Dr Robert Cluley

Dr Robert Cluley

Department of Marketing
Associate Professor

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Robert is a leading scholar on the organization of marketing and the role of technology in marketing practice. He has developed and championed marketing theory and is highly regarded for his early work adopting a psychoanalytic interpretation of consumer behaviour. He is trained in a range of research methods including advance statistical analysis, ethnography and anthropology.


Google Scholar


  • PhD in Marketing and Organizations, University of Leicester
  • 2010 MSc in Management Research, University of Leicester
  • 2008 MA in Critical Theory, University of Nottingham
  • 2003 BSc (Hons) Management, Lancaster University 2002


Robert began his academic career at Lancaster University, where he studied management. At Lancaster, Robert as introduced to social theory and pursed this interest at Nottingham before working in marketing within the HVAC industry. He returned to academia after winning a scholarship from the University of Leicester. At Leicester, he was awarded an MSc in Management Research at Distinction and won further funding to pursue doctoral research from the ESRC.

His PhD research, supervised by Profs Martin Parker and Nick Ellis explored the production and consumption of music in the UK and was examined by Profs Alan Bryman and Carl Rhodes. Following this, Robert took a lectureship at the University of Leicester, before moving to the University of Nottingham where he was promoted to Associate Professor. At Nottingham, Robert developed his skills and experience. In addition to developing award winning modules in advertising, branding and communications, he sat on Nottingham University Business School’s School Management Group for 5 years, acted as Director of Postgraduate Studies for 3 years, and sat on the University’s Postgraduate Committee.

He was a founding member of NLAB – Nottingham’s centre for business analytics – and a founding Executive Board Member of the Nottingham Energy Institute. Robert has now joined Birmingham Business School and is looking forward to contributing to its mission.


  • Consultancy skills & Practice
  • Ethics of Markets and Marketing Ethics

Postgraduate supervision

  • Marketing practice
  • Marketing organizations
  • Advertising and society
  • Technology


Research interests

Robert’s research focuses, broadly, on the organization of marketing and consumption. He is particularly interested in understanding how and why marketers and consumers embrace new technologies. In his studies of marketers, he has studied how marketers use new analytic methods and big data sources. In addition, he is currently researching the consumption of energy. In his studies of consumer behaviour, he has championed the use of diverse theories and methods to unlock new insights into consumer cultures.

Current projects

Robert is currently writing up an ethnographic study of a large marketing research and technology company. He is drafting a book on the topic for Bristol University Press provisionally titled ‘Marketing Science Fiction’. In addition to this, with Prof Will Green, Robert is analysing a large data set of qualitative interviews with market researchers based in London, New York and Chicago. He is also completing empirical research with a team of researchers for an EPSRC project on decarbonising supply chains and theoretical analysis on the influence of social theory in marketing with Dr Stephen Dunne.


Recent publications


Cluley, R & Green, W 2024, 'Market research ethics: new practices but no new ideas', AMS Review. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13162-024-00276-8

Cluley, R 2023, 'An ethnographic study of organizational performances in business services: space, staging and materiality', Human Relations, vol. 76, no. 11, pp. 1802-1826. https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267221116865

Cluley, R & Parker, M 2023, 'Critical theory in use: organizing the Frankfurt School', Human Relations, vol. 76, no. 11, pp. 1689 –1713. https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267221111219

Cluley, R 2022, 'Interesting numbers: an ethnographic account of quantification, marketing analytics and facial coding data', Marketing Theory, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 3-20. https://doi.org/10.1177/14705931211039001

Cluley, R 2020, 'Complaining about rivals: Indifference, cooperation, and competition in the governance of advertising', Regulation & Governance, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 316-327. https://doi.org/10.1111/rego.12211, https://doi.org/10.1111/rego.v14.2

Green, W, Cluley, R & Gasparin, M 2020, 'Mobile Market Research Applications as a New Voice of Customer Method: Implications for Innovation and Design Management', Research Technology Management, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 49-55. https://doi.org/10.1080/08956308.2020.1686297

Cluley, R 2020, 'The politics of consumer data', Marketing Theory, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 45-63. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470593119847252

Cluley, R & Green, W 2019, 'Social representations of marketing work: advertising workers and social media', European Journal of Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1108/ejm-12-2016-0682

Cluley, R, Green, W & Owen, R 2019, 'The changing role of the marketing researcher in the age of digital technology: Practitioner perspectives on the digitization of marketing research', International Journal of Market Research, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 27-42. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470785319865129

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Cluley, R & Green, W 2024, Responsible Technology in Marketing: Theory, Adoption, Practice. in M Saren, LM Hassan, M McGowan, NC Smith, E Surman & R Varman (eds), Responsible Marketing for Well-being and Society: A Research Companion. 1st edn, The Routledge Research Companions in Business and Economics, Routledge.

Book/Film/Article review

Cluley, R 2024, 'Book Review: Holmes, Helen (2024) The Materiality of Nothing: Exploring Our Everyday Relationship with Objects Absent and Present', Consumption, Markets and Culture.

Cluley, R 2022, 'Book Review: The dark side of marketing communications: critical marketing perspectives, by T. Hill and P. McDonagh, London, Routledge, 2021, 123 pages, £34.99 (Paperback), ISBN 1138587133, ISBN 978-1138587137', Consumption, Markets and Culture. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2022.2154759

Cluley, R 2022, 'Book review: Nine Lives of Neoliberalism', Management Learning, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 128-130. https://doi.org/10.1177/13505076211042498

Cluley, R 2020, 'Book Review: Advertising Revolution: The Story of a Song, from Beatles Hit to Nike Slogan', Journal of Macromarketing, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 266-269. https://doi.org/10.1177/0276146719878250


Cluley, R & Molesworth, M 2024, 'Re-classifying consumer research', Consumption, Markets and Culture.

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