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Human resource (HR) management and leadership research

Explore our work in this area of expertise, 1 of 4 in our Organisational Studies and Human Resource Management

At a time of increasing social change, there's greater scrutiny than ever on how people are managed and led. In both large and small organisations, there's increasing pressure on the way in which leaders respond to issues such as gender, ethnicity, accountability and ethics.

But in the aftermath of recent financial crises and scandals, there's also increasing awareness on the need for organisations to conduct business ethically and responsibly. When the decisions of corporations can have an impact around the world, it's critical to investigate whether their practices are responsible.

Our research in Human Resource (HR) Management and Leadership focuses on the nature of leadership and management, and the cultures and practices which influence how people are led and work within organisations of all sizes.

We're exploring contemporary approaches to leadership, investigating the impact of diversity on organisations, and researching whether organisations need more regulation and compliance to ensure they are ethical and responsible.

Our research on gender equality in the public sector and creative industries is also helping inform organisations about the barriers and enabling female career progression to address gender imbalance.

The outputs of our research are regularly published in leading academic journals and publications, including Public Administration, Public Money and Management, and Public Management Review.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Ethical leadership challenges and the politics of change
  • Leadership development and coaching
  • Public sector management, leadership
  • Gender equality and diversity
  • Organisational space and sensory approaches to management
  • Leadership, entrepreneurship, sense making, identity, reputation and Daoist philosophy
  • Talent management – particularly the impact of national and organisational culture on how talent management is implemented
  • Global leadership competencies, repatriation and self-initiated expatriation


We use qualitative research techniques, such as ethnography, grounded theory and visual methods, to explore human resource practices and leadership from the ground up – and quantitative research methods including correlations, regressions and longitudinal models to measure relationships between human resource practices.
We also use a mixed method approaches including case studies of change and cross-subject analyses.

Collaborations and partners

Our collaborative research work includes colleagues at University of Portsmouth, Hong Kong Baptist University, University of New England and Western Sydney University exploring culture change in the banking and financial sectors in the UK, Australia and HKSAR.

Globally, we're collaborating with partners in South Africa, exploring representation in government and public management challenges. We're also working in Australia and Columbia examining contemporary challenges to public sector human resource management, and working through the International Research Society for Public Management to advance research in human resource management and practices.

Discover our areas of expertise

Human resource (HR) management and leadership is 1 of our 4 areas of expertise in our Organisational Studies and HR research area. Explore the others below.

Discover our areas of expertise

Human resource (HR) management and leadership is 1 of our 4 areas of expertise in our Organisational Studies and HR research area. Explore the others below.

Workplace learning and development

We're developing productive ways of learning-in-action & researching how adults learn best in workplace settings. Explore our workplace learning and development research.

Female and male employee attending an at-work seminar
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Employment relations

We're exploring how governments, employers and other agencies influence employment relations. Explore our employment relations research.

Law Photoshoot 19th November 2018
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Business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

We're conducting research into corporate responsibility, business ethics, and how we can promote a more responsible business culture. Explore our business ethics and corporate social responsibility CSR research.

Female employee wearing rainbow lanyard
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Our members

Foteini Kravariti Portrait

Dr Foteini Kravariti

Senior Lecturer

PhD Supervisor

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James McCalman Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor James McCalman

Professor of Leadership Studies

PhD Supervisor

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Karen Johnston Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor Karen Johnston

Associate Dean (Research and Innovation)

Professor of Organisational Studies

PhD Supervisor

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Liza Jane Howe-Walsh Portrait

Dr Liza Howe-Walsh

Reader in International Human Resources Management

PhD Supervisor

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Interested in a PhD in Human Resource Management?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Human Resource Management postgraduate research degrees page.