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Department of Management

Professor Thomas Birtch

Professor Thomas Birtch

Associate Professor in Strategic Decision-Making and Behaviour




Thomas A. Birtch is an Associate Professor in the SITE Department at Exeter Business School. Prior to joining the University of Exeter, Thomas has held appointments at the University of South Australia, the University of Nottingham, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Cambridge as well as visiting affiliations at MIT and other prominent institutions.

Thomas enjoys nothing more than learning from his students and seeing them excel in their careers. For his teaching, he has received a number of accolades and broken teaching evaluation records at multiple schools. He has taught extensively at all levels in the university setting (e.g., undergraduate, postgraduate, executive and post-experience) in Asia, North America, and Europe and is the author of a range of widely adopted teaching materials, resources, and case studies. Thomas is also an active and award winning researcher having received numerous prestigious research grants and prizes and having published extensively in leading international academic journals.

His background in industry is extensive and includes holding senior executive level and management positions in both the private sector (e.g., MNCs and SMEs) and government spanning three continents. For example, Thomas has held appointments at both the Federal and Provincial levels of government in Canada, including in the Ministry of Finance for the Province of Ontario for which he helped establish new government accounting standards and oversaw and advised on multi-billion dollar capital and operating plans for line ministries (e.g., Education, Health, Transportation, Tourism and Culture). In the Federal Government of Canada he was one of the youngest appointees to the role of Divisional Chair of the Material Review Board and developed asset management policies and specifications that were adopted nationally. In the UK, he has been an advisor to multiple government departments as well as to prestigious government taskforces, such as for regional development agencies and HM Treasury. Thomas has consulted in over 30 countries, especially in the Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Construction and Real Estate, Hospitality and Tourism, Technology, and Manufacturing industries and is a specialist in international business combinations, post-merger integration, business performance, and human capital development (e.g., psychometric testing, computerized information systems, synchronous and asynchronous learning platforms, customized executive and corporate training and development). He has also been an advisor to a variety of government bodies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations on a global scale. He is a serial entrepreneur and currently serves as a Non-executive Director on several Boards.

He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge and has either studied at or received qualifications from other prominent institutions, such as MIT, Harvard, Reading, Western Ontario, and the Sorbonne. In his spare time he is an avid photographer, a Dim Sum aficionado, and an aspiring coffee Barista.


  • PhD

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Research interests

  • Leadership and strategic decision-making
  • The performance of individuals and organizations across borders
  • Innovation, creativity, and knowledge management
  • Entrepreneurship and family business

Thomas is the recipient of numerous research awards, honors, and prizes. For example, he has won multiple Best Paper awards at the Academy of Management, including two during a single year. His research regularly appears in highly regarded academic journals, such as the Journal of Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Management International Review, Journal of Business Ethics, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, International Journal of Hospitality Management, and Asia-Pacific Journal of Management among other outlets. His research has also been recognized for its impact on practice. He is highly active in the generation of research income from research councils, corporations, charitable foundations, and government, efforts which have led to in an excess of USD 5 million in research grants. He is the founder/co-founder and director of several research centres, including the International Centre for Incentives, Rewards and Performance (ICIRP).

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Journal articles

Birtch TA, Chiang FFT, Zheng MX, Cai Z (2024). Breach not only affects you: the influence of coworker psychological contract breach by the supervisor on third-party perceptions of supervisor interactional justice. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 35(4), 656-687. Abstract.
Birtch TA, Cai Z, Chiang FFT (2024). Effects of formal mentoring support on newcomer–protégé affective organizational commitment: a self-concept-based perspective. Human Resource Management, 63(2), 225-242. Abstract.
Hartnell CA, Christensen-Salem A, Walumbwa FO, Stotler DJ, Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2023). Manufacturing Motivation in the Mundane: Servant Leadership’s Influence on Employees’ Intrinsic Motivation and Performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 188(3), 533-552. Abstract.
Birtch TA, Chiang FFT, Cai Z, Wang J (2021). Am I choosing the right career? the implications of COVID-19 on the occupational attitudes of hospitality management students. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 95 Abstract.
Moore C, Mayer DM, Chiang FFT, Crossley C, Karlesky MJ, Birtch TA (2019). Leaders matter morally: the role of ethical leadership in shaping employee moral cognition and misconduct. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(1), 123-145. Abstract.
Birtch TA, Au KYF, Chiang FFT, Hofman PS (2018). How perceived risk and return interacts with familism to influence individuals’ investment strategies: the case of capital seeking and capital providing behavior in new venture financing. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 35(2), 471-500. Abstract.
Wu LZ, Birtch TA, Chiang FFT, Zhang H (2018). Perceptions of Negative Workplace Gossip: a Self-Consistency Theory Framework. Journal of Management, 44(5), 1873-1898. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, van Esch E, Birtch TA, Shaffer MA (2018). Repatriation: what do we know and where do we go from here. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(1), 188-226. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Lemański MK, Birtch TA (2017). The transfer and diffusion of HRM practices within MNCs: lessons learned and future research directions. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 234-258. Abstract.
Birtch TA, Chiang FFT, Van Esch E (2016). A social exchange theory framework for understanding the job characteristics–job outcomes relationship: the mediating role of psychological contract fulfillment. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(11), 1217-1236. Abstract.
Au K, Chiang FFT, Birtch TA, Kwan HK (2016). Entrepreneurial financing in new business ventures: a help-seeking behavior perspective. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 12(1), 199-213. Abstract.
Shen N, Au K, Birtch T (2016). The Performance of Chinese Private Firms in Coping with a Global Financial Crisis: Who is Best Positioned?. FRONTIERS OF BUSINESS RESEARCH IN CHINA, 10(4), 548-575.  Author URL.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA, Cai Z (2014). Front-line Service Employees’ Job Satisfaction in the Hospitality Industry: the Influence of Job Demand Variability and the Moderating Roles of Job Content and Job Context Factors. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 55(4), 398-407. Abstract.
Birtch TA, Chiang FFT (2014). The Influence of Business School's Ethical Climate on Students' Unethical Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(2), 283-294. Abstract.
Au K, Chiang FFT, Birtch TA, Ding Z (2013). Incubating the next generation to venture: the case of a family business in Hong Kong. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 30(3), 749-767. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2012). The Performance Implications of Financial and Non-Financial Rewards: an Asian Nordic Comparison. Journal of Management Studies, 49(3), 538-570. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2011). Reward climate and its impact on service quality orientation and employee attitudes. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(1), 3-9. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2010). Appraising performance across borders: an empirical examination of the purposes and practices of performance appraisal in a multi-country context. Journal of Management Studies, 47(7), 1365-1393. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Chow IHS, Birtch TA (2010). Examining human resource management outsourcing in Hong Kong. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(15), 2762-2777. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2010). Pay for performance and work attitudes: the mediating role of employee-organization service value congruence. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29(4), 632-640. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA, Kwan HK (2010). The moderating roles of job control and work-life balance practices on employee stress in the hotel and catering industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29(1), 25-32. Abstract.
Ren B, Au KY, Birtch TA (2009). China's business network structure during institutional transitions. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 26(2), 219-240. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2008). Achieving task and extra-task-related behaviors: a case of gender and position differences in the perceived role of rewards in the hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 27(4), 491-503. Abstract.
Birtch TA, McGuinness PB (2008). The 2001-2005 price convergence in the A- and H-shares of Chinese state-owned enterprises: a story of unprecedented economic, regulatory and political change. Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, 16(3), 239-250. Abstract.
Chiang FT, Birtch TA (2007). Examining the perceived causes of successful employee performance: an East-West comparison. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(2), 232-248. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch T (2007). The transferability of management practices: Examining cross-national differences in reward preferences. HUMAN RELATIONS, 60(9), 1293-1330.  Author URL.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2006). An empirical examination of reward preferences within and across national settings. Management International Review, 46(5), 573-596. Abstract.
McGuinness PB, Birtch T (2006). The behaviour of share prices in the run-up to and aftermath of stock splits: Evidence for 'share subdivisions' in Hong Kong 2003-2005. Applied Financial Economics Letters, 2(5), 285-293. Abstract.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2005). A taxonomy of reward preference: Examining country differences. Journal of International Management, 11(3), 357-375. Abstract.


Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2013). Understanding leading, leader-follower relations, and ethical leadership in organizations. In  (Ed) Relationships in Organizations: a Work Psychology Perspective, 239-267.


Chiang FFT, Birtch T, Cai Z, Bavik YL (2015). Continuous improvement: the influence of high performance work systems, work climate, and collectivism.
Chiang FFT, Esch EV, Birtch TA, Shaffer MA (2015). The consequences of expectations: a look at possible directions for repatriation research.
Chiang FFT, Birtch TA (2006). Performance reward acceptance in cross-border scenarios. Abstract.

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Thomas is passionate about teaching. He aims for student learning to be interactive and to transcend the physical boundaries of the classroom by encouraging students to apply abstract theories and concepts learned to real-world problems and issues facing organizations. His teaching interests evolve around strategic management, global strategy and FDI.



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