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Professor Emma Bell

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Professional biography

I am Professor of Organisation and Leadership at The Open University, UK. My research focuses on the meaning of work and the practice of leading organisations. Previously I have held positions at the Universities of Warwick, Queen Mary, Bath, Exeter and Keele.

I am author of the research-led textbook, Business Research Methods, with Alan Bryman and Bill Harley, published by Oxford University Press.

From 2016-2020 I was an editor of the journal Management Learning and from 2018 to 2021 I served as Vice Chair Research and Publications for the British Academy of Management. I am currently an Associate Editor for Organization Theory and Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management and a Consulting Methodological Expert for Academy of Management Journal. In 2019 I was a Visiting Professor at Massey University, New Zealand and I have recently been invited to speak at conferences about organisation, entrepreneurship and leadership.  

I welcome PhD supervision inquiries related to practices of organizing and the meaning of work, embodiment and gender in leadership, and the ethics and politics of management.

I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the British Academy of Management.

Research interests

My research has sought to understand how the meaning of work is shaped by cultural context. I have developed an original, practice-based approach to the meaning of work by exploring issues related to embodiment, materiality, leadership and learning. I also critically examine issues of power and control in management and leadership.

I have published books, articles and book chapters about: workplace learning; spirituality and organizational culture; visual communication in organisations; organizational loss and grief; embodiment and materiality in leadership and work.

Currently, I am studying innovation in small bakery businesses in the UK. This work builds on my earlier research into craft businesses that make things using human judgement and hand contact - including ceramics, shoe making and bicycles. In this project, I am working closely with bakery owners, and associations that represent them, to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by these businesses and how they relate to wider issues of sustainability, community and enterprise.  

Teaching interests

I have over 20 years of experience of teaching students at all educational levels, from undergraduate to PhD, about the practice of managing and leading in organisations. My approach involves engaging managers and future managers in dialogues that enable them to think about how to build more ethical, resilient and sustainable organisations.

Publications

Posthuman affirmative business ethics: Reimagining human-animal relations through speculative fiction (2022)
Sayers, Janet; Martin, Lydia and Bell, Emma
Journal of Business Ethics, 178 (pp. 597-608)


Inclusion and exclusion in professional management education and learning: A deliberative approach to conferences (2022)
King, Daniel; Griffin, Martyn and Bell, Emma
Academy of Management Learning and Education ((Early Access))


[Media Review] Age at Work: Ambiguous Boundaries of Organizations, Organizing and Ageing by Jeff Hearn & Wendy Parkin (2022)
Bell, Emma and Ruel, Stefanie
Organization Studies ((Early access))


Book Review: Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy by Richard E Ocejo (2021-05-01)
Bell, Emma
Organization, 28(3) (pp. 523-525)


Practicing care in qualitative organizational research: Moral responsibility and legitimacy in a study of immigration management (2021-05)
Okkonen, Ida; Takala, Tuomo and Bell, Emma
Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 16(2) (pp. 370-387)


Enchantment in Business Ethics Research (2021)
Bell, Emma; Winchester, Nik and Wray-Bliss, Edward
Journal of Business Ethics, 174 (pp. 251-262)


Craft Imaginaries – Past, Present and Future (2021)
Bell, Emma; Dacin, M. Tina and Toraldo, Maria Laura
Organization Theory, 2(1) (pp. 1-18)


Provocation Essays Editorial: On the importance of moving and being moved (2020-11-01)
Brewis, Deborah N and Bell, Emma
Management Learning, 51(5) (pp. 533-536)


Relational Encounters and Vital Materiality in the Practice of Craft Work (2020-05-01)
Bell, Emma and Vachhani, Sheena J.
Organization Studies, 41(5) (pp. 681-701)


Dangerous Knowledge? The Political, Personal and Epistemological Promise of Feminist Research in Management and Organization Studies (2020-04)
Bell, Emma; Meriläinen, Susan; Tienari, Janne and Taylor, Scott
International Journal of Management Reviews, 22(2) (pp. 177-192)


Ethics, politics and embodied imagination in crafting scientific knowledge (2020)
Bell, Emma and Willmott, Hugh
Human Relations, 73(10) (pp. 1366-1387)


Reading the TED talk genre: Contradictions and pedagogical pleasures in spreading ideas about management (2019-12-01)
Bell, Emma; Panayiotou, Alexia and Sayers, Janet
Academy of Management Learning and Education, 18(4) (pp. 547-563)


[Editorial] Editorship-as-curatorship: Celebrating 50 years of Management Learning (2019-04-01)
Bell, Emma and Bridgman, Todd
Management Learning, 50(2) (pp. 147-151)


Time’s up! Feminist theory and activism meets organization studies (2019)
Bell, Emma; Meriläinen, Susan; Taylor, Scott and Tienari, Janne
Human Relations, 72(1) (pp. 4-22)


Taking a stand: The embodied, enacted and emplaced work of relational critique (2019)
Bell, Emma and de Gama, Nadia
Organization, 26(6) (pp. 936-947)


Theorizing About an AOM President’s Response to Crisis and the Counter Responses It Evoked (2019)
Bartunek, Jean M.; Elsbach, Kimberly D.; Bell, Emma; Markides, Costas; Christianson, Marlys G.; Sutcliffe, Kathleen M.; Pratt, Michael G.; Coyle-Shapiro, Jacqueline A.-M.; Glynn, Mary Ann; Ocasio, William; Burton, M. Diane and Ventresca, Marc J.
Journal of Management Inquiry, 28(3) (pp. 276-282)


Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity (2018-07-01)
Bell, Emma and Leonard, Pauline
Journal of Management Inquiry, 27(3) (pp. 339-351)


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)


Expecting the unexpected in Management Learning (2018-02-01)
Bell, Emma and Bridgman, Todd
Management Learning, 49(1) (pp. 3-7)


Methodology-as-Technique and the Meaning of Rigour in Globalized Management Research (2017-07-11)
Bell, Emma; Kothiyal, Nivedita and Willmott, Hugh
British Journal of Management, 28(3) (pp. 534-550)


Seeing and Being Seen as a Management Learning and Education Scholar: Rejoinder to "Identifying Research Topic Development in Business and Management Education Research Using Legitimation Code Theory" (2016-12-01)
Bridgman, Todd and Bell, Emma
Journal of Management Education, 40(6) (pp. 692-699)


The Corporation 10 Years On: An Interview and an Audience With Joel Bakan (2016-07-01)
Bell, Emma
Journal of Management Inquiry, 25(3) (pp. 344-354)


Bodies, sexualities and women leaders in popular culture: from spectacle to metapicture (2016-04-01)
Bell, Emma and Sinclair, Amanda
Gender in Management: An International Journal, 31(5/6) (pp. 322-338)


Editorial: Management Learning: Legacies and future possibilities (2016-04-01)
Cunliffe, Ann and Bell, Emma
Management Learning, 47(2) (pp. 113-116)


Vernacular mourning and corporate memorialization in framing the death of Steve Jobs (2016-01-01)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
Organization, 23(1) (pp. 114-132)


Irony as Discipline: Self-Help and Gender in the Knowledge Economy (2014-12-01)
Kenny, Kate and Bell, Emma
Social Politics, 21(4) (pp. 562-584)


'Beasts, burrowers and birds': The enactment of researcher identities in UK business schools (2014-07-01)
Bell, Emma and Clarke, D. W.
Management Learning, 45(3) (pp. 249-266)


Uncertainty in the study of belief: the risks and benefits of methodological agnosticism (2014-04-03)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 17(5) (pp. 543-557)


Reclaiming eroticism in the academy (2014-03-01)
Bell, Emma and Sinclair, Amanda
Organization, 21(2) (pp. 268-280)


Organizational death (2014)
Bell, Emma; Tienari, Janne and Hansson, Magnus
Culture and Organization, 20(1) (pp. 1-6)


Writing history into management research (2013)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
Management & Organizational History, 8(2) (pp. 127-136)


Varieties of organizational soul: The ethics of belief in organizations (2012-07-12)
Bell, Emma; Taylor, Scott and Driscoll, Cathy
Organization, 19(4) (pp. 425-439)


Visual Management Studies: Empirical and Theoretical Approaches (2012-04)
Bell, Emma and Davison, Jane
International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(2) (pp. 167-184)


Ways of seeing organisational death: a critical semiotic analysis of organisational memorialisation (2012-03)
Bell, Emma
Visual Studies, 27(1) (pp. 4-17)


Beyond letting go and moving on: New perspectives on organizational death, loss and grief (2011-03)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
Scandinavian Journal of Management, 27(1) (pp. 1-10)


Politics and power in training and learning: The rise and fall of the NHS University (2010-02)
Taylor, Scott; Bell, Emma; Grugulis, Irene; Storey, John and Taylor, Lee
Management Learning, 41(1) (pp. 87-99)


Organizational Ethnography (2010)
Bell, Emma
Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 5(2) (pp. 216-219)


The elephant in the room: Critical management studies conferences as a site of body pedagogics (2010)
Bell, Emma and King, Daniel
Management Learning, 41(4) (pp. 429-442)


Business history and the historiographical operation (2009-05-01)
Taylor, Scott; Bell, Emma and Cooke, Bill
Management & Organizational History, 4(2) (pp. 151-166)


The Ethics of Management Research: An Exploratory Content Analysis (2007-03-15)
Bell, Emma and Bryman, Alan
British Journal of Management, 18(1) (pp. 63-77)


Disruptive Religion: The Case of the Catholic Worker-Priests (1943–1954) (2007)
Bell, Emma
Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 4(4) (pp. 432-442)


Whose side are they on? Patterns of religious resource mobilization in British industrial mission (2006-11-01)
Bell, Emma
Management & Organizational History, 1(4) (pp. 331-347)


The Promise and Potential of Visual Organizational Research (2006)
Kunter, Aylin and Bell, Emma
M@n@gement, 9(3) (pp. 169-189)


Joining the club: the ideology of quality and business school badging (2005-06)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
Studies in Higher Education, 30(3) (pp. 239-255)


Investors in People: Market-led Voluntarism in Vocational Education and Training (2005-03-18)
Hoque, Kim; Taylor, Scott and Bell, Emma
British Journal of Industrial Relations, 43(1) (pp. 135-153)


‘From outward bound to inward bound’: The prophetic voices and discursive practices of spiritual management development (2004-04-01)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
Human Relations, 57(4) (pp. 439-466)


The Elevation of Work: Pastoral Power and the New Age Work Ethic (2003-05-01)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
Organization, 10(2) (pp. 329-349)


Organizational differentiation through badging: Investors in people and the value of the sign (2002-12-16)
Bell, Emma; Taylor, Scott and Thorpe, Richard
Journal of Management Studies, 39(8) (pp. 1071-1085)


A Step in the Right Direction? Investors in People and the Learning Organization (2002-06)
Bell, E.; Taylor, S. and Thorpe, R.
British Journal of Management, 13(2) (pp. 161-171)


Investors in People and the Standardization of Professional Knowledge in Personnel Management (2001-06-01)
Bell, Emma; Taylor, Scott and Thorpe, Richard
Management Learning, 32(2) (pp. 201-219)


The Social Time of Organizational Payment Systems (2001-03-01)
Bell, Emma
Time & Society, 10(1) (pp. 45-62)


Changing the 'line of sight' on payment systems: A study of shop-floor workers and managers within the British chemical industry (1999-10)
Bell, Emma
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 10(5) (pp. 924-940)


The negotiation of a working role in organizational ethnography (1999)
Bell, Emma
International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 2(1) (pp. 17-37)


Empowering Methodologies in Organisational and Social Research (2022)
Bell, Emma and Sengupta, Sunita Singh
In: Bell, Emma and Sengupta, Sunita Singh eds. Empowering Methodologies in Organisational and Social Research (pp. 1-18)
Publisher : Routledge | Published : New Delhi, India


Introduction (2018-08-06)
Bell, Emma; Mangia, Gianluigi; Taylor, Scott and Toraldo, Maria Laura
In: Bell, Emma; Mangia, Gianluigi; Taylor, Scott and Toraldo, Maria Laura eds. The Organization of Craft Work: Identities, Meanings, and Materiality (pp. 1-19)
ISBN : 9781315205861 | Publisher : Routledge


Spirituality, Religion and Organization (2015-11-12)
Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott
In: Mir, Raza; Wilmott, Hugh and Greenwood, Michelle eds. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy in Organization Studies (pp. 550-558)
ISBN : 978-0-415-70286-7 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


An ethic of care within critical management studies? (2015-08-14)
Bell, Emma; Meriläinen, Susan; Taylor, Scott and Tienari, Janne
In: Prasad, Anshuman; Prasad, Pushkala; Mills, Albert J. and Mills, Jean Helms eds. Routledge Companion to Critical Management Studies. Routledge companions in business, management and accounting (pp. 56-68)
ISBN : 9780415501880 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


The not-so-dark side of emotions: anger as a resource in research apprenticeship (2014-10)
Bell, Emma and Shoaib, Haneen
In: Clarke, Caroline; Broussine, Mike and Watts, Linda eds. Researching with Feeling: The emotional aspects of social and organizational research (pp. 66-78)
ISBN : 9780415644358 | Publisher : Routledge


Sustainability and the Spiritual Work Ethic (2012-10-15)
Bell, Emma; Cullen, John and Taylor, Scott
In: Case, Peter; Höpfl, Heather and Letiche, Hugo eds. Belief and Organization (pp. 185-203)
ISBN : 978-1-349-32992-2 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Houndmills


Managerialism and Management Research: Would Melville Dalton Get a Job Today? (2010-12)
Bell, Emma
In: Cassell, Catherine and Lee, Bill eds. Challenges and Controversies in Management Research. Routledge Advances in management and Business Studies (pp. 122-137)
ISBN : 9780415472173 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


The Organization of Craft Work: Identities, Meanings, and Materiality (2018-08-09)
Bell, Emma
Bell, Emma; Mangia, Gianluigi; Taylor, Scott and Toraldo, Maria Laura eds.
ISBN : 9781315205861 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : New York


Examining Craft Work: Methodological Challenges and Choices (2019)
Blundel, Richard; Koomen, Philip and Bell, Emma
In : 35th EGOS Colloquium, Enlightening the Future: The Challenge for Organizations (4-6 Jul 2019, Edinburgh, Scotland)