Dr Doug Watts

School of Geography and Planning

Honorary Staff


Full contact details

Dr Doug Watts
School of Geography and Planning
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

A graduate of the University of Leicester (BA) and the University of Hull (MA, PhD) Doug Watts' initial research and teaching was at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He joined the research staff on his retirement from the post of Reader in Geography at the University of Sheffield.

Research interests

Multinational firms, the manufacturing sector and regional development; corporate restructuring in the manufacturing sector; manufacturing in the European Union; plant closures; industrial clusters.

The research of Doug Watts has focused upon understanding the changing geographies of large organisations and the relationships between those changes and the restructuring of local and regional economies. This research, involving both the development of a theoretical framework and detailed empirical research was summarised in "The large industrial enterprise: some spatial perspectives" and "The branch plant economy: a study of external control". The early years of the 1980s were devoted to writing a synthesis of contemporary developments in this field. Published as "Industrial Geography", this work was subsequently translated into Italian and Japanese.

At the present time research is focused on the theoretical and empirical analysis of the geographical implications of the processes of change within large manufacturing organisations. Within this broader area a specific interest is on the impact of multinationals on regional economies.

Research group

Over the last decade Doug Watts has played an active role in the supervision of postgraduates and in the development of postgraduate training in the department. Successful PhDs and current topics include:

  • Disaggregating supply chain impacts of manufacturing establishments
  • Clusters, drivers and regional economic regeneration
  • Social and institutional influences on traded linkages in small manufacturing firms,
  • Multinationals, linkages and regional development
  • Changes in the location of production in multi-plant enterprises in the UK
  • Industrial linkage, locational advantage and adaptive behaviour in manufacturing
  • The production and income impact of the Bhilai Steel plant, Madhya Pradesh
  • Plant closures in multi-locational firms: a geographical perspective
  • Leisure and local economic development
  • Employment diversification in the UK city system, 1978 - 1991
Teaching activities
  • Economic Geography (Levels 1 and 2)
  • The Geography of Contemporary Europe (Level 2)
  • Multinationals and Regional Development (Level 3)
  • The Research Process (Research Training Programme)