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  1. Study at the OU
  2. Research degrees
  3. Research areas
  4. Business and Management
  5. Public leadership and social enterprise

Public leadership and social enterprise

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Research in this area brings together the knowledge and expertise of leading researchers focusing on the governance, leadership and management of public agencies, not for profit organisations, inter-organisational collaborations and social enterprises. Through diverse conventional, non-traditional and multi-disciplinary approaches, we conduct research exploring the nature of, and challenges pertaining to, contexts and situations concerned with social, ethical and environmental (political) challenges rather than those focusing purely on economic goals. Research is designed to help understand current developments in these intra- and inter-organisational contexts and – through generating and extending theory – inform policy-makers, leaders and managers as they respond to them.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) and a Masters degree. Ideally we require 120 credits in research methods training. Where candidates do not have such training we can offer a Masters degree in Research Methods (MRes) which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January (closing date end of March) and may include the following. We also welcome part-time and full-time self-funded applications in these areas:

  • Public and third sector governance, leadership and management
  • Inter-organisational and inter-sectoral collaboration
  • Social enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Responsible and sustainable approaches to business and management
  • Practice-based learning and pedagogy.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Debby Hing
+44 (0)1908 655272

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under ‘Your questions’ on the right of the page.