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Open University Phd Dissertations On Leadership

OU theses and dissertations

Online theses

Are available via Open Research Online.

Print theses

Search for OU theses in the Library Search. To see only print theses click 'In the Walton Hall library' and refine your results to resource type 'Thesis'.

You may be able to borrow a consultation copy of a thesis if you are able to visit the OU Library in person. If you would like to access a hardcopy thesis we require 24 hours notice. Please contact the Library helpdesk giving the author and title of the thesis.

UK theses and dissertations from EThOS

The Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS) offers free access to the full text of UK theses.

  • EThOS offers a one stop online shop providing free access to UK theses
  • EThOS digitizes theses on request into PDF format, this may require payment
  • EThOS is managed by the British Library in partnership with a number of UK universities
  • EThOS is open to all categories of library user

What does this mean to you as a library user?

When you need to access a PhD thesis from another UK based HE institution you should check EThOS to either download a thesis which has already been digitised or to request that a UK thesis be supplied to you.

  • For all UK theses EThOS will be the first point of delivery. You can use the online ordering and tracking system direct from EThOS to manage your requests for UK PhD theses, including checking the status of your requests
  • As readers you will deal directly with EThOS so will not need to fill in a document delivery request
  • OU staff and research students will still be entitled to access non-UK based PhD theses by filling in a document delivery request
  • In some cases where EThOS is unable to supply a UK thesis OU staff and research students will be able to access it by filling in a conventional document delivery request. The thesis will be supplied through direct loan
  • The EThOS system is both faster and cheaper than the previous British Theses service which was based on microfilm
  • The British Library no longer arranges interlibrary loans for UK PhD theses
  • Interlibrary Loan procedures for other types of request from the British Library (articles and books for example) will remain the same

If you have any queries about using EThOS contact the Document Delivery Team (ilmail@open.ac.uk or the Library Helpdesk).

Research overview

Management and organisation studies

Research into management at the School tackles a very broad range of subjects, covering all sub-disciplines within the faculty. The department is currently enjoying significant investment – adding to already excellent facilities and attracting more leading academics to the fold.

Specific research strengths include organisational studies, operations management and strategy, entrepreneurship, and marketing and consumer research. There is also a growing trend of research into sustainability issues in management, and the department is home to one of only two research centres in the UK that focuses on service as a major topic.

These are some of the topics we are currently researching:

  • Business, nature and value
  • Service organisation management
  • The tales top bosses tell to keep ahead of the game
  • Operations and strategy in micro-businesses
  • Strategy in conflict and developing country environments
  • Effective business strategies
  • ‘Servitization’ and how to develop it
  • The social context of markets
  • Events management
  • Small businesses and entrepreneurship
  • How can we engage people in learning and discovery?
  • Workplace equality / diversity
  • Organisational storytelling
  • Venture capital and high tech young firms
  • The process of innovation
  • Retail innovation
  • Tourism, supermarkets, faith-based institutions and Cadburys


The Business School is at the cutting edge of research into leadership. Faculty interests range from applied evaluation of leadership development processes, to the philosophical underpinnings of modern leadership, and we have some of the most respected academics working here. We link our excellence to the real world via accredited post-experience Masters programmes.

We encourage well-rounded theoretical research among each other and our PGR students. We take pride in the quality of our publications and our positive influence on leadership thinking.

These are some the topics we are currently researching:

  • Informal leadership more influential for academics says new research
  • Leading FTSE companies: a continuing study of corporate directing
  • The gender pay gap in managerial positions
  • “Leadership is one of the most talked about yet misunderstood concepts in business and management”
  • How can we develop leadership and procurement skills for climate change?
  • Leadership – relating to ethics, innovation and change
  • How do teams ‘do teamwork’?


If you’re interested in studying for an MPhil/PhD in Management but don't already have a Master’s degree, please take a look at our MRes Management programme.


Skills training

The skills and expertise that you build now are fundamental to your continuing professional development (CPD), and will be part of your toolset throughout your working life.

We strongly recommend that our students take part in the University's Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which offers training in skills such as:

  • research management
  • personal effectiveness
  • communication
  • networking
  • team-working
  • career management

Working while studying

The Business School provides research students with many opportunities to develop skills in teaching, as well as other forms of employment (both academic and non-academic). We actively support students who wish to take on ad-hoc or part time work during their studies.

The School has a Code of Practice for Employment, which complements the University's central Code of Good Practice for the Employment of Postgraduate Students. If you wish to undertake employment during your studies, you must ensure that you read both the School Code and the University Code before commencing any duties.

Alumni employment positions

We are very proud that our graduates have forged successful careers throughout the world in a variety of occupations. Here are just a few:

  • Lecturer in Hospitality Management, European University Cyprus, Nicosia
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Information Communication, Yuan Ze University, Taiwan
  • Lecturer, Faculty of Economics, Universiti Utara, Malaysia
  • Research Fellow, Exeter Centre for Strategic Processes and Operations (EXPO), University of Exeter
  • Lecturer, Accounting Department, Faculty of Management Science, Khon Kaen University, Thailand
  • Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour, School of Business and Economics, University of Wales
  • Lecturer in Marketing, University of Exeter
  • Teaching Fellow in Economics, University of Exeter
  • Lecturer in Economics, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Lecturer in Finance, City College, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Lecturer in Accounting, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Malaysia
  • Assistant Relationship Manager, Corporate Banking, KBC Bank NV, Leeds
  • Research Project Manager, The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Market Association
  • Lecturer in Accounting, School of Accounting, Economics and Statistics, Napier University, Scotland
  • Assistant Professor, School of Tourism, International College, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan
  • Teaching Fellow, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
  • Lecturer in Finance, Business School, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

Further information

Entry requirements 2018

You’ll need a good first degree (ie, at least the equivalent of an Upper Second Class Honours Degree from a UK university) in the relevant subject, and a taught Masters degree in the discipline is normally required.

Applicants with ESRC-accredited Masters degrees are especially welcome to apply, as are those with merit or distinction level qualifications. Masters degrees should be in a subject relevant to the proposed research, and it is particularly advantageous if research methods and techniques as well as independent research (eg, dissertation or project) featured prominently in the curriculum.

If you don’t yet have a Masters degree but are wishing to undertake research you may be offered a place on one of the School's taught MRes*, MSc or MA programmes instead of direct +3 entry. We don’t offer a formal four-year New Route PhD programme, so you would join the MRes/MSc/MA programme and then apply for the MPhil/PhD programme in that first year. Acceptance would be conditional on your performance in the taught programme.

We’ll consider applications according to your academic qualifications and experience, the quality of your research proposal and the availability of staff to supervise your proposed research.

*Our MRes programmes are officially accredited as research degree training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK’s leading research and training agency addressing economic and social concerns.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time


The Business School offers a generous range of scholarships and bursaries for postgraduate students. In previous years funding has been available through a number of scholarships including Distinction Scholarships, Thomson Reuters Scholarships and Excellence Scholarships.

Funding opportunities are subject to change, so for the latest information we recommend searching our funding database.

Current available funding

Research training and employment opportunities

Your future: your training needs

The skills and expertise that you build now are fundamental to your continuing professional development (CPD), and will be part of your toolset throughout your working life, whether academic or elsewhere. We’re also very keen that you should consider taking part in the University's Postgraduate Researchers' Programme which offers training in a wide range of generic and transferable skills in key areas such as research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking, team-working, and career management.

It’s great if you can enter the programme with research training and experience of research at Masters level, but we don’t expect you to be the finished article. You’ll get together straight away with your supervisor to identify your training needs, and you’ll both monitor and adapt them as your research develops and new challenges emerge.

In the first year of your PhD study the appropriate department(s) in the Business School will specify discipline and subject-specific training which may be methods training, research philosophy, or thematic modules to upgrade your knowledge of the subject. You may be asked simply to attend some modules; you may be required to pass others that are vital to your doctoral studies.

You’ll also need to attend staff-postgraduate seminars addressed by visiting speakers and School staff and you’ll present your research to fellow students and academic staff at our annual research conference or a similar event. This is a key opportunity to get feedback from staff and fellow students on your research, as well as giving you the chance to enhance your presentation skills. Successful presentation is a criterion of upgrade from MPhil to PhD status

External training experiences

We can source most training requirements within the University of Exeter, but where this is not feasible, for instance on specialist software, or cutting-edge methods or techniques vital to your studies, we work with partner organisations like research councils, professional associations and training companies to provide external training. 

You need to be able to communicate your research clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences, and we encourage doctoral students to present their work to external audiences at seminars, symposia and conferences. Each student is allocated a yearly allowance for professional development.

When do I get started?

You should enter your doctoral programme in October at the start of the academic year if at all possible. This is when taught modules commence within the School, as does the University’s research training programme and the widest array of training courses. After the training-needs assessment with your supervisor you may be asked to attend one or more first semester modules commencing in October and, if the training is deemed essential to your programme, this may be a requirement for any offer of a place.

October is also the start of the academic year for all students, with a formal induction programme as well as a vibrant calendar of events, and you’ll definitely benefit socially if you start your studies with other new students.

Employment opportunities

The Business School provides research students with many opportunities to develop skills in teaching, and other academic and non-academic employment, and actively supports students who wish to take on ad-hoc or part time work during their studies.

The School has a Code of Practice for Employment of PGR students which complements the University's central Code of Good Practice for the Employment of Postgraduate Students. Students who wish to undertake work during their studies must ensure they read both the School Code and the University Code before commencing any duties.

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