Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



School of Organisations, Systems, and People

Start dates

October 2023

Application deadline

6 April 2023

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2023. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Business and Law, and will be supervised by Professor Samantha Parsley and Dr Natasha Gjorevska.

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£17,668 for 2022/23). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £2,000 towards fieldwork. In addition, the Faculty supports conference costs with a contribution of £550 and training costs with a contribution of £450.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Investigating gendered dynamics in all-female organisations
  • Opportunity to study the UK music industry
  • Critical, multi-method research design
  • Strong potential for non-academic impact and business engagement
  • Achieving academic publications while studying for your PhD

The project will investigate relational dynamics within all-female organisations, collectives and businesses in the music industry, with a particular focus on competition and negative, so-called ‘toxic’ behaviours towards other women. This is an under-researched and controversial area of gender, work and organisation connecting with wider literature problematizing gendered notions of competition. It responds to calls within that work for more research on personal and organisational impacts of competitive pressures in the workplace (Mavin and Yusupova 2020). Recent research shows that women in supposedly ‘women friendly’ environments can lack empathy with other women and withhold solidarity (Miliopoulou & Kapareliotis 2021), but the literature on all-women organisations and collectives is scant, suggesting a need for more research in this area – particularly in male-dominated and/or STEM industries where entrepreneurship is regarded to be an ‘emancipatory’ career option for women (Sharma 2022). The project will specifically explore structural intersectional dynamics that may drive women to behave in these ways.

A critical and predominantly qualitative methodology is proposed in order to capture interpretive and political processes likely to be in evidence. Methods will involve (1) critical discourse analysis incorporating digital and visual components, of all-female organisations’ web presence and industry press about them; (2) an anonymous industry-wide survey, given the potentially sensitive ‘taboo’ character of the topic and (3) a programme of semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of women working in all-female organisations in order to generate in-depth data about experiential issues emerging from stages 1 and 2 above. Access will be possible via the first supervisor’s networks developed during her Fellowship exploring careers and gender issues in electronic music. 

The project will be conducted as a ‘Compilation Thesis’ during which the student will prepare and submit 4 manuscripts for publication, in order to maximise their academic career development.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.


  • Experience of using qualitative research techniques
  • Background in gender and organisation/ management studies
  • Critical, enquiring attitude
  • Ability to self-organise and work on own initiative
  • Ethically sensitive individual
  • Excellent academic writing skills



  • Direct experience of, or interest in the music industry
  • Familiarity with survey methodology and/or quantitative analysis
  • Experience of researching sensitive topics
  • Wish to pursue an academic career


How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor Parsley ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

Please also include a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of your proposed research design – including how it meets the stated objectives, the challenges this project may present, and how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code OS&P8090423 when applying and submit all required documentation.