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Dr Elaine Dunn

Dr Elaine Dunn

Head of Careers and Alumni Relations


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

Elaine leads the Business School’s Careers and Alumni Relations team and is responsible for the careers provision for all of the School’s students (undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA), including:

  • The provision of student work experience opportunities
  • Building relationships with graduate employers in the UK and abroad
  • Developing successful services to improve graduate employment outcomes
  • Engaging with students to ensure they gain maximum benefit from the careers services

Elaine is passionate about education and personal development and recently (Dec 2011) completed a PhD in Management Learning and Leadership at Lancaster University. 

Elaine joined the University in 1999 as Programme Manager and then Assistant Director of the Centre for Leadership Studies, subsequently being appointed as the Business School’s Business Education Manager (2008-10), Head of Corporate and Alumni Relations (2010-12) and to her current role in September 2012.

Prior to joining the University, Elaine enjoyed a successful career in financial services holding a variety of roles in management consultancy, project management, systems development and actuarial work within Gresham Life Assurance, Clerical Medical Investment Group and the NatWest Group.  As a member of NatWest’s high potential cohort, Elaine participated in management and leadership development programmes delivered by Ashridge, Warwick, Cranfield and Manchester business schools, having previously gained Chartered Engineer status with the British Computer Society.

Nationality: British


  • BSc (Hons) (Leeds)
  • PhD (Lancaster)


Research interests

My PhD, supervised by Professor John Burgoyne, focused on the experiences of twelve senior managers who participated in postgraduate management education programmes embodying a transformative intent.  Using a phenomenographic methodology I conducted primary research into the learners’ perceptions of emotions and changes in thinking attributed to their learning experiences and the emotions and changes in practice associated with transfer of learning into their workplace.  Twelve research subjects were involved over a two-year period (2005-07) drawn from the 2003-05 cohorts of the Exeter Masters in Leadership Studies and the Ashridge Masters in Organisational Consulting. 

I remain interested in gender and power in leadership and management knowledge and practice.  Working from a poststructuralist perspective I am particularly interested in:

  • Leadership and management styles, definitions and perceptions of competence
  • Relational theory – using a relational understanding of human individuality, behaviour and adult development to re-conceptualise management knowledge and education 
  • Critical approaches to management education – the emotional, social and practical dimensions
  • Relationship between management education, practice and organisational culture