Save this page
Save this page

My Saved Pages

  • Saved page.

My Saved Courses

  • Saved page.

Recently visited

  • Saved page.

Dr Marisa Smith


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship

Personal statement

Marisa has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Strathclyde in Manufacturing Engineering and Management.  She also has a PhD from the University of Strathclyde in Innovation Management in Service Operations.  Her doctoral research concentrated on contact centre operations, in particular how to influence innovation and change in contact centres.  She has carried out case studies with a number of different contact centres within the UK, to understand how their characteristics impact on their capacity to innovate.  Marisa has an interest in service innovation and her background as a manufacturing engineer in Rolls-Royce allows her to examine the differences between manufacturing and service environments.  She has published in international journals in the areas of innovation and the transference of manufacturing best practice into service companies.  Marisa also has direct knowledge transfer experience of implementing improvements into service based organisation.   

The main aims of my research so far have focused on understanding innovative behaviours in organisations and the factors which influence these behaviours.  My research interests are varied due to the wide range of factors which can influence innovative behaviours such as strategy, performance measurement, knowledge management, creativity but the focus always come back to how do these subjects influence an organisations ability to innovate.  

In general my research adopts a participative case study approach using a qualitative methodology usually through the use of interviews, observations or workshops to get to the heart of the issue under investigation.  

Drawing on her research and knowledge exchange work, Marisa is continually seeking to make her teaching relevant to the managers of the future. She also brings in fun aspects to her classes including the use of games and new technology to support the learning process.  Marisa also supervises a wide range of dissertation students including UG, PG, MBA and executive MBA. 


Has expertise in:

    Operations Management 


Lean implementation in a service factory : views from the front-line
Smith Marisa, Paton Steve, MacBryde Jillian
Production Planning and Control Vol 29, pp. 280-288, (2018)
High-involvement innovation : views from frontline service workers and managers
Smith Marisa Kay
Employee Relations Vol 40, pp. 208-226, (2018)
Interplay between performance measurement and management, employee engagement and performance
Smith Marisa, Bititci Umit S.
International Journal of Operations and Production Management Vol 37, pp. 1207-1228, (2017)
Inclusive design of a strategy making process
Mackay David , Smith Marisa
British Academy of Management, (2016)
Open innovation in high value manufacturing
Smith Marisa, Ates Aylin, Sminia Harry, Paton Steve
Innovation Product Development Management Conference, (2016)
Social implications of crowdsourcing in rural Scotland
Annamalai Vasantha Gokula Vijayumar, Corney Jonathan, Acur Bakir Nuran, Lynn Andrew, Jagadeesan Ananda Prasanna, Smith Marisa, Agarwal Anupam
International Journal of Social Science & Human Behavior Study Vol 1, pp. 47-52, (2014)

more publications


Research methodology 

Research interests


High Value Manufacturing 


Leadership in distributed Agile project management teams
McInnes, Peter (Principal Investigator) Smith, Marisa (Co-investigator)
The proposed research examines ‘leadership’ in the practice of distributed Agile project teams. Agile is a project management methodology that claims to deliver a functioning service/product more quickly than traditional ‘waterfall’ methodologies (Cobb, 2011; Wysocki, 2011). Accordingly it has been adopted in sectors including, software, pharmaceuticals, engineering and manufacturing (Collyer and Warren, 2009; Kerzner, 2004). It operates by having a ‘Product Owner’ prioritise the features a product should have. Semi-autonomous development teams (Scrums) are then given a sequence, or ‘track’, of features to deliver over short periods ‘sprints’. Led by a Scrum Master, these teams meet daily to review progress and identify issues. Under Agile, then, the product evolves rather than being worked upon to completion (Chin, 2004). As our letters of support indicate, leadership is a live issue for practitioners of Agile. The literature is confused, oscillating between those advancing a shared or distributed model of leadership (Augustine et al., 2005; Moe et al., 2009), and those insisting on the relevance of the individual leader’s skills and traits (Adkins, 2010; Mersino, 2013; Muller and Turner, 2010). Experience in an unrelated research project suggests this confusion springs from contrasts between the rhetoric and the material practices of distributed Agile teams. The first contrast is between tight integration and proximity implied by the ‘scrum’ metaphor and the geographically dispersed nature of distributed Agile teams (Cottmeyer, 2008). Team members may sit at the next desk, but may equally be on the other side of the world. This lends emphasis on the individual ‘leader’ communicating the group’s approach and direction as members cannot necessarily debate and decide these collectively. A second contrast can be found in the contrast between Agile teams’ purportedly self-managed status and their embeddedness within a larger development project. Agile teams are often described as containing a cross-section of disciplines capable of completing a discrete package of work pertaining to a single product in each sprint (Cobb, 2011; Wysocki, 2011). This is rarely the case, with current work affecting and being shaped by work on other packages or tracks (Chin, 2004). Likewise, while different disciplines may work in co-located scrum teams they might equally draw on, or pass their work to, others. This interdependence with those within and beyond their track adds both complexity and politics to their activity (Adkins, 2010; Cottmeyer, 2008). The challenge, then, shifts from group members leading by maintaining a team dialogue on approach and direction, towards individual leaders negotiating and defending these with others. A third compromise on Agile’s collective ideal lies in the visibility slippages or errors gain through the intense nature of Sprints. Rather than the aspiration for collective responsibility and joint problem solving, it is a rhetoric of traditional hierarchical models in which ‘leaders’ become the focus of direction setting and accountability that dominates. The issues above see Agile’s ideals of distributed leadership dissipate such that a ‘leader’ becomes vested with authority and responsibility. We would argue this is less a consequence of imperfections in Agile per se, but rather emanates from the entitive assumptions embedded in traditional dualistic understandings of self and organization / leader and led. It is only by moving beyond individualistic questions of who should do ‘leadership’ to examine what is being required in its name, that we can grapple with the questions of why, how, and with what consequences, these crystalize upon a particular individual. Hence our research questions are: • How can we understand the dynamics of 'leadership' in distributed Agile project management teams? o Around what matters do we see a move between distributed and individual understandings of where ‘leadership’ rests in distributed Agile teams? o Through what process(es) is the negotiation of shared purpose, direction and approach undertaken in temporally and geographically distanciated Agile teams? o In what ways are teams’ ongoing sense of collective self-determination shaped by the interdependence of different parts of the project? o To what extent do issues of accountability shape team members’ perceptions of who is individually and/or collectively responsible for outcomes?
Period 30-Sep-2016 - 28-Sep-2019

more projects


Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship
Stenhouse Wing

Location Map

View University of Strathclyde in a larger map