Silhouettes in boardroom

Strategy & organisation Leadership

The Leadership Research Group at Strathclyde is dedicated to uncovering and exceeding the limitations of conventional thinking about leadership.

By moving beyond ideas of leadership as an attribute of certain gifted or powerful individuals, we seek to develop new, more nuanced understandings of leadership practice that are better able to engage with the complexities of global business and public policy making in the 21st century.

Our approach focuses on the day-to-day social processes that shape, and are shaped by, ongoing leadership practice. We’re interested in:

  • the creative, relational and socio-material dynamics of these processes
  • how leadership practice responds to critical questions about gender and otherness, emotions and aesthetics, and rationality and discourse
  • how these different perspectives can inform the interplay between strategy, change and innovation in today’s organisations

Our leadership research experience

Our research experience spans a wide variety of organisations in the private, public and third sectors. These range from micro-enterprises to multinationals, and across sectors such as manufacturing, retailing, financial services, science, the arts, health and social care, tourism, energy, and government. We also work with organisations that are seeking new ways of developing their leadership capacities.

Who are the leadership research group?

  • Professor Barbara Simpson  – I am interested in the creative and performative dimensions of leadership practice, leadership-as-practice, and leadership for wicked problems. I have collaborated with colleagues, and undertaken research, in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, France, Greece, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, exploring issues in the manufacturing, science, arts, health and government sectors.
  • Dr Peter McInnes – My fascination lies in examining what people mean by ‘leadership’. By unpacking what the term’s use implies about the responsibilities assigned to self, other and organisation we might develop novel approaches to long-standing problems. Issues such as workplace democracy, group empowerment, and gender equality, are amongst those which are being challenged by contemporary workplace practices, and it is in contexts such as partnership working within the public sector and Agile development projects that I have worked to generate fresh insight
  • Dr Kathryn Thory–  I am interested in gender and leadership, with a particular emphasis on challenging the dominant, masculinised norms and power structures which underpin most leadership research. Key topics of interest include career progression of female leaders, gender and leadership in different organisational and cultural contexts. Some of the questions I am interested in exploring are:
    • How is gender constructed and negotiated through leadership activities and practices?
    • How are leaders included, excluded, made (in)visible, silenced, marginalised or given voice through gendered norms?
  • Dr Ying Zhang – My research interests lie in the areas of processes and practice of international collaborations with particular attention to individual and organisational identity, leadership, and trust building among collaborating partners. My broad research interests in identity, leadership and trust building also extend to other organizational contexts such as emerging market multinational corporations, public sectors, and small and medium sized enterprises.
  • Dr Marisa Smith – My interests are in the emergence of leadership in the process of innovating. I am also interested in collaborative leadership in agile teams
  • Dr Veselina Stoyanova – I am interested in exploring the processes and practices of collaborative, responsible and entrepreneurial leadership across industries and geographical contexts. I am fascinated in examining how political and economic uncertainties shape how leadership evolves and influences the formulation and implementation of strategic change in organisations.

Our doctoral students

The group is also enhanced by a flourishing community of doctoral students who are researching topics such as:

  • relational leadership
  • e-leadership
  • creative leadership
  • sports leadership
  • leadership and strategic identities
  • leadership in integrated health authorities
  • cross-cultural issues in leadership development.

We very much welcome inquiries from potential doctoral candidates interested in contributing to our work to develop alternative perspectives in leadership. Find out more on the strategy & organisation postgraduate research course page.