Dr David Littlewood

PhD MA BSc (Hons), FHEA

Management School

Research Development Director for Entrepreneurship, Strategy and International Business

Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management

David Littlewood wearing a white shirt and dark grey jacket.
+44 114 222 3493

Full contact details

Dr David Littlewood
Management School
Room E017
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

I am a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management, and Research Development Director for the Entrepreneurship, Strategy and International Business subject group. I joined Sheffield University Management School in 2015 to work as a Lecturer in Strategic Management. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management in 2018. I teach on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and supervise PhD students.

Prior to my appointment at Sheffield, I was a Lecturer in Reputation and Responsibility at the Henley Business School, the University of Reading, where I also taught on undergraduate and postgraduate MSc and MBA programmes. Before that, I was employed as a post-doctoral research fellow at Queen’s University Belfast Management School, working on the Trickle Out Africa Project: www.trickleout.net which examined social and environmental enterprises in East and Southern Africa and their role in sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield in the Geography Department, with my research examining relationships between CSR and development in the context of the mining industry in Namibia.  

I am a Visiting Professor at ALTIS – Graduate School Business & Society, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, and currently serve as an external examiner at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University.

I am a Fellow of the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) and member of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED).


PhD MA BSc (Hons), FHEA

Research interests

I conduct research in the field of business and society, and more specifically on social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility (CSR), stakeholder management, and the informal economy. By geography, my work focusses particularly on sub-Saharan Africa.

My research has been published in various academic journals, including the Academy of Management Perspectives, Business & Society, the California Management Review, Business Strategy and the Environment, the Journal of Business Ethics, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change amongst others.

I am a former Marie Curie Fellow, and was seconded to the EU funded GREY research project examining the informal economy in South East Europe. I was chair for the 2020 International Social Innovation Research Conference – ISIRC 2021, and I am co-chairing the stream on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa at the 2021 International Social Innovation Research Conference.

I have led special issues in the Social Enterprise Journal and Africa Journal of Management, and sit on the editorial review boards of the Social Enterprise Journal and the journal Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. I am a regular speaker at international conferences, and my research has been nominated for and won various prizes. I collaborate with academics and practitioners in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.


Journal articles


  • Ciambotti G, Sottini A, Littlewood D & Meru AK (2021) Business Models for Sustainable Development: The Case of a Kenyan Sustainable Enterprise, Responsible Management in Emerging Markets (pp. 215-242). Springer International Publishing RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ciambotti G, Littlewood D, Sottini A & Nkatha E (2020) Building and scaling social enterprise business models for BoP markets in Kenya In Muthuri J, Arnold M, Stefan G & Ximena F (Ed.), Base of the Pyramid Markets in Africa: Innovation and Challenges to Sustainability RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood D (2020) Corporate Responsibilities In Kobayashi A & Maharaj B (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2e Elsevier RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood DC & Holt D (2020) Hybrid Organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa: Insights for Research, Policy and Practice In Billis D & Rochester C (Ed.), International Handbook on Hybrid Organisations Edward Elgar View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood DC & Holt D (2018) How social enterprises can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – A conceptual framework In Apostolopoulos N, Al-Dajani H, Holt D, Jones P & Newbery R (Ed.), Entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals (pp. 33-46). Emerald View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Holt D & Littlewood DC (2018) Social Entrepreneurship and Africapitalism–Exploring the Connections In Amaeshi K, Idemudia I & Okupe A (Ed.), Africapitalism: Rethinking the Role of Business in Africa Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood DC & Holt D (2018) Social Entrepreneurship and CSR Theory: Insights, Application and Value In Spence LJ, Frynas GJ, Muthuri JG & Navare JA (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Small Business Social Responsibility: Global Perspectives (pp. 292-319). Edward Elgar Publishing View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood D & Russon J-A (2015) CSR, mining and development in Namibia, Development-Oriented Corporate Social Responsibility Volume 1: Multinational Co (pp. 116-133). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood D & Holt D (2015) Social and Environmental Enterprises in Africa: Context, Convergence and Characteristics, The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation (pp. 27-47). Springer International Publishing RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood DC & Holt D (2015) The informal economy as a route to market in Sub-Saharan Africa – observations amongst Kenyan informal economy entrepreneurs In Nwankwo S & Nwankwo K (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Business in Africa RIS download Bibtex download
  • Holt D & Littlewood D (2014) Informal economy entrepreneurs from sub-Saharan Africa: Observations from Kenya, The Routledge Companion to Business in Africa (pp. 198-216). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood D & Holt D (2014) Addressing Rural Social Exclusion in the Developing World: Exploring the Role of African Social Purpose Ventures, Exploring Rural Enterprise: New Perspectives on Research, Policy & Practice (pp. 105-131). Emerald Group Publishing Limited RIS download Bibtex download
  • Mayasari D, Littlewood D & Kedir A () Women’s entrepreneurship in the context of a matriarchal society in Indonesia In McAdam M & Cunningham J (Ed.), Women and Global Entrepreneurship: Contextualising Everyday Experiences RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Sottini A, Littlewood D & Ciambotti G (2020) Building Sustainable Business Models in the BoP: Evidence from Social Enterprises in East Africa. Academy of Management Proceedings RIS download Bibtex download
  • Garnelo-Gomez I, Money K & Littlewood D (2019) “I Live Sustainably”: Exploring Sustainable Living Narratives Through Identity and Motivation. Academy of Management Proceedings RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlewood D (2019) Informal entrepreneurship in Windhoek Namibia: A configurational perspective. Academy of Management Proceedings RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

Research group

Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED)

  • Social entrepreneurship in South Africa: Internationalisation, Institutional Work, and Partnerships for Sustainable
    • Awarding body: Development Higher Education Funding Council for England, Global Challenges Research Fund
    • £2370
    • January - September 2019
  • The Role of Innovation Hubs in Promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Kenya University of Sheffield, GLOSS Research Associate Scheme
    • £2300
    • April – September 2016
    • Co-researcher Ms Wilkister Kiyumbu (GLOSS Research Associate)
  • Motivations, Agglomeration and the Formal/Informal Economy Nexus – A Study of Informal Economy Entrepreneurship in Windhoek, Namibia
    • Sheffield University Management School Research Stimulation Fund
    • £2500
    • October 2015- September 2016
  • Scholarship to study an MA Human Geography Research and for a PhD
    • ESRC 1+3 Studentship, University of Sheffield Department of Geography
    • £64,000+/-
    • September 2005- August 2010
    • PhD supervisors: Dr Deborah Sporton and Dr Chasca Twyman
Teaching activities

Responsibility and sustainability are key themes that I embed across all of my teaching. I see my role as a facilitator of student learning and a positive student experience, and seek to help students to develop as critical and reflective thinkers and responsible future business leaders.

I am an advocate of collaborate group based learning, and encourage active student participation in the classroom.

I also believe in research-led teaching, providing opportunities for student inquiry, and drawing upon current research and thinking in the field including my own research on CSR, social entrepreneurship, stakeholder management, and wider relationships between business and society.

I contribute to teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the area of strategy. I lecture on the undergraduate module MGT231 Business Strategy, and I am module leader for the postgraduate module MGT6047 Strategic Management.

I believe in reflective teaching practice and continuing professional development. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

PhD Supervision

I have supervised three PhD students to completion:

  • Bala Auwalu (PhD awarded 22nd February 2021)
  • Naeem Albihany (PhD awarded 21st November 2019)
  • Irene Garnelo Gomez (PhD at Henley Business School, PhD awarded 21st September 2017).

I currently supervise five PhD students:

  • Yiren Wu (2nd year, start date: 01-Oct-2019)
  • Shinell Smith (3rd year, start date: 01-Oct-2018)
  • Zara Seini (4th year, start date: 30-May-2017)
  • Dian Eka Mayasari (4th year, start date: 01-February-2017)
  • Valentina Varbanova (6th year [Part time], start date: 01-Oct-2015)

I have acted as a PhD examiner in the UK, South Africa, Italy and Switzerland.