Professor Karen Johnston
I am a Professor of Organisational Studies at the University of Portsmouth, and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Business and Law. I successfully led the Business and Management (UoA17) unit of submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), which was the largest unit of submission for the University.
My research focus is on public administration and management. Within this, my specific interests are in public governance and gender representation.
My work has been published in highly-respected journals, including the publication of my paper on women in public-private-voluntary sector ‘partnerships’ in Public Administration. I've also edited the book: The International Handbook on Public Administration and Governance by Edward Elgar and authored the book: Making and Managing Public Policy by Routledge.
In 2015, I was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences for my contribution to the study of gender equality. Then, in 2018, the American Society for Public Administration awarded me the prestigious Julia J. Henderson award for my outstanding contribution to public administration scholarship.
In 2002 I received my PhD from the University of Cape Town on the impact of public sector reforms on leadership within the civil service. This followed my degrees in social sciences and public administration from the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) and Ohio State University (USA).
I have worked for leading universities in South Africa, the USA and the UK, holding positions as a professor and as an Associate Dean for Research.
During my career in academia, I've published books, chapters and journal articles on the topic of public management and gender equality. I've acted as editor of the Journal of Public Policy and Administration and continue to serve on boards for journals such as the Public Administration Review.
Alongside my career in academia, I've worked for the Ohio Department of Development in the US, The South African Public Service Commission, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in the UK and the European Commission.
I'm actively engaged in academic and practitioner networks and have been an executive member of the International Research Society for Public Management and the European Group for Public Administration. I am the only academic in the field to have held both prestigious positions.
My research interests include:
- gender representation
- discourses in public organisations
I'm interested in improving the understanding of barriers and enablers to female representation, progression and influence on the gender equality policy agenda and public debate.
Two journal articles that reflect my research interests are:
- Women in public policy and public administration – Public Money & Management
- Representative bureaucracy, gender, and policing – Public Administration
PhD Research Supervision
I welcome enquiries and applications from students wishing to be supervised in PhD projects broadly within the area of public management and gender equality.
I lecture on public management, leadership, gender equality and research methods. My lectures are research-informed and involve a combination of classroom, blended and distance learning delivery. I focus my teaching on topical issues to help students inform their research on contemporary issues.
I also supervise undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral dissertations.
I am happy to take calls and emails from the media on my research, and am aware of the need to respond to journalists in a timely manner. Please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.