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Business & Management - Research

Overview

The Ulster University Business School provides opportunities for PhD study on a full-time and part-time basis in a range of topic areas linked to the Faculty's research strategy. Studying for a PhD offers researchers the opportunity to research in depth a range of business and management topics at an advanced level. Completion of a PhD typically takes three years on a full-time basis and six years on a part-time basis. Over 50 full time and part time PhD Researchers are currently registered for PhD programmes in the Business School.

Before submitting an application, prospective applicants are asked to note the research areas available for PhD study highlighted here and to make contact with the named staff who may be able to provide supervision in their area of expertise. All applications must include a detailed research proposal.

The University welcomes applicants interested in researching accounting and finance, SME marketing, digital marketing, food marketing, entrepreneurship, SME internationalisation, tourism, retailing, supply chain management, innovation, human resource management, and operations.

Summary

In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework (REF), Ulster University Business School had 98% of its research recognised as international in terms of originality, significance and rigour. This placed the Business School in the top quartile of UK universities for research and 7th in the UK for research impact. Since 2016 UUBS has been affiliated to the Nine Doctoral Training Partnerships and the Economic and Research Council (ESRC DTP) initiative with Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Queen's, Sunderland, and Teesside universities. Being part of this initiative means that we are able to apply for funding from the ESRC, which is the UK's leading research funding and training agency in the area of the social sciences, for high quality PhD projects that are specifically linked to the expertise of our supervisors. ESRC recognition means that the agency recognises not only the high quality of the PhD programmes offered by the UUBS but also that the support and training offered to PhD Researchers by the Faculty and the University is highly effective.

Another indicator of the satisfaction of our current PhD Researchers is reflected in the latest results from the 2018 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) where our PhD Researchers highlighted very high satisfaction levels (87% overall satisfaction). This recognition shows that our facilities, procedures and practices are up to the high standards that they expect.

About

Research facilities and groups

All full-time PhD students are provided with a desk in a shared space and a personal laptop.

PhD supervision is available within the research groups listed below.

Accounting and Finance

Within accounting and finance the group focuses on efficiency and performance measurement and the analysis of structural change in the financial sector. Current areas of research include: public sector accounting; charity accounting; performance measurement in NFPOs; banks and credit unions as well as other Corporate Social Responsibility and Organisational Governance issues.

Marketing

Research interests fall into two main areas:
(i) SMEs with emphasis on the marketing/entrepreneurship interface; and
(ii) the 'front' end of the marketing channel, the point of contact between retailer and consumer. Current areas of research include small firms' marketing theory and practice; SME internationalization; marketing communications; services marketing; SME marketing; qualitative research methodology; factors influencing the performance of SMEs; innovation; knowledge management; strategic marketing; decision- making in entrepreneurial firms; networking as a marketing competency; the role of the Internet in entrepreneurial firms' marketing; strategy and international business; financial services marketing; internet marketing; direct marketing; public sector marketing; bank marketing; customer marketing; internet banking; motivation for foreign direct investment; customer value and competitive value.

Operations and Contemporary Organisational Issues

This group has consolidated its work in the development and application of quantitative and systems based ideas and models. A major interest for members of the group has developed around the implications for a range of organisations of the total quality management philosophy. This is reflected in research work that is focused on supply management and business process improvement. Current areas of research include: electronic commerce and the role of intermediaries, the outsourcing decision-making process, supplier development strategies, early supplier involvement in the design process, supply chain dynamics, public sector procurement and knowledge/innovation management assessment tools.

The research of this group also covers a wide spectrum of contemporary issues linked to the management of human resources within the private and public sectors. The areas researched include, future of work issues, labour economics, gender and equality issues, employee relations, Strategic HRM and employee involvement and participation.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master's Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

Additional information for International applicants may be found
https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/int...

English language requirements

In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/eng...

Duration

PhD Research
You can study for a PhD on a full (3 years) or part-time (6 years) basis and by the end of your programme, you will have produced a body of work that makes a contribution to knowledge in your chosen field.

We have various routes to obtaining a PhD - for example, in some areas you can submit a practical element as part of your submission, such as a piece of art or a musical composition.

MPhil:
The MPhil programme is studied over a 2 year period on a full-time basis or 4 years on a part-time basis.

We would recommend that you contact one of our academic staff whose interests align with your own to discuss your intended research prior to submitting an application.

Careers or further progression

Careers and opportunities

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.

Further enquiries

Contact supervisor
Dr Martin McCracken

Telephone
+44 28 9036 8346

Email
m.mccracken@ulster.ac.uk

Comment

Research facilities and groups
Full-time funded students (Department for the Economy and VCRS grants) have access to training funds to support the development of the PhD. All full-time PhD students are provided with a desk in a shared space and computing and printing equipment.

PhD supervision is available within the research groups listed below.

Accounting and Finance
Within accounting and finance the group focuses on efficiency and performance measurement and the analysis of structural change in the financial sector. Current areas of research include: public sector accounting; charity accounting; performance measurement in NFPOs; banks and credit unions.

Marketing
Research interests fall into two main areas:
(i) SMEs with particular emphasis on the marketing/entrepreneurship interface; and
(ii) the 'front' end of the marketing channel, the point of contact between retailer and consumer. Current areas of research include small firms' marketing theory and practice; SME internationalization; marketing communications; services marketing; SME marketing; qualitative research methodology; factors influencing the performance of SMEs; innovation; knowledge management; strategic marketing; decision- making in entrepreneurial firms; networking as a marketing competency; the role of the Internet in entrepreneurial firms' marketing; strategy and international business; financial services marketing; internet marketing; direct marketing; public sector marketing; bank marketing; customer marketing; internet banking; motivation for foreign direct investment; customer value and competitive value.

Operations
This group has consolidated its work in the development and application of quantitative and systems based ideas and models. A major interest for members of the group has developed around the implications for a range of organisations of the total quality management philosophy. This is reflected in research work that is focused on supply management and business process improvement. Current areas of research include: electronic commerce and the role of intermediaries, the outsourcing decision-making process, supplier development strategies, early supplier involvement in the design process, supply chain dynamics, public sector procurement and knowledge/innovation management assessment tools.

The research of this group also covers a wide spectrum of issues impinging on the management of human resources within the private and public sectors. The areas researched include NI trade unionism and labour history, labour economics, gender and equality issues, employee relations and employee involvement and participation.

Application date

Apply

We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies. Full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application, is available at the link below.

Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.

Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.

Research areas

Staff research areas
Accounting and Finance
Professor Joan Ballantine:
Capital Investment Appraisal in private sector/SMEs; Performance measurement and management in the public sector; The simultaneous implementation of performance improvement initiatives and their impact on organisational change; Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems and the role of the management accountant; Strategic Enterprise Management Systems and performance measurement and management. Gender diversity in the public sector; Pedagogical issues in accounting education; Apprenticeships: applications and relevance in Northern Ireland

Professor Ann Marie Ward:
Earnings management/earnings manipulation in credit unions; Intrinsic/extrinsic motivation of volunteers within credit unions; Disclosures within credit union financial statements; Corporate governance within credit unions; Revaluations within UK plcs; Derivative accounting within UK plcs; Lease accounting within UK plcs.

Marketing
Dr Peter Bolan:
Golf Tourism (marketing & leveraging economic impact); Digital Tourism (harnessing social media, mobile apps, wifi connectivity, big data for destinations and events): Film/Screen Tourism (levering fanbases, improving tourism impact); Food Tourism (touristic quest for authenticity).

Professor Stephen Boyd:
Tourism development; Event-based tourism; Sustainable tourism planning and management; Food tourism; Rural tourism, trails and routes.

Dr Laura Bradley:
Corporate and consumer use of social media; Marketing within the Social Economy; Mobile Banking; Innovation and marketing within the retail financial services sector; Pedagogical research investigating student engagement and employability.

Professor Stephen Brown
The art of branding

Dr Amy Burns:
Sensory evaluation; Innovative food development; Food and consumer issues (health, economics issues and contemporary trends); Developments in the food industry.

Dr Adrian Devine:
Event planning/management; Event tourism; Sports tourism; Social media and events; Tourism planning and development.

Professor Mark Durkin:
Marketing/technology interface; use of social media in customer relationship management; use of technology-enabled delivery in retail banking; marketing education; exploring an alternate pedagogy for marketing education in the digital environment; SME-Bank relationships; enhancing relational effectiveness between SMEs and Banks.

Dr Sinéad Furey:
Food and consumer policy and legislation; food poverty; food security; social exclusion; food retail promotions; food waste and sustainability.

Dr Damian Gallagher:
The role of social relationships in relationship marketing; The marketing of SMEs; Entrepreneurship/marketing in small sports clubs.

Dr Alison Hampton:
Entrepreneurship (gender, minority, ethnic and family business); SME Business Growth and Development/Strategy; Networks and Networking in Entrepreneurial Firms; Entrepreneurial Learning (within the entrepreneurial contexts noted above).

Dr Lynsey Hollywood:
Food marketing; Digital marketing; Food choice/consumer behaviour; agri-food tourism; Agri-food supply chain and food security

Dr Karise Hutchinson:
Retail Internationalisation; International branding issues for retailers; SME/small business management; Retail branding; Retail supplier relationships and rural retailing.

Dr Pat Ibbotson:
E-Supply chain management; E-CRM in SMEs; online consumer behaviour; digital marketing and social networks; mobile and location based e-business; the role of ICTs in SME internationalisation; MIS development in SMEs; mobile and apps development in small firms.

Dr Sharon Loane:
SME internationalisation; International entrepreneurship; Issues in entrepreneurship (cross-national studies); The internationalization of SMEs in the creative industries; The role of founding entrepreneur(s) in the internationalization of SMEs; The effect of team entry and exits in the international SME.

Dr Aodheen McCartan:
The creative process in advertising; advertising media in a digital age; effective advertising in a not-for-profit context; advertising agencies and their clients; the impact of digital mediation on marketing communications; exploring the interface between in-house and agency roles in digital marketing; the impact of digital technologies on small firm marketing.

Professor Pauric McGowan:
Entrepreneurship and business development within a small to medium sized enterprise context, whether it be social or commercial, considering issues with respect to minority entrepreneurship, issues on gender, technology entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial marketing, entrepreneurial renaissance and education and practitioner learning.

Dr Kristel Miller:
University-industry collaboration, open innovation, business model innovation, knowledge transfer and management systems in organisations, university technology commercialisation, developing innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurship (gender, academics, SMEs, social enterprises), developing SME innovation capabilities (family and non-family).

Dr Richard Mitchell:
SME branding; Retail branding; Entrepreneurial branding; SME marketing, particularly in small sports clubs.

Dr Sharon Ponsonby-McCabe:
Cultural brands and branding (e.g. what underpins the perpetual popularity of cult/iconic/heritage/ historic/retro branded entities); Marketplace cultures (e.g. the nature and practices of various kinds of consumer culture groupings including tribes/communities/subcultures of consumption).

Professor Barry Quinn:
SME internationalisation, including the impact of institutional and cultural contexts for entry into emerging markets, and building relationships and networks in export markets with key stakeholders. Agri-food innovation and marketing, including trust formation in agri-food networks, the meaning of regional food or place/country of origin brands at the firm level, and new business models for agri-food SMEs.

Professor Elaine Ramsey:
Impact of culture on online shopping behaviour; Entrepreneurship and innovation; E-CRM in SMEs; Online gambling and consumer behaviour; Public sector innovation; Business sustainability and change management; Digital marketing management.

Operations
Dr Michael Brennan:
Strategic development in technology intensive organisations and healthcare; Business model innovation in new technology-based firms; Corporate entrepreneurship and academic entrepreneurship; Trans-discipline Research Methodologies.

Dr Trevor Cadden:
Outsourcing and Supply Chain Management.

Professor Paul Humphreys:
Outsourcing and Supply Chain Management.

Professor Rodney McAdam:
Performance measurement and business process improvement; the role of Lean and/or Six Sigma in private, public or SME organisations; The impact of knowledge management, transfer and exchange on innovation; Total Quality Management in private, public and small organisations; Innovation management processes in organisations; Management and innovation in technology transfer and university science park incubators.

Dr Martin McCracken:
Exploring strategic human resource development; the evolving role of HR professionals; understanding organisational change; Human Capital measurement in Organisations; Precarious Work.

Professor Ronan McIvor:
Outsourcing and Supply Chain Management.

Dr Judith McKnight:
Innovation; Networks and Networking in SMEs; Social Network Analysis; Horizontal Collaboration

Dr Sandra Moffett:
Knowledge and Innovation Management; Business Process Improvement; Rich Internet Applications: The systematic development of Management Information Systems; Performance Measurement and Metrics; Business Intelligence

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 26 March 2020
Register at: ulster.ac.uk/pg-information-events

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!