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Department of People and Organisations

The work of Department for People and Organisations (PO) can be considered under three main areas:

  • Organisational studies and human resource management
  • Organisational psychology and professional development
  • Management learning and organisational change

Contact details: To contact the Department of People and Organisations, please email our Department Secretary, Karen McCafferty.

  • People are not willing to trade privacy for security

Professor Kirstie Ball, Professor of Organization at The Open University Business School and Director of the Centre for Research into Information Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP) was interviewed by Documentally about her work on the EU Project SurPRISE (Surveillance, Privacy and Security). Professor Ball talks about her work around people’s acceptance of security technologies in Europe and how people want greater involvement in, and more information about surveillance and privacy.

Listen to the full interview via Documentally.

  • Business article wins Management Article of the Year award

Three researchers exploring workplace morale and its impact on business performance at call centres have claimed the highest accolade for management research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). The annual Management Articles of the Year competition celebrates the best in management and leadership research and thinking, and the winning article is one of five top-ranked essays recognised by CMI.

The winning work, ‘Morale: unravelling its components and testing its impact within contact centres’, was authored by Dr Ben Hardy of The Open University Business School (OUBS) and Dr Tanya Alcock and Dr Jon Malpass from BT’s Research and Innovation unit. Read more.

  • Emotional finance discussed in radio interview

Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, Associate Dean (International Strategy) and member of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin) at The Open University Business School featured on ShareRadio and talks about emotional finance and the role that emotion plays when it comes to investing.

Listen to the full interview via ShareRadio.

  • Professor Kirstie Ball features in openDemocracy

Professor Kirstie Ball, Professor of Organization at The Open University Business School has written an article for openDemocracy which looks at surveillance and human rights entitled Mass surveillance just doesn’t work. openDemocracy is a digital commons - a pluralist, high quality online space free and open to all - covering world affairs, ideas and culture.

You can read the full article via openDemocracy.

  • Internationalization and The Open University Business School 

Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, Associate Dean (International Strategy) at The Open University Business School (OUBS), features in an article ‘When Distance No Longer Matters’ by AACSB. The first part entitled The Open University’s Take on Distance Education and the Internationalization of their Curriculum sees Professor Fenton-O’Creevy talking about the challenges internationalization poses and the work OUBS is doing to meet those challenges. The article is available via the AACSB website.

The second part, It is The Open University’s Partnerships and Collaborations that Make their Worldwide Teaching Strategies both Viable and Effective can also be viewed via their website.

  • Q&A with Professor John Storey after OUBS is awarded £475,000 research grant

The Open University Business School has been awarded a major research grant by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). The grant award is £475,000 and the study will take place over 3 years. The scope of the study will extend across primary care, acute hospital care, community services and social care including the work of local authorities. The ways in which these bodies with the aid of clinical engagement and leadership can rethink and redesign health and social services is the core of the study. 

Click here to read the full Q&A with Professor John Storey (leader of the research team and member of the Responsibility and Regulation centre) to find out why this study is important, how it will be managed, which are the biggest challenges the research team will face and what is needed in order for this project to be considered a success. 


The Department has strengths in development and change strategies, practice based-learning, creativity and innovation, strategic and cross-national human resource management, surveillance studies, leadership and critical organisational theory. Staff conduct a wide range of research. Areas covered include:

Organisational studies and human resource management

  • Strategic and international human resource management
  • Cross-national comparative management
  • Innovation across supply chains and networks
  • Governance and incentives
  • Surveillance in organisations and society
  • Organisational and individual identity
  • Enterprise, the home-work interface, and home-based businesses

Organisational psychology and professional development:

  • Personal and professional development
  • Creativity in organisations, change strategies
  • Positive organisational development, applied positive psychology
  • Use of coaching and action learning in management education
  • Management and leadership development in small businesses
  • Critical approaches to leadership
  • Leadership in small and medium enterprises

Management learning and organisational change:

  • Practice and work-based learning
  • Action-centred approaches to change
  • Work-based risk
  • Narrative and conversational approaches
  • Cross-national management learning
  • The development of MBA education
  • Visual images/representations of management education/business schools

Department researchers are associated with the CETL in Practice-based Professional Learning, the proposed centre for International Management Learning and the inter-faculty Open Creativity Centre. Department staff hold grants from research-funding, government, commercial, charitable and educational institutions.

Latest research publication

Ball, K, Daniel, E, Stride, C  (2013)  'Dimensions of employee privacy: an empirical study', Information Technology and People, pp. (In press).

Academic Publications

Our academic publications can be found on Open Research Online (ORO). 


Members of the Department teach organisational behaviour, management of learning and change, professional development, human resource management, creativity, leadership, innovation, organisational culture and organisational development. They contribute at foundation, undergraduate, certificate, diploma, masters, MBA and CPD levels. We also host the CIPD accredited Masters in Human Resource Managment. Department staff are currently responsible for leading the following Open University Business School courses:

A course on Organisational Behaviour is under development. 

Department members

Research students

Academic focus

Ben HardyDr Ben Hardy

Creativity workshop

Joined by Dr Jane Henry, OUBS recently ran a creativity residential workshop, in this video hear how delegates intend to use creativity in their workplace.

Department news

The Big Money Test

How do you feel about money? Are you an impulsive shopper? Led by Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy and published by the BBC and the Friends Provident Foundation, The Big Money Test results show that there is far more to managing our money than financial know-how.

Emotional Finance

  • Mark Fenton-O'Creevy

    I explore what often gets missed by economists; the rich emotional relationships we all have with money and the financial decisions we make. Mark Fenton-O'Creevy.


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