Professor Kiran Trehan

Professor Kiran Trehan

Department of Management
Director of External Engagement
Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development

Contact details

+44 (0)121 415 8244
+44 (0) 121 414 2982
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Kiran Trehan joined Birmingham Business School in March 2012 from Lancaster University Management School where she was Deputy Head of Department and Director of HRD and consulting. She is a leading expert on diversity, enterprise and leadership development. She currently holds the post Professor of Enterprise and leadership Development and is Academic Director for the Centre for women’s enterprise and leadership (CWEL) and Co- Director of The Enterprise and Diversity Alliance (EDA) is a new-generation response to transforming communities and corporations through mutually beneficial enterprise activities. She is Co- Editor of Action Learning: Research & Practice -: The first international journal dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and practice through action learning.


  • PhD University of Lancaster
  • MA in Management Learning, University of Lancaster
  • BA (Hons) Sociology with Professional Studies


Kiran Trehan is Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development, Director of External Engagement, Head of subject group for Entrepreneurship and local economy, and Co - Director of the Enterprise and diversity Alliance [EDA]

Professor Trehan’s research focuses on Entrepreneurship, leadership and diversity in the small firms sector, all of which are central to the economic and social policy agenda. Kiran Trehan is a key contributor to policy debates and has led a number of enterprise and business support initiatives, extensively published a number of journal articles, policy reports, books and book chapters in the field. Professor Trehan’ s work has been supported by grants from a full range of research funding bodies; including  the Economic and Social Research Councils and Arts Humanities Research councils, government departments, regional and local agencies and the private sector.

Professor Trehan holds several national advisory roles that shape debates and policy in leadership Diversity and Enterprise development Small firms. She is also Vice President at the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship [ISBE] and visiting professor at Lancaster University. Previously she served as Sub Group Chair of the Enterprise mentoring group at the British Bankers association (BBA.) and has held board positions at the Institute of Leadership and Management, Small Firms Enterprise Development (SFEDI), which is the Government recognised UK standards setting body for business support and business enterprise. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham Kiran was Deputy Head of department at Lancaster University Management School.

Professor Trehan is part of the senior management team and leads on Business and external engagement for the Business School and the College of Social Sciences. A passionate advocate for business and public engagement, knowledge exchange has been at the heart of her work and has been highly influential in shaping and changing enterprise and diversity policy nationally and internationally.  Professor Trehan was named as a ‘Woman of Change’ as part of the ‘Making Space’ initiative celebrating women’s leadership at the University of Birmingham, 

Kiran is currently leading a major piece of research on leadership and  diversity as part of Andy Street’s Mayoral Leadership Commission in the West Midlands; and is an Associate at the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business at the Birmingham Business School.


  • ESRC Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise Prize
  • College of Social Science Impact Prize on Society
  • National Diversity Awards - Best in Education for work on diversity and enterprise
  • NatWest Venus Awards - Awarded the Enterprise Development bridging the gap between academic and business.


  • Msc HRM Leadership development
  • MBA
  • PhD 


Kiran's key interests are in the field of enterprise and leadership development and critical action learning. Her research involves the active engagement of policy makers and practitioners on issues relating to diversity, enterprise and leadership development. My work has focused on the dynamics of enterprise and leadership development in  large and small firms. Kiran is a leading contributor to debates on the distinctiveness of critical action learning, and how it can be applied in a variety of organisational and policy domains. Her publications in Management Learning (2003, 2010), Gender & Education, (2001) Studies in Higher Education (2001) and Journal of Action Learning: Research and Practice (2004, 2008, 2009) are testimony both to the growing importance of this mode of research, and her success in advancing action learning in different contexts, ranging from management school classrooms to networks of ethnic minority businesses and policy-making circles. In addition Kiran has a strong track record of attracting funding, mostly for her research in enterprise development in ethnic minority small firm from research councils (ESRC) and regional development agencies, which has led to high quality research outputs. Central to this is a concern with ‘impact’ and collaborative working with user groups.

Selected Research Grants

April 2012-April 2013 Economic Social and Research Council 

Facilitating Impact: Entrepreneurship and Diversity with Professor M Ram  

January 2011-December 2011 Economic Social and Research Council

Facilitating Impact: Entrepreneurship and Diversity:   Joint Applicant with Professor M Ram

April 2007-March 2008 Economic Social and Research Council 

Facilitating Entrepreneurial Regeneration: A Collaborative Approach to African-Caribbean Business

Development, with Professor M Ram

April 2007-March 2008, Economic Social and Research Council 

Facilitating Entrepreneurial Regeneration: A Collaborative Approach to Bangladeshi Business

Development with Professor M Ram

Other activities

  • Co- Editor Action Learning: Research & Practice - The first international journal dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and practice through action learning. To receive contents alerts for every new issue, please visit
  • Visting Research Fellow Lancacaster University Mangement School
  • Visiting Professor, Faculty of Business and Management. Chester University



Rigg, C, Trehan, K, Stewart, J (eds) (2006). ‘Beyond Critical Human Resource Development’ Pearsons London

Book Chapters

Trehan, K, and Rigg, C. (2014) Critical action learning; research; Opportunities and challenges for HRD research in  Critical qualitative research; Edited by Mark Saunders and Paul Tosey 

Trehan, K , Rigg, C (2012) HRD and Consultancy J.P.Wilson (Ed) International Human Resource Development: Learning, Education and Training for Individuals and organization 3rd Edition Kogan Page London

Trehan, K (2011) Critical Action Learning - From theory to practice in M Pedler (ed) Action Learning in Practice, 4th Edition, Gower Publishing

Rigg, C, Trehan, (2011) Action Learning in Encyclopaedia of the Sciences of Learning, Springer Publishing

Trehan, K and Pedler, M (2009) Critical Action Learning; “Putting an edge on leadership & management development”. Chapter in R Mumford, J Gold and R Thorpe (eds) The Handbook of Leadership and Management Development. Gower Publishing

Trehan, K and Rigg, C (2007) ‘Working with Experiential Learning’. Chapter in Vince, R and Reynolds, M (ed) Experiential Learning. Oxford University Press, Oxford

Trehan, K, Rigg, C and Stewart, J (2006) ‘Going Beyond a Critical Turn: Limitations and Hypocrisies’, Chapter in C Rigg, J Stewart, and K Trehan (eds) Beyond Critical HRD. Pearsons, London

Trehan, K, Shelton, R (2006) ‘Leadership Development, a critical examination’. Chapter in R Hill and J Stewart (eds) Management Development: Perspectives from Research and Practice. Routledge, London

Trehan, K and Rigg. C (2005) ‘Beware of the Unbottled Genie: Unspoken Aspects of Critical Self-reflection’. Chapter in C Elliot and S Turnbull (eds) Critical Thinking in HRD. Routledge, London

Rigg, C and Trehan, K (2004) ‘Now you see it, now you don’t: a discourse perspective on researching HRD in SMEs’. Chapter in J Stewart and G Beaver (eds) HRD in Small Organisations. Routledge, London

Trehan, K and Rigg, C (2003) ‘Propositions for Incorporating a Pedagogy of Complexity, Emotion and Power in HRD Education’. Chapter in M Lee (ed) HRD in a Complex World. Routledge, London

Trehan, K and Reynolds, M  (2002) ‘Assessment, the Online Experience’.  Chapter in C Steeples and C Jones (eds) Networked Learning, Perspectives and Issues. Springer-Verlag, London

Rigg, C, Ram, M, Trehan, K, (2001) ‘Using Action Research to Explore the Development Needs of Second Generation Asian Small Businesses’. Chapter in J McGoldrick, J Stewart and T. Watson (eds) Researching HRD. Routledge, London

Trehan, K and Rigg, C (1999) ‘Changing Management and Employment in Local Government’. Chapter in K Isaac-Henry, C Painter and C Barnes (eds) Managing in the Public Sector: Challenge and Change 2nd Edition. International Thompson Business Press, London

Refereed Journal Articles

Carter, S; M Ram; K Trehan and T Jones. 2014. "Diversity and SMEs: Existing Evidence and Policy Tensions," Enterprise Research Centre, White Paper 1. 

Ram, M , Trehan, K, Rouse, J, Woldesenbet, K, Jones (2012) Ethnic Minority  Business support in the west Midlands : Challenges and Developments 'Government and Policy (Environment and Planning C).

Trehan, K and Rigg, C (2011) Theorising Critical HRD; Complexities and contradictions. Journal of European Industrial Training vol: 35 (3) pg: 276 Emerald highly commended paper award

Ram, M and Trehan, K (2010). Critical Action Learning, Policy Learning and Small Firms: An Inquiry. Management Learning Vol 41(4) 415–428

Ram, M and Trehan, K (2009). Critical by Design; Enacting Critical Action Learning in Small Business Context.  Journal of Action Learning Research and Practice, Vol 6 (3), pp 305-318

Trehan, K, and Pedler, M (2009). Animating critical action learning: Process based leadership & management development. Journal of Action Learning Research and Practice, Vol 6 (1), pp 35-49

Trehan, K and Rigg, C (2008). Critical Reflection in the Workplace - Is it just too Difficult? Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol 31 (2), pp 219-237

Trehan, K (2007). Exploring the relationship between critical HRD and psychodynamic approaches to development. Journal of Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol 9 (1), pp 73-82

Trehan, K (2006). Making diversity count: from resistance to learning. Public Services Review: Central Government, Issue 11, pp 60-66

Trehan, K (2005). Unravelling Diversity, Public Services Review: Central Government, Issue 10, pp 80-86

Trehan, K (2004). Who’s sleeping with whom? What’s not being talked about in HRD. Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol 28 (1), pp. 23-38.  Highly commended paper award

Trehan, K and Rigg, C (2004). Reflections on Working with Critical Action Learning. Journal of Action Learning, Vol 1 (2), pp 51-67

Reynolds, M and Trehan, K (2003). Learning from difference: A critical perspective. Management Learning, Vol 31 (2), pp 163 – 180

Rigg, C and Trehan, K (2002). “Do they or don’t they?”: A comparison of traditional and discourse perspectives of HRD in SMEs. Education and Training, Vol 44 (89), pp 338-397

Reynolds, M and Trehan, K (2001). Classroom as Real World: Propositions for a Pedagogy of Difference. Gender and Education, Vol 13 (4), pp 357-372

Reynolds, M and Trehan, K (2000). Assessment: A Critical Perspective. Studies in Higher Education, Vol 25 (3), pp 267-278

Rigg, C and Trehan, K (1999). “Not Critical Enough?” Black women raise challenges for critical management learning. Gender and Education, Vol 11 (3), pp 265-280


A specialist in entrepreneurship, small firms and diversity. Professor Trehan is a key contributor to debates on diversity, and enterprise development in small firms. He is also an expert on SMEs who are  reliant on European trade.