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Department of Management

Dr Ryan Nolan

Dr Ryan Nolan

Postdoctoral Research and Impact Fellow




I joined the University of Exeter Business School in 2022 as a Research Impact Fellow in the UKRI Circular Economy Hub (part of the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research Programme). My research is concerned with the theory and practice of boundary-crossing collaboration and its role in addressing organisational sustainability challenges, with a specific focus on the circular economy. This is broadly split into two streams:

On one front, I draw from process and practice theory to study the dynamics of interdisciplinary collaborations among research teams striving to tackle grand challenges, such as responsible consumption and production. This line of inquiry aims to contribute to our understanding and the theorisation of collaborative practice, emphasising its role in addressing pressing global issues.

At the same time, I work with industry practitioners to investigate (inter and intra) organisational collaboration networks in a variety of empirical settings, i.e. across sectors and value chains. This is grounded in qualitative methods and co-creation approaches, seeking to make a tangible impact by understanding and addressing practical challenges faced by organisations today. The exploration of concrete problems around the implementation and integration of CE within the industry landscape is central to my continued project of theory-building for sustainability challenges and societal transformation.

Through these two interconnected streams of research, I hope to contribute to discourse on sustainable management within and beyond organisation studies and form collaborations that transcend boundaries to generate meaningful impact.

I sit on the editorial board of The Sociological Review and am an affiliated researcher of Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy, the Global Systems Institute and feed into the CE offering of Green Futures Solutions.


  • BA(Hons)
  • MA
  • PhD

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Research interests

My research interests include:

  • Organisational sustainability and CE transitions 
  • Organisational sociology / theory
  • Theory and practice of collaboration 
  • Collaboration networks
  • Grand challenges
  • Complexity 

I have also taught and published on topics related to creative industries and maintain active interests in these areas. In this context, I am currently co-editing the Palgrave Handbook of Critical Music Industry Studies (with sociologist David Arditi), due for publication in late 2024.

Research projects

Principal Investigator for Circular Fitout Lab: Using purchasing power to drive change in fitout and retrofit projects with industrial partner Business in the Community. Project site here.

UKRI National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) Programme


Research networks

Editorial board member of The Sociological Review


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Journal articles

Khedmati-Morasae E, Zils M, Hopkinson P, Nolan R, Charnley F, Okorie O, Abu-Bakar H (In Press). Advancing the discourse: a next-generation value chain-based taxonomy for circular economy key performance indicators. Sustainable Production and Consumption Abstract.
Wihler A, Nolan RC, Zheng Y, Inceoglu I, Leroy H, Charnley F (In Press). Driving Sustainability in Organizations: Polymathic Responsible Leadership and Circular Economy. Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Organisationspsychologie (GIO)
Manolchev C, Nolan R, Hodgson E (In Press). Unlikely Allies: ChatGPT and Higher Education Assessment. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Khedmati-Morasae E, Zils M, Hopkinson P, Nolan R, Charnley F, Okorie O, Abu-Bakar H (2024). Advancing the discourse: a next-generation value chain-based taxonomy for circular economy key performance indicators. Sustainable Production and Consumption
Reynolds M, Salter N, Muranko Ż, Nolan R, Charnley F (2024). Product life extension behaviours for electrical appliances in UK households: can consumer education help extend product life amid the cost-of-living crisis?. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 205 Abstract.
Nolan R (2022). Culture After Work? Intellectual Property in Post-Scarcity Discourses. Fast Capitalism, 19(1), 67-79.
Nolan R, Jones P, Sharma P (2022). Introduction to March’s Theme: Time. The Sociological Review Magazine
Nolan R (2021). The Contemporaneity of Class Relations. The Sociological Review Magazine

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I’ve delivered undergraduate and postgraduate teaching across several courses and subject areas, with experience in developing and delivering courses in business and experience design.

I am currently a tutor on the Circular Economy Masterclass and MBA, and deliver guest lectures across a variety of modules. Previously, I have taught across creative and cultural industries courses in business school contexts, with a focus on industrial practice, organisation and management studies. I have also taught qualitative research methods at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and am co-supervising a PhD candidate working in the area of circular economy policy in the agri-food sector. 

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