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Campus induction for students recruited in another successful call

Six new students – four in the Business School and two in the Law School – started this week (Monday 4 October 2021). They are enjoying the first induction to take place on campus since the pandemic started. All six attended the induction (including two online) and took part in a poster presentation. A warm welcome to our new PhD researchers and all the best with your studies. 

Our new students are:

  • Struan Barr, supervised by Dr Nela Smolovic Jones and Dr Jamie Woodcock – ‘Resisting the development of precarity: An inventive workers’ inquiry of algorithmic management technology’s makers and users’.
  • Dominique Howard, supervised by Dr Isidora Kourti, Dr Gemma Lord and Prof Mark Fenton-O’Creevy – ‘Creation, application and communication of organizational knowledge in the medical and humanitarian sector’.
  • Benard Iyegudu, supervised by Dr Anna John and Dr Nicoleta Tipi – ‘Open Innovation in Supply Chains: The Role of Supply Chain Collaboration In Building Resilience and Innovation In SMEs’.
  • Mia Li, supervised by Dr Carmen Mal and Prof Gordon Liu – ‘Explore consumers' perceptions on CSR based advertising by introducing consumer citizenship concept’.
  • Sandisha Drepaul, supervised by Dr Kim Barker and Dr Olga Jurasz – ‘An analysis of the extent to which UK has been able to safeguard women’s rights from cyberstalking and cyber harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic’.
  • Fred Motson, supervised by Prof Simon Lee and Prof Simon Gardiner – ‘The Herculean referee in the age of technology’.
Image of visiting Brazilian PhD student Rodrigo Seefeld

Visiting Rodrigo from Brazil

Welcome to visiting Brazilian PhD student Rodrigo Seefeld, from the Federal University of Paraná in Curitiba, who has temporarily joined the Department for People and Organisations (DPO). His visit has been made possible by a competitive award from CAPES, a government-supported initiative that enables PhD student research exchanges at international universities. Rodrigo, who will be based at the OU until February 2022, is in his third year and is currently working on a case study analysis of how vaccine-producing organisations in Brazil manage legitimacy crises. During his visit, Rodrigo will be supervised by Prof Emma Bell. His research interests focus on organisations and the media, legitimacy and sensemaking and visual methodologies. He has published articles in Brazilian management journals related to media and organisational narratives and the role of non-human actants in the management of the Covid-19 crisis.

Image of Nicoleta Tipi

Welcome to Nicoleta and a packed schedule

Dr Nicoleta Tipi officially took over as Director of the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) Research Degrees Programme in August 2021. The Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain, who joined the OU in October 2020, said: “I’m really enjoying my new role and we’ve been very busy with applicants and their interviews for our advertised PhD studentships which start in February 2022. We’re also preparing to welcome our new PhD students with an induction session on Wednesday 6 October, followed by a session from the ‘Foundations and Practice of Management and Business Research’ module on Thursday 7 October".

Image of Sally Vivyan

Success for Sally in award named after OU’s former Chancellor

Sally Vivyan has won a research award from the Association of Open University Graduates (AOUG). The AOUG’s Chancellor Baroness Boothroyd Award for Citizenship, Identities and Governance is named in honour of Betty Boothroyd, the OU’s Chancellor from 1995-2006 who was Speaker of the House of Commons from 1992-2000 and now sits in the House of Lords.

The Association’s own charity, the AOUG Foundation for Education, offers an award every year in several OU curriculum areas to an outstanding research student who has previously gained their degree with the OU. Sally was chosen as one of the winners by the charity’s directors / trustees following her nomination by FBL’s then Director of Research Degrees, Prof Emma Bell.

Prior to starting her PhD in 2019, Sally worked in the third sector for 15 years as Director of an NGO, AfriKids, for 12 years and latterly in grant-making roles. She is looking at leadership practice in asylum seeker and refugee charities, and she is now also a trustee for two charities alongside her research. Sally holds a BSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2002-05, and an MSc in Development Management from the OU in 2007-10.

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Nicola asks if companies ‘spend more to spill more’?

PhD graduate Nicola Croxton has discussed her research looking at how firms use their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate political activity as a means to improve their overall performance. You can watch Nicola talk about her research and why she chose OUBS here.

She successfully passed her PhD viva in October 2020 with her thesis, ‘The internationalisation of corporate social responsibility: Nonmarket strategy in a global context’. The chair was Professor Jean Hartley, the external examiner was Professor Nicholas O’Regan (Aston Business School) and the internal examiner was Dr Richard Godfrey. Her supervisors were Professor Liz Daniel, Professor Devendra Kodwani and former OU academics Professor Thomas Lawton and Dr Raquel Garcia-Garcia.

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Well done to Caroline on her successful viva

Congratulations to Caroline Micklewright who passed her PhD viva on Thursday 17 June 2021 with her thesis, ‘No Longer High Fliers? An Exploration of Discipline, Identities and Gender Issues while Navigating out of the RAF’. The panel was chaired by Dr Alex Bristow, the external examiner was Dr Sandra Corlett from Newcastle University and the internal examiner was Dr Richard Godfrey. Caroline, supervised by Dr Caroline Clarke and Dr Cinzia Priola, is working full-time with the Royal Air Force but applying for positions within academia or related fields.

A stock photo of brightly coloured square window panes with plants behind them

Simona is highly commended in OU’s poster competition

Simona Radu was one of four to be ‘highly commended’ in the People’s Choice (Poster) award, voted for by students and staff across the OU, in the Postgraduate Research Poster Competition on Wednesday 23 June 2021. Now in its 16th year, the annual competition recognises PhD and Professional Doctorate students’ academic excellence and contribution to the University’s research community. Further details on all the competition winners here.

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SoCool Chinedu and his team win a fistful of dollars

Chinedu Nevo was part of the five-strong winning team, SoCool, in the Pan-African University (PAU) Innovation Challenge for their solar-powered refrigeration and water filtration system design for rural African communities. Chinedu from Nigeria shared $5,000 with other team members from Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Uganda, who were all students of the PAU’s Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including climate change (PAUWES) in Algeria in 2019.

There were 69 teams drawn from all over Africa and the PAU’s five institutes for this inaugural challenge initiated by the African Union Commission, co-organised by PAU and PAUWES and supported by GIZ and the African Development Bank. Projects ranged from agriculture to manufacturing, renewable energy to trade and retail, platform and apps to other services. All participants were coached and trained online by experts of the German consultancy company Conoscope, in collaboration with GIZ and PAU.

Chinedu is a renewable energy, climate change and sustainability enthusiast with a background in economics and energy policy who sings and listens to classical music in his spare time. Supervised by Dr Charles Mbalyohere and Professor Devendra Kodwani, he said: “My research focuses on renewable energy start-ups in African emerging markets and how they efficiently explore their resources and dynamic capabilities in their configuration of their market entry and adaptation strategies, especially given the complex institutional and business environment that they operate within.”

Our PhD students shine at this year’s virtual Colloquium

The Faculty of Business and Law’s virtual PhD Colloquium was attended by around 60 doctoral students and academics on Thursday 10 June 2021. It began with a montage of videos and photographs illustrating the myriad ways PhD students have been trying to stay well and happy throughout the pandemic – ranging from spending time with family and in nature, to activities including skipping and wood chopping. This was followed by a thought-provoking keynote from Jamie Callahan (Professor of Leadership and Human Resource Development, Northumbria University) on rankings and publishing in the journal she co-edits, International Journal of Management Reviews.

Then 35 PhD students presented their research using a variety of formats including paper presentations, lightning talks, and posters. Later in the day, there was also a chance to hear from two recent graduates, Dr Daniel Haslam and Dr Akash Puranik.

New to their posts Professor Hakeem Yusuf (Head of the Law School) and Dr Dimitris Sotiropoulos (Associate Dean for Research, Enterprise and Scholarship) judged the Best Presentation competition with Stephen Reid winning for ‘How to cook a thousand research articles in one pot’. Leona Samuda and Sally Vivyan were also highly commended.

The organising committee were Laura Reeves, Alex Murray, Nishant Beniwal, Olga Solovyeva, Nargis McCarthy, Professor Emma Bell and Dr Alex Bristow, with fantastic support from Research and Enterprise Coordinators Lin Nilsen and Michelle Stevens.

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OUBS PhD graduate marks Refugee Week

Marco Distinto, an Open University Business School PhD graduate, marked the beginning of Refugee Week 2021 by discussing his PhD research, which looks at the human stories behind the 2015 refugee crisis in Italy.

As a migrant from the South of Italy, Marco wanted to challenge current ideological discourses around migration by sharing the real stories of migrants and the people who support them.

His thesis ‘Refugee reception centres and the integration of the migrant: an exploratory study of discourses and practices of not-for-profit organizations working to support refugees in Italy’, was supervised by Dr Cinzia Priola, Dr Alexandra Bristow and former OU academic Professor Peter Bloom. Marco passed his PhD viva with no corrections on 21 October 2020.

You can listen to Marco talking about his research in more detail here.

Image of Cristina Mititelu

Well done to Cristina on her viva success

Congratulations to Cristina Mititelu who passed her PhD viva on 7 May 2021 with her thesis, ‘The commissioning for social value and voluntary sector organizations: tensions in implementation’. The panel was chaired by Prof Les Budd, the external examiner was Prof Joyce Liddle (Northumbria University) and the internal examiner was Dr Francesca Calo. Cristina’s supervisors are Dr Alessandro Sancino, Prof Edoardo Ongaro and Prof Siv Vangen. She plans to attend the International Society for Third-Sector Research conference in July to present a paper based on the findings of her PhD, and also intends to submit a paper for publication to a journal based on her thesis findings.

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Academy of Management recognition for Jeanette

Congratulations to Jeanette Hartley who has had a paper accepted for the virtual 81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) on 29 July – 4 August this year. Her paper, ‘Management Consultants Navigating Competing Systems of Engagement’, was judged by AOM’s reviewers to be one of the best accepted papers in the programme. This entitles the paper to be published in the Proceedings of the 2021 Academy of Management Meeting.

Jeanette is a full-time PhD student who is supervised by Professor Richard Holti and Dr Giacomo Carli and is also an Associate Lecturer (B207: Shaping Business Opportunities).

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New Director of FBL’s Research Degrees Programme

The new Director of the FBL Research Degrees Programme is Dr Nicoleta Tipi who will work with incumbent Prof Emma Bell over the next few months before taking up her role on 1 August 2021. The Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain in the OU Business School was appointed following interviews at the end of February. Prior to joining the OU in October 2020, Nicoleta gained extensive experience with all aspects relevant to the role, working with students and colleagues across different discipline areas including management, leadership, law, accounting and marketing. She was Deputy Director of Graduate Education for the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield for five years.

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Viva success for Akash

Congratulations to Akash Puranik who passed his viva with very minor corrections on Wednesday 10 March 2021 with his thesis, ‘The Human Work of Collaboration: Towards an Understanding of Informal Unstructured Collaborative Projects’. The panel was chaired by Dr Anja Schaefer, the internal examiner was Dr Nik Winchester and the external examiner was Dr Christina Schwabenland (University of Bedfordshire). Akash’s supervisors are Prof Siv Vangen and Dr Carol Jacklin-Jarvis.

Screenshot of the new PhD students on a zoom video call

Online induction for students recruited in another successful call

Nine new PhD students started in the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) on Monday 1 February 2021. This is the second group of students to have received their induction online and started their studies remotely while the Milton Keynes campus remains closed due to Covid-19. Current PhD student Olga Solovyeva captured efforts to welcome them into the online PhD community during the induction! Many of the students recruited in this round had responded to the highly successful Faculty-themed call, ‘Responding to COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency’. This call featured PhD research projects that consider the organisational and legal challenges posed by the pandemic and/or the climate emergency – urgent, complex societal problems that management, business and legal researchers can help to address.

  • Suzzie Aidoo, supervised by Dr Michael Ngoasong and Dr Aqueel Wahga – ‘Entrepreneurial orientation, network resource acquisitions, firm performance: a study among female-owned SMEs’.
  • Ioana Bratu, supervised by Dr Robert Herian, Dr Charles Barthold and Dr Clare Jones – ‘Technological power as a new legal order’.
  • Dimitri Kennedy, supervised by Dr Xia Zhu and Prof Elizabeth Daniel – ‘Servicescape: The impact of environmental and social design on students’ exploration, behaviour and wellbeing pre and post Covid-19 (Exploring the reconfiguration of Eduscape Post Covid-19)’.
  • Gavin Myers, supervised by Prof Siv Vangen and Dr Daniel Haslam – ‘Migration, identity and community: Finding common ground in a foreign country: Diasporic identities as a basis for inter-organizational collaboration in Caribbean charities in London, United Kingdom as a response to the dislocations’.
  • Chinedu Nevo, supervised by Dr Charles Mbalyohere and Prof Dev Kodwani – ‘New Frontiers on the Rise: Dynamics and Trends in the Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship in Africa’.
  • Amna Sarwer, supervised by Dr Charles Barthold and Dr Cinzia Priola – ‘Financialization, Migrant Women Workers in Social Care and COVID-19: A Crisis Within Crisis’.
  • Kalie Weninger, supervised by Dr Nela Smolovic Jones and Dr Nik Winchester – ‘Democratic Practices to Address the Climate Crisis’.
  • Samantha Hawtin, supervised by Prof Mark Fenton-O’Creevy and Dr Caroline Clarke – ‘A gendered exploration of the uncertainty experienced by managers working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic’.
  • Clark McAllister, supervised by Dr Nela Smolovic Jones and Dr Jamie Woodcock – ‘A Workers’ Inquiry into Seasonal Agricultural Labour in the UK’.
Image of Dave Shaw with Jessie the dog

Dave’s viva success is now a Shaw thing

Congratulations to Dave Shaw who passed his PhD viva on 9 December 2020 with his thesis, ‘How can the creation and maintenance of partnerships contribute to national social marketing campaigns in England?’ Supervised by Dr Fiona Harris and Dr Haider Ali, the external examiner was Dr Christine Domegan (JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland) and the internal examiner was Prof Edoardo Ongaro. Dave (pictured with his dog Jessie) is currently working full-time as a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Hertfordshire. He plans to ‘take a holiday’ before starting on the thesis edits and he is hoping to publish some journal articles from the PhD, something the examiners encouraged.

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Read more about what makes Awele tick

International doctoral student Awele Achi from Nigeria, who is supervised by Prof Gordon Liu and Dr Fiona Harris, recently interviewed managers and directors from social enterprises as his PhD fieldwork. One of them published a blog about Awele’s PhD research journey and his motivation.

Viva success for Michela

Congratulations to Michela Pagani who passed her PhD viva on 6 November 2020 with her thesis, ‘City Leaders, Relationships and Urban Resilience. A Mixed Methods exploratory study of the City Leadership Network of Padua (Italy) and Peterborough (UK)’. The panel was chaired by Dr Owain Smolovic Jones, the external examiner was Prof Richard Bolden (University of the West of England) and the internal examiner was Prof Edoardo Ongaro. Michela’s supervisors are Prof Les Budd and Dr Alessandro Sancino and she is now looking for jobs, beyond academia, in Italy while finishing her academic projects and papers.

Image of Nicola Croxton

Well done to two aspiring academics – Nicola and Marco

Congratulations to Nicola Croxton who passed her PhD viva on 13 October 2020 with her thesis, ‘The internationalisation of corporate social responsibility: Nonmarket strategy in a global context’. Her supervisors are Prof Liz Daniel, Prof Dev Kodwani and former OU academics Prof Thomas Lawton and Dr Raquel Garcia-Garcia. The chair was Prof Jean Hartley, the external examiner was Prof Nicholas O’Regan (Aston Business School) and the internal examiner was Dr Richard Godfrey. Nicola is looking for opportunities to begin her academic career and hoping to build on her research interests. She is currently preparing two articles, that are being developed from her doctoral thesis, to submit for publication.

Image of Marco Distinto

Congratulations also to Marco Distinto who passed his PhD viva with no corrections on 21 October 2020. His thesis is ‘Refugee reception centres and the integration of the migrant: an exploratory study of discourses and practices of not-for-profit organizations working to support refugees in Italy’, supervised by Dr Cinzia Priola, Dr Alexandra Bristow and former OU academic Prof Peter Bloom. The chair was Dr Caroline Clarke, external examiner Dr Martyna Sliwa (University of Essex) and the internal examiner Prof Jo Brewis who each commended the significant theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions of his thesis, and recognised the sophisticated theoretical engagement of his work. Marco is currently working on the Italian version of the latest edition of Edgar and Peter Schein’s book, The corporate culture survival guide. He hopes to stay in academia and will be writing a series of papers to expand some of his research themes for this reason.


Image of new PhD students smiling during an online meeting

A perfect 10 join our two schools

Ten new PhD students started their studies in FBL on 1 October 2020 with their induction to The Open University Graduate School and the Faculty delivered online.

Seven of these new students joined the Business School:

George Briley – ‘Community and Urban Resistance Leadership’. Supervisors are Dr Jamie Woodcock and Dr Owain Smolovic Jones. This project is enabled by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership on the ‘leadership and governance’ pathway.

Richard Crompton – ‘An exploration into the implications of changing models of governance within health and social care insofar as they relate to public trust’. Supervisors are Dr Jacqueline Baxter and Dr Matthew Hinton.

Kora Korzec – ‘Social marketing in combating climate change’. Supervisors are Prof Gordon Liu and Dr Carmen Mal.

Nargis McCarthy – ‘The impact of social norms, values and beliefs of pension trustees in relation to SRI decision-making’. Supervisors are Dr Anwar Halari and Dr Matthew Haigh.

Tim Pitts – ‘The older worker’. Supervisors are Dr Leah Tomkins and Dr Richard Godfrey.

Cameron Vanloo – ‘The sustainable growth of esports clubs and leagues’. Supervisors are Dr Yue Meng-Lewis and Prof Gordon Liu.

Christopher Houghton – ‘Defining a capitals approach to evaluating the socio-economic benefits of space exploration’. Supervisors are Prof Les Budd, together with OU colleagues Dr Victoria Pearson and Dr Manish Patel (both STEM). Christopher is a student on the Astrobiology Research Group project ‘Are we alone in the Universe?’ as part of the OU’s £6.7 million grant from Research England which aims to help address fundamental questions about life beyond the Earth.

Three new students have joined the Law School:

Nishant Beniwal – ‘Enforcing climate change domestically in South Asia, relying internationally’. Supervisors are Dr Robert Palmer, Dr Marjan Ajevski and Prof Dev Kodwani.

Iyan Kolawole – ‘A Critical Analysis of Italy’s Responsibility under International Human Rights Law: A case study of pull-back measures and the arbitrary detention of refugees in Libya’. Supervisors are Dr Neil Graffin and Dr Andrew Gilbert and OU colleague Dr Avi Boukli (FASS).

Cheryl Warden – ‘Digital rights management and regime-shifting: the implication of backdoor propertization of creative works in digital copyright law for digital distance learning’. Supervisors are Dr Kim Barker and Dr Olga Jurasz.

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Lindsay joins the magnificent seven research award winners

Lindsay Wilson-Jones has won a research award from the Association of Open University Graduates (AOUG). The AOUG Vice-Chancellor Brenda Gourley Award for Business Studies is named in honour of the OU’s Vice-Chancellor from 2002-09 who was previously in charge at one of South Africa’s largest universities, the University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal).

The Association’s own charity, the AOUG Foundation for Education, offers an award every year in several OU curriculum areas to an outstanding research student who has previously gained their degree with the OU. Lindsay is one of seven winners chosen by the charity’s directors / trustees following her nomination by Prof Emma Bell, FBL’s Director of Research Degrees.

The full-time PhD student previously held senior management HR roles in both the corporate and public sectors in South Africa, and in professional legal services in the UK. She holds BSc and MSc degrees in Psychology, together with a Master of Research (MRes) in Business and Law (2017), from the OU. Lindsay’s empirical research is aiming to open the ‘black box’ of board leadership in one UK voluntary sector federation. She draws on her personal experience of top teams in different cultural settings to explore the everyday realities of federated board leadership and governance.

A current Business School academic, Dr Charles Mbalyohere, was a previous winner of this particular AOUG award in 2015 for his research in corporate political activity in Uganda’s electricity industry. This year’s presentations have been moved to February 2021 owing to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and should attract many OU dignitaries and AOUG members.

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Funded PhD studentships available for February 2021 start date

The Business and Law Schools invite applications for a number of full-time funded PhD studentships on urgent, complex societal problems that management, business and legal researchers can help to address. A themed call of ‘Responding to COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency’ has a start date of 1 February 2021 – more here. Twelve PhD research proposals consider the organisational and legal challenges posed by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and/or the climate emergency. The closing date for applications is Monday 7 September – and should be based on one of the advertised projects.

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Viva success for Davide

Congratulations to Davide Villani who passed his PhD viva on Monday 15 June with his thesis, ‘The Rise of the Corporate Sector as Net Creditor: Financialisation and Functional Income Distribution in the G7 Countries’. His supervisors are Dr Dimitris Sotiropoulos and OU colleague Dr Andrew Trigg. The panel was chaired by Dr Leslie Budd, with Prof Jan Toporowski (SOAS, University of London) as external examiner and OU colleague Dr Roberto Simonetti as the internal examiner. Davide is currently writing some papers with a longer-term goal of securing a permanent academic post.

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Nela shortlisted for prestigious doctoral dissertation award

Nela Smolović Jones, a former PhD student who is now a Lecturer in Organisation Studies at The Open University Business School, has been shortlisted for the Grigor McClelland Doctoral Dissertation Award.

This is supported by the Journal of Management Studies, the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS) and the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS).

A 13-person shortlist will be published on the SAMS website with the final three presenting their work at this year’s online EGOS Colloquium before a panel determines the winner.

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Katy contributes to a ground-breaking publication

Katy Woodger is a contributing writer to a ground-breaking book for the field of therapy, in which therapists talk about their own lived experiences. ‘#MeToo – Counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse’ had a virtual launch on Thursday 14 May – more here.

She said: “This wasn’t the first time I had ‘gone public’ speaking about my experiences of childhood sexual violence and abuse. In 2015, I featured in a BBC One documentary, Abused: the untold story, in part following the process of taking my abuser to court. It might seem surprising to hear that I consider myself a private person but over the years, I’ve come to see the importance of the unique perspective I can offer as a therapist with lived experience of this difficult subject.

“Within the psychological therapies field, there is a culture that discourages therapists from speaking about their own emotional and psychological distress and this action places the profession at odds with the very principles it seeks to promote. Fortunately, this is changing and evident through the publication of this book.

“Counselling and psychotherapy are beginning to recognise #TherapistsToo are affected by sexual violence and abuse and indeed are not immune to the trauma, distress and suffering caused by it. This pivotal point is made by 28 contributors across the pages of this wonderful book – I’m extremely proud to say that I’m one of them.”

Katy joined in October 2019 as one of two researchers (together with Edward Rees) to have been awarded UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) studentships. She won hers from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, to work on her ‘Experiences of mental health service users: from self-management and self-governance to user-led services’ project.

Image of Daniel Haslam

Congratulations to Daniel on his viva success

Daniel Haslam passed his PhD viva on Thursday 7 May with his thesis, ‘The Role of the Voluntary Sector in Cross-Sector Collaboration: An NHS Multispecialty Community Provider’. His supervisors are Siv Vangen, Carol Jacklin-Jarvis and James Rees. The chair of the PhD viva was Jo Brewis, external examiner was Dr Irene Hardill (Northumbria University) and internal examiner was Michael Ngoasong.

Daniel is currently a part-time Research Associate in the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL). He is working with Director Carol Jacklin-Jarvis to investigate the response of the voluntary sector to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and also on CVSL’s activities for Small Charity Week (15-20 June).

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Study seeking volunteers who are working with endometriosis

Victoria Williams is appealing for volunteers over the next year to study the experiences of those working with endometriosis and the influence of menstrual policy.

This is a subject close to her own heart as someone who suffers with endometriosis, a chronic condition affecting one and a half million women in the UK, predominantly of working age. Last year, her work was referenced in a Parliamentary debate and she was also one of the speakers at TEDxOpenUniversity as well as a Business Network Breakfast Briefing.

Victoria said: “As part of this longitudinal study, I am looking for 15-20 people aged 18-49 with medically diagnosed endometriosis. I want the sample to be as diverse as possible to reflect the community and different working sectors across the UK.”

A first interview will take place in the coming months, followed by a diary study over the winter, and then a second interview in spring 2021. Please contact Victoria if you want more information and to note your interest. See the full details here.

Prof Jo Brewis, one of Vickie’s PhD supervisors, was due to chair a panel of experts and fellow endometriosis sufferers at an awareness event on campus in Milton Keynes in March. Unfortunately the ‘Managing Endometriosis at Work’ (#EndoWorkTaboo) work was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a new date yet to be set.

Image of Carlos Azevedo

Carlos adds his views on the private versus state debate

Carlos Azevedo was invited to write a blog post for Private School Policy Reform (PSPR) – available here. This is a volunteer-run organisation whose purpose is to further the public debate around private schools in the UK, as a platform for research, opinion and panel debates.

PSPR is pro-reform of the private school sector, on the grounds that poor and disadvantaged pupils should be able to access the same quality of education and level of resources as their wealthiest peers. Francis Green (Professor of Work and Education Economics at UCL Institute of Education), co-author of ‘Engines of Privilege: Britain’s Private School Problem’, is one of the founders of PSPR and its research lead.

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Congratulations to Gauri on viva success

Gauri Misra passed her PhD viva on 1 April with her thesis, ‘Exploring the Role of Private Sector in Development – Multi-national Corporations and Product Innovations for the Bottom of the Pyramid Consumers’.

Her supervisors are Dr Morteza Abolhasani and OU colleagues Dr Dinar Kale, Prof Theo Papaioannou and Dr Andrew Lindridge. The panel was chaired by Dr Peter Robbins, external examiner was Prof Mark Tadajewski (Royal Holloway, University of London, and University of York) and the internal examiner was Prof Hazel Johnson. Gauri is actively looking for opportunities to engage with research and teaching in academia as well as planning on disseminating her research through publications.

Image of Gemma Bend

Congratulations to Gemma on viva success

Gemma Bend passed her PhD viva on 31 March with her thesis, ‘Under Pressure to Be ‘Normal’: An Exploration of the Material-Discursive Practices that Affect the Experience of ‘Gender’ and ‘Disability’ in Employment’.

Her supervisors are Dr Cinzia Priola, Dr Charles Barthold and Dr Peter Bloom. The panel was chaired by Prof Richard Holti, external examiner was Prof Kate Sang (Heriot-Watt University) and the internal examiner was Prof Emma Bell. Gemma will be working with some OU colleagues on a small research project before looking for a job while completing her corrections.

Viva success for Gidraph

Congratulations to Gidraph Michuki who passed his PhD viva on Wednesday 18 March for his thesis, ‘Consumer Tribes Versus Traditional Tribes that Consume: An Investigation into Tribesmen-constituted Collectives in Kenya’.

His supervisors were Dr Bjorn Claes and Dr Morteza Abolhasani, with external supervision from Dr Tim Butcher and Dr Andrew Lindridge. The external examiner was Prof Mark Tadajeweski (University of York) and the internal examiner was Dr Fiona Harris.

2020 PhD students

Half a dozen of the best – welcome to our new PhD students

Six new PhD students (shown with some of our current students) have been welcomed into the Faculty, having started their studies on 1 February 2020.

This includes three students who have joined as part of the ‘Organizational and legal responses to climate change’ research initiative:

Fulvio Scognamiglio – ‘Sustainable cities through the New Public Governance. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in a wicked world’. Supervisors are Dr Alessandro Sancino and Dr Les Budd.

Princess Anifowose – ‘The Agency of Social Intrapreneurs within emergent sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems: A study of firms in Lagos, Nigeria’. Supervisors are Dr Wenjin Dai and Prof Richard Blundel.

Zaineb Bouharda – ‘Investigating how governments use social marketing to reduce carbon footprint’. Supervisors are Dr Fiona Harris and Prof Gordon Liu.

These projects will bring a fresh perspective on the challenge of addressing the climate change and related environmental crises by exploring innovative organisational and socio-legal responses. They will also support interdisciplinary collaboration with other faculties and provide a focus for research, teaching and engagement activities in this area.

Other PhD research projects are:

Simona Radu – ‘E-health services: the intervention of digital technology on consumers’ health experience and wellbeing’. Supervisors are Dr Xia Zhu and Prof Liz Daniel.

Olga Solovyeva – ‘Populist leadership in organisational context; the case of Crimea annexation and its influence on Russian business culture’. Supervisors are Dr Alex Bristow, Dr Owain Smolovic Jones and Prof Emma Bell.

Also welcome to Scott Steele, an FBL student on the AstrobiologyOU research group project, Are we alone in the Universe? This is part of the recent £6.7 million grant from Research England which aims to help address fundamental questions about life beyond the Earth. Based in STEM’s School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Scott’s project is ‘The future of the COSPAR Planetary Protection Guidelines: Space Governance and Astrobiology’. His supervisors are Suzanne Schwenzer (STEM) and Prof Simon Lee.

Viva success for Linna

Congratulations to Linna Sai who passed her viva with minor corrections in November 2019 and has now been awarded her PhD. Her thesis title was ‘Understanding ambivalence as an emotional response to organisation change under New Public Management: A study of English housing associations’ and her supervisors were Emma Bell and Cristina Quinones. The external examiner was Professor John McCauley from Sheffield Hallam University, the internal examiner was Mark Fenton-O’Creevy and the viva was chaired by Jo Brewis. Linna has been appointed as a lecturer at Huddersfield Business School.

Well done to Ketty on viva success

Congratulations to Ketty Grishikashvili who, following her viva in the spring, was awarded her PhD in November 2019. Her thesis title was ‘Capabilities for Big Data: An Empirical Study in the Global Pharmaceutical Company’, with supervisors Professor Liz Daniel and Dr Giacomo Carli. The panel chair was Professor Richard Holti, the external examiner was Professor Ashley Braganza from Brunel University and the internal examiner was Professor Gordon Liu. Since May, Ketty has been working as a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management at the University of Hertfordshire Business School.

Viva success for both Ariane and Richmond

Congratulations to Ariane Hillig who passed her PhD viva on 3 September 2019 with her thesis titled ‘Everyday Financialization: The case of UK Households’. The supervisors were Dr Dimitris Sotiropoulos and OU colleague Andrew Trigg, the external examiner was Professor Gary Dymski from Leeds University Business School, chair was Dr Les Budd and the internal examiner was Dr Matthew Haigh. Ariane now works at Goldsmiths, University of London, as a Lecturer in Economics.

And congratulations to Richmond Lamptey who has been recommended for the award of a PhD following his successful viva on 15 October 2019. His thesis was titled ‘The Influences of Bank-Based and Capital Market-Based Impact Investments on SME Financing in Ghana: Governance, Strategy Change and Impacts’. His lead supervisor is Dr Michael Ngoasong and second supervisor is Professor Richard Blundel who took over from Dr Silvia Sachetti in 2017. The external examiner was Professor Paul Robson (Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Royal Holloway, University of London). Dr Carolin Decker-Lange was internal examiner and the viva was chaired by Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy.

Vickie Williams

Researcher is one of the TEDxOpenUniversity speakers

PhD student Victoria ‘Vickie’ Williams is one of the speakers for the prestigious TEDxOpenUniversity event on campus in Milton Keynes on Friday 8 November 2019. You can watch the talks remotely, or catch the recordings afterwards, if you were not successful in the ballot to secure a ticket. The full list of speakers is available here. Vickie is researching the experience of endometriosis in the workplace and the influence of menstrual policy, organising workshops and retreats to support people living with the condition. She previously spent seven years working in the digital industry while living with this invisible condition after completing a BSc at King’s College London.

2019 PhD Students

Welcome to the October PhD student intake

Nine new doctoral students – seven in the Business School and two in the Law School – joined in October 2019. This includes two students who are being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), respectively.

In DPO, Chaka Bachman is investigating global LGBT equality in multinational companies, supervised by Professor Jo Brewis and Dr Cinzia Priola. Serena Cavalera’s PhD project is on ‘Gender Performativity within Underground Heavy Metal’, supervised by Dr Caroline Clarke, Professor Jo Brewis and Dr Nela Smolovic Jones. Audrey Joseph’s PhD will be based on a qualitative analysis of black female entrepreneurs in the British childcare sector, supervised by Dr Cinzia Priola and Dr Charles Barthold.

Katy Woodger, funded by the ESRC, will be supervised by Dr Charles Barthold and OU colleague Dr David Jones in FASS, together with Professor Steve Brown (Nottingham Trent) as external supervisor, on a project to explore the ‘Experiences of mental health service users’.

Based in PuLSE, Stephen Reid will be studying ‘Strategic Management in Government Agencies’, supervised by Professor George Frynas, Professor Edoardo Ongaro and Dr Alessandro Sancino.

In DAF, Demetrios Pachnis is studying ‘The rise of ‘platform’ companies and their role in value creation, business concentration and investment’, supervised by Dr Dimitris Sotiropoulos and Dr Daniele Tori. And Pradeep Debata will be studying the financing of infrastructure projects in the UK, supervised by Professor Ali Ataullah and Professor Dev Kodwani.

In the Law School, our student funded by the AHRC, Edward Rees, will be studying ‘The 1836 Prisoners’ Counsel Act’, supervised by Dr Caroline Derry and Hugh McFaul. Student Experience Manager Allison Wolfreys is investigating ‘The Child’s Voice in Mediated Child Abduction (Private Family Law)’, supervised by Professors Simon Lee and Eddie Abbott-Halpin, together with Professor Helen Stalford (Liverpool) as external supervisor.

Olga Andrianova

Viva success for Olga

Congratulations to Olga Andrianova who passed her PhD viva with a thesis entitled ‘Employee Engagement in Corporate Greening: A Study of Front-Line Managers in Belarusian Companies’ on 22 August. Olga’s supervisors were Dr Diane Preston, Dr Owain Smolovic Jones and Dr Anja Schaefer. The internal examiner was Dr Jacqueline Baxter and the external examiner was Dr Simon Brooks. Olga has joined the University of Exeter as an Industrial Impact Fellow.

Best paper presentation awards go to Jo and Akash

Jo Vincett and Akash Puranik won two of the four awards to doctoral students for best paper presentations at the 14th Annual Ethnography Symposium. Our doctoral students received £200 each, sponsored by Palgrave Macmillan and Routledge, at this year’s conference which had the theme of ‘Seeing, Sensing and Following’. In keeping with this theme, Jo (from the Department for People and Organisations, DPO), presented her research project, which uses novel means of dissemination of ethnographic data: capturing the emotive, tactile and often intangible aspects of immigration detainees’ lived experiences with the use of origami art and illustrative non-fiction comics.

Akash (from the Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise, PuLSE) also presented a paper that speaks of the disorder, mess and chaos within the ethnographic fieldwork, challenging the ‘a priori’ assumptions regarding the importance of order in research methods. The 2019 conference at the University of Portsmouth aimed to bring together ethnographers from different disciplines who engage in wide forms of ethnographic research, particularly focusing on the richness and diversity of methods used in research.

Ida Okkonen

Say hello to Visiting PhD student Ida from Finland

Welcome to Ida Okkonen, a Visiting PhD student from Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics in Finland, who will be spending the next six months in the Faculty. Ida, who will be based in the Department for People and Organisations (DPO) from September 2019 until the end of February 2020, looks forward to meeting everyone in the Faculty during her visit.
She graduated with a BSc in Kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 2011, and went on to Masters study (Kinesiology, and Business and Economics) at the University of Jyväskylä. Her PhD project is a qualitative study of the refugee crisis which focuses on the ethical dilemmas experienced by managers in reception centres for asylum seekers, and how they cope with them. Ida, who is doing a PhD by publication with her first article published in the journal Ethics and Social Welfare, is currently interested in moral emotions and agency.

Jo’s article is a gem in Emerald Literati Awards

Jo Vincett has won the Outstanding Paper in the 2019 Emerald Literati Awards for her article which was published in the Journal of Organizational Ethnography. These prestigious awards have celebrated and rewarded the outstanding contributions of authors and reviewers to scholarly research for more than 25 years. Her award-winning article, ‘Researcher self-care in organizational ethnography: lessons from overcoming compassion fatigue’, has now been made freely available for the next 12 months by Emerald Publishing.

New teaching scheme launches as part of fresh role

Dr Alexandra Bristow is leading on a new teaching scheme which will allow the Faculty’s PhD students to develop their teaching skills and experience and so improve their future employability. This exciting initiative starting in October 2019 aims to provide a structured approach to training PhD students in distance learning provision, giving them a distinct set of skills in the academic job market.

Dr Bristow has been appointed as Deputy Director of the Research Degrees Programme, as of 1 October. Professor Emma Bell is Director of the Research Degrees Programme.

Vickie Williams

Congratulations to Vickie on her poster competition success

Vickie Williams won the Best Poster and the People’s Choice of Poster at the OU Graduate School's Poster Competition on 11 June 2019.

This was for her poster and research work on – ‘RED AGENDA. The Invisible & Invasive Nature of Endometriosis at Work’.

Vickie is being supervised by Professor Jo Brewis and Dr Cinzia Priola as well as Professor Kate Sang from Heriot-Watt University.

Celebration time for both Andres and Graeme

Congratulations to Andres Morales-Pachon who passed his PhD viva on ‘Indigenous-Hybrid organisations in Columbia – a multi-level analysis within the ‘Buen Vivir’ model’. His supervisors are Dr Michael Ngoasong and OU colleague Roger Spear (Professor of Social Entrepreneurship). The external examiner was Professor Lars Halgard from Roskilde University in Denmark and the internal examiner was Professor Richard Blundel.

Also congratulations to Graeme Smith who passed his PhD viva on ‘Godley’s Macroeconomic Ratios: An Empirical Investigation into Stock-Flow Norms’. His supervisors are Dr Dimitris Sotiropoulos and OU colleague Andrew Trigg (Senior Lecturer in Economics, FASS). The external examiner was Professor Malcolm Sawyer from the University of Leeds and the internal examiner was OU colleague Roberto Simonetti (Senior Lecturer in Economics, FASS).

Richmond, Jose and Vickie shine at PhD Colloquium

Richmond, Jose and Vickie shine at PhD Colloquium

The Faculty’s PhD Colloquium on 10 April 2019 saw an entertaining keynote from Professor Chris Grey of Royal Holloway University of London on his work on Brexit, plus 14 full paper presentations, 15 roundtable presentations and three posters!

Richmond Lamptey won the Best Full Paper Award; Jose Fevereiro won the Best Roundtable Presentation Award; and Vickie Williams won the Best Poster Award.

The organising committee (pictured) of Laura Reeves, Kweku Arthur-Annobil and Elena Tudosie put the event together, as well as presenting papers of their own, with fantastic support from Research and Enterprise Coordinator Lin Nilsen.

Edward and Katy awarded UK Research and Innovation studentships

The Faculty will be welcoming two PhD students in October 2019 who have been awarded UK Research and Innovation studentships.

Edward Rees won his studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership, which is accepting students for the first time this year. His PhD project is entitled ‘The 1836 Prisoners’ Counsel Act: the pursuit of truth?’ and he is due to be supervised by the Law School’s Dr Caroline Derry and Dr Anne Wesemann, as well as a colleague from History.

Katy Woodger, who won her studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, will be working on a project entitled ‘Experiences of mental health service users: from self-management and self-governance to user-led services’. The pathway that Katy applied for is also new this year, and her supervisors are due to be Professor Steve Brown and Dr Charles Barthold from the Department for People and Organisations (DPO).

Nela Smolović Jones

Viva success for Nela

Congratulations to Nela Smolović Jones who has been recommended for the award of a PhD without errors, corrections or amendments following her viva in March 2019. The title of Nela’s thesis is ‘Performative democratic practice: an ethnographic study of the Women’s Rights Centre in Montenegro’. She was supervised by Dr Nik Winchester and Dr Caroline Clarke and her examiners were Professor Jo Brewis (internal) and Professor Torkild Thanem from Stockholm University, Sweden. Nela now holds a lectureship in organisation studies in the Faculty.

Hello to our new PhD research students – The Magnificent Seven!

Seven new PhD students have been encouraged to play an active role in the Faculty, such as attending departmental seminars and meetings, after beginning their studies on Friday 1 February 2019.

The Department for People and Organisations (DPO) has three new students. Seth Hunter will be focusing on service user engagement with grassroots spaces of recovery (supervisors Professor Steve Brown and Dr Tim Butcher, and Professor Paula Reavey from London South Bank University). Rachel Waddingham, better known as Rai, will be focusing on leadership and strategy in alternative organising for mental health (supervisors Professor Steve Brown and Dr Charles Barthold, and Professor Paula Reavey). Vickie Williams will be focusing on the influence of organisational menstrual policies on women with endometriosis (supervisors Professor Jo Brewis and Dr Cinzia Priola, and Professor Kate Sang from Heriot-Watt University).

PuLSE’s Gizem Kutlu (supervised by Dr Aqueel Wahga and Professor Michael Ngoasong) will be studying the influence of gender on environmental entrepreneurship. Sally Vivyan (supervised by Dr Carol Jacklin-Jarvis, Dr Nik Winchester and Dr James Rees) will be exploring voluntary sector leadership in small and medium-sized UK charities.

In the Law School, Simon Pratt will be supervised by Dr Robert Herian and Dr Caroline Derry and his focus will be on legal history. Leona Samuda is exploring women and ethnic minorities in modern law (supervisors are Dr Emma Jones and Dr Caroline Derry).

Tam Nguyen

Tam wins Best Student Paper accolade in Antwerp

Tam Nguyen (pictured, centre) won the Best Student Paper award at the 2018 European Social Marketing Conference in Antwerp, Belgium. Her paper, ‘One Financial Education Intervention, Two Performances, What Happened?’, discussed True Potential PUFin’s short course, ‘Managing My Money’ to explain why one financial education intervention does not always offer repeated performance through the lens of social marketing.

PhD research students

Hello to our new PhD research students – they’re gr-eight!

Eight new PhD students have been encouraged to play an active role in the Faculty, such as attending departmental seminars and meetings, after beginning their studies on Monday 1 October 2018.

In the Business School, Awele Achi is investigating the construct and antecedents of social innovation with his research supervised by Professor Gordon Liu and Dr Fiona Harris (Strategy and Marketing). Located in the Department for People and Organisations, Kay Logan will be focusing on authentic leadership coaching for NHS leaders (supervisors Professor Richard Holti and Dr Owain Smolovic Jones). PuLSE’s Sampierre Mendy (supervised by Professor Edoardo Ongaro and Dr Alessandro Sancino) will be studying context in the strategic management of public organisations.

The Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) has recruited two part-time doctoral students. David Penney’s PhD title is ‘Tackling serious and organised crime: Processes, Challenges and Consequences of Prioritisation’ (supervised by Mark Roycroft, Lara Frumkin and Paul Mulholland). Nicole Woodhall’s area of interest is in ‘Incidence rate of indecent images of children in the UK and policing’s capacity to respond to the increasing threat’ (supervisors Heather Montgomery and Paul Walley).

In the Law School, Adedamola Gbolahan will be supervised by Dr Marjan Ajevski, Professor Simon Lee and Dr Olga Jurasz; her focus will be on measuring the quality of the international judiciary. Michael Lewis is exploring consent as a legitimising factor in processing personal data and ‘big data’ (supervisors are Professor Simon Lee and Dr Caroline Derry). Finally, Alex Murray’s PhD research builds on the themes of belonging and community and focuses on legal frameworks for dealing with chronic illness; this study will be supervised by Dr Caroline Derry and Dr Matthew Howard.

Seven of the eight (Michael Lewis was unable to attend) are shown with Emma Bell, Director of Research Degrees.

Carlos is big in Japan (..... and Estonia)!

Carlos Azevedo in the Department for People and Organisations (DPO) was awarded a full scholarship by the Australasian Caucus (ACSCOS) and Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (SCOS) to present a paper based on his research. This was at the SCOS/ACSCOS Conference at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan, from 17-20 August 2018. The award was based on the abstract quality and alignment with the ‘Wabi-sabi (侘寂): Imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence in organizational life’ theme. Carlos is supervised by Dr Caroline Clarke and Dr Peter Bloom (DPO) and Dr Jacqueline Baxter (PuLSE).

Carlos and Marco Distinto also presented papers based on their respective ongoing doctoral research at the 34th EGOS Colloquium in Estonia’s capital Tallinn from 5-7 July 2018. Marco’s paper was entitled ‘Where do you go from here: Exploring meanings and practices of integration within an Italian refugee reception centre’, and Carlos’ paper was ‘Students as consumers: A surprisingly mundane metaphor for understanding complex realities?’ Both papers were well received by the academic community attending, Carlos’ paper nominated by the three convenors of his sub-theme for consideration for the ‘Best Student Paper EGOS 2018’ award.