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, 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 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:

  • 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 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, Chair of the Personnel and Staffing sub-committee and 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:

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

Research funding

Total Value of Grants: £1,342,631 (£2,335,568 including consortia).

Recent Funding

  • 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

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