Professor Mark NK Saunders

Professor Mark NK Saunders

Department of Management
Professor of Business Research Methods

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Mark Saunders is Professor of Business Research Methods at the Business School. He currently holds visiting professorships at the Universities of Pretoria (South Africa), Mälardalan (Sweden), Surrey and Worcester. He was awarded a fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of his contribution to methods and human resource management research and social science researcher development. Mark is also a Fellow of the First International Network on Trust and the British Academy of Management and was awarded the British Academy of Management Medal for Leadership in recognition of prolonged contribution to doctoral capacity building. His textbook Research Methods for Business Students (currently in its 9th edition) was ranked the most influential business and economics textbook in the World by the Financial Times Teaching Power league table. 

Mark’s research interests include research methods, human resource aspects of the management of change (in particular trust), and small and medium sized enterprise (SME) success. He also enjoys researching pedagogic practice, writing textbooks, and teaching and supervising doctoral students. Mark has co-authored and edited over 30 books including How to Keep Your Doctorate on Track: Insights from Supervisors’ and Students’ Experiences. He has published over 150 research articles and book chapters including papers in journals such as British Journal of Management, Field Methods, Human Relations, Human Resource Management Journal, International Small Business Journal and Journal of Small Business Management, He is a consulting editor for the International Journal of Management Reviews and associate editor (Methodology) for Human Resource Management Journal.


  • Fellow of the First International Network for Trust (2023)
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (2019)
  • Fellow of the British Academy of Management (2014)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2007)
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2006)
  • PhD in Geography (1986)
  • PGCE (1982)
  • MSc in Urban Studies (1981)
  • BA (in Geography and Soft Systems (1980)


  • Foundations of Qualitative Research (MA Social Research)
  • Advanced Qualitative Interviewing (MA Social Research)

Postgraduate supervision

Research methods, in particular participants selection, methods for understanding organizational relationships;
Human resource aspects of the management of change, in particular trust within and between organizations and organizational learning;
Small and medium sized enterprise (SME) success.

Other activities

  • Fellow of the First International Network for Trust (FINT)
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Fellow of the British Academy of Management and founder member of the Fellows College
  • Co-Chair of the British Academy of Management’s Research Methodology Special Interest Group
  • Member of European Foundation for Management Development Doctoral Programmes Conference Committee


Recent publications


Saunders, M, Lewis, P & Thornhill, A 2023, Research Methods for Business Students. 9th edn, Pearson, Harlow. <>

Saunders, M, Townsend, K, Loudoun, R & Morrison, E 2020, How To Keep Your Doctorate On Track: Insights from atudents' and supervisors' experiences. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham.

Saunders, MNK, Townsend, K, Loudoun, R & Morrison, E 2020, How To Keep Your Doctorate On Track: Insights from atudents' and supervisors' experiences.


Djebali, Z, DiDominico, M & Saunders, M 2022, 'Starting up, not slowing down: social entrepreneurial intentions in later working-life', International Small Business Journal.

Darabi, F, Saunders, MNK & Clark, M 2021, 'Trust initiation and development in SME-university collaborations: implications for enabling engaged scholarship', European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 45, no. 4/5, pp. 320-345.

Wintersberger, D & Saunders, MNK 2020, 'Formulating and clarifying the research topic: insights and a guide for the production management research community', Production, vol. 30, pp. 1-8.,

Rojon, C, McDowall, A & Saunders, M 2019, 'A novel use of Honey's aggregation approach to the analysis of Repertory Grids', Field Methods, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 150-166.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Saunders, M 2023, A pebble skipper's tale. in S Robinson, A Bristow & O Ratle (eds), Doing Academic Careers Differently: Portraits of Academic Life. 1 edn, Routledge, London, pp. 29-39.


Hughes, C & Saunders, M 2021, Building and maintaining trust in virtual teams. in D Wheatley , I Hardill & S Buglass (eds), Handbook of Research on Remote Work and Well-Being in the Post-COVID-19 Era. IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 264-285.

Isaeva, N, Hughes, C & Saunders, MNK 2020, Trust, distrust and human resource management. in Elgar Introduction to Theories of Human Resources and Employment Relations. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 247-263.

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Lee, B & Saunders, M 2020, Case Study Research in Business and Management. in A Atkinson, S Delamont & M Williams (eds), The Sage Encyclopedia of Research Methods. London.

Review article

Budhwar, P, Chowdhury, S, Wood, G, Aguinis, H, Bamber, GJ, Beltran, JR, Boselie, P, Lee Cooke, F, Decker, S, DeNisi, A, Dey, PK, Guest, D, Knoblich, AJ, Malik, A, Paauwe, J, Papagiannidis, S, Patel, C, Pereira, V, Ren, S, Rogelberg, S, Saunders, MNK, Tung, RL & Varma, A 2023, 'Human resource management in the age of generative artificial intelligence: Perspectives and research directions on ChatGPT', Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 606-659.

Garavan, TN, McCarthy, A, Lai, Y, Clarke, N, Carbery, R, Gubbins, C, Sheehan, M & Saunders, MNK 2021, 'Putting the system back into training and firm performance research: a review and research agenda', Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 870-903.

Isaeva, N, Gruenewald, K & Saunders, M 2020, 'Trust Theory and Customer Services Research: Theoretical Review and Synthesis', The Services Industries Journal, vol. 40, no. 15-16, pp. 1031-1063.

Garavan, T, MacCarthy, A, Sheehan, M, Lai, Y, Saunders, M, Clarke, N, Carbery, R & Shanahan, V 2019, 'Measuring the organizational impact of training: The need for greater methodological rigor', Human Resource Development Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 291-309.

View all publications in research portal