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People and organisation studies

Research People and organisation studies with The Open University

Our research in this area covers many of the key issues in the broad area of people and organisation studies and human resource management. We are a diverse department with researchers working in a variety of areas including organisational culture and change strategies, leadership, professional identity, ageing and work, gender and sexualities in the workplace, the impact of mobile technologies on work, operations and supply chain management, cross-boundary modes of working, practice-based learning, creativity and innovation, strategic and cross-national human resource management and critical organisational theory.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus 120 credits in research methods training or, ideally, a masters degree in Research Methods (MRes), which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January and may include the following. We also welcome part- and full-time self-funded applications in these areas:

  • Human resource management and development
  • Leadership development
  • Governance
  • Alternative perspectives on ways of organising
  • Organisational and individual identity
  • Emotional and cognitive factors in financial decision-making
  • Cross-cultural aspects of management
  • Organisation theory and critical management research
  • Operations and supply chain management
  • The international transfer of management practices and concepts
  • Work and practice-based learning
  • Wellbeing at work
  • Change strategies
  • Digitalisation of learning and teaching
  • Age at work
  • Volunteer experience in the digital age
  • Use of digital and mobile technologies at work
  • An investment game as platform for learning and research
  • Emotion, narrative and strategic decision-making
  • The disposition effect in financial trading, cognitive style and the regulation of emotion
  • Understanding the antecedents and outcomes of impulsive buying behaviour
  • Culture, institutions and the cross-national adoption of management practices
  • An ethic of care in organisational life
  • The academic as 'Authentic Leader'
  • Hermeneutics and sense-making
  • The politics of idiography and 'The Case Study'
  • Existential approaches to leadership ethics
  • Serious games for serious training
  • Gendered identities in the workplace
  • Mindfulness
  • The antecedents and dimensions of addiction to technology
  • E-resilience
  • Professionals becoming managers

Current/recent research projects

  • Emotion and financial decision making
  • From dataveillance to data economy: firm view on data protection
  • Smart phones as means of facilitating 'seductive' surveillance
  • An investigation of women’s perspectives and experiences of disability
  • A thematic analysis of leadership authenticity
  • Living the academic dream
  • Academic-student identities within the managerialised university
  • Gendered identities among ex-military personnel

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Lin Nilsen
+44 (0)1908 865365

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.