• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Leadership in collaborative processes
Performative leadership
Creative action in organisations
Process ontological inquiries

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

My 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. The main object of my research is Leadership, which I conceive not as a quality or attribute of talented individuals, but rather as a dynamic movement that is generated in the social 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 to develop process ontology as an alternative to conventional Humanist or critical studies.

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 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 2023/24 I am teaching and coordinating the following classes:

  • Leadership for change and innovation (for Masters of Business Management students

I also contribute to Strathclyde Business School's Research Methods and Research Philosophy classes for postgraduate researchers, and I teach similar topics at Aalborg University in Denmark and IAE Lyon in France.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Processes of creativity, innovation and change in organisations
  • Leadership in performative processes
  • Methods of inquiry for process research
  • Pragmatist philosophies in process research

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Organisational transformation and environmental sensemaking in New Zealand's Crown Research Institutes, The University of Auckland

Feb 1995Dec 1997

Award Date: 1 Jul 1998

External positions

Senior Fellow of the Centre for Unframed Thinking, Rennes School of Business

Jul 2022 → …

Adjunct Professor, Aalborg Universitet

May 2021 → …

Visiting Professor, TU Delft

Aug 2019Dec 2021

Distinguished Professor of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg Universitet

Mar 2019May 2021


  • leadership
  • Creativity and leadership
  • Performative leadership
  • Process ontology
  • Doing process research


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.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or