• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

1994 …2021
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Personal profile

Academic / Professional qualifications

1998 PhD in Management & Employment Relations (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
1992 Certificate in Company Direction (Institute of Directors of New Zealand and Victoria University Wellington)
1981 PGDip in Groundwater Hydrology (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
1978 MSc (Hons) in Physics (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
1975 BSc in Physics (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Personal Statement

I joined Strathclyde Business School in 2004, a move that saw me relocating to Scotland from the University of Auckland Business School in my native New Zealand. My research activities at that stage were focussed primarily on the processes of technological learning in small manufacturing businesses, but I also maintained an interest in scientific and hi-tech innovation and the management of professionals, especially scientists.

My move to Scotland was just one of many major turning points in my career, which originally started out in geothermal hydrology, and then proceeded through international consultancy and the management of large multi-national science projects, before finally turning to my current academic focus. Along the way, I also started up two small companies, one in London and the other in Auckland, and I was appointed as a non-executive Director on the boards of two New Zealand science companies. This prior experience continues to inform my interests in organisational practice, whether this be in business, science or the arts. It has also been helpful in my empirical work, giving me the vocabulary to engage effectively across disciplines.


Research Interests

I belong to a vibrant group of academic and postgraduate researchers in the Department of Strategy & Organisation who share a fascination with new perspectives on Leadership - find out more about us at http://www.strath.ac.uk/research/subjects/strategyorganisation/leadership/. My own particular research interests revolve around the social practices that shape creativity, innovation, and change in organisations, where these practices are continuously emerging from, and reproduced in, complex intersubjective engagements. I conceive Leadership then, not as a quality or attribute of talented individuals, but rather as a dynamic movement that is generated in the processes of organising. My work is deeply informed by the Pragmatist Philosophers, especially George Herbert Mead, who brings a richly processual perspective to bear upon the social dynamics of organisational practices. My recent publications have pursued these themes in philosophical, theoretical and empirical formats, and my current projects continue these developments.

I very much enjoy supervising postgraduate researchers and welcome inquiries from potential students who have interests that resonate with my ongoing research agenda. I am currently supervising a variety of doctoral-level projects that explore leadership work, the notion of e-leadership, and the dynamics of creativity. I am particularly interested in attracting students who wish to take a fresh look at Leadership as an emergent organisational practice.

Teaching Interests

My teaching experience encompasses undergraduate, postgraduate, and post-experience levels of student learning, as well as executive education and coaching. I also have extensive experience teaching across disciplines, especially between science/engineering, the performing arts, and business. The common goal of all of my teaching practice is to encourage students to see their world in new and challenging ways.  My aim is always to develop independent and reflexive critical thinkers who, above all else, have learned how to learn for themselves. I see the two-way exchange between teacher and student as a fertile ground for the development of creative and innovative ideas.  While I endeavour to incorporate my research activities into my teaching at all times, I also recognise the importance of grounding my teaching in the practical realities of my own experience as a manager, an entrepreneur, and a company director. I have been the recipient of a Universitas 21 Teaching Fellowship and an Outstanding Teaching Excellence Award.

In 2016/17 I am teaching and coordinating the following classes:

  • Strategy & Leadership (BA in Management)
  • Research Philosophy (MRes)
  • Leadership for change and innovation (MBM, PMI, and MBA)

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Processes of creativity, innovation and change in organisations
  • Leadership-as-Practice and the performativity of leadership
  • Methods of inquiry for process research
  • Pragmatist philosophies in process research


  • Leadership-as-Practice
  • Creativity and leadership
  • Performative leadership
  • Organisational learning
  • Leading innovation
  • Organisational change

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Barbara Simpson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2013 2021

REA Studentship - Public leadership as robust collaborative action

Simpson, B.


Project: Research - StudentshipResearch Studentship (Internally Allocated)

Research Output 1994 2019

The duality of design(ing) in the organising of projects

Rylander Eklund, A. & Simpson, B., 5 Sep 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Project Management Journal.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Project management
Project success

Applied humour in creative product design

Hatcher, G., Ion, W., MacLachlan, R., Wodehouse, A., Simpson, B. & Marlow, M., 29 Aug 2018, Creativity and Humour. Luria, S. R., Baer, J. & Kaufman, J. C. (eds.). London, p. 157-182 6 p. (Explorations in Creativity Research).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Product design


New engineering design processes through humour

Hatcher, G. (Creator), University of Strathclyde, 31 Oct 2016



Organising while innovating : towards a process theory in innovation management

Author: Nair, A., 1 Oct 2014

Supervisor: Simpson, B. (Supervisor) & Mackay, D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Syn-kinesis : an empirical inquiry in the relational process of leadership

Author: Sklaveniti, C., 1 Oct 2014

Supervisor: Simpson, B. (Supervisor) & Mackay, D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Best Paper Award

Barbara Simpson (Recipient), 12 Aug 2013

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Organizational practices

Fellow of the RSA

Barbara Simpson (Recipient), 2018

Prize: Election to learned society

business school

Activities 2008 2018

34th EGOS Colloquium

Barbara Simpson (Chair), Nancy Harding (Organiser), Viviane Sergi (Organiser)
4 Jul 20187 Jul 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganiser of major conference

Organization Studies (Journal)

Barbara Simpson (Guest editor), Nancy Harding (Guest editor), Peter Fleming (Guest editor), Viviane Sergi (Guest editor), Anthony Hussenot (Guest editor)
May 20182020

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesJournal or guest editorship