Research Topics

Challenge thinking

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We have identified the topic areas below, by division, where we would particularly welcome applications for PhD study. These topics do not have specific funding attached to them, although the topics can be incorporated into a scholarship application. For details of available scholarships, please visit our PhD funding and scholarships page.

In addition to research within the themes below, you could also suggest your own topic, but you must ensure that you closely locate your research within Leeds University Business School. 

Accounting and Finance
  • Credit Management
  • Banking and Investment
  • Pensions and Employee Benefits
  • Historical Perspectives in Accounting & Finance
  • Behavioural Finance
  • Asset Pricing Models and Financial Markets
  • Market Based Accounting and Decision Making
  • Organisations: Ownership, Governance and Performance
Economics
  • Monetary and fiscal theory
  • Post-Keynesian economics
  • Econometrics
  • Labour economics
  • The history and philosophy of economics
  • Development economics
  • Financial economics
  • Industrial economics
  • Comparative economic systems
  • Models and varieties of capitalism
  • Organisation and productivity
  • Transport economics
  • The world auto industry
International Business
  • The Global Factory in the World Economy - tests of the conceptual structure
  • Foreign direct investment in China - strategies and impact
  • Foreign direct investment in India - opportunities and constraints
  • Testing international business theory to explain patterns of outward foreign direct investment from emerging countries
  • The internationalisation of developing country firms, especially Chinese and Indian multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Issues of economic development and the role of the private sector in reducing poverty
  • The impact of home country incentives on the internationalisation of firms and the mediating role of institutions on international business activity
  • International mergers and acquisitions
  • The role of R&D internationalisation in explaining performance outcomes
  • The determinants of innovation performance in developing economies
  • Open innovation in the global economy: Exploiting the scientific knowledge of others
  • The role of technology and R&D management practices in enhancing performance
  • The protection and management of intellectual property and other intangible assets across national borders
  • The impact of climate change on international business strategies
  • The role of international business and sustainable development
  • Geographic areas of interest: European Union, Central and Eastern Europe, the BRICs (Brazil, Russia and China) and other emerging markets
  • Supranational organisations, country alliances and international trade and investment
Project - How policy exerts real effect

Following the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) the EU is empowered to conclude Union-level international investment agreements with third countries, such as China, and treaties which cover both trade and investment (such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The challenge for negotiators, and for academic researchers, is that, while trade and investment law is well articulated and well studied, the mechanism through which legal provisions exert their impact upon actual international business behaviour – in other words, the responsiveness of business to legal provisions – is only poorly understood, both in theoretical principle, and in practice.

“How policy exerts real effect” is the topic of this PhD project. The project will draw on theory from decision science and international business, and will consider how policy can be optimised in the context of the post-Lisbon world.

In order to investigate the empirical dimension of the project, the research will involve surveys of firms and legal provisions and state aids under the current system of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between selected member states and third countries. The research will be expected to have policy impact with the European Commission, particularly the negotiating directorate, Directorate General Trade, and the European External Action Service (EEAS). It will also benefit from strong links between the supervisors and Directorate General Growth (formerly Directorate General Enterprise and Industry).

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in Geneva, is also likely to be very interested in this work and its findings for its own policy advice formation. The PhD researcher can expect to be in close contact with these international bodies in the pursuance of the research, and to publish the findings with the supervisors in ABS (Association of Business Schools) 4* journals.

The ideal candidate will have (or be about to complete) a Masters degree in Economics, Management, Political Science, Law or other relevant discipline, and to have, or be capable of developing, advanced skills in quantitative data analysis.

Supervisors for this research: Professor Jeremy Clegg and Dr. Miguel Torres

This PhD project arises because Dr. Miguel Matos Torres joined the Centre for International Business as a new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in September 2015, who will be researching pro-internationalization policy in the European Union as part of his fellowship.

Management
  • Organisational strategy
  • Information Management
  • Learning and change
  • Human information processing
  • Decision making
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership and performance
  • Technology and innovation
Marketing
  • Consumer buying behavior
  • Analysis of consumer heterogeneous preferences and discrete choice analysis
  • Retailing and store choice analysis
  • Branding and brand equity
  • Formulating and implementing sustainability marketing strategies: Bridging the gap
  • Marketing strategy making
  • Emergent marketing strategy and decision making in marketing organizations
  • Corporate responsibility and sustainability
  • Green marketing and advertising
  • Business ethics
  • International marketing
  • Cross cultural buyer-seller relationships
  • Export marketing strategy and performance
  • Sustainable strategies of multinational corporations
  • Standardisation/adaptation of international service offerings
  • International marketing process standardisation/adaptation
Work and Employment Relations

Dr Gabriella Alberti

  • The management of migration: labour and migration policy regimes
  • Transnational mobility and temporary staffing agencies
  • Work experiences and regulation of migrant employment
  • The impact of migrant labour on HRM strategies

Other areas of interest for supervising PhD students involve:

  • Temporary work, mobility and the crisis of worker representation
  • Comparative research on migrant workers’ integration in trade unions (with Dr Jane Holgate, LUBS)
  • Community organizing, trade union renewal and social movement unionism
  • Workforce diversity, equality, intersectionality
  • Migrant women’s empowerment and innovative trade union learning
  • The hospitality industry and low-paid service sector employment
  • Affective and embodied labour processes in the hotel industry

Zinovijus Ciupijus

  • Labour migration and labour mobility in the European Union
  • Local dynamics of migration: linking social and labour market experieces of migrants and receiving communities
  • Work and society in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe

Dr Hugh Cook

  • The implementation of strategic HRM systems
  • Work and employment in the retail sector
  • Macroeconomic variation and HRM strategies
  • Social partnership, HRM and employment relations
  • Trade union and partnership based approaches to learning and skills

Professor Chris Forde

  • The management of migration: labour and migration policy regimes
  • Transnational mobility and temporary staffing agencies
  • Work experiences and regulation of migrant employment
  • The impact of migrant labour on HRM strategies

Other areas of interest for supervising PhD students involve:

  • Temporary agency employment (any aspect) and the growth of contingent forms of work
  • Job quality and the experience of work
  • Restructuring and layoffs and notions of ‘socially responsible‘ restructuring
  • Lobbying activities of big business, and the relationship between big business and the state

Professor Irena Grugulis

  • Any aspect of skills, workplace learning or training
  • Soft skills, emotional labour, national training systems, corporate training systems and management training
  • The service sector including the film and TV industries, computer games and retail

Dr Ian Greenwood

  • Teamworking - from the perspective of industrial/employment relations not organisational behaviour
  • Industrial/employment restructuring collective bargaining
  • Community/social movement unionism
  • Partnership at work

Dr Kate Hardy

  • Gender
  • Informal economies
  • The relationship between paid and unpaid work
  • Labour organising in trade unions
  • Non-traditional labour organising
  • Postwork imaginaries

Professor Jane Holgate

  • Trade unions and the development of organising and recruitment strategies, particularly as they relate to under-represented groups in the union movement
  • Equalities gender and industrial relations
  • The labour market position of migrants and black and minority ethnic groups
  • New geographies of labour and the politics of intersectionality (‘race’, class, gender, etc)
  • International comparative study of union involvement in broad based community organising

Dr Jo Ingold

  • Comparative public policy and governance
  • Unemployment and active labour market policies and programmes
  • Employment programmes for disabled people
  • Employers and public policy
  • Cross-national policy learning and policy as translation
  • Gender and the reconciliation of work and care

Professor Ian Kirkpatrick

  • The changing management and governance of public organizations, especially in the health and social care contexts
  • International comparisons of public service reforms
  • Clinical leadership and the development of medical manager roles
  • Changes in professional work and employment, including public services and private sector professional services firms in law, accounting and management consulting
  • Flexible or contingent working in professional occupations
  • Outsourcing, restructuring and changes in procurement management

Professor Mark Stuart

  • Trade-union led learning (union learning reps, learning partnerships)
  • Partnership-based approaches to employment relations
  • Trade union modernisation
  • Workforce development and corporate training strategies
  • Globalisation, restructuring and employment relations outcomes
  • Comparative studies of labour market restructuring and welfare reform
  • Workplace restructuring, redundancy and experiences of job loss
  • Unemployment and labour market activation
  • Skills, workplace change and organisational restructuring
  • The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

Professor Jennifer Tomlinson

  • Gender and (in)equality at work
  • Women returners
  • Part-time work
  • Occupational gender segregation
  • Gender and career progression in occupations and professions
  • Equality and diversity

Dr Charles Umney

  • Work and employment in the creative sector 
  • Trade union organising, particularly in transnational perspective 
  • State labour market policy

If you have seen a topic you are interested in, the next step is to review our locating your research guidance to support your application within this area.