Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



Business and Management

Start dates

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6-year part-time PhD project, to commence in February 2021.

The PhD will be based in the School of Business and Law and will be supervised by Professor James McCalman.

The Faculty of Business and Law offers funding to attend conferences (currently £550), training (currently £450), and a work-based placement (currently a maximum of £3,000 tied up to the period of 12 weeks).

This Self-funded PhD research will explore whether companies should be looking at strengthening the role of their directors and how they provide Leadership in Compliance to ensure accountability is achieved. Leadership, as argued, is showing the way, ensuring independence and diversity at the top and developing the skillsets of leaders towards establishing compliance cultures. How do top firms develop their top leaders? You should be interested in exploring whether supporting the professionalization of directorship is feasible given the diversity of businesses and the diverse scale of organizations. If not, is providing directors with continuous formal training and mentorship indispensable?

Similarly, in the digital age where technological innovation and intense competition mean that no amount of traditional or technical experience can equip directors to deal with the
dynamic challenges of a new business environment how do leaders cope? The research methodology is open to discussion and agreement but applicants must be able to discuss their intended approach, its justification and how this might be achieved.

The research should take a focus that sees leadership not as a replacement nor a substitute for laws and for governance codes. They are complementary; if directors cannot lead, they should not be appointed to leadership positions of companies. The means of bridging the gap of CG Code and the law is Leadership in Compliance. This notion will be developed and reviewed within organizations and will be a crucial notion in addressing the ongoing debate about directors’ responsibilities in achieving accountability. The research although not industry specific, will need to adopt a global perspective and this will influence the types of sectors explored.

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2020/2021 fees (applicable for October 2020 and February 2021 start)

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*

International full-time students: £15,100 p/a*

International part-time students: £7,550 p/a* 

*All fees are subject to annual increase

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 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.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Professor James McCalman ( 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.  

When applying please quote project code: OSHR4651020

October start

Apply now

February start

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