Accounting for Wellbeing in the Age of Digitalised Data - Cost Benefit Analysis of Sustainable Performance Management Systems

3-year PhD Scholarship, Department of Human Resource Management.


  • Number of scholarships 1
  • Value Stipend: £14,652 pa. Fees: Home/RUK/EU Fee waiver
  • Opens 14 December 2016
  • Deadline 28 February 2017
  • Help with Tuition fees, Living costs
  • Duration 36 months


Candidates are required to have:

  • An excellent undergraduate degree with Honours in a relevant business, scientific/technological or social science subject
  • A Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred
  • Students may also have other relevant experience or skills which are relevant to this project
  • Candidates who are not native English speakers will be required to provide evidence for their English skills (such as by IELTS or similar tests that are approved by UKVI, or a degree completed in an English speaking country).

Candidates should be available to take up study in the UK on 1st October 2017

*Whilst open to International candidates, please note that this scholarship covers Home/EU/RUK Fee rate only.

Project Details

Central to today’s HR and management accounting control practices is the emergence of new forms of performance management that are based on the micro-measurement and micro-management of employees’ individual performance, both quantitatively in terms of output, ‘deliverables’ and digitalised data and, qualitatively, in terms of ratings of behavioural competencies.  The measurement, management and control of individual employee performance is an arena which spans the boundaries of HRM and accounting practices. 

The practice of management control has been intensified through the use of new technologies. Today, performance management has become a holistic process that incorporates manifold elements of HRM and financial management into management accounting control systems.

Although an extensive prescriptive HRM literature exists which emphasises the ways to minimise bias and subjectivity in evaluation, it is forced distribution rating systems (FDRS) that remain widely embedded in organisations as a relative and employee-comparative practice.

Yet, studies point to the importance of understanding the social context within which such systems are implemented. These highlight discrimination in relation to gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability, as well as the potential for bullying in the workplace. The line manager, the nature of the supervisory relationship and employee perceptions of procedural justice and fairness all have been shown to shape employee attitudes, contextual performance (e.g. organisational citizenship behaviour) and wellbeing, with implications for perceived work intensification, burnout and stress.
Critical accounting research articulates with these important HRM issues.  This work, aside from traditional questions about the measurement and management of product and service costings, has increasingly been concerned with the potent impact of performance metrics on individual attitudes and emotions. 

This studentship will focus on so far underdeveloped areas, aligning with the University’s core strategic research areas:
a) Measurement sciences and enabling technologies: How are the new tools set up and how is (big) data management tying together organisational units. To what extent and in what ways are new developments in HRM articulated with accounting practices?
b) Innovation and Entrepreneurship: How and to what extent does the holistic and individualised performance management influence creativity and risk taking within the organisation and negatively influence innovative approaches?
c) Health and Wellbeing: How do performance metrics impact upon employees’ physical and emotional well-being?  To the extent that performance management systems incorporate a disciplinary purpose what are the impacts on staff well-being? 


Further Information


The study calls for critically engaged students interested both in quantitative and qualitative research approaches. The core project will be organisation/company based and follow a multi-case study approach. From the team’s more recent research projects, potential companies could include TSB, LBG, HSBC, Santander, and as well as public sector organisations (Police Scotland, prison services). In the first stage of the project, the student will conduct in-depth desk based research to define and identify the parameters to choose the individual cases. The second stage of the project will be characterised by field research within contrasting cases, using expert and employee interviews (e.g., with line management, employees). Theory building will be enacted by combining the existing literature on performance management, critical HRM, employee wellbeing and critical accounting studies.

Supervisory Team:

Dr Kendra Briken, Human Resource Management

Prof Christine Cooper, Accounting and Finance

How to apply

At this stage, we are inviting applicants to apply for the scholarship only. The successful candidate will then be asked to complete an application for PhD study at Strathclyde. 

All applications should include:

  • a cover letter indicating the candidate's relevant skills/experience and how they can contribute to this research
  • a CV and relevant qualification transcripts.
  • two references (please refer to guidance on references)

    When sending the above documents please use the following file-naming convention: fullname_typeofdocument

    For example,







    Apply now by uploading your documents here. Please note that any incomplete applications or applications with files that do not follow the above format will not be considered.*

*We will keep your details on file to use when any other relevent scholarships arise.