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Postgraduate research at Henley Business School

Management (Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour) PhD Opportunities

At a glance

  • Benefit from a dynamic research environment and dedicated support
  • Join postgraduate research students from all over the world
  • Engage with executive leaders and the practitioner community
  • Programme features personal development modules and workshops
  • Research driven by a number of leading centres within the department
Subject area(s)
3 years
Programme Director
Ben Laker Photo 2 75nnwalis
Professor Benjamin Laker


As a postgraduate research student at Henley, you will develop your critical thinking, intellectual capacity and creativity. In this PhD programme, you will join students from all over the world. You will also benefit from a dynamic research environment and outstanding facilities.

Our faculty continuously publishes in internationally well-known and highly rated journals. This includes the Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, British Journal of Sociology, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Organisation Studies, The Leadership Quarterly, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Organization Science, British Journal of Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, International Journal of Management Reviews, Group and Organisation Management.

Faculty have also published books with the following imprints: Routledge, Sage, JAI Press, Edward Elgar and Harvard Business Review Press.

Please note that the Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour PhD programme does not offer a start date outside of September. You are expected to join us full-time. It is only in exceptional circumstances that we offer part-time or distance learning PhDs. If necessary, for your training, you may be required to come to the University earlier to attend some preparatory courses.

The module descriptions set out on this page are correct for modules being taught in the current academic year. Optional module listings are indicative and may be subject to change.

Year One: You will have to attend modules examined according to Henley Business School rules. These modules include research methods and other areas required for your area of concentration;

Confirmation of Registration: In the middle of your second year, you will present and defend your fully developed research proposal, consisting of a substantive document of around 10,000 words;

Years Two and Three: The remaining part of your PhD studies will be devoted to complete your thesis before your viva examination. The maximum amount of time you are allowed before the viva examination is four years of full-time study.

Year One

During your first year of studies, you will be required to:

  • Attend and obtain at least 60 credits from PhD/Masters level modules in research methods and other relevant areas (see below);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School (overseeing PhD studies within the University of Reading);
  • Attend the Preparing to Teach training programme (which is necessary to be able to complete any teaching-related activities within Henley Business School);
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s).

Required taught component

All LOB first year students are expected to take the following modules:

A 20 credit module focusing on literature review – generally we recommend Introduction to Thesis Literature Review (MMD001), but Understanding Management and Financial Research (ICM116) is an acceptable alternative for students looking to focus on quantitative stream
A 20 credit module in Advanced Qualitative Methods (MMD002), blended with the Advancing Academic Practice Programme
A 20 credit module Pedagogy Seminar (MMD012)

If you are interested in the module description form containing the overall learning outcomes and description of the modules, please visit this link (click on the most recent academic year and then on Henley Business School; modules are listed by code in alphabetical order).

Compulsory modules Credits

The module aims to deepen students’ understanding of qualitative research, particularly in the area of business, organisational, social and management studies.

Academic authors
Professor Karen Jansen
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Through taking this module, students should gain a greater insight into a variety of pedagogical topics that have a social or ethical aspect for business teaching international students. They should be able to discuss in depth both practical and theoretical issues relating to the responsibility and responsiveness of business school teaching.

Academic authors
Yelena Kalyuzhnova002 75e5pfilw
Professor Yelena Kalyuzhnova
20 [10 ECTS credits]
Optional modules Credits

The module aims to provide students in the Business School with an understanding of all the issues involved in researching, preparing, and writing a literature review for their thesis, together with the specific techniques and resources involved.

Academic authors
Professor peter scott 397 3 Peter Scott 75e5pfi6j
Professor Peter Scott
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aim to equip new PhD students with clear understanding of the necessary requirements for obtaining a PhD at the ICMA centre.

Academic authors
Dr alfonso dufour 397 3 Alfonso Dufour 75e5pfi5e
Dr Alfonso Dufour
20 [10 ECTS credits]

After 15 to 18 months from the start of your PhD you will submit a substantive research proposal of approximately 10,000 words that will be defended in front of faculty members and/or assessed by independent examiners. This process will coincide with your confirmation of registration and, if successful, it will grant you the status of PhD candidate.

The research proposal will be a significant development of the initial proposal you submitted for your application. It will include material you may have produced during the first year modules in research methods (e.g. literature review, methodologies, data description). If you plan to do a PhD thesis combining three papers, you are expected to include a draft of the first paper in your research proposal. Alternatively, if you intend to use a book-like structure for your thesis, the document should include the draft of at least one of the three/four key chapters.

Years Two and Three

During your second and third years, PhD students are expected to:

  • Continue to work on your PhD dissertation drafting the other two papers / key chapters;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School;
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Contribute to Business School and departmental teaching/research activities and events;
  • Present posters/papers at national/international conferences;

MGIMO Double PhD Partnership

Henley Business School is excited to announce a new opportunity to study for a Double PhD in partnership with MGIMO University, Moscow, Russia. The Double PhD in Management, Finance, International Business allows students to be jointly supervised by academics from each institution, spending time studying and researching in both Reading and Moscow. Students will be required to meet the entry criteria of both institutions and a study arrangement will be agreed to meet the student, supervisor and research needs. Before applying, we advise that you contact your potential supervisor first to discuss this with them. An overview of the Double PhD Partnership with MGIMO can be found here.

For information on PhD funding and fees, please see the information below. Students will not be charged additional fees for taking part in this programme, although there will be some associated travel costs.

The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change.

How can Henley Careers work with you?

We have an award-winning careers team here to support you through your time at Henley and four years after graduating.

Henley Careers and Professional Development run numerous events throughout the autumn and spring terms to help you gain industry experience. These events are aimed to enhance your professional development and network with employers. We also offer one-to-one career coaching appointments where you can talk to a Careers Consultant about your professional development. This may include planning your ideal career journey or building confidence in a particular area. It could also involve practicing for interviews or having your CV checked.

Continuing your career

A PhD in the area of Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour can open doors to a successful career in academia and other organisations. This includes large multinationals, leading consulting firms, and governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide.

What our students have gone on to do

Our PhD graduates have gone on to Post-Doctoral Fellow positions at Henley Business School, lectureship positions at Portsmouth University, the University of Central London and Kuwait National University, and other research posts across the world.

Henley Business School’s research in the School of Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour is driven through the following leading centres: the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, Centre for Business Ethics and Sustainability, Centre for Euro Asian Studies, the Henley Centre for Leadership, Centre for China Management and Global Business and the Henley Forum. Many of our research centres have active membership from a wide range of international leading companies providing plenty of opportunity to engage with executive leaders and the practitioner community.

We welcome applicants seeking to conduct full-time postgraduate research in the following fields:

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • Female entrepreneurship trends, behaviours: barriers to growth, emerging markets
  • Family business succession - medium to large firms in different countries
  • Innovation, knowledge spillovers and creativity
  • Regional entrepreneurship, ecosystems and institutions
  • Regional economic development and entrepreneurship
  • Global mobility of entrepreneurs
  • Indigenous leadership and entrepreneurship in Chinese overseas subsidiaries
  • Historical approaches to entrepreneurship - with specific reference to the historic evolution of entrepreneurship in the pharmaceutical, retailing and food sectors
  • Entrepreneurship in the creative industries
  • Networks and clusters
  • Patents and innovation
  • Big data and data analytics for entrepreneurial decision making
  • Digital business models and digital entrepreneurship
  • Artificial intelligence in entrepreneurship and management
  • Industry 4.0 in manufacturing and services
  • CSR and sustainability in entrepreneurial and/or family firms
Centre for Business Ethics and Sustainability
  • 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 Leadership
  • Distributed leadership in complex professionalised 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 organisational culture/wellbeing
  • Team leadership, team dynamics and team effectiveness
  • Leadership and innovation-creativity on teams
  • Exploring organisational leadership capability
  • Energising senior management teams
  • Developing leadership capacity on the job
  • Digital strategic leadership
  • Transforming organisations and culture
Centre for Euro Asian Studies
  • Energy economics with particular reference to oil and gas industries
  • Local content policy in resource-rich countries
  • Business and economic challenges in Eurasia
  • Sustainable development in Euro-Asian region

Centre for China Management and Global Business

  • International entrepreneurship, regional development and institutional development
  • Global talent mobility and expatriates
  • Urbanisation and climate change
  • Financial and banking systems
  • Digital servitisation and ecosystems
  • Delivery system design and servitization

The Henley Forum

  • Communities, organisational networks, collaboration
  • Sport organisations and sport leadership
  • Action research methodology and practice focused research
  • Leadership in complex organisations
  • Knowledge management
  • Organisational learning
  • Organisational development
  • Organisational change
  • Leadership in complexity and change
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Organisational networks

PhD Supervisors

Below are a list of potential PhD supervisors that you will be able to contact.

Dr Adeyinka Adewale

Associate Professor of Leadership Ethics and Entrepreneurship

Dr Amal Ahmadi

Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour

Professor Kleio Akrivou

Professor of Business Ethics and Moral Development

Professor Maksim Belitski

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Dr Dorota Bourne

Associate Professor of Coaching and Change Management

Professor Claire Collins

Emeritus Professor

Professor Abby Ghobadian

Emeritus Professor

Professor Andrew Godley

Pro-Dean of Resources and Partnerships

Dr Ana Graça

Lecturer in Leadership

Dr Irina Heim

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Organisational Behaviour and Entrepreneurship

Dr Elizabeth Houldsworth

Associate Professor of Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour

Professor Karen Jansen

Professor in Leadership and Change

Dr Rebecca Jones

Associate Professor in Coaching

Dr Marrisa Joseph

Associate Professor of Organisation Studies and Business History

Professor Yelena Kalyuzhnova

Vice Dean (International)

Professor Yipeng Liu

Professor in Management and Organisation Studies

Professor Marcello Mariani

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management

Professor Jane McKenzie

Professor of Management Knowledge and Learning

Professor Benjamin Laker

Professor of Leadership

Professor Jonathan Passmore

Professor of Coaching and Behavioural Change

Dr Tatiana Rowson

Lecturer in Coaching

Dr Stephen Simister

Associate Professor of Programme and Change Management

Dr Lebene Soga

Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Dr Divyata Sohal

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Organisational Behaviour and Knowledge Management

Professor Bernd Vogel

Professor in Leadership

Dr Chris Woodrow

Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour

Contact us

For more information please contact Alex Baker.

Telephone: 0118 3788691
“History, location and triple-accreditation led me to choose Henley to pursue my PhD. Grounded in the Thames Valley, I had the opportunity to acquire valuable knowledge being in contact with a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem of both academics & practitioners”
Matteo Borghi PhD student, Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour Management (Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour) PhD Opportunities