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Dr Sarah Bailey

Dr Sarah Bailey

Lecturer in Management and Leadership


01392 722127

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

I gained my doctoral thesis in 2019, entitled 'Social enterprise partnerships: Exploring the experience of partnership for social enterprises in the UK' and joined the business school immediately upon completion. Before studying for my PhD I was an MBA student on the One Planet MBA at Exeter in 2011/12. I have worked on several research projects across the university including international work on research collaboration, coordinating impact case studies for the business school and impact reporting for the Centre for Leisure & Tourism. I have been involved in scoping new cross-disciplinary MA leadership programmes and I supervise dissertation students in marketing and on the Exeter MBA. I am also a company Director.

During my time on the MBA I became interested in social enterprises and cooperatives, essentially alternative hybrid business models and the social economy. I was Chair of the local social enterprise network for 2 years and a volunteer for several more. This experience and the inspiring entrepreneurs I met led to the development of my PhD research. I am a passionate advocate for social purpose organisations and for community-based enterprise. I believe social entrepreneurs will save the world. I am currently a member of the team who run TEDxExeter each year on campus.

Before returning to Exeter to continue my studies I worked in data marketing for 5 years, working with clients such as Cancer Research UK and Citroen. I have run campaigns and databases for a wide range of companies and non-profit organisations and have first-hand understanding of the importance of strategic planning and customer profiling.

I have joined the Business School to teach leadership, strategy and entrepreneurship and lead a module on the Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship MBA  programme. I continue my research into partnership and collaboration within the social economy. When I am not at work I am walking my dog, or on the beach in Cornwall with my nephew and niece.


  • PhD
  • MBA
  • BA Hons


Research interests

  • social enterprise
  • partnership/collaboration, interorganisational working
  • hybrid organisations/organising
  • social entrepreneurship

Social enterprises and social entrepreneurship take many forms in our fast-changing societies. We rely on social purpose organisations for many of our most vital services, and they support some of our most vulnerable citizens, and yet they remain little understood and under-researched. The macro-policy environment in the UK, and in Europe more broadly, has had a profound impact on how these organisations and individuals conduct their business. Changes to the structure of the welfare state, and the effects of austerity have led to the proliferation of cross-sector partnerships involving social enterprises. My research focuses on explicating the experiences of social enterprises in partnerships and the dynamics of interorganisational working across boundaries, both organisational and sectoral. I am interested in the value of collaborative working and in the ways that multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary responses to social issues can facilitate creative and innovative responses to our most intractable problems.

Research projects

I am currently working on publications in connection with my thesis on social enterprise partnerships and the dynamics of collaboration in the social economy. 

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category

Publications by year


Bailey S (2019). Social enterprise partnerships: exploring the experience of partnership for social enterprises in the UK.  Abstract.  Full text.

I am currently teaching across a number of modules in the business school including entrepreneurship, strategy, business and climate change and leading a leadership & strategy module on the MBA degree apprenticeship. I also supervise a number of Exeter MBA dissertations students. 



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