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Funded PhD Opportunities in Leadership & Human Resource Management

Northumbria University is a research-rich, business focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. 

Results from the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) see us rise to 23rd place, climbing from our positions of 50th in 2014, and 80th in 2008.  Northumbria University is the sector’s largest riser in research power in the UK. 

Below you can find our available studentships for Leadership and Human Resource Management.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student. Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

Immigration Health Surcharge

If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.

Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England

Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see  

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of courses: 1 October 2023 TBC

Advert Reference: RDF23/LHRM/VU

This PhD project seeks to explore intersectional experiences of meaningful work in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 10 – Reducing Inequality). The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal on Reduced Inequality (SDG10) calls for reducing structural inequalities based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or other status within or across countries, and yet, research on progress towards the SDGs at an organizational level has been limited (e.g., Heras‐Saizarbitoria et al., 2022). There is a widespread lack of knowledge about how organizations are contributing to and addressing SDGs and particularly, the role of employees (e.g., Mhlanga et al., 2018).  

Intersectionality theory (Crenshaw, 1989; Collins, 1990) asserts that it is the way in which social categories shift in their meaning, depending on social context, relationships, and interactions of individuals with one another that create privilege or oppression. Therefore, in order to address the dynamic processes of power and privilege as they are played out in intersections of social relations and within organizational practices, processes, actions, and meanings, an intersectional lens offers conceptual possibilities through which to examine the nexus of meaningful work and inequality. Existing research has demonstrated that meaningful work that promotes equality is influenced by societal and cultural contexts (e.g., Lepisto & Pratt, 2017; Michaelson, 2019; Mitra & Buzzanell, 2017, Vu, 2020, 2021) and the way individuals develop virtuous dispositions (e.g., Beadle, 2017; 2019; Beadle & Knight, 2012) over time. Recent studies have integrated intersectionality to explore a wide range of intersecting sources of oppression, including sexuality, class, ethnicity, religion, citizenship status, and age (Collins, 2019) that helps us to understand more about the different ways in which work is experienced as meaningful. For instance, spiritual traditions can influence the interplay of subjective and normative interpretations of meaningful work (Vu & Burton, 2021), and ragpickers in the lowest caste in Indian society can construct a set of positive meanings from their work (Shepherd et al., 2021). However, more work needs to be done to explore how intersections of age, nationality, ethnicity, religion, cultural norms, and expectations of a particular society interface with meaning-making at work (e.g., Bailey et al., 2019b, Lysova et al., 2019; Vu & Burton, 2021) and how these facilitate organizational practices that embrace the dissemination of SDG10.

This project seeks to explore novel and exciting new pathways of research exploring meaningful work that facilitates an intersectional lens. Successful applicants are encouraged to shape this outline to their own interests paying attention to novelty in their choice of intersections, nature of work, organizational and cultural contexts. We welcome applications exploring contexts in both the UK and internationally. We also welcome different methodological approaches for data collection (e.g., qualitative, ethnography approaches, etc.) to capture the exploratory nature of the study and innovative methods which consider the researcher/researched power dynamics. We seek a motivated applicant with evidence of appreciating power and privilege dynamics to join this multi-disciplinary research.

This project is supervised by Dr Mai Chi Vu. for informal queries, please contact


Beadle, R. (2017) “Virtue and the Case for Meaningful Work” In Sison, A., Fontrondona, J and G. Beabout. (Eds.) Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business, New York: Springer. 835-843.

Beadle, R. (2019). “Work, Meaning and Virtue” In Yeoman, R., Bailey, K., Madden, A and Thompson, M. (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Meaningful Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 73-87.

Vu, M. C. (2020). How the contextual constraints and tensions of a transitional context influence individuals’ negotiations of meaningful work–the case of Vietnam. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-27.

Vu, M. C., & Burton, N. (2021). The Influence of Spiritual Traditions on the Interplay of Subjective and Normative Interpretations of Meaningful Work. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-24.

Vu, M. C., & Burton, N. (2021). Bring Your Non-self to Work? The Interaction Between Self-decentralization and Moral Reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-23.



Advert Reference: RDF23/LHRM/MEMON

The aim of the project is to examine the potential for re-innovating public service delivery through exploring narratives and strategies of value creation (which impact strategy, commissioning, leadership, and service management). Within the scope of the project, the enquiry will examine how public service delivery can be better understood and improved through value creation in public service organisations. This area of enquiry invites research efforts because ideas surrounding value creation (i.e., its theory as positioned in the Public Management literature) can be quite difficult to translate into practice. For this reason, ‘value creation’ as a concept and its application seldom attract the attention of public service practitioners.


Theoretically, there will be scope within the project to explore concepts such as service dominant logic, value creation, co-production, complexity, public policy and reform, professional sense-making, public private partnerships, devolution, deregulation, managerialism, and new public governance. The project and its research will offer the opportunity to address the arising debate that public services do not necessarily lead to value creation and to the contrary, may contribute to making service user’s lives more complex.


The project will offer the opportunity to undertake a study based in health, social care and/or local authority organisation settings. It will also offer the opportunity to undertake a study involving comparative cases across the public sector (i.e., in health, social care and/or local authority organisations). Furthermore, the project also offers the chance to undertake an enquiry based on novel forms of public service organising such as an integrated health and social care partnerships, public private partnership initiatives, and public-sector devolution projects.  Such research is welcomed given the broad consensus that there remains a lack of empirical evidence and a lack of case examples surrounding such novel forms of public service design.


This project proposal sits with the Public Policy and Management research group at Newcastle Business School. The project supervision team will consist of Dr Ally Memon and Dr Lorraine Johnston who both have experience of supervising doctoral research in the field of public management. 

This project is supervised by Dr Ally Memon. for informal queries, please contact


Cui, T., and Osborne, S. P. (2022). New development: Value destruction in public service delivery—a process model and its implications. Public Money & Management, 1-4.


Kinder, T., Six, F., Stenvall, J., Talonen, A. and Memon, A. (2021) Emerging Governances, different Perspectives. International Public Management Review, 21(1), 5-26


Stenvall, J, Kinder, T., Memon, A. and Six, F. (2021) Relational leadership in collaborative governance ecosystems. Public Management Review DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2021.1879913


Fenwick, J. and Johnston, L. (2020) Leading the combined authorities in England: A new future for elected mayors? Public Money & Management, 40(1), 14-20.


Fenwick, J. and Johnston, L. (2019) Public Enterprise and Local Place: New Perspectives on Theory and Practice, Routledge.


Russell, E, Lloyd-Houldey, A., Memon, A. and Yarker, J. (2019) Factors Influencing Uptake and Use of a New Health Information App for Young People, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 36(4), pp. 222-240.


Johnston and Fenwick (2018) Public Entrepreneurship: Is Local Government Necessary to Deliver Economic Development, The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government, Taylor & Francis.


Memon, A. and Kinder, T. (2017) Co-location as a catalyst for service innovation: a study of Scottish health and social care. Public Management Review, 19(4), pp. 381-405


Advert Reference: RDF23/LHRM/NGUYEN

Being healthy and happy is the life goal of individuals; however, many of us are miserable and restless in juggling work, career and family. Work can make us dissatisfied and suffer occupational stress due to high job demands, low resources, unhealthy interpersonal relationships and poor work conditions, stated by the World Health Organization. Since 2012, the United Nations has generated the well-being of individuals as one of the sustainable development goals for all organisations in the world (i.e., Strategic Goal 3). The International Labour Organization (ILO) stresses that 'prevention to promote a safe and healthy working environment, which is a fundamental principle and right at work' (ILO, 2022). Nonetheless, less than 40% of UK organisations take proactive approaches to employee well-being (CIPD, 2022). Globally, more than 60% of workers from 25 countries reported a lack of leadership support regarding their well-being (The Adecco Group, 2021). More than ever, research on healthy workplaces and the well-being of workers after the pandemic has become topical because exhausted and stressed workers are unhappy, disengaged and unproductive, thereby leading to career dissatisfaction and intention to leave (Teo et al., 2020; Nguyen et al., 2019).


Happy and satisfied workers are likely to perform work well with energetic, committed and enthusiastic attitudes and behaviours (Teo et al., 2020; Nguyen et al., 2019). In recent years, positive organisational scholars have extended research on psychological well-being to understand what makes people happy, engaged, and satisfied with their careers and life. For example, Lesener et al. (2020) showed that organisational factors such as organisational climate, job autonomy, job control, development opportunities and positive interpersonal relationships motivate employees to be more engaged and fulfilled. Effective leadership behaviours of direct supervisors also stimulate the positive psychological well-being of subordinates (Plimmers et al., 2022). Although the body of research on psychological well-being is substantial and has identified a range of antecedents and consequences, previous research has rarely looked at a theoretical framework of different factors at the sociocultural, organisational, team, and individual levels that influence the psychological well-being and career fulfilment of employees. This project will provide new insights into this stream of research by examining what and how factors across macro, meso and micro levels can foster or impede psychological well-being and career satisfaction. Accordingly, this project aims to advance the literature by:

Identifying the sociocultural factors and their impacts on how employees experience work and career;

Examining organisation-, team and work-related factors and their influences on the psychological well-being and career satisfaction of employees;

Exploring personality and individual characteristics affecting how employees perceive and experience work and career;  

Investigating the interactions between the sociocultural, organisational, team and individual factors in fostering psychological well-being and career satisfaction; and

Understanding the policies and practices to promote healthy working lives for workers and organisations.


This PhD project will have a mixed-methods, sequential design in three years, comprising a systematic literature review, in-depth interviews and quantitative fieldwork. Domestic or international PhD students are welcome to take this opportunity to start an academic career.


This project is supervised by Dr Diep Nguyen. For informal queries, please contact


Lesener, T., Gusy, B., Jochmann, A., & Wolter, C. (2020). The drivers of work engagement: A meta-analytic review of longitudinal evidence. Work & Stress, 34(3), 259-278.

Nguyen, D. T., Teo, S. T., Grover, S. L., & Nguyen, N. P. (2019). Respect, bullying, and public sector work outcomes in Vietnam. Public Management Review, 21(6), 863-889.

Plimmer, G., Nguyen, D., Teo, S., & Tuckey, M. R. (2022). Workplace bullying as an organisational issue: Aligning climate and leadership. Work & Stress, 36(2), 202-227.

Teo, S. T., Bentley, T., & Nguyen, D. (2020). Psychosocial work environment, work engagement, and employee commitment: A moderated, mediation model. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 88, 102415.

Advert Reference: RDF23/LHRM/ALI1

Innovation plays a pivotal role for organizations to create and maintain a competitive advantage over rivals (Taghizadeh et al., 2018; and Xiao et al., 2022). Innovations allow organizations introduce new products and services (Edwin et al., 2006; and Shane & Venkatraman, 2000), improve capabilities (Lavie, 2006), and to adapt themselves to the changing market conditions (Anderson & Tushman, 1990). However, fostering innovation is quite challenging for organizations (Katila & Shane, 2005; Gregoire & Shepherd, 2012). Existing literature offers numerous perspectives towards such as resource-based (Arend, et al., 2014; Terziovski, 2010), dynamic capabilities (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000), and knowledge-based views (Kogut & Zander, 1992).


Drawing from knowledge-based view of innovation, the current research proposes the role of knowledge recombination to promote innovation outcomes for organizations. Knowledge recombination has gained tremendous attention of scholarly and practice community in the last few years (Luo et al., 2021; Xiao et al., 2022). The notion of knowledge recombination originates from Schumpeter’s (1939:88) views that “innovation combines components in a new way, or that it consists in carrying out new combinations”. Research suggests that implicit knowledge is more important than explicit knowledge, and implicit knowledge resides among individuals. Therefore, it is inevitable for organizations to hire employees with superior knowledge profiles who can contribute significantly towards exploring and exploiting their knowledge resources (knowledge recombination). Organizations, therefore, strive their best to develop a diverse workforce including high-skilled immigrant workers who can contribute significantly towards knowledge resources within the organizations. Immigrant workers use their unique and diverse knowledge to foster divergent thinking, and innovation within organizations (Choudhury et al., 2022). The knowledge spill over between high-skilled native and high-skilled immigrant workers can produce critically substantially important and unique knowledge recombination to produce innovative outcomes for the organizations. The inclusion of high-skilled immigrant workers is not only encouraged by the organisations but also by the governments to foster innovation and growth by using their innovative knowledge resources (Florida 2002; Glaeser 2004).


The current research project intends to examine how knowledge spill over between native high-skilled workers and immigrant high-skilled workers results in knowledge recombination to produce innovative outcomes for the host country organizations. The study will also examine the role of knowledge sharing competencies and social processes to augment knowledge recombination. The data will be collected from native high-skilled and immigrant high-skilled employees working in different organizations in the UK. The study will use mix methods technique including quantitative approach (survey based), and qualitative approach (in-depth interviews) to collect data from dyads i.e., host country high-skilled workers and immigrant high-skilled workers. The potential statistical techniques include structural equation model (SEM) through Smart PLS for quantitative analysis, for qualitative analysis Grounded analysis drawn upon the Straussian version of grounded theory (GT) {{Strauss, 1990 #136} Strauss, 1998 #139} is proposed for data analysis in this research.


This study intends to provide significant contributions to body of knowledge on strategy, migration, and organizational behaviour among other, it will also offer evidenced-based policy recommendations to practitioners to improve innovative outcomes of their organizations.

This project is supervised by Imran Ali. For informal queries, please contact


Anderson, N., Potočnik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and creativity in organizations: A state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework. Journal of Management, 40: 1297–1333.


Choudhury, P., Hernandez, E., Khanna, T., Kulchina, E., Shaver, M., Wang, D., & Zellmer-Bruhn, M. (2022). Migration and Organizations, Organization Science Special Issue Call for Papers, retrieved November 10, 2022, from


Edwin J. Nijssen, E.J., Hillebrand, B., Vermeulen, P.A.M., Kemp, R.G.M. (2003). Exploring product and service innovation similarities and differences, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23(3), 241-251.


Eisenhardt, K. M., & Martin, J. A. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: What are they? Strategic Management Journal, 21: 1105–1121.


Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class, Basic Books, New York.


Glaeser, E. (2004): Book Review of Florida’s ‘The rise of the Creative Class’. [].


Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1992). Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology. Organization Science, 3: 383–397.


Lavie, D. (2006). Capability reconfiguration: An analysis of incumbent responses to technological change. Academy of Management Review, 31: 153–174.


Luo, Z., Callaert, J., Zeng, D. and Looy, B.V. (2022). Knowledge recombination, environmental turbulence and firms' innovation quality: the evidence from Chinese pharmaceutical industry, European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.


Schumpeter, J. A. 1939. Business cycles. New York: McGraw-Hill.


Shane, S., & Venkatraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship and economic growth. Small Business Economics, 13: 27–55.


Strauss, A. and Corbin, J.M. (1990), Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.


Strauss, A. and Corbin, J.M. (1998), Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.


Taghizadeh, S.K., Rahman, S.A. and Hossain, M.M. (2018). Knowledge from customer, for customer or about customer: which triggers innovation capability the most? Journal of Knowledge Management, 22, 162-182.


Terziovski, M. (2010). Innovation practice and its performance implications in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector: A resource-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 31: 892–902.


Xiao, T., Makhija, M., & Karim, S. (2022). A Knowledge Recombination Perspective of Innovation: Review and New Research Directions. Journal of Management, 48(6), 1724–1777.


Advert Reference: RDF23/LHRM/ALI2

In recent years, integrating environmental, social and governance frameworks in responsible business strategies has helped to enhance corporate sustainability (Jabbour, 2015). One of the most significant developments in sustainability-related issues is increasing understanding of environmental issues among responsible businesses (Paillé, 2020; Renwick et al., 2013).

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) draw the attention of environmental responsiveness towards responsible businesses. Environmental value and its influence on people and organisations have become ever more significant in the scholarly community in recent years (Renwick, 2018). For regulatory requirements, ‘greening’ the workplace through the implementation of sustainable green human resource management (GHRM) practices is important in determining an organisation’s reputation and this has an impact on its competitive advantage (Paillé et al., 2014; 2020).

GHRM activities play a significant role in constituting environmentally robust pursuits (Aragão and Jabbour, 2017; Renwick, 2018). The latest investigations/examinations have discovered positive feedback from GHRM in materialising organisation-level green viable aims (Jabbour, 2015) and this plays a basic role in effectively spreading green culture (Jabbour, 2013; Renwick et al., 2013).

Our understanding on GHRM suggests that these activities enhance positive environmental outcomes (Paillé et al., 2014; Renwick et al., 2018). Thus, the pressure to formulate responsible business strategies and implement environmental management policies to endorse green behaviours in the organisation is rising and HR departments are striving to introduce pro-environmentalism and sustainability in almost all practices (Algarni et al., 2022).

Therefore, the purpose of this Ph.D research is to investigate the direct empirical associations and configurations of GHRM practices leading to high and low levels of corporate sustainability performance. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected through structured survey questionnaire and interviews from employees working in different sectors. The data will be analysed using mixed-method techniques including symmetrical analyses, such as Mplus, AMOS or LISREL, and asymmetrical modeling analyses, such as necessary condition analysis or fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis.

The outputs of this research will help practitioners and policy makers to develop their green development strategies to cope with the new challenges in environmental and organisational performance and ultimately contribute to several SDGs. Therefore, it is expected that this Ph.D research will provide useful implications for academics, practitioners and policy makers to follow environmental development strategies. Finally, it is expected that this Ph.D research will develop multiple scholarly studies and will be submitted to top-ranking journals.

This project is supervised by Murad Ali. For informal queries, please contact


Algarni, M. A., Ali, M., Albort-Morant, G., Leal-Rodríguez, A. L., Latan, H., Ali, I., & Ullah, S. (2022). Make green, live clean! Linking adaptive capability and environmental behavior with financial performance through corporate sustainability performance. Journal of Cleaner Production, 346, 131156.

Aragão, C. G., & Jabbour, C. J. C. (2017). Green training for sustainable procurement? Insights from the Brazilian public sector. Industrial and Commercial Training, 49(1), 48-54.

Jabbour, C. J. C. (2013). Environmental training in organisations: From a literature review to a framework for future research. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 74, 144-155.

Jabbour, C. J. C. (2015). Environmental training and environmental management maturity of Brazilian companies with ISO14001: empirical evidence. Journal of Cleaner Production, 96, 331-338.

Paillé, P. (2020). Greening the Workplace: Theories, Methods, and Research. Springer Nature.

Paillé, P., Chen, Y., Boiral, O., & Jin, J. (2014). The impact of human resource management on environmental performance: An employee-level study. Journal of Business ethics, 121(3), 451-466.

[1]Renwick, D. W. S. (2018). Contemporary developments in green human resource management research: Towards sustainability in action. Routledge Research in Sustainability and Business. Taylor & Francis Group.


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