The Department of Business Management is offering up to three PhD scholarships to start in the academic year 2018-19.  The term of the scholarships is three years. Successful candidates will be expected to make a contribution to activities in the Department in return for a fee-waiver, an annual maintenance allowance (currently set at £14,553 for 2017-18) and a research support allowance of £2,250 over the registered period of study.

We would welcome applications in any of the project areas which are listed below (please note that applicants should submit an application for only one project):


All applications must be submitted by 09 March 2018

Marketing Group

MK-1: Service Recovery using Lean Six Sigma: an action research. Service recovery and handling of customer complaints are important aspects of services marketing management. Customers evaluate companies’ response to his/her complaint in the state of dissatisfaction within the business transaction and engagement. Lean Six Sigma methodology contributes to services improvement by capturing the Voice of the Customer right first time and evaluating their requirement priorities using tools such as Kano Model. Thus, this study attempts to assess service recovery and complaint handling processes using Lean Six Sigma methodology and appropriate tools within service industries. The researchers will be choosing two local service organizations for data collection and action research will be used as the prime research methodology for this study. (Potential supervisor: Dr Babak Taheri and Professor Jiju Antony)

MK-2: Knowledge workers, including academics are expected to build a professional digital presence to disseminate research, promote their employer brand and engage with multiple internal and external stakeholders.  The processes and impacts of such digital labour, including whether situated practices are supported or constrained by institutional policy, is poorly understood. Drawing on theoretical perspectives such as performativity and governmentality, this PhD will examine the formalisation of the digital self of knowledge workers. The research will take a qualitative approach e.g, netnography and interviews to understand digital labour including accountability, professional identity and risks in this new workspace. (Potential supervisor: Dr Kathryn Waite and Professor Kate Sang)

MK-3: Digital marketing and performance measurement in hospitality and tourism sector. The role of digital marketing in organisations’ marketing management strategy has been expanding in the tourism and hospitality sector. Meanwhile, customers are gradually engaging with tourism and hospitality services through offline and online channels, managers have recognized the need to track theses engagements, but also to find ways for measuring their firm performance as well as improving their customer relationship capabilities and creativity. Thus, this study aims to investigate benefits and challenges faces tourism and hospitality services in this new digital area. (Potential supervisor: Dr Babak Taheri and Professor Umit Bititci)

MK-4: Considering the required size of the international response to climate change, the overconsumption of consumer goods is now becoming recognised as an area that must be addressed.  Consumer research is still required however upon which to base adaptation and mitigation strategies. This PhD will focus on explaining how consumption can be constrained by examining psychological and behavioural processes that help us adjust the utility gained from consumer goods.  This work will contribute to sustainability, obesity and memory research. (Potential supervisor: Dr Iain Black and Dr Michaela Dewar)


HRM Group

HRM-1: Understanding gender, chronic illness and employment: developing strategies for an inclusive workplace. Chronic illness remains under-researched within management studies, with extant research suggesting chronic health problems can negatively impact on quality of working life. Women’s health problems can carry additional stigma, with women often concealing their health problems. This PhD will examine the gendered experiences of chronic ill health for employees, identifying strategies for employer policies which are inclusive of those with chronic health problems. We anticipate a qualitative approach to understand the intersections of gender chronic illness, likely an interview-based approach with employees (to understand lived experiences of chronic illness and employment) and employers (to understand organisational policies and practices). (Potential supervisor: Professor Kate Sang and Dr James Richards)

Logistic and Supply Chain Group

LSC-1: Internet of Things for self-organising ecosystems. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes how products can communicate and share data. This has driven the development of smart products, which can use the shared data to make decisions and negotiate preferred outcomes. The resultant ecosystem is self-organising and therefore emergent, contrasting with current forms of organisation, which adopt a control paradigm and are predictable in nature. Whether a distributed intelligence within logistics system will be more efficient than existing centralised intelligence? To answer this research question, the study will collect primary data from retailers on existing origin and demand matrices for current logistics operations to populate an agent-based model that simulates distributed intelligence. (Potential supervisor: Dr Phil Greening and Dr Abhijeet Ghadge)

LSC-2: Cyber security and diversity in digital supply chains. 2017 incidents at NHS UK (international malware attack) and British Airways (employee error) highlight the cyber contagion risks for integrated supply chains; escalating the profile of cyber threats (intentional and accidental) (Urciuoli and Hintsa, 2017). The emergent cyber risk literature is mainly concerned with cyber risks at the focal firm-level. The buyer-supplier literature has for many years favoured integration and sharing in supply chains. The current trajectory of cyber risks threatens diversity in supply chains, favouring larger, incumbent organisations with the perceived resources for effective cyber security. In supply chains growing awareness of cyber risks will disproportionately affect small and medium sized enterprises – key sources of innovation – and this threat to supply chain diversity is not currently addressed in literature. Although some initial qualitative work is anticipated, the research design is expected to be quantitative which would also generate and improve impact in this cutting edge and policy sensitive area. (Potential supervisor: Dr Abhijeet Ghadge and Dr Nigel Caldwell)

LSC-3: The lead customer model in B2B. The new industrial strategy includes a major shake-up of how innovation is to be encouraged. The move is basically to shift support away from long term cash intensive ‘science’ led start-ups [the hard or silicon valley model] to a ‘softer’ alternative the ‘lead customer model’ . The lead customer model is said to have made a major contribution to the success of most recent high profile UK start-ups – Dyson Ltd, Renishaw plc, Oxford Instruments, Arm, Domino Printing Sciences, Cambridge Silicon Radio, Autonomy, Aveva. Under the lead customer model innovators use development and consulting contracts from lead customers to generate revenue earlier, and critically develop their innovation based on real world customer needs. To date, there is little research on how B2B lead customer start-up relationships work, and how employee and employer can be aligned. Thus, this study will seek to address such a research gap using a mixed-method approach. (Potential supervisor: Dr Nigel Caldwell and Dr Babak Taheri)

Strategy, Operations and Performance Group:

SOP-1: Infrastructure Projects Vs the Infrastructure System: The Policy Strategy of the Scottish National Infrastructure Plan. In 2008, the Scottish Executive launched the Scottish National Infrastructure Plan (SNIP) to stimulate – via a mix of public and private sector action – a widespread renewal of the Scotland’s infrastructure system (SIS). This investment plan cut across both economic and social infrastructure and sought to offer a single integrated initiative for the upgrade of the regional infrastructure system.  The aim of this proposed work is to examine the SNIP through the multi-disciplinary lens of policy strategy (this will involve both project management and political economy) to assess the extent to which systemic approaches to the SIS have been followed within the SNIP. It will seek to address whether the needs of the SIS were adequately addressed within SNIP and the extent to which the focus was upon individual projects to meet short term needs. (Potential supervisor: Dr Colin Turner and Dr Amos Haniff)

SOP-2: The organisation of digitalised ventures. Digitalisation is transforming how firms organise for value creation and delivery. It challenges the traditional organisational design, structure, culture, infrastructure and the way we interact and communicate (Yoo et al, 2012; McDermot et al, 2013). Digitalisation has transformed traditional organizations such as banks, retails, media and enabled the emergence of various new industries from social networking to online entertainment and new business models of the shared economy such as taxicab or lodging business. We call for research on organisational economics of such firms, from traditional large firms who adopt digitalisation as part of their organisational strategy to new digitalised ventures: how they organise differently for innovation and value appropriation. (Potential supervisor: Dr Yen Tran and Professor Umit Bititci)

SOP-3: Continuous Improvement (CI) methodologies in the Hospitality and Tourism sector. CI methodologies remain underexplored in the Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) literatures. Given the lack of CI theorization and Service-Dominant(S-D) logic in practice in the Hospitality and Tourism (H&T) sector, we suggest that CI provides the practical tools, methodology and roadmap to be adapted for the sector. This research will advance Service-Dominant theory by exploring the impact of CI methodologies within the H&T sector. Given the nature of CI, longitudinal case studies are likely to be most useful in this research project. (Potential supervisor: Professor Jiju Antony and Dr Babak Taheri)

SOP-4: Lean and its impact on Business Performance in the UK Public Sector organisations. Although a few empirical studies have been published on the impact of Lean on Business Performance in manufacturing companies, there are no empirical studies that exist in the current literature on the impact of Lean on Business Performance in public sector organisations. This research will explore the use of Organisational Behaviour and Project Management theories to understand and explain how Lean Practices impact Business Performance in the context of UK public sector organisations such as HMRC, local councils, Police force, Higher Education, NHS, etc. (Potential supervisor: Professor Jiju Antony and Dr Amos Haniff)

SOP-5: Circular Economy Performance Measures – A Systems Perspective. The purpose is to critically evaluate the current performance measurements used, usually badged as green, sustainability, environmental or CSR measures from a Circular Economy (CE) System perspective. The objective would be to make a contribution to organisational control theory. The project will need to examine CE as a system and develop technical and social controls to optimise the systems behaviour. The results of the research is also likely to have a significant impact on policy. (Potential supervisor: Professor Umit Bititci and Dr Amos Haniff)


All applications must be submitted by 09 March 2018

Entry requirements

All applications will be reviewed within the relevant department with a shortlisting decision made based on qualifications, the research proposal and the availability of a supervisory team.  Short listed applicants must have the equivalent of a 1st class honours undergraduate degree, or a Masters degree with an average mark of 65% or higher and a dissertation mark of 65% or higher.  Applicants who are unsure if their qualifications meet the minimum criteria should contact  Please note that possession of the minimum qualifications does not guarantee shortlisting for interview.

How to apply

Please submit your application online and state clearly on your application that you are applying for a PhD scholarship and quote the relevant project Reference.

In order that your application can be processed, please ensure that all the supporting documents listed below are submitted with your application:

1.   Research Proposal (approximately 5 – 8 pages)  

On the front page of your research proposal, please ensure that you state the relevant project Reference.

The research proposal should contain as much as possible of the following: an introduction or outline of the proposed topic; a statement of objectives and/or specific research questions; a summary of some of the relevant literature which supports the research objective(s); an indication of the intended research methodology; an indication of the theoretical structure and/or conceptual outline; a provisional timetable of the major phases of the research process; results expected from the research e.g. practical value of the research or possible contributions to knowledge or policy or methodology.  At this stage we are not looking for a definitive document but merely an indication that you have thought through most of the above issues.

Please note that work submitted may be subject to screening via plagiarism software.

2. Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates

Copies of full academic transcripts from all previous academic degree courses and copies of degree certificates for degrees already awarded.  If you are currently pursuing a degree course please provide all available marks to date.

3. Curriculum Vitae

A CV should be submitted.

4. References

If you have references available these should be submitted with your application.

English language requirements

If you have not already studied a degree programme that was taught and examined in the medium of English we require evidence of language proficiency.   For IELTS: the minimum overall IELTS score is 6.5 with no score lower than 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

Further information can be found at

Queries may be directed to