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 Hugh Waters

Hugh Waters

Research Fellow


+44(0) 1392 724501

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

Hugh researches in the field of leadership, management, organisational change and identity.

Hugh is currently working on an Arts Council England funded research project in partnership with Libraries Unlimited, the Real Ideas Organization and Open Data Institute. This high profile project seeks to help libraries develop and capture their impact on local communities, and connect this ‘social value’ to financial value by creating new models of revenue generation.

Hugh received a First-Class Honours degree from the University of Plymouth and MRes (with Distinction) from the University of Exeter being awarded the 'Jonathan Young Scholarship' to enable his research. Hugh is a current PhD Scholar within the department of Organisation Studies, attaining a fully-funded studentship from the Economic Social Research Council.

Hugh is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Exeter. 

Nationality: British


  • BSc Business Management
  • MRes Management 

Research interests

  • Leadership
  • Organisational identity and identity work  
  • Making sense of transition
  • Social value 

Hugh’s research focuses on the challenges that public service organisations face in response to socio-political driven change for the continued deliverance of public services.

The turbulence of both changing environments and organisations introduces a multitude of tensions and interactions between actors seeking to negotiate the challenges of organisational identity for a sustainable future, alongside the need to create social as well as financial value.

These challenges are not confined to people; they also relate to organisations, playing out through internal and external tensions, different norms across sectors and the consequential positive and/or negative implications, particularly in contexts where morphing public policy continues to create opportunities and uncertainties for the future.

Research projects

Conference Papers

Waters HW (2016). Hybridity as an Illusory Identity. British Academy of Management 2016. 6th - 8th Sep 2016

Waters HW (2017). Identity formation: The wake of UK public sector reform and organisational ‘spin-out’. 2nd Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium. 2nd - 6th May 2017 

Awards and Honours

  • 2015 Award from the ESRC to run Seminar/Discussion series across the Universities of Bristol, Bath and Exeter.
  • 2015 Award from the ESRC of a 3 year Full PhD Studentship
  • 2015 Award from the University of Exeter Business School 3 year PhD Full fees and stipend – declined in favour of ESRC Award
  • 2015 Award from University of Bristol School of Economics, Finance and Management - Full fees and stipend – declined in favour of ESRC Award
  • 2015 University of Exeter Business School Commendation
  • 2014 Award from University of Exeter Business School ‘Jonathan Young Scholarship’

Invited lectures

  • Waters, H. ‘Workshop on collaborative initiatives’, Building Bridges in Research, Southwest Doctoral Training Centre Conference, University of Exeter, 8th Nov