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Professor David Boughey

Professor David Boughey

Associate Dean (Education), Associate Professor in International Business History


+44 (0) 1392 722108

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

Professor David Boughey joined the University of Exeter Business School in 2009 and is the current Associate Dean for Education. Previously he was head of the School of Strategy & International Business at Bristol Business School, UWE. Whether through study or work, Professor Boughey has experienced university life at a range of different institutions. During his BA in History at Royal Holloway University of London, he studied for a year at Washington & Jefferson College in the United States. After completing his undergraduate degree, he moved to Oxford for a Masters in Economic and Social History, before returning to Royal Holloway for his PhD in Business History, where he also gained his first post as a lecturer.

While Professor Boughey’s primary interests have been in enhancing teaching, learning and the student experience, he’s continued his research into the firms that equipped and ran Britain’s overseas railway empire. He is currently working on an assessment of the formal transfer of railway technology between Britain and India in the 1950s.

Nationality: British

Administrative responsibilities

  • ASPIRE Steering Group and Panel Chair


  • BA Modern History, Economic History and Politics (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • MSc Economic and Social History (Oxford)
  • PhD Business History (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • PGCertHE (University of the West of England)
  • Principal Fellow HEA


Research interests

  • Business and economic history
  • History of British foreign direct investment
  • Railway engineering history

Professor Boughey’s PhD assessed the organisational structure and firm strategies in the British railway locomotive engineering industry up to the 1930s. This research explained the emergence of a structural schism in the industry that resulted in Britain’s railways companies internalising manufacture in their own workshops, while separate engineering firms focused on the export market. Serving Britain’s formal and informal empire, these export-led firms navigated the vicissitudes of demand by being flexible in locomotive design, through product diversification, and by industry-wide co-operation, if not collaboration. More recently, Professor Boughey has been working on measuring and understanding the foreign investment from British registered firms that ran railways elsewhere in the world.

Research projects

Professor Boughey is currently working on an assessment of a formal technology transfer scheme that operated between Indian Railways and Britain’s locomotive engineering firms in the 1950s. More generally, he is continuing his analysis of the growth, management, and equipping of Britain’s overseas railway empire.

External positions

  • QAA Higher Education Reviewer
  • QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Review Panels – UG and PGT Business and Management
  • Principal Examiner - Sheffield Hallam University
  • External Examiner - University of the West of England, UG Strategy / International Business
  • Previously an external examiner at: Royal Holloway, University of London External Programme, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Worcester, University of Glamorgan, and University of York.

Professor Boughey’s primary teaching activity focuses on international business, with a particular interest in multinational enterprises, foreign direct investment, and emerging markets. In recent years, he has led modules on international business, strategy, and on research methods to both undergraduate and postgraduate groups. He has also been involved in executive education for Siemens, IBM, Skanska and Sainsbury.

With a background – and research interest – in business and economic history, Professor Boughey’s teaching approach often takes a longer view towards understanding contemporary business and management. Drawing on historical examples, he encourages the development of a richer understanding of what may appear uniquely current phenomenon.

His approach to integrating research activity in his teaching has been identified and rewarded by students, with him being a winner in the Students’ Guild Research Uncovered scheme in 2014 and 2015. The subjects of his winning lectures are:

2014 – Adventurous Capitalists and the Forging of Multinational Enterprise
2015 – Diamonds and Philanthropy: the wounded at work after WWI

In 2015 he was also the departmental category winner in the Students’ Guild Teaching Awards for Innovative Teaching and for the Most Supportive Member of Staff.

Taught modules