Professor Phil Johnson

Professor of HRM and Organization Studies and Head of OB/HRM Division

Room: B042
Phone: +44 (0)114 222 3367

In recent years Phil has participated in the generation and management of over £420, 000 of research funding, over £330,000 of which was provided by EPSRC and ESRC. Involved in much of this research have been local public and private sector organizations as sponsors of research and as research sites for both data collection and for change-management interventions. This research has concerned a range of issues including: management control; corporate governance; contractor-client relations; evolving management roles. Recently Phil has engaged in ESRC sponsored research into "Benchmarking Good Practice in Qualitative Management Research" which is part of the ESRC Research Methodology Programme.

Currently Phil is a referee for a number of academic journals and reviews book proposals for several major academic publishers. He has also been a guest editor for the journal Management Decision and has recently been appointed as Associate Editor for a new international journal, Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management.

Phil's education includes: BA (Hons) Sociology (Sheffield); MSc Organization Development (CNAA); MSc Advance Educational and Social Research Methods (Open University); PhD Management and Organization (CNAA).


Phil has undertaken and published research mainly in the areas of epistemology, research methodology, management control, managing change, organization theory and business ethics. Although these outputs have been primarily orientated towards making a RAE contribution, he has also been concerned to make the outcomes of his research both influential upon the content of the programmes at the Management School and more accessible to our students. Here a key recent focus has been to develop materials appropriate to research training for Doctoral students particularly in the area of epistemology. Here, as with all areas of Phil's teaching, whether to undergraduates or postgraduates, his ethos is to enable students to develop a critical and reflexive understanding of how they engage with and come to an understanding of their worlds. This approach to teaching aims to develop in students the ability to interrogate their experience from a range of possible orientations and simultaneously critically reflect upon the variety of theoretical and philosophical assumptions and commitments they choose from and inevitably deploy in such sense –making. Hopefully the outcome is greater awareness of the choices we all have to make when interpreting what is going on around us – interpretations that influence how we see and do things and relate to significant others. By broadening the range of possible choices and potentially changing how we see the world, by changing the lens through which we look in a philosophically self-conscious manner, the idea is that we then can see alternative course of action to those which may currently dominate how things are done – issues surely important for anyone interested in changing how organizations operate and do thing for and to us all. Such an ethos in teaching is also reflected in his own research and the various organizations he has worked with to help their members move towards more democratic and inclusive forms of praxis. Publishing books has been a significant vehicle for disseminating aspects of his research and scholarship to a wider audience particularly in the areas of change management, methodology and epistemology.

Currently Phil supervises doctoral students undertaking research in organization behaviour and organization theory.