkins, Leah
In: Herrmann, Andrew ed. The Routledge Handbook of Organizational Autoethnography ((In Press))
Publisher : Routledge
Hermeneutics: Interpretation, Understanding and Sense-making (2018-01)
Tomkins, Leah and Eatough, Virginia
In: Cassell, Catherine; Cunliffe, Ann L. and Grandy, Gina eds. SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods (pp. 185-200)
ISBN : 978-1-5264-2926-1 | Publisher : Sage
An Ethic of Care: Reconnecting the Private and the Public (2017-11-03)
Tomkins, Leah and Simpson, Peter
In: Mabey, Chris and Knights, David eds. "Leadership Matters?" Finding Voice, Connection and Meaning in the 21st Century. Routledge Studies in Leadership Research (pp. 89-101)
ISBN : 9781138572058 | Publisher : Routledge
Using Interpretative Phenomenological Psychology in Organisational Research with Working Carers (2017-04-26)
Tomkins, Leah
In: Brooks, Joanna and King, Nigel eds. Applied Qualitative Research in Psychology (pp. 86-100)
ISBN : 9781137359155 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan