Dr Matthew Davis

Dr Matthew Davis


I am an Associate Professor at Leeds University Business School, a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. My research centres on how people interact with their environments, office design and future workplaces and how businesses engage in CSR, particularly to address sustainability and modern slavery. I believe that psychology offers valuable tools to help approach these and many other business problems. Socio-technical systems thinking underpins much of my research.

I have worked with partners such as Rolls-Royce, Marks and Spencer, Arup Consulting, Atkins and British Gas. I have led and contributed to a range of public and privately funded applied research projects.

I have published my research in international journals and high quality edited books. I have won international, national and university awards for my work. Most notably being awarded the 2010 US Academy of Management Making Connections award recognising contributions that cross-disciplinary, international and practitioner academic divides. 

I am an Expert Member of the UK Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/ministry-of-defence-research-ethics-committees) and a Member of the British Psychological Society’s Ethics Committe. I am also the Chair of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee for the three faculties of Business, Environment and Social Sciences.

I am involved in teaching relating to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Socio-Technical Systems. I supervise dissertations and a number of PhD students. I have guest lectured at the University of Sheffield, UK and University of Fortaleza, Brazil.

PhD Applicants

I welcome applications for PhD students, particularly those who are interested in:

  • Evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in particular pro-environmental / green behaviour change or addressing modern slavery in supply chains
  • Design and evaluation of modern workspace in particular agile, activity based workspaces or flexible work arrangements
  • Understanding the interactions between human, buildings and technology particularly regarding - energy use, automation or technology design

Current Leadership Roles

  • Chair of the Business, Environment and Social Sciences Faculty Research Ethics Committee - Committee reviews applications from across the three Faculties of Social Sciences, Business and Environment.
  • Expert Member of the UK Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee  - This position is a formal Ministerial Appointment to a Public Body. The committee advises ministers and is established to provide independent advice across the MoD on the ethics of the involvement of human participants in research.
  • Member of the British Psychological Society’s Ethics CommitteCommittee promotes the ethical practice of psychology and is responsible for the Code of Ethics and Conduct within the Society
  • Foundation Governor of All Saints Catholic High School, Sheffield - Member of the main Governing Body, in addition to the Personnel and Staffing sub-committee and role as the Link Governor for the Sixth Form.


  • 2019 – Leeds University Business School Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2017 - Leeds University Business School Partnership Award for Best Feedback
  • 2016 - The University of Leeds Building Knowledge and Capacity sustainability award.
  • 2016 - Leeds University Business School Management Division Award for Outstanding Teaching on a large module, in recognition of student feedback.
  • 2013 - US Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Outstanding Reviewer award
  • 2010 - US Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Making Connections Award.
  • 2008 - BPS POP Conference - Best Presented Paper
  • 2007 - Division of Occupational Psychology Student Award (3rd prize)
  • 2006 - The University of Sheffield John Frisby Prize


  • Chair of Business, Environment and Social Sciences joint Faculty Research Ethics Committee

Research interests

My main main research interests are in the following areas:

  • Evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives (e.g., pro-environmental behaviour change)
  • Addressing modern slavery in supply chains
  • Design and evaluation of modern workspace (e.g., agile or flexible spaces) and future offices
  • Understanding the interactions between human, buildings and technology (e.g., in terms of energy use, wayfinding, technology design)
  • Applying socio-technical principles and frameworks (e.g., disaster analysis, design, prediction)

Research funding

Total Value of Grants: £835k (£1.8m including consortia).

Recent Funding

  • Sumner, M. (PI), Davis, M.C. (Co-I), Voss, H. (Co-I), & Singhal, D (Co-I). Impact of Covid-19 on management to eradicate modern slavery from global supply chains: A case study of Indian fashion supply chains. Arts and Humanities Research Council. Five month project. £108,572.
  • 2020 Unsworth, K.L. (PI), Pienazek, R. (Co-I), Davis, M.C. (Co-I), Song, L. (Co-I), McKay, A. (Co-I). Sustainable and Productive?! Helping Manufacturing SMEs to Manage Multiple Goals. ESRC/University of Sheffield. Six month project, £70,370.
  • 2017 Voss, H. (PI), Sumner, M. (Co-I), Davis, M.C. (Co-I), & Waite, L. (Co-I). (2017). Modern Slavery in Fashion Supply Chains. British Academy. £191,903.
  • 2017 Hughes, H.N. (PI), Davis, M.C. (CO-I), & Robinson, M.A. (CO-I). SUSSUDIO.  Rolls-Royce funded. Twelve month project, £141,049.
  • 2016 Davis, M. C. (PI), Unsworth, K.L. (CO-I), Robinson, M. A. (CO-I). Energy efficient behaviour change in schools. British Gas funded. Six month project, £59,974.
  • 2016 Davis, M. C. (PI). Engineering System Pilot Evaluation and System Development. Rolls-Royce funded. Six month project, £51,354.
  • 2015 Robinson, M. A. (PI), Davis, M. C. (CO-I), & Stott, C. (CO-I). Psycho-Social and Cross-cultural Theoretical Framework of Crowd Behaviour and Management. 20 month project, €207,387 (£172,823). Work package 1 of Impact of Cultural Aspects in the Management of Emergencies, IMPACT Consortium, Project 653383, EU Horizon 2020, €1,398,912 (£1,165760) overall, across eight partners.

PhD Supervision & Examination

Current PhD Students

  • Ehssan Al Johani (expected completion 2023) exploring innovation, technology and workspace.
  • Katarzyna Cichomska (expected completion in 2022) exploring psychological wayfinding and environmental aspects of crowd behavior.
  • Muhammad Haris (expected completion in 2024) exploring artificial intelligence and job design. 
  • Sarah Holland (expected completion in 2024) exploring biophilia, built environment and micro breaks.
  • Jose Ignacio Barrera Malagarriga (expected completion in 2021) developing dynamic systems models of pro-environmental transport behaviour.
  • Afshan Iqbal (expected completion in 2022) exploring virtual teams, technostress and wellbeing.
  • Kevin Platt (expected completion in 2021) exploring techno stress in engineering environments.

Completed PhD Students

  • Anna Viragos (2019). Investigating job crafting from a prosocial perspective. University of Leeds. Joint winner of the 2019 Outstanding Academic Performance Prize, PhD in the Faculty of Business.
  • Rebecca Pieniazek (2017). Organisational Resilience: An Investigation into Its Conceptualisation, Outcomes, and Boundary Conditions. University of Leeds. Winner of the 2017 Outstanding Academic Performance Prize, PhD in the Faculty of Business.
  • Vedran Lesic (2017). Understanding and Informing Consumers' Perceptions of Their Electricity Use. University of Leeds. Winner of the 2018 Deans Prize for Research Community.


  • 2012    PhD in Organizational Psychology University of Leeds
  • 2007    MSc in Occupational Psychology (Distinction) University of Sheffield
  • 2006    BSc in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (1st Class Honours) University of Sheffield
  • 2016    BPS Test User: Occupational, Personality & Ability

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Certified Management and Business Educator

Student education

I am a Certified Management and Business Educator and have taught across under-graduate, post-graduate and executive programmes on modules concerning: Corporate Social Responsibility, Socio-Technical Systems Thinking, Research Design and Statistics, Dissertations. I have supervised under-graduate and post-graduate dissertations on Management, Organizational Psychology and Executive MBA programmes. I have also delivered sessions on Research Ethics on the Business School’s Doctoral Programme.

Research groups and institutes

  • Socio-Technical Centre
  • Workplace Behaviour Research Centre

Current postgraduate researchers