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Professor Mickey Howard

Professor Mickey Howard

Professor of Supply Management, Director of Research (Management)


+44 (0) 1392 722153

Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Mickey Howard is Professor of Supply Management at the University of Exeter Business School. His research interests include sustainable supply chain management, procurement of complex performance, and circular economy. This work is supported by industrial links with organizations such as the Ford Motor Co, Volvo Cars, Rolls Royce Engines, BAE Systems, Thales, Ministry of Defence, Hewlett Packard, Eden Project and Desso carpets, including numerous small-medium enterprises (SME) in the south-west of England. Since joining Exeter in 2009, he has launched an MSc in International Supply Chain Management and several purchasing & supply management modules for undergraduates and PGRs. He is the co-founder of the Circular Economy Business Forum (www.CEBF.co.uk) which seeks to engage with SMEs as they transition from wasteful linear thinking towards harnessing the benefits of material re-use, value co-creation and circular business advantage. Awards and prizes include a Dean’s prize for research excellence (University of Bath), numerous nominations for teaching by the Exeter Students Guild, a Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply research fellow scholarship, and recently an Institute of Supply Management shortlisted paper award from the Academy of Management.

Since gaining his PhD from the University of Bath, School of Management in 2004, Mickey has presented at numerous conferences (e.g. AOM, POMS, EUROMA, IPSERA, BAM) and prestigious Higher Education business institutions around the world including Harvard, Bentley, Copenhagen and Audencia Nantes. He is the co-author of several books, most recently the ACA-Bruel award winning ‘Purchasing & Supply Chain Management: A Sustainability Perspective’ (2014), Routledge UK, and ‘Procuring Complex Performance’ (2011), Routledge NY. To date he has supervised 5 PhD students to completion.


PhD (Bath), MBA (Durham), BA Honors (Northumbria)

Research clusters

Research interests

My research is based in operations & supply chain management and includes elements of innovation and information systems. It is grounded in the Theory of the Firm (e.g. RBV, NRBV, dynamic capabilities) and explores the inter-organizational challenges around process implementation, policy innovation and strategy for business change. I am currently engaged in the following research themes and would welcome quality research proposals from prospective doctoral students:

  • Procuring complex performance studies the temporal dynamics between manufacturing contractors and public buyer organizations as they adopt a through-life approach to managing the procurement of complex platforms and their support facilities (e.g. warships, dockyards). My 2011 edited book (with Caldwell) and 2014 IJOPM special issue on ‘PCP’ explored how buyers and suppliers co-evolve using contracts and trustful relationships to govern in-service support, maintenance and up-grades on complex platforms over extended, 50 year lifecycles. My recent work on triadic dynamics in the defence sector explores how the role of contractors as suppliers and government entities change over time. Different parties occupy the nodes of triads, where the role or functions of the principle and agents in the contract change over the lifespan in the development of a new warship. 
  • Sustainable supply chain management examines the role of purchasing and supply chain management in stimulating a more sustainable and circular economy. My role in the ‘Clear about Carbon’ project in Cornwall (2009-13) was to develop supply chain tools including lean mapping workshops which identify carbon hotspots and support the implementation process with new information technology systems. My ACA-Bruel award winning 2014 textbook (with Johnsen & Miemczyk) is the first to introduce a sustainability perspective across all aspects of international purchasing and supply chain management, including global sourcing, supplier relationships, supply strategy and risk.  
  • Circular business advantage - I co-founded the Circular Economy Business Forum in 2014 (with Whittaker & McCutchion) at Exeter to assist local firms in moving away from the ‘doing less harm’ approach and towards capturing or co-creating value from recycling, re-use, sharing, services and product life extension inherent to circular business advantage. I am the lead co-ordinator of a proposed 3 Million Euro Horizon2020 European research project with the Audencia Group, Politecnico di Milan and Fraunhofer IML on circular economy policy innovation. I am also supporting the Sustainability & Circular Economy Cluster on a number of forthcoming events and research grant bids.     

External positions

  • Chairman for the Disruptive Innovation Festival live presentation and panel session held simultaneously between Exeter and Yokohama University, Japan (2015)
  • Visiting Professor to the University of Bath, School of Management (2015-)
  • External Examiner (PhD) for Universities of Lancaster (2012), Surrey (2015), and Bath (2016)
  • Chairman for the advisory board of the ESF ‘Clear About Carbon’ project (2011)
  • Advisor to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply Education Executive
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Supply Chain Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, and Journal of Management Studies.