FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES PhD Opportunities
ABOUT PhDS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON At the University of Wolverhampton, the aim of our research programmes is to give each student the most solid base possible to launch further research and career development. We endeavour to provide you with relevant and appropriate research skills development and methods training, as well as support your development of research related skills including IT, presentation and career planning. You can undertake a research degree in prescribed fields of study and disciplines in which the University has appropriate and relevant research expertise and resources to support high-quality research degree programmes. To receive your degree, you must satisfy a team of specially-appointed examiners that both your thesis and oral defence have achieved the learning outcomes appropriate to the award sought.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Applicants for a research degree will normally hold: • a first or upper second class honours degree, or • a Master’s degree, or • evidence of prior practice or learning that is accepted by the Dean of Research Applicants whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speakers of English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English to the level of an overall IELTS score of 7.0
FACULTY OVERVIEW In the Faculty of Social Sciences, postgraduate research students can apply for PhDs in areas such as human resource management, law, First World War, international business, and discrimination law. We have a distinguished history of supporting business in the West Midlands and Black Country. Established for over 80 years, we have trained thousands of local and regional managers and supported organisations in their development. We were one of the first business schools in the country to offer MBA programmes, coaching and mentoring qualifications and have a tradition of innovation in developing courses which meet the needs of business and managers.
Our multi-million pound flagship Business School building opened in November 2015. The six storey centre is home to an executive education suite, innovative teaching and learning spaces, an IT suite, consulting rooms and a central social space and café. SAMPLE PHD RESEARCH PROJECTS The rest of this booklet contains a list of sample PhD research projects that are available now for applicants in the Faculty of Social Sciences. These are sample projects for guidance, for applicants who wish to research in these particular areas. We are happy to receive new proposals, specific to the research interests of applicants.
HOW TO APPLY If you wish to be considered for PhD research in any of these areas, please indicate this as part of your initial application to us. You can make your application online. Visit: wlv.ac.uk/study-here/how-toapply/3---making-your-application/ research-applications/. Please complete an Expression of Interest, and note which project you wish to engage. Alternatively the Expression of Interest can also be used for any proposed area for MPhil or PhD research.
SAMPLE AVAILABLE PROJECTS FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES : Diversity and Corporate Boards
Families and family relationships in Britain in the ‘long’ nineteenth century
The History of Refugee Communities in Dudley
Defining and demonstrating social sustainability in global supply chains
Entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
Trust in Family Business
Corporate governance in sports
Foreign Direct Investment
Entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (Index)
Derivatives and Legal Risk
Corporate Rescue – what it is and how best can it be achieved
I Beg Your Pardon: the use of printed public apologies, 1750-1914
‘The Preservation of Regularity and Peace’: A comparative study of Justices’ Notebooks, c.1580-1880
CROSS-FACULTY PROJECTS: FACULTIES OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND ARTS: The 1967–1969 Sikh Bus Drivers’ Dispute in Wolverhampton
Religion and Public Discourse in contemporary Britain
DIVERSITY AND CORPORATE BOARDS The topic of diversity on corporate boards has attracted much attention from scholars, policy-makers and the wider public recently, especially in relation to gender diversity and the â€˜business caseâ€™ for diversity. However, the results from this research stream are rather mixed. One explanation for such results is how diversity has been conceptualised and measured. Harrison & Klein (2007) proposed that theoretically diversity can be defined as variety (differences in gender or functional background), separation (differences in attitudes and values) and disparity (differences in social status and power). Diversity-as-variety, based on information processing theories, would predict that greater variety in knowledge and skills leads to superior performance outcomes for teams such as boards. Diversity-asseparation, underpinned by psychological theories related to homophily and similarity-attraction, would instead predict that heterogeneity in values would lead to conflicts and lack of cohesiveness which are deleterious to team performance. Finally, diversity-as-disparity, based on social theories of status and power, would similarly to diversity-as-separation predict sub-optimal team performance. The questions that we still need to find answers to include a) how can we model and understand diversity in boards of directors?, b) do more diverse boards result in superior performance outcomes (at different levels of analysis) compared to homogenous ones?, and/or c) are different diversities more or less salient in different organisational and/or country contexts? Modelling diversity more broadly than simply diversity-as-variety, and applying it to different board contexts addresses a distinct gap in knowledge â€“ both empirically and theoretically. We warmly welcome applications that seek to investigate this area from a range of methodological perspectives and in different country and/or organisational settings. We offer support for the dissemination of your research to both scholarly and practitioner audiences via a range of traditional and new media. Possible supervisor: Silke Machold
FAMILIES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS IN BRITAIN IN THE ‘LONG’ NINETEENTH CENTURY Historians have in recent years shown that Victorian and Edwardian families were a good deal more complicated than the conventional picture of the stern, all-powerful paterfamilias, submissive, domesticated wife and obedient, welldisciplined children living in increasingly ‘nuclear’ households might suggest. That said, there is still a great deal to be discovered about family structures and relationships during this period and PhD proposals are invited from students who wish to explore this topic further. Among the areas that might be researched are relationships between spouses, different generations, siblings and wider kin, as well as between families and others individuals residing in the same household, including lodgers, servants, guests or apprentices. Of interest are relationships between family members living together, as well as between those separated by varying distances, either temporarily or permanently, for example because of migration, imperial or war service, or simply as a result of the setting up of new households upon marriage. Using a range of sources that can include correspondence and diaries, autobiographies, dramatic, literary and visual sources and (existing) oral history interviews, the aim of the project will be to shed new light onto interactions and relationships within families and between families and wider kin and communities. Possible supervisor: Laura Ugolini
THE HISTORY OF REFUGEE COMMUNITIES IN DUDLEY This research would build on existing expertise in FoSS in particular that of Richard Hawkins and Dieter Steinert. This project was suggested by Ian Austin, the outgoing M.P. and parliamentary candidate for the Dudley North constituency in the 2017 general election. Dudley has experienced many waves of refugees including European Jewish refugees in the 18th century; Irish refugees in the 1840s escaping the Irish potato famine; Jewish refugees in the 19th and early 20th century escaping Russian pogroms; Jewish refugees in the 1930s escaping persecution in central Europe; displaced persons in the aftermath of the Second World War; Sikhs in the late 1940s escaping the massacres resulting from Indian and Pakistani independence; East African Asian refugees in the 1970s; Bosnian continued overleaf
and Kosovan refugees escaping genocide in the 1990s; and refugees from the Sudanese Darfur escaping genocide in the early 2000s. Richard Hawkins’ as yet unpublished research has identified significant primary source material relating to 19th and 20th century Jewish refugees in Dudley with the help of Ian Austin. This project would explore similarities and differences between the different waves of refugees and their integration into Dudley society. Richard Hawkins would be a possible director of studies. He has experience supervising a related doctorate and plenty of spare capacity. Possible supervisors: Richard Hawkins and Opinderjit Takhar
DEFINING AND DEMONSTRATING SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY IN GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the manner in which the products they purchase are produced and traded. Goods produced in a ‘sustainable’ manner often command a price premium; however demonstrating the sustainable attributes of such products is complex. For example, it is impossible for consumers to make a distinction between a banana that has been produced and traded in a sustainable manner even after it has been consumed. Instead consumers rely on labels and logos to assure the credentials of everyday products, yet the market for such labels is crowded and confusing. We warmly welcome applications that seek to look at this area – particularly from the perspective of agriculture, textile and/or electronics supply chains. Questions including why to measure, how to measure and what to measure are of theoretical and practice importance, and may provide the foundation for the research. A variety of research methods, theoretical perspectives and settings may be used to examine this topic. Possible supervisor: Claire Hannibal
ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA (SSA) A strong culture of entrepreneurialism is decoupling Africa from foreign aid. The informal sector is providing solid safety net for many, thereby boosting regional GDP through trade and self-employment. Consumer spending is buoyant at $1.4 trillion, outstripping that of India, Brazil, and more than doubled that of Russia. But millions of Africans are still left behind. Unemployment, coupled with economic fragility and conflict, is endemic. Mostly affected are Africa’s 226 million vibrant youths. Many
have become vulnerable to terrorist violence (e.g., Boko Haram in West Africa, Al Shabab in East Africa), which have ramifying consequences not just for the region, but also for Europe’s migration. So youth unemployment ranks high on the political agenda. Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, reversing this requires access to education, entrepreneurship and innovation. With a majority of African youths lacking the skills and training essential to self-employment, many African economies have turned to entrepreneurship as a radical solution. This is problematic given SSA’s entrepreneurship landscape presents unique experimental settings that challenge Schumpeterian notions of entrepreneurship, with its emphasis on innovation. In fact, in SSA, especially countries with a history of conflict, majority of economic activities are not yet a product of ‘innovation’. In these contexts, because institutions are weak, broken down or non-existent, it means that entrepreneurial talent could sometimes be used as a productive, unproductive or destructive asset. Issue: - What form of entrepreneurship should SSA embrace? - How can entrepreneurship activities in SSA drive socio-economic agenda in a real productive sense? Proposals that seek to use single or mixed methodologies, but drawing from ‘entrepreneurial bricolage’, ‘human capital’ or ‘institutional’ theories in an applied research for knowledge contribution and impact relevant to SSA are most welcome. Projects could investigate any one of the following topics: 1. Entrepreneurship education, human capital development and entrepreneurial intention 2. Pull vs push factors - informal economic activity and informal entrepreneurial behaviour in SSA 3. Modelling innovation-driven entrepreneurship in SSA for economic growth This project will be hosted by Centre for African Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CAEL), Faculty of Social Sciences. Possible supervisors: Dr. Paschal Anosike: P.Anosike@wlv.ac.uk
TRUST IN FAMILY BUSINESS Family businesses are considered to be one of the economic engines in the postindustrial growth era. They are credited for nurturing entrepreneurial talent across generations, a sense of loyalty to business success, and long-term strategic commitment. Evidence from the literature shows family businesses as a group outperform non-family businesses. One of the contributing factors is believed to be trust within family businesses, which is built up based on blood relationship, intensive interactions, shared values and common understanding of the family. Family businesses, as a result, may enjoy sustainable commitment, advantaged transaction cost, and incomparable employee loyalty. Davis et al. (2010), in a study of non-family employees’ perception of their leaders’ stewardship, indicated that intra-firm trust may influence non-family members’ perception of their leaders’ stewardship. Mayer and Gavin (2005) showed that when employees trust their leaders, they are more likely to commit themselves to value-producing activities and demonstrate more organisation citizenship behaviour. Pearson and Marler (2010) found that family business leaders, who are able to create high-quality exchange relationships characterised by trust, respect and mutual obligation with both family and non-family members, can create a reciprocal stewardship culture. Notwithstanding the importance of trust, trust has never been embraced by the mainstream family business research. There are many questions remained to be answered, including a) how trust between family and non-family members is nurtured and cultivated, b) why trust needs to be balanced and what can be the consequence of overwhelming trust, and c) whether trust can enable businesses to build up competitive advantage etc. We welcome applications that attempt to investigate this under-researched field. We offer research training at both university and faculty levels. We also offer support for the dissemination of your research, via an array of venues Possible supervisors: Dr. Yong Wang, Reader in Family Business & Entrepreneurship
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN SPORTS There has been increasing awareness of the importance of good corporate governance at multiple levels of sports. Issues apply at the level of international sports bodies (e.g. IOC, FIFA), national sports bodies (e.g. F.A) (https://www. itrustsport.com/sports-corruption/good-governance/), and professional sports clubs (Foreman, 2007; Lee, Takahashi, Lin, and Sasaki, 2010; Walters, Trenberth, & Tacon, 2010). However, whilst there is recognition of the importance of good
corporate governance, how this is achieved in practice continues to be of concern. Professional sport is often perceived to be different from normal public limited companies, especially outside North America (Farquhar et al., 2005), and these differences pose issues for developing good corporate governance practice at all levels of sporting bodies. The questions that we need to further explore include a) how can we model the corporate governance issues across the different levels of sporting bodies, including international bodies, national bodies and individual sports teams? b) do the unique characteristics of professional sports teamsâ€™ merit alternative ways of considering corporate governance in sport from corporate governance in other industries? For example, might a network model of corporate governance be a more appropriate way of conceptualising the unique characteristics of sport Possible supervisor: Dr. Stuart Farquhar
SPORTS ECONOMICS There are many topics in sports economics that would be of interest. There is a considerable body of research in a wide range of topics in the field but much of the research concentrates on the major North American Sports and Football (Soccer). There is much less that examines issues in newer professionalised sports (e.g. Womenâ€™s Football; Netball and others). Potential topics could include the broad areas of the Industrial Organisation of Sports and Sports Leagues; Competitive Balance in new professional sports leagues; The Public Finance of Sports; and Labour Economics of Sports (including aspects of discrimination) Possible supervisor: Dr. Stuart Farquhar
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT The UK is one of the most successful countries in attracting overseas investment, however, this may change once the UK negotiates its full exit from the European Union. In particular, the United States is the biggest investor country into the UK followed by Germany and France. The former may invest in the UK because of access to the rest of continental Europe, the latter because of the freedom of movement of goods, services and labour within the EU. The future may therefore change the pattern of UK inward investment. The UK may well need to consider how its determinants for attracting FDI need to be enhanced for it to continue to attract inward FDI (IFDI). continued overleaf
Related to the above is how Brexit may have an impact on the inward FDI to the various regions. Might some lose out more than others and if so why might this be the case? Already regional inward FDI is unequally divided amongst the regions. What is also not fully understood in the UK is whether the different Sectors into which IFDI comes to the UK are determined by the same factors, as suggested by Dunning, and whether the modes of entry of Inward FDI are influenced by the same determinants. Different source countries may also be affected by different determinants and the impact of their investments may also vary. There is also a growing view that MNEs are declining in importance to any economy (see the Economist January 28, 2017. Do domestic firm out-perform MNEs? Do MNEs enjoy greater success in some regions rather than others, and does the source country from which the MNE originates influence the performance in the recipient country? Possible supervisor: Mark Cook
ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA (SSA) (INDEX) A strong culture of entrepreneurialism is decoupling Africa from foreign aid. The informal sector is providing an effective safety net for many, thereby boosting regional GDP through trade and self-employment. Consumer spending is buoyant at $1.4 trillion, outstripping that of India, Brazil, and more than doubled that of Russia. But millions of Africans are still left behind. Unemployment, coupled with economic fragility and conflict, is endemic. Mostly affected are Africa’s 226 million vibrant youths. Many have become vulnerable to terrorist violence (e.g., Boko Haram in West Africa, Al Shabab in East Africa), which have ramifying consequences not just for the region, but also for Europe’s migration. So youth unemployment ranks high on the political agenda. Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, reversing this requires access to education, entrepreneurship and innovation. With majority of African youths lacking the skills and training essential to self-employment, many African economies have turned to entrepreneurship as a radical solution. This is problematic given SSA’s entrepreneurship landscape presents unique experimental settings that challenge Schumpeterian notions of entrepreneurship, with its emphasis on innovation. In fact, in SSA, especially countries with a history of conflict, majority of economic activities are not yet a product of ‘innovation’. In these contexts, because institutions are weak, broken down or non-existent, it means that entrepreneurial talent could sometimes be used as a productive, unproductive or destructive asset.
Issue: - What form of entrepreneurship should SSA embrace? - How can entrepreneurship activities in SSA drive socio-economic agenda in a real productive sense? Proposals that seek to use single or mixed methodologies, but drawing from ‘entrepreneurial bricolage’, ‘human capital’ or ‘institutional’ theories in an applied research for knowledge contribution and impact relevant to SSA are most welcome. Projects could investigate any one of the following topics: 1. Entrepreneurship education, human capital development and entrepreneurial intention 2. Pull vs push factors - informal economic activity and informal entrepreneurial behaviour in SSA 3. Modelling innovation-driven entrepreneurship in SSA for economic growth This project will be hosted by Centre for African Entrepreneurship Leadership (CAEL), Faculty of Social Sciences. For more details, please get in touch with Dr. Paschal Anosike: P.Anosike@wlv.ac.uk
DERIVATIVES AND LEGAL RISK Background: Derivative contracts have for the last twenty years or so been one of the most important financial instruments in the world. Standard form contracts (most famously the ISDA Master Agreements) set out the standard agreed terms subject to the additions the counterparties may add to the Schedule. The capacity of many of the larger counterparties to engage in large scale derivative trading is facilitated by the financial risk reduction offered by netting arrangements. Such netting may be bilateral in nature or multilateral between a range of parties. Multilateral netting most commonly exists between parties trading on an exchange but can also be created between a group of institutions trading privately.
Thesis: In this context the aim of the thesis is to examine: 1. the commonest standard form contracts that are utilised and to consider the suitability of the current terms and most commonly used additions and amendments to the Schedule. 2. The range and effectiveness of the types of netting arrangement that can be made available between the parties. 3. Issues arising on termination of the Master Agreements. 4. Other matters arsing in the use of Master Agreements (applicant to have discretion to propose) Possible supervisor: Prof Andrew Haynes
CORPORATE RESCUE – WHAT IT IS AND HOW BEST CAN IT BE ACHIEVED Ever since insolvency law was revolutionised in the 1980s, following the recommendations of the Cork Committee, the ‘holy grail’ of the insolvency world has been how best to achieve corporate rescue. The project will consider a number of issues. First, there is little consensus as to what rescue actually means. Does it involve only rescuing the company itself or should it include business rescue too (where an economic entity is saved along with jobs in the hands of a purchaser)? However rescue is defined, an analysis is required as best to achieve such a result or results. In recent years, there has become available more empirical data on pre-pack administrations and company voluntary arrangements. A great deal of UK, European and other International debate has queried what it is that the law should encourage and how this encouragement should be structured. The thesis will therefore look at the meaning of corporate rescue and identify and analyse which legal elements encourage or discourage rescue. Possible supervisor: Prof Peter Walton
I BEG YOUR PARDON: THE USE OF PRINTED PUBLIC APOLOGIES, 1750-1914 Public apologies from individuals or groups of individuals first began appearing as a form of prototypical non-court-based restorative justice in British newspapers from the late 1750s and continued through to the early twentieth century before largely disappearing. The apologies rapidly assumed a largely standardised format; they normally began with one of three stock phrases: ‘Pardon Asked’, ‘Beg Pardon’, or ‘Public Apology’, and then continued with the name and profession of the apologist, followed by the date and time of the offence, a brief summary of the offence with the name and address of the victim and an explanation that by granting the offender the chance to make such a public apology the victim has spared the offender an appearance in court. Such apologies have never before been the focus of academic study and research in this area of study would employ an innovative range of research methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative. This PhD project would investigate the social, historical and criminological aspects of printed public apologies during a period of intense social, cultural and economic development in order to highlighting the possibility of engaging with new, though historically informed restorative justice practices as an alternative to the more traditional and costly criminal justice network of courts, sentencing and prison for summary offenders. Possible supervisors: Mike Cunningham, second supervisor Dave Cox
‘THE PRESERVATION OF REGULARITY AND PEACE’: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF JUSTICES’ NOTEBOOKS, C.1580-1880 This PhD project would be a comparative longitudinal study of the surviving justices’ notebooks of Britain, which would create a unique machine-readable digital dataset and longitudinal survey of judicial practices, and would also help inform historians, social scientists, lawyers, criminologists and penologists how the judiciary viewed and dealt with crime over a considerable time period. Its findings would also relate to criminological and legal debates over the role of the State in prosecution of crime; the effectiveness and cost of a lay magistracy in comparison to a stipendiary system; the use of restorative justice and non-custodial sentences; and how interaction with police forces can affect the actions and mindset of the judiciary.
There are some three dozen extant justices’ notebooks located in archives throughout Britain. These cover a period from the late-sixteenth to the late-nineteenth centuries and are a unique record of several thousands of cases, providing an opportunity to answer the following research questions: • What was the recorded level of petty criminal activity in a particular location? • What types of criminal activity were being carried out? • Was there a standardised magisterial response to crime – how did individual magistrates deal with certain circumstances? • How did changes in judicial and procedural practices through time affect the dispensation of justice? • How did the local executive policing function before the advent of a professional police force? Possible supervisor: Dave Cox
FACULTIES OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND ARTS
THE 1967–1969 SIKH BUS DRIVERS’ DISPUTE IN WOLVERHAMPTON This research would build on existing expertise in FoSS and the Faculty of Arts in particular that of Richard Hawkins and Opinderjit Takhar. This project is partly inspired by Roger Seifert and Andrew Hambler’s 2016 article in Historical Studies in Industrial Relations. When a Sikh bus driver working for Wolverhampton Borough Council in 1967 wore a turban and beard to work for the first time he was sent home for breaching the existing dress code. The Sikh municipal workers pursued their demands through pressure-group politics after being marginalized by their union. It ended in 1969 with a change in the employer and the employment regulations, and subsequent changes to the law. This landmark case influenced a number of subsequent law cases involving the Sikh community. The project would adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to analyse the history and long term significance of the dispute drawing upon history, religion, law, social policy and business studies. The research would include oral history interviews. Dr. Takhar is an active member of the local Sikh community and her contacts include the bus driver (now retired) who was sent home in 1967. The project will also draw upon interviews with the Sikh community recorded by the university in 2000 as part of the Black and Ethnic Minority Experience project. This project has the added value of building bridges with an important target demographic for future student applications. It demonstrates the importance given to inclusivity in the research supported by the university. Richard Hawkins would be a possible director of studies. He has experience supervising a related doctorate and plenty of spare capacity. Opinderjit Takhar would be the preferred second supervisor. This would help address the gender imbalance in current supervisory capacity as well helping to ensure that BME colleagues are an integral part of the next generation of doctoral supervisors.
RELIGION AND PUBLIC DISCOURSE IN CONTEMPORARY BRITAIN Due to the increase in religious pluralism highlighted by the 2011 National Census which showed that every minority religious community across England and Wales has grown, the topic of religion and public discourse is of paramount importance in contemporary British society. The relationship between morality within religious and secular traditions and the process of socialisation have become important considerations within British Parliament. This appears to undermine the common sociological argument that British society has undergone a process of structural differentiation as it suggests that religion (and faith/belief) occupy discourse in numerous public sectors, despite theories around secularisation and a separation of religion and the state. Therefore, religion and faith occupy an important space in the public sphere. The relationship between religion, politics, British legislation, mental health, community cohesion and discrimination add important perspectives to current debates about the place and role of religion and religious communities within contemporary British society. More recently, for example, the issue of caste within the British South Asian community has once again come to the surface with the Governmentâ€™s current consultation on whether caste discrimination should be added to the Equality Act 2010. We warmly welcome applications that seek to look at this area â€“ particularly in respect to the interaction between religious groups and British Parliament and legislation. Researching at the University of Wolverhampton would offer a unique opportunity for a comparative study: to consider the history between Religious communities and British Government and to extend theoretical / analytical models to international examples. Research can be archival, theoretical/historical, and survey-based. We welcome creative outputs as part of your research. We offer support for the dissemination of your research, via conferences, blogs and social media, and help with publication writing and developing a strong online profile for yourself and your work. As highlighted by recent reports such as the Casey Review 2016 and UK Sikh Survey 2016, due to factors such as small numbers and a lack of understanding of highly important contemporary issues by key policy makers, minority religious communities feel that their voices are severely restricted or perhaps even rendered silent in these areas. Possible supervisors: Opinderjit Takhar/George Kassimeris
Find out more Contact: Ben Halligan Director of the Doctoral College Email: B.Halligan@wlv.ac.uk /wlv_doctoralcol /wlvdoctoralcol ER709