Dr Matthew Davis

Dr Matthew Davis


My research centres on how people interact with their environments, office design, hybrid working and future workplaces. I also research 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 recently led an ESRC funded research project exploring how workplaces are adapting to support hybrid working and examing the impact of different office designs and hybrid practices on how people work, interact and perform (Future Workplace Website).

I have worked with partners such as Rolls-Royce, Marks and Spencer, Arup Consulting, Atkins, Next, Leeds City Council 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. 

Current Leadership Roles

  • Leeds University Business School Director of Culture & Values – Leading the delivery of the Business School’s vision for its culture and values.
  • 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 Committe - Committee promotes the ethical practice of psychology and is responsible for the Code of Ethics and Conduct within the Society.
  • External Examiner for MSc Work Psychology and Business and MSc Business Psychology programmes at Aston University.
  • Director of St Clare Catholic Multi-Academy TrustVice Chair of the Board of Directors.

Recent Awards

  • 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.


  • Business School Director of Culture & Values

Research interests

My main main research interests are in the following areas:

  • Hybrid working, design of modern workspace (e.g., agile or flexible spaces) and future workplaces
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives (e.g., pro-environmental behaviour change, managing risks of modern slavery in supply chains)
  • Applying socio-technical principles and frameworks (e.g., disaster analysis, design, prediction)

Research funding

Total Value of Grants: approximately £1.5m (approximately £2.5m including consortia).

Recent Funding

  • 2021 Sumner, M. (PI), Bide, B. (Co-I), Davis, M.C. (Co-I). Cottons Hidden Voices: Stories from the makers of your clothes. Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/W006936/1). Fifteen month project. £149,990.
  • 2021 Davis, M.C. (PI), Hughes, H.P.N. (Co-I), Rees, S.J. (Co-I), Wu, C. (Co-I), & Gritt, E. (Co-I).  Adapting offices to support COVID-19 secure workplaces and emerging work patterns. Economic and Social Research Council (ES/W001764/1). 18 month project, £508,080.
  • 2020 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

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

  • 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
  • Evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in particular pro-environmental / green behaviour change or addressing modern slavery in supply chains

Current PhD Students

  • Ehssan Al Johani (expected completion 2024) exploring innovation, technology and workspace.
  • Muhammad Haris (expected completion in 2024) exploring digital workplaces. 
  • Sarah Holland (expected completion in 2024) exploring biophilia, outdoor workspace and and employee outcomes.
  • Afshan Iqbal (expected completion in 2023) exploring virtual teams, technostress and wellbeing.
  • Kevin Platt (expected completion in 2023) exploring techno stress in engineering environments.

Completed PhD Students

  • Jose Ignacio Barrera Malagarriga (2021). Attitudinal tension & moral dilemma dynamics - The role of psychological determinants in overcoming the behaviour inertia in car use.
  • 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
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

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