Research Topics

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
  • The macro economy and macroeconomic policy
  • Work, labour and organisation
  • Financialisation and globalisation
  • Development and wellbeing
  • Environment, infrastructure, innovation and the circular economy
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
  • Organisational strategy
  • Information Management
  • Learning and change
  • Human information processing
  • Decision making
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership and performance
  • Technology and innovation
  • 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
  • Between Professions and Precarity: the New World of Work
  • Changing Structures of Governance and Organisation
  • Employment, Skills and Occupations
  • Labour Mobility, Migration and Citizenship
  • Markets, Flexibilisation and Social Protection
  • Voice, Representation and Social Movement

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

Dr Ioulia Bessa

  • Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)
  • Zero-hour contracts
  • work intensity and intensification
  • Job/life satisfaction, wellbeing and job quality
  • Quantitative research methods  

Professor Andy Charlwood

  • Job quality and subjective wellbeing at work
  • Meaningful work
  • Employee engagement
  • HR analytics, AI and algorithmic people management
  • How HR managers make decisions
  • People management in health and social care

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
  • Sex work and the sex industry
  • Emotional labour
  • Housing and employment
  • Work in the global south

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 and industrial relations
  • The labour market position of migrants and black and minority ethnic groups
  • New geographies of labour and the politics of intersectionality (eg ‘race’, class, gender, disability, LGBQT+)
  • International comparative study of union involvement in broad based community organising

Dr Jo Ingold

  • Public management 
  • The interaction between public policy and workplace HRM
  • Comparative study of public employment policies
  • Resourcing and talent management, particularly in relation to disadvantaged labour market groups
  • Employment and disability
  • Reconciliation of work and care
  • Policy learning and evidence within the public policymaking process

Dr Liz Oliver

  • Employment regulation and employment law within the UK and EU
  • Equality and inclusion - specific interests in disability and work
  • Gender and work - specific interests in shared parental leave and pregnancy and maternity
  • Precarious work
  • Migration
  • Understanding law in context and socio-legal studies
  • Qualitative research methods



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

Dr Danat Valizade

  • Institutional labour economics, with a specific focus on segmented labour markets
  • Employer-employee cooperation and mutual gains
  • Human resource management systems, employee and organisational outcomes, HR analytics
  • Applied quantitative methods

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.