Doctor of Business Administration - Research topics

There are a number of DBA research topics across the various academic disciplines at the Henley Business School. These have been organised by research area. Only proposals that fall under one of the categories below will be considered. When writing your research outline, please indicate at the top of the proposal to which topic/faculty member (where applicable) your research outline corresponds.

Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour (topics organised by Research Centres)

Centre for Social and Organisational Studies

  • Virtue and integrity theories applied to problems of governance and agency in business, business and society and critical approaches to management
  • Cultural change (in particular industries, or in relation to the business and society relationship at large e.g. globalisation) and the nature of ethical issues arising for individuals and groups in organisations and in the organisation and society relationship
  • Challenges of ethical pluralism and relativism in relation to context and stakeholder problems
  • Morals and the limits of Markets; Challenges for the common good
  • The role of ethics of dialogue in organisations and society, the nature of dialogic ethics and agency
  • The role of businesses and international organisations in the development of universal humanistic and eco-centric ethics
  • Philosophical topics in organisation studies (especially questions about the ontology of organisations)
  • Proposals that use convention theory (sometimes called pragmatic sociology) and apply it to organisations
  • Proposals on alternative ways of valuing and prioritisation in general, or with a specific focus on healthcare
  • Any topics related to the philosophical foundations of economic thought
  • Gender, race, class in the workplace
  • Intersectional perspectives on employment and organisations
  • Elites and Professions
  • Professional status and inequality regimes
  • Critical perspectives on stress and well-being at work
  • Critical perspectives on power in organisations
  • Lacanian studies of organisational issues
  • Management in cultural and creative organisations, particularly legitimisation strategies and relations within creative clusters

Henley Centre for Engaging Leadership

  • Distributed Leadership in complex professionalized settings and strategies to facilitate its emergence
  • Project leadership change management
  • Leadership development processes to enable women to access senior positions and break the glass ceiling
  • Leadership dysfunction and its effect on organizational culture/wellbeing
  • Team leadership, team dynamics and team effectiveness)
  • Leadership and innovation-creativity on teams
  • Exploring organisational leadership capability
  • Energizing senior management teams
  • Developing leadership capacity on the job
  • Digital strategic leadership

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

  • The economics of entrepreneurship - Clusters and their evolution; Government Policies for the development of Small Business concerns and Clusters; The sources of Finance of Small and Medium-sized firms; Regional and National Systems of Innovation and their Evolution (all in relation to developed countries only)
  • Leadership and Management in Entrepreneurial and /or Family firms - The impact of Gender on Management in SMEs, Women in Entrepreneurship
  • Intermediation and market making
  • Cross-Cultural Entrepreneurship - Ethnic entrepreneurship

Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies

  • The relationship between organisational learning, continuity and change
  • Pathways to organisational UNlearning
  • How knowledge strategies contribute to organisational development and change
  • The qualities of ambidextrous leadership that facilitate organisational development
  • The role of paradoxical experience in facilitating learning
  • How conceptualisations of time affect intellectual capital and knowledge work
  • The contribution of knowledge management and organisational learning to organisational agility or dynamic capability development
  • The role of organisational learning andknowledge management to organisational resilience
  • Complexity and simplification, their role and implications in management decision making

International Business and Strategy

Member of faculty

Area for study (some flexibility will be required)

Elena Beleska-Spasova

International Business, Strategy, Performance, Competitive Advantage, RBV

Kristin Brandl

Offshoring, outsourcing, service operations management, service design, service production, knowledge management

Chris Brewster

International and Comparative Human Resource Management

Chul Chung

Managing people and knowledge in multinational enterprises, Strategic human resource management

Marc Day

Business Strategy, Operations Management, Operations Strategy, Supply Strategy, Resource-Based View

Stephane Girod

Corporate strategy, competitive strategy, strategy as process, organisational strategy, emerging-markets multinationals, business models, luxury goods, banking

Peder Greve

Internationalization Strategies, Performance, Multinational Enterprises, Top Management Teams, Mobility, Diversity, Regionalization, International Experience, Team Composition

Peter Miskell

Business History, Multinationals

Rajneesh Narula

International business, innovation, economic development

Lucy Newton

Business History, Financial history, UK retail banking, Business Ethics

Quyen Nguyen

Multinational subsidiary strategy and subsidiary performance, assessing foreign subsidiary performance, parent-subsidiary relationship in accounting and financial management, multinational subsidiary and development

Peter Scott

Consumption, owner-occupation, household behaviour, retailing, consumer goods industries, path dependence, technical change

George Tovstiga

Strategy Practice, Competitive Strategy, Strategic Innovation and Technology Management, R&D Strategy

Denise Tsang

New-to-the-world Innovation, Firm Growth, Institutional Environment

James Walker

Industrial Organisation, Attitudes to MNEs, Academic Performance and Pay, Consumption Patterns, Domesday England

Satwinder Singh

Preferred topics of research are IB, Strategy, and International HRM

Rehan ul-haq

Strategy, Alliances, International Business

Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting

Member of faculty

Area for study (some flexibility will be required)

Proposed methodology (if relevant)

Other comments

Prof Jill Atkins

1. Responsible Investment

Qualitative: interview

2. Social Accounting/Assurance

Prof Kecheng Liu

1. Business Informatics
2. Information Management
3. Entreprise Architecture
4. Business-IT Strategy

Prof Sharm Manwani

1. IT Leadership
2. Business Change

Dr Vaughan Michell

1. Health Informatics

tbd depending on student's focus

Flexible to student background and interests although medical, software, scientific and engineering backgrounds are encouraged

2. 3d printing and design Capability

tbd depending on student's focus

Flexible to student background and interests although scientific and engineering backgrounds are encouraged

3. Product and process design and optimisation
4. Internet of things
5. Process of invention and innovation
6. Knowledge Processes
7. Business Capability

Dr Keiichi Nakata

1. Knowledge Management

Activity Theory; Distributed Cognition; Semiotics; Entreprise Architecture; Actor Network Theory; Ethnography

2. Socio-Technical Systems
3. Cognitive Systems Engineering
4. Information Systems
5. Semantic Technologies
6. Smart Cities
7. Information Retrieval
8. Collaborative Systems
9. Technology Adoption
10. Behaviour Change Support Systems

Mr Peter Race

1. Operations and Process Management

Quantitative or qualitative methods

Second supervision only

2. Quality Management
3. Project Management

Dr Renata Stenka

1. International Financial Reporting

Mainly qualitative

Main focus on interdisciplinary research

2. Public Sector Accounting
3. Accounting Regulation
4. Multiplicity of functions of numerical signs (wider social context of financial information)

Dr Yin Leng Tan

1. Service Innovation

Case study research; action research

2. Service Science
3. Service System Design and Implementation

Dr Jessica Yang

1. Corporate Governance

Quantitative and Qualitative

2. Corporate Disclosures and reporting
3. Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility

Marketing and Reputation

Member of faculty

Area for study (some flexibility will be required)

Proposed methodology (if relevant)

Associate Professor Guy Champniss

Consumer behaviour, sustainability, prosocial behaviour, brand strategy, decision making, choice, behavioural science/economics

Quantitative methods - especially experimental design.

Professor Moira Clark

Organisational climate/culture and performance. Employee effort/resilience and performance. Online and off line customer experience.


Dr Anne Dibley

B2B relationships, Relationship marketing, Service dominant logic Value co-creation.

Qualitative methods preferred

Professor Yuksel Ekinci



International Marketing


eWOM< Customer Satisfaction, Service Quality


Professor Carola Hillenbrand

Applying psychological principles to study individual and organisational relationships. My research interests include: Engaged relationships (positive reputations and identities, trust/distrust, supportive behaviour and emotions). Responsible leadership (decision-making, empathy, corporate responsibility, balancing the needs of stakeholders). Succeeding through adversity (resilience, well-being, reputation-recovery).

Qualitative and quantitative

Professor Andrew Kakabadse

Strategic leadership, governance (corporate, public and third sector governance) ; board dynamics, ethics/ethical dilemmas for leaders, CSR, policy design/international relations.

Qualitative, Quantitative, Action Inquiry

Professor Nada Kakabadse

Strategic leadership, governance (corporate, public and third sector governance) ; board dynamics, ethics/ethical dilemmas for leaders, CSR, policy design/cosmopolitanism.

Qualitative, Quantitative, Action Inquiry

Dr Cristiana Lages

Service recovery, creativity in services, service innovation, frontline employees, behaviours and dysfunctional customer behaviour.


Professor Kevin Money

Identity, Identity Construction, Vulnerability, Responsible Leadership, Relationships, Forgiveness

Qualitative and quantitative

Dr Helen Stride

Not for profit, reputation and CSR, Values

Quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (interviews)

ICMA Centre (limited capacity)

  • Corporate Finance and Governance
  • Islamic Finance
  • Financial Regulation
  • Financial Econometrics
  • Volatility and Correlation Modelling
  • Historical Finance
  • Sports Finance
  • Pension Schemes
  • Asset-Liability Management
  • Futures Markets
  • Portfolio Management
  • Real Estate Finance