Dr Penny Smith

Dr Penny Smith

Department of Management
Research Fellow

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University House
B15 2TT

Penny Smith joined Birmingham Business School in May 2017 and is a member of the Department of Organizations, Work and Employment. Penny is an experienced Social Science researcher with a background in Sociology and Education research. She is currently working on the Lived Experience project in the Business School with Dr Etlyn Kenny and Professor Jo Duberley. Her PhD (2010) focused on the lay/professional dynamic in school governing bodies drawing upon poststructuralist theories.


  • PhDc in Education University of Birmingham (2010)
  • MA in Social Policy and Administration University of Nottingham (1998)
  • BA (Hons) in Sociology University of Warwick (1994)


Penny has been involved in research for 16 years having begun her career at the University of Birmingham (2001-2011) as Research  Fellow in the School of Education. She has also spent time in the Centre for Education Studies at the University of Warwick where she led on two projects on schools and academisation. She was also employed as a  researcher  at Coventry University in the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement. Penny has a particular interest in qualitative research methods, particularly interviewing and analysis. 


  • Inclusion and diversity in organisations
  • Governance and management of education drawing on postructuralist perspectives.
  • Lay/professional roles in organisations


Articles in Academic Journals

Smith P and Abbott I 2014. Local Responses to National Policy: the contrasting experiences of two Midlands cities to the Academies Act 2010, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 42, 3, 341-354.

Spicer N and Smith P 2008. Evaluating complex, area-based initiatives in a context of change: the experience of the Children’s Fund initiative, Evaluation, 14, 1, 75-90.

Morris K, Mason P and Smith P 2005. A complex solution to a complicated problem? Early messages from the National Evaluation of the Children's Fund Prevention Programme, Children & Society, 19, 2, 131- 143.

Ranson PRS, Arnott M, McKeown P, Martin J and Smith P. 2005. The participation of volunteer citizens in school governance, Educational Review, 57, 3, 358-371. ISSN: 0013-1911.

Ranson PRS, Farrell C, Peim NA, Smith P. 2005. Does Governance Matter for School Improvement? School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 16, 3, 305-325. ISSN: 0924-3453.

Articles in Professional Journals

Warren S, Apostolov A, Broughton K, Evans R, Macnab N and Smith, P. (2006) Emergent Family Support Practices in a Context of Policy Churn: An Example from the Children's Fund, Child Care in Practice, vol. 12, no. 4, pp.331-346.

Book Reviews

J Demaine, P Smith. 2010. Liberalism, neoliberalism, social democracy: thin communitarian perspectives on political philosophy and education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31, 4, 509-514. ISSN: 0142-5692.

View all publications in research portal