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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.

  • Professor recognised in review of Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

Professor Kirstie Ball, Professor of Organization at The Open University Business School has been invited to discuss revisions to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner on 21 July. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner will be holding a series of roundtable events with a variety of experts experienced and interested in the surveillance industry.

The review findings will be presented to Ministers in the autumn.

  • The Private Security State: Surveillance, consumer data & the war on terror

The Private Security State book coverProfessor Kirstie Ball, Professor of Organization at The Open University Business School (OUBS), has co-authored ‘The Private Security State? Surveillance, Consumer Data and the War on Terror’ - the first full-length academic text to address the enrolment of the private sector as the new data source for national security initiatives.

The book explores how a number of industrial sectors, including financial services, travel and latterly, communications, now provide the data which enable decisions about national risk and security deployment to be made. It shows that when businesses are required to send customer data to government, their systems and their employees become part of a wider security framework.

The book was written following a Leverhulme Project Grant called Taking Liberties: New Uses of Consumer Data in the UK. The research team was Professor Kirstie Ball, Professor Liz Daniel, Professor Sally Dibb, Maureen Meadows and Dr Keith Spiller from OUBS and Ana Canhoto from Oxford Brookes University.

The Private Security State? is published by Copenhagen Business School Press and is available online.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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.

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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