University of Exeter Business School Bateman Family Trust Studentship: Corporate Governance and Stewardship Ref: 2976

About the award

Project Description:

We seek a candidate for a Bateman Family Trust funded 3-year PhD Doctoral Researcher in the area of Corporate Governance and Stewardship in Boards of Directors (BoDs) and/or Top Management Teams (TMTs). The project can be based on one of the following questions or areas. This list is indicative not exhaustive and we would welcome a discussion on other possible questions:

• Can institutional investors influence boardroom decision-making processes?
• What is the impact of interlocking boards and director networks
• How do BoDs/TMTs function? What processes and dynamics affect BoD/TMT effectiveness?
• How do board members influence decision-making?
• How do board sub-committees (audit, remuneration, risk) work and how do they influence main board deliberations?
• What is the relationship between BoD/TMT composition and corporate strategy?
• How do BoDs/TMTs influence corporate culture?
• What do boards actually do? What is their real contribution? How and when are BoDs involved in their monitoring, service and strategic roles?
• How one can measure or ascertain board effectiveness?
• What are the dynamics and behaviour of those within the upper echelons, considering antecedents and effects of changes, executive turnover, selection, formation and succession processes?
• How do top leaders and other executives and stakeholders interact (considering power and influence, collaborative and complimentary relationships)
• What are the bottom up and top down influences between individuals and upper echelon groups (BoDs/TMT)?
• What are the career implications of TMT and BoD experiences for executives/directors?
• What role do board evaluators play in board effectiveness?
• How important is the relationship between board Chairs and search firms?

Potential Supervisors: (there will be more than one supervisor on the panel, dependent on the candidate’s final topic)
Prof. Ruth Sealy, Associate Professor of Organization Studies, Director of Exeter Centre for Leadership
Prof. Alexandra Gerbasi, Professor of Leadership
Dr. Gary Abrahams, Practitioner Research Fellow
Dr Andrew Parker, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies

We Are Looking For:

Candidates with research experience in and curiosity regarding management/organisational behaviour and at least a basic training in quantitative and/or qualitative methods
• Candidates must hold (or be about to complete) a Masters degree in management, economics, MBA, behavioural          economics, sociology or organisational psychology, or a related area  
• We are open to candidates who are post-career and have been out of education for a while
• Knowledge of statistical software (SPSS, AMOS, R or STATA) programs is desirable
• Knowledge in qualitative coding, or willingness to acquire, is desirable
• Very good communication skills, above-average commitment, and resilience as well as the ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary team 

We Offer: 

• Research in an interdisciplinary, highly motivated and successful research team
• Opportunities for advanced methodological training within and outside the university
• Collaboration with internationally renowned scholars in the field of organization, leadership and governance
• Participation at research conferences
• Opportunity to publish in highly ranked academic journals 
• Excellent working conditions at a Russell Group university of excellence

About the award:

Applications are invited for a fully funded 3 year PhD studentship, with an anticipated start date of September 2018. The full time studentship will cover UK/EU fees and an annual stipend of approximately £14,553 (2017/2018 rate) for up to three years.

Applicants must be citizens of the UK or the European Union.The studentship will be based in Exeter, UK.


Application deadline:28th February 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:Annual maintenance of £14,553 at 2017-18 rate, plus UK, EU tuition fees for three years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Postgraduate Research Team, University of Exeter Business school

How to apply

In the first instance, to discuss a potential research idea, please contact Prof. Ruth Sealy at

Subsequently, please upload the following documents to the studentship application form:

• A CV
• A covering letter outlining your academic interests, any prior, relevant research experience and your reasons for wishing to undertake this project
• A research training statement, outlining relevant research training already undertaken in qualitative and quantitative          methods and data analysis       
• 2 references from referees familiar with your academic work (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to
• Verified transcript of your highest qualification to date or an interim transcript if you are still studying
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in        English (for further details, please see the University’s English language requirements).     

Interviews for short listed applicants will take place in March 2018.