Current and Recent Research Projects

Our research seeks to explore the underlying mechanisms of leadership and leadership development in a range of contexts. We are interested in issues including:

  • Leadership and organisational performance
  • Leadership development
  • Models of leadership
  • Leadership challenges: Personal and organisational
  • Leader-follower relations

Current and recent projects include the following:

Clear About Carbon (2009-2013)

Annie Pye, Beverley Hawkins, Mickey Howard, Fernando Correia and Simon Ramsay, Sponsor: European Social Fund.

Financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) Convergence Programme for delivery in Cornwall, Clear About Carbon was a four-year project which aimed to find new ways of increasing carbon awareness within businesses and the public sector.  Working closely with a number of public organisations and Cornish SMEs, the project strove to develop, test and deliver innovative approaches to:

  • Raise carbon literacy amongst procurement and purchasing professionals in the public and private sectors.
  • Promote the development of leadership and management skills for carbon mitigation.
  • Support the building of effective low carbon policies and practices.

For more information on the project, please visit the Clear About Carbon website.

The Business School’s own report on the project – Carbon Matters – Explorations in Low Carbon Procurement - as well as case studies created from the project and other material, can be downloaded here.

Changing Conceptions of Academic Leadership (2009-2011)

Richard Bolden, Jonathan Gosling and Anne O’Brien, Sponsor: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.

This project focused on the experiences of academics not in formal management and leadership roles and their perceptions of how they are influenced, supported and given a sense of direction in relation to their academic work. The research project set out to answer a number of key questions, including: (1) How do staff within universities conceive of ‘academic leadership’? (2) What is the impact of these conceptions on leadership-related attitudes and behaviours? And (3) Are there any contextual variations across the sector? See the project report for key findings.

Leading FTSE Companies: an interdisciplinary study of directors, boards and corporate governance process (2008 – 2011)

Annie Pye, Sponsor: ESRC.

This is the third in a unique series of inter-linked, ESRC-funded studies - the first was in 1987-1989, the second in 1998-2000 – charting changes in the responsibilities, roles and rhetoric of company leadership, focussing on directors (both executive and non-executive) of FTSE-listed companies. In this way, the latest project provides another ‘ten years on' study which continues this exploration of how directors actually ‘do directing' of large, complex organizations. While retaining the core research question and method, the project has generated comparative data across a unique, time-series dataset, exploring the nature and extent of change in corporate directing, together with a wide array of implications relating, for example, to regulation, director development and board practice. See the synopsis report for key findings.

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