Funded PhD Opportunities

The Collaborative Dynamic in Social Entrepreneurs’ Decision Making

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK/International)
  • Department: Strategy, Enterprise and Innovation
  • PhD Supervisor: Professor Martina Battisti, Dr Xiaoti Hu

Project code: BUSM3930218   

Project description

Existing research has shown that collaborations can improve social enterprises’ access to resources and funding (Shaw & de Bruin, 2013), enhance social value creation (Pret & Carter, 2017), and generate greater social impact (Austin, Stevenson, & Wei-Skillern 2006). However, there is still little research on how collaborations unfold (de Bruin, Shaw, & Lewis, 2017), particularly in relation to the decision-making processes involved in these collaborative arrangements. Understanding how entrepreneurs make decisions in the context of uncertainty and ambiguity, which most social entrepreneurs suffer from, is central to explaining entrepreneurial success (McVea, 2009). Despite significant theoretical development in decision making in the general entrepreneurship literature, there is however a lack of focus on the role of “other people” in the decision-making process (Shepherd, 2011). This raises interesting questions about how decision-making in the context of social entrepreneurship will be affected by the collaborative dynamics between social entrepreneurs and other players across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

By exploring the collaborative dynamics in decision making in social entrepreneurship, this project will contribute to the social and general entrepreneurship literature by developing a theoretical framework on collaborative decision making in social entrepreneurship.

This project requires a methodological design that reflects the processual nature of decision-making and applicants are encouraged to explore novel methodological approaches such as for example experiments or scenarios in combination with for example a case study approach.

Supervisor Profiles

Dr Martina Battisti, Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Dr Xiaoti Hu, Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific Candidate Requirements

We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Professor Battisti at (02392 844833) or Dr Xiaoti Hu at (02392 844167).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

When applying, please quote project code: BUSM3930218.

Interview date: TBC.

Start date: October 2018.

Applications should include

  • a full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application

  • contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance

  • a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

  • proof of English language proficiency (for EU and international students)

All the above must be submitted by the 11th of February 2018. 

Funding notes

UK/EU students -  The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

International students - International students applying for this project are eligible to be considered for the Portsmouth Global PhD scholarships.

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