Organisation, Leadership & Governance

The Organisation, Leadership and Governance pathway draws on the OU’s wide-ranging expertise in the fields of organisational studies, ethical leadership, governance, and sustainability. Sitting within the Business School (OUBS) and supported by our Law School, this expertise and knowledge informs and is informed by the OU’s Open Societal Challenges programme, because organisational practices are simultaneously the problem and potential solution to contemporary global crises.  

Faculty academics publish in internationally recognised peer-reviewed journals. Expertise including supervisory and mentoring experience is available in many pathway-related topics such as gender, leadership, precarious work, the refugee experience, post-COVID working arrangements, as well as human trafficking, digital vulnerability in the financial sector, gamification, economic citizenship and governance, and renewable energy entrepreneurship.   

The pathway draws upon four main research centres that enhance its research environment: the Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL), the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL), Research into Employment, Empowerment and Futures (REEF) and the Law School’s Open Justice Centre (OJC). In addition, smaller Research Clusters provide PhD students and postdoctoral fellows with opportunities to share specific theoretical knowledge within supportive internal and external networked alliances.  For example, Gendered Organisational Practice (GOP) have hosted a series of ‘how to write about gender’ workshops facilitated by an world-renowned gender expert, which PhD students and academics attended.

The Leadership and Organisational Governance pathway is provided through two routes:

  • +3.5 in which students will have already completed a Master’s in a relevant area of leadership and organisational governance or a related social science area, which meets the 2022 ESRC Training Guidelines
  • +4 in which students undertake additional research training

Please indicate which of these two routes you are applying for. If you are unsure which is the best option for you please contact us and we can discuss this with you.

Students will, together with their supervisors, select relevant training sessions at each stage of their studies. FBL runs a dedicated training module for PhD students, entitled Foundations and Practice of Business and Law Research. Students will also have access to Graduate School training sessions as well as training offers at our partner universities.    

The Organisation, Leadership and Governance pathway provides the opportunity for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows to engage in knowledge exchange and internships in a faculty which is well connected with a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations. For example, one of our postdoctoral fellows ran a Community Leadership summer school for impact and knowledge exchange with participating organisations during his fellowship. A PhD student completed an internship where they were cataloguing an archive on worker struggles. This was intended to strengthen the student’s professional network and develop their archive research skills.  

Students and fellows with existing professional experience and/or networks relevant to their research will be encouraged to sustain and develop these during their studies. 

The PhD offerings create the conditions for future career success both inside and outside academia. Indeed, several of our academic staff studied for their PhDs in the faculty. 

Pathway leader: Dr Inge Hill


The Open University

Faculty of Business and Law
Structure of provision: +3.5, +4