Priority research areas in Birmingham Business School

The information below outlines the priority research areas and specific projects of each department. Potential applicants are also urged to study the up-to-date profiles of individual staff members' research, via their personal pages.


The Department specialises in interpretive and critical research approaches and welcomes interdisciplinary research across the following topic areas:

Accountability and ‘Sustainability’
Ecological accounting. Biodiversity Accounting. Carbon Accounting. Social Accounting. Corporate Social Responsibility.

Financial Accounting and Corporate Reporting
Accounting Standards and Standard-Setting; Narrative Reporting, Management Commentary and emerging corporate reporting frameworks. Corporate communication and textual analysis of reporting disclosures. The role, work undertaken and information used by investment analysts and fund managers.

The Role, Development and Impacts of Taxation Policy. Formal and Informal Taxation in Practice.

Public sector, Not for Profit, NGO Accounting & Accountability
Accounting, Accountability, Valuation and Control in Local and Central Government and across the Public, NGO and Not-for-Profit sectors (e.g. Higher Education, Police).

Management Accounting & Management Control
The Design and Implementation of Management Accounting, Control and Performance Management Systems in Different Contexts.

The Accounting Profession
Education, Professionalisation and Social Mobility.

Digital Reporting
The Communication, Use and Regulation of Digital Reporting.


  • Microeconomic theory
  • Behavioural economics
  • Experimental economics
  • Financial economics
  • Macroeconomics (including open economy macro and macroeconometrics)
  • Theoretical and applied econometrics
  • Environmental Economics (including environmental policy and the environmental behaviour of firms)
  • Climate change economics
  • Natural resource economics
  • Environmental valuation.


  • Corporate Finance
    Corporate financial management (including private equity), financial markets (including IPO markets), financial institutions, financial instruments (including derivatives), flow of funds, overreaction phenomena and control of volatility in emerging markets, corporate finance aspects of privatisation and economic development, and economic consequences of corporate disclosure. 
  • Corporate Governance
    Relationship between boards of directors and institutional investors; trends in voting; stock lending and communication, directors' remuneration; institutional investment - pensions, savings and retirement, portfolio investment, financial literacy.


The area of Management is split into several departments within Birmingham Business School and incorporates a multi-disciplinary group of research scholars who draw on a range of social science methodologies. Teams of researchers share interests in fields including global value chains, enterprise and diversity and the features of contemporary capitalism.

Work and Employment:

  • National policies and institutions, including employment policy, employment relations and varieties of capitalism approaches
  • Firms’ organisation of production and employment, including multinational enterprises
  • Production and efficiency in firms and labour markets
  • Societal outcomes of national and firm level systems from distributional, gender and age perspectives
  • Approaches to training and skill formation
  • Business ethics, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • International division of labour within global value chains

Procurement and Operations Management:

  • Project management
  • Process design and improvement
  • Contract and supplier relationship management
  • Lean and agile supply
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Management of global value chains

Economic Development

  • Comparative Urban and Regional Development
  • 'Smart' Cities and Regions/Creative Cities and Regions
  • Regional Knowledge and Innovation Policy
  • Service industry employment and economic activity


  • Leadership in urban and regional development
  • Territorial knowledge leadership


  • Entrepreneurial learning in different organisational and research contexts such as small firms, medium-to-large organisations, ethnic minority firms, high-tech firms, and family businesses;

    International and comparative research on entrepreneurship and innovation, especially in the context of UK-China comparison


The Marketing Department at the University of Birmingham has a vibrant mix of young and established researchers. The research within the department is driven by real questions that face business and society. Many of these questions do not simply fit into disciplinary boxes, so our research agenda and practices emphasize diversity, pluralism and inter-disciplinarity. At present, the department’s main research activity concentrates on three inter-related themes:

Social Marketing and Society

  • Consumer and marketing ethics
  • Consumer behaviour and issues related to consumption 
  • Ethical consumption
  • Psychology of online communication
  • Online privacy issues
  • Transformative consumer research

Researchers linked to this priority area include Professor Isabelle Szmigin, David Houghton

Business Market Networks and Policy

  • Business-to-business marketing
  • Antitrust and historical public policy
  • Inter-organisational relationships and conflict
  • Networks and social capital in business-to-business contexts
  • Buyer-supplier relationships

Researchers linked to this priority area include Dr Sheena Leek, Dr Andrew Pressey

Strategic Marketing and Innovation

  • Innovation, creativity and new product development
  • Environmental management and sustainability
  • Nascent markets and high technology fields
  • Innovation capabilities and diffusion
  • Construct development and computational simulation techniques

Researchers linked to this priority area include Dr Eric Shiu.

Applicants are urged to study the up-to-date profiles of individual staff members' research, via their personal web pages . More on research within the Department of Marketing

Strategy and International Business

The Department of Strategy and International Business is well-respected and a prominent player in the international business and global strategy field nationally and internationally. Its faculty members produce high-calibre research in several areas including:

  • Organisations and Sustainable Development in the World Economy
  • Innovation and Collaboration in Global Value Chains and Multinational Strategies
  • SMEs and International Entrepreneurship, and Living in a World of Global Organizations.
We welcome PhD applications with proposed project that falls into one of these key areas.