Teaching postgraduates on an innovative course

As faculty on an interdisciplinary course, I supervise postgraduates undertaking a doctorate in management. Conventional leadership and management programmes tend to concentrate on the predictable and idealised aspects of strategy and organising. In contrast, we encourage our students to take a critical perspective on these approaches and focus on how widespread change emerges as people interact in everyday local situations. Faculty have backgrounds in management, psychology, sociology/anthropology and philosophy, while students are senior managers or consultants from around the world.

Students look at relationships, meaning-making and practices within their own workplace with topics ranging from communication and power to identity and conflict. They write projects based on a mix of narrative, ethnography and analysis - it is intellectually demanding but the support students receive is unparalleled. We meet at four residential weekends a year as a community of researchers and their supervision is given at and between residentials in both learning sets of up to four students as well as one-to-one supervision. 

My students are currently looking at:

  • shame and power in facilitation in the voluntary sector
  • improvisation during change processes in the public sector
  • recognition and politics in international development 
  • perceptions of success and failure in consultancy
  • belonging in the workplace

My PhD students:


  • Tali Avignor, Practising Talent Management: processes of judgement, inclusion and exclusion, University of Hertfordshire (awarded 2017).
  • Graham Curtis, Functional collusion in a UK Non-Government Organisation: Processes of Shame and Exclusion from the Perspective of an Organisational Development Practitioner (awarded 2018).
  • Deborah Smart, Processes of improvisation in change management: from the perspective of a UK management consultant, University of Hertfordshire (awarded 2018).


  • Helle Stoltz, Getting myself heard. Processes of negotiation and compromise in international development from the perspective of a consultant (on-going since 2016)
  • Sune Larsen, Losing control but still taking responsibility. Exploring interweaving intentions from the perspective of an organizational development consultant in Denmark (on-going since 2017).
  • Rikke Horup, Negotiating identity and taking a stand in leadership (on-going since 2017)
  • Nama Sidi, Taking sides in conflicts within organisations in Israel (on-going since 2018)


For more information contact our Director, Chris Mowles c.mowles@herts.ac.uk.