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Professor Caroline Clarke

BSc, MSc, PhD

Profile summary

Professional biography

I  joined The Open University in 2012, and I am now a Professor of Organisational Studies. I previously worked in Bristol Business School, and prior to that I spent five years as a researcher on the Change Management Consortium (Bath and Cranfield University) while doing my PhD on The Emotions of Management, and The Management of Emotion. Before becoming an academic, and in what now seems like a completely different life, I spent 13 years working for the Prudential Assurance Company in a variety of roles, including commercial underwriter, quality assurance officer, and business development analyst.

My Anno Domini took place in 1992. While in full time employment, I signed up for a part-time undergraduate degree in Social Science at the Open University, and was hooked; I might even go as far as saying that I fell in love with this amazing institution . This saw an end to the intellectual widlerness years, the time before any higher educational study, or academic life, what I now think of as life 'Before OU'. This wonderfully rich, interesting and positive student experience was the start of my intellectual pursuits, and returning to the Open University as an academic fulfilled a desire I had harboured for 17 years.  Accepting the job offer was the easiest decision I have ever made. The rest, as they say, is history.  


Research interests

My research interests are located in identity and emotion, but increasingly I am turning my attention towards human-animal relations, and veterinary surgeons in particular.  Another interesting avenue is exploring how research is an embodied and affective experience.  I collaborated on a 3 year study of academics in business schools exploring concepts of identities, insecurities, gender, and career behaviours within the increasingly performative and neo-liberal demands of academia.

With Professor David Knights, I am currently writing up research exploring the experiences and practices of Veterinary Surgeons. For this timely and important project we were awarded several small grants and were able to interview 73 veterinary surgeons across the UK. Our main findings relate to the problems with adopting an absolutist ontology towards science, which leads vets to become preoccupied with 'right' and  'wrong' answers based on predictability and certainty, perfection and failure. Other equally important findings relate to the gendered organisation of veterinary work, particularly in relation to securing a partnership in the veterinary practice, as well as the marginalisation of part-time workers.  I was awarded a small grant from the Veterinary Management Group for a project called Returning Vets to Practice.

Also of interest are issues relating to age, anthropomorphism, anthropocentricism, and wider concerns around speciesism, the nature of non-human/human animal relations and how these enable pandemic outbreaks..  

I am currently studying the deliberate strategies of spreading ignorance about the climate crisis, particularly in relation to the Fossil Fuel Industry and the Animal Industrial Complex.

My work is qualitative, and is situated within a critical  interpretive framework, with a particular interest and focus on discourse.

I have published in Organization Studies, Human Relations, Academy of Management Learning and Education, International Journal of Management Reviews, Gender Work and Organization, Culture and Organization, International Journal of Human Resource Management, and The Scandanavian Journal of Management.  I also undertake peer reviewing activity for a number of journals. 

My latest publication is with David Knights:

Clarke, C and Knights, D. (in Press) Practice Makes perfect?  Skillful Performances in Veterinary Work.  Human Relations.(ABS 4), 

Key words:

Identity. Emotion. Gender, Human Animal-Animal Relations. Embodied Research. Post-Humanism. Academics. Veterinary Surgeons. Professionals.


Teaching interests

As I was awarded my undergraduate degree by The Open University I have a lot of empathy and admiration for those doing part-time distance learning.  Prior to working at the Open Unviersity as a central academic, I spent a number of years doing face to face teaching, and I have experience  at all levels, particularly in relation to post-graduate and post-experience management students. Whilst I have taught most topics in organization studies, my favourite topics include identity, power and politics, gender, emotion, and culture.  

I was module chair for the production of B870 - Managing in a Changing World, the first module on the new MBA, and I am now Module Chair for the K presentation. I also authored some of the material on ethics, identity, and managing.  In 2018, I wrote Block 4 (Power and Identity) of the new, cutting edge Level 2 Module: Developing Leadership (B208). Other Open University material I have written includes: the identity section of the MBA elective BB848 Managing in an international context; rewritten some of the B716 Unit 1 and Unit 2 material during its mid-life review, also co-chaired B716  the foundation MBA module for a period of four years.  I have also taught on the PhD Mres course.

I have supervised eight PhD students to completion, and currently have three PhD students. Sam Hawtin is researching 'Working through the Pandemic: The Importance of Space.  Melda Kelemcisoy is bringing together the strands of Critical Management Studies (CMS) and Critical Animal Studies (CAS) in her doctorate 'The Organization of Anthropocentrism; and  Paul Hemphil is looking at Virtual teams.

l am interested in applications from  PhD students who would like to undertake a doctorate in any areas relevant to my reserach interests, especially concerning the organisation of the animal, and ignorance surrounding the Climate Crisis.

External collaborations

The Veterinary Management Group


Milking It for All It’s Worth? Unpalatable Practices, Dairy Cows and Veterinary Work (2022)
Clarke, Caroline and Knights, David
Journal of Business Ethics, 176 (pp. 673-688)

Feminist solidarity building as embodied agonism: An ethnographic account of a protest movement (2021-05)
Smolovic-Jones, Sanela; Winchester, Nik and Clarke, Caroline
Gender, Work and Organization, 28(3) (pp. 917-934)

Volunteering masculinities in search and rescue work: Is there "a place for girls on the team"? (2021-03)
Weller, Sarah‐Louise; Clarke, Caroline A. and Brown, Andrew D.
Gender, Work & Organization, 28(2) (pp. 558-574)

Questing for meaningfulness through narrative identity work: The helpers, the heroes, and the hurt (2021)
Weller, S.L.; Brown, Andrew D. and Clarke, Caroline
Human Relations, 76(4) (pp. 551-576)

Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution? From quiescence to resistance in the contemporary university (2020)
Bowes-Catton, Helen; Brewis, Joanna; Clarke, Caroline; Drake, Deborah; Gilmour, Alison and Penn, Alison
Management Learning, 51(4) (pp. 378-397)

Gendered practices in veterinary organisations (2019-10-03)
Knights, David and Clarke, Caroline
Veterinary Record, 185, Article 407(13)

Who’s a good boy then? Anthropocentric masculinities in veterinary practice (2019-04)
Clarke, Caroline and Knights, David
Gender, Work and Organization, 26(3) (pp. 267-287)

Practice makes perfect? Skillful performances in veterinary work (2018-10-01)
Clarke, Caroline A. and Knights, David
Human Relations, 71(10) (pp. 1395-1421)

Moving Beyond Mimicry: Developing Hybrid Spaces in Indian Business Schools (2018-06-01)
Kothiyal, Nivedita; Bell, Emma and Clarke, Caroline
Academy of Management Learning and Education, 17(2) (pp. 137-154)

Living on the edge? Professional anxieties at work in academia and veterinary practice (2018)
Knights, David and Clarke, Caroline
Culture and Organization, 24(2) (pp. 134-153)

Pushing the Boundaries of Amnesia and Myopia: A Critical Review of the Literature on Identity in Management and Organization Studies (2017-07)
Knights, David and Clarke, Caroline
International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(3) (pp. 337-356)

Careering through academia: securing identities or engaging ethical subjectivities? (2015-12-01)
Clarke, Caroline A. and Knights, David
Human Relations, 68(12) (pp. 1865-1888)

‘It’s a bittersweet symphony, this life: fragile academic selves and insecure identities at work’ (2014-03)
Knights, David and Clarke, Caroline
Organization Studies, 35(3) (pp. 335-357)

Biting the hand that feeds: reflections on power, politics, identity and managerialism at work in academia (2014)
Berg, Elisabeth; Clarke, Caroline and Knights, David
Journal of Workplace Rights, 17(3/4) (pp. 383-388)

A labour of love? Academics in business schools (2012-03)
Clarke, Caroline; Knights, David and Jarvis, Carol
Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28(1) (pp. 5-15)

Going global, feeling small: an examination of managers' reactions to global restructuring in a multinational organisation (2012)
Kelliher, Clare; Clarke, Caroline; Hope Hailey, Veronica and Farndale, Elaine
The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(11) (pp. 2163-2179)

Working identities? Antagonistic discursive resources and managerial identity (2009-03)
Clarke, Caroline A.; Brown, Andrew D. and Hope Hailey, Veronica
Human Relations, 62(3) (pp. 323-353)

Being real or really being someone else?: change, managers and emotion work (2007-04)
Clarke, Caroline; Hope-Hailey, Veronica and Kelliher, Clare
European Management Journal, 25(2) (pp. 92-103)

COVID-19 and Zoonotic Disease: Manufacturing and Organizing Ignorance Within the Animal-Industrial Complex (2022-10-20)
Clarke, Caroline; Barthold, Charles and Cole, Matthew
In: Tallberg, Linda and Hamilton, Lindsay eds. The Oxford Handbook of Animal Organisation Studies (57-C4.P110)
ISBN : 9780192848185 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

On the Fringe/At the Fringe: Fleshing out Research (2020-04-24)
Clarke, Caroline; Corlett, Sandra and Gilmore, Charlotte
In: Pullen, Alison; Hellin, Jenny and Harding, Nancy eds. Writing Differently. Dialogues in Critical Management Studies (pp. 25-52)
ISBN : 9781838673383 | Publisher : Emerald Publishing Limited | Published : Bingley

The Killing Fields of Identity Politics (2020-01-16)
Clarke, Caroline and Knights, David
In: Brown, Andrew D. ed. Oxford Handbook on Identities in Organizations. Oxford Handbook (pp. 801-816)
ISBN : 9780198827115 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Negotiating identities: fluidity, diversity and researcher emotion. (2015-11-18)
Clarke, Caroline and Knights, David
In: Clarke, Caroline; Broussine, Michael and Watts, Linda eds. Researching with Feeling: The Emotional Aspects of Social and Organisational Research (pp. 35-50)
ISBN : 978-0-415-64435-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Tales from post-field work: writing up; vivas; conferences; and publications. (2015)
Clarke, Caroline
In: Clarke, Caroline; Broussine, Michael and Watts, Linda eds. Researching with Feeling: The Emotional Aspects of Social and Organisational Research (pp. 126-146)
ISBN : 978-0-415-64435-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Essay: labouring under false pretences? The emotional labour of authentic leadership (2013-10-31)
Clarke, Caroline; Kelliher, Clare and Schledlitzki, Doris
In: Ladkin, Donna and Spiller, Chellie eds. Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences (pp. 75-92)
ISBN : 978-1-78100-637-5 | Publisher : Edward Elgar | Published : Cheltenham

Case Study 2: BCP Aerospace (2008)
Balogun, Julia; Clarke, Caroline and Hope Hailey, Veronica
In: Balogun, Julia and Hope Hailey, Veronica eds. Exploring Strategic Change, 3rd Edition (pp. 265-281)
ISBN : 273708023 | Publisher : Financial Times / Prentice Hall | Published : Harlow, UK

Researching with Feeling: The Emotional Aspects of Social and Organisational Research. (2015)
Clarke, Caroline; Broussine, Michael and Watts, Linda eds.
ISBN : 978-0-415-64435-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon