Research course

People and organisation studies

Open University · The Open University Business School

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus 120 credits in research methods training or, ideally, a masters degree in Research Methods (MRes), which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Months of entry


Course content

Our research in this area covers many of the key issues in the broad area of people and organisation studies and human resource management. We are a diverse department with researchers working in a variety of areas including organisational culture and change, leadership, professional identity, surveillance and the impact of mobile technologies on work, operations management, cross-boundary modes of working, development and change strategies, practice-based learning, creativity and innovation, strategic and cross-national human resource management, and critical organisational theory.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January and may include the following. We also welcome part- and full-time self-funded applications in these areas:

  • Human resource management and development
  • Leadership development
  • Governance
  • Alternative perspectives on ways of organising
  • Organisational and individual identity
  • Emotional and cognitive factors in financial decision-making
  • Cross-cultural aspects of management
  • Organisation theory and critical management research
  • Operations and supply chain management
  • The international transfer of management practices and concepts
  • Work and practice-based learning
  • Wellbeing at work
  • Change strategies
  • Digitalisation of learning and teaching
  • Age at work
  • Volunteer experience in the digital age
  • Use of digital and mobile technologies at work
  • An investment game as platform for learning and research
  • Emotion, narrative and strategic decision-making
  • The disposition effect in financial trading, cognitive style and the regulation of emotion
  • Understanding the antecedents and outcomes of impulsive buying behaviour
  • Culture, institutions and the cross-national adoption of management practices
  • An ethic of care in organisational life
  • The academic as 'Authentic Leader'
  • Hermeneutics and sense-making
  • The politics of idiography and 'The Case Study'
  • Existential approaches to leadership ethics
  • Serious games for serious training
  • Gendered identities in the workplace
  • Mindfulness
  • The antecedents and dimensions of addiction to technology
  • E-resilience
  • Professionals becoming managers

Current/recent research projects

  • Emotion and financial decision making
  • From dataveillance to data economy: firm view on data protection
  • Smart phones as means of facilitating 'seductive' surveillance
  • An investigation of women’s perspectives and experiences of disability
  • A thematic analysis of leadership authenticity
  • Living the academic dream
  • Academic-student identities within the managerialised university
  • Gendered identities among ex-military personnel

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months
part time
72 months


part time
24 months
full time
15 months

Course contact details

Claire Wylde
+44 (0)1908 332311