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Professor Emma Bell

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Prof. of Organisation Studies/Director Research Degrees
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for People and Organisations
  • emma.bell

Professional biography

Emma Bell is Professor of Organisation Studies at the Open University.  Prior to joining the Open University in 2017, she was a professor at Keele University for five years. Before that she worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Warwick, Queen Mary University of London, University of Bath and Exeter University.  Emma is Joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Management Learning, Associate Editor for Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, and serves on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Learning & Education, Organization, Scandinavian Journal of Management and Human Relations. She is current Co-Vice Chair Research and Publication for the British Academy of Management and Past Chair of the Critical Management Studies Division of the Academy of Management. Her early working life included a period as a graduate management trainee in the UK National Health Service. Recently, Emma has been involved in projects that explore the meaning of contemporary craft work and the globalisation of management research. She is currently working on a project funded by the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI)  entitled 'Developing Empowering Methodologies in Management Research'.

Research interests

Emma’s research focuses on the ways in which people collectively construct meaning through their work. Key themes include: change and organizational loss, embodiment and media representations of management, spirituality and belief in organizations, and craft work businesses. Her approach draws on insights from the social sciences and humanities, and involves critical, interpretive analysis of mainly qualitative data. She also writes about methods and methodologies in management research. As well as publishing her work in international peer-reviewed journals, she is the author of Reading Management and Organization in Film (Palgrave 2008), co-author of Business Research Methods (Oxford University Press 4th edition 2015) and A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Management Research (Sage 2013). Emma is a co-editor of the Routledge Companion to Visual Organisation (2014) and Sage Major Works in Qualitative Research in Business and Management (2015).

Teaching interests

Emma’s teaching is in the areas of organisational behaviour, people management and the role of business in society. She takes a student-centred approach to the analysis of complex managerial problems, encouraging the creative integration of insights from sociology, anthropology, social psychology and management, and using case studies and films to encourage critical, reflexive analysis. She also regularly teaches doctoral students on programs in the UK and internationally, on issues related to research including visual methods, research ethics and qualitative analysis, and has contributed regularly to the Summer School on Research Methods in Management Studies, organized by Italian Academy of Business Administration and Management and the University of Naples.