Dr Doug Watts

Doug Watts

Email: H.Watts@Sheffield.ac.uk

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.

Current research

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.

Key Publications

Doug Watts has over 80 publications, including three books and over 40 refereed research papers in journals. Recent key publications include:

  • Watts, H.D., Wood, A.M, and Wardle, P. (2005), Supplier search in industrial clusters: Sheffield metal-working in the 1990s, in Lagendijk, A and Oinas, P. Proximity, distance and diversity: issues on economic interaction and local development, Ashgate (Ashgate Studies in Economic Geography), 111-127
  • Wood, A.M, Watts, H.D and Wardle, P. (2004) Growth-oriented small firms and the nature and extent of local embeddedness: the case of a traditional metal working cluster, Growth and Change, 35 (4), 419-433
  • Watts, H.D., Wood, A.M. & Wardle, P., (2003) Making Friends or Making Things?: Interfirm transactions in the Sheffield Metal-working Cluster. Urban Studies , 40, 3, 615-630
  • Crone, M. and Watts, H.D. (2002) Stability and change in the supply chains of multinational plants: the managerial voice. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 93, 287-301.
  • Watts, H.D. (2001) Cross-border closures in the EU: a UK perspective. European Urban and Regional Studies, 8, 265-271.
  • Crone, M. and Watts, H.D. (2000) MNE supply linkages and the local SME sector. Local Economy, 15, 325-337.
  • Watts, H.D. and Kirkham J (1999). Plant closures by multi-locational firms: a comparative perspective. Regional Studies, 33, 413-424.
  • Watts, H.D. (1998). Restructuring of the European manufacturing sector. In Pinder D.(ed) 'The New Europe: Economy, Society and Development', John Wiley, 91-110.

Other information

Teaching Interests

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)

Postgraduate Research

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

Other Interests

Doug outside work is interested in local geographies and histories (Norfolk, mid-Wales, south Yorkshire, East Riding); the poetry of place (Larkin, Dunn, R S Thomas); contemporary travel writing (especially Raban); the modern novel; opera, ballet, theatre, art galleries.