University of Bath - School of Management - Centre for Business Organisations and Society - PhD students


Centre for Business, Organisations & Society

University of Bath School of Management

PhD students


Meggan Caddey

Meggan Caddey

Before starting the PhD I studied at the University of Bath doing an MSc in International Management. My interest for going on to study a PhD in CSR/sustainability stemmed from my MSc thesis which focused on CSR and corporate reputation.

My research looks at what suppliers do to mitigate risks in sustainable supply chains, and how does this impact on a firm's reputation? Firstly, the topic is important to me as I find supply chains in general fascinating to research, especially how firms can get it so wrong. Secondly, I recognise the importance of reputation for companies, especially when we as consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about corporate social responsibility.

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Selected conference presentations:

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Zhifeng Chen

Zhifeng Chen

Do scandals always hurt? Individual responses to mixed messages about corporate reputation

Before joining Bath, I worked as a chartered accountant (FCCA) in industry for 15 years. I completed a BSc in Accounting & Finance from Fudan University in China and MSc in Accounting & Finance from Birmingham University in England.

My PhD focuses on individual responses to mixed messages about corporate reputation. Earlier work has only studied one type of reputation at a time, good or bad, but in reality individuals can be exposed to both positive and negative information about a firm's reputation. Individual judgments about a firm's reputation are not always rational due to their limited cognitive abilities. Thus, the general assumption that stakeholders will reward corporations with good reputations and punish corporations with bad reputations may not be valid. Thus, my PhD aims to understand how individuals form their overall judgements about firm reputations based on conflicting information.

This research is important because it can provide a more complete understanding about how individuals form judgments about a firm's reputation.

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Catherine Chong

A systems and resilience approach to corporate sustainability reporting

Before joining CBOS I received an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) from the University of Nottingham in 2011. After the MBA, I worked as an advisor on the economic assessment of corporate environmental and social performance and as a corporate philanthropy/ESG fund manager for an Asian bank. My interest in CSR emerged after observing the irresponsible marketing of infant formula milk, as a member of a post-marketing advisory team.

My research interests, in the role of investors in developing corporate social responsibility, developed from my experience as a fund manager. My PhD topic examines corporate social reporting through normative concepts of reporting, the application of systems thinking and resilience approaches. There is an opportunity to contribute to the literature in CSR reporting, and hopefully influence corporate practices.

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Holly Fairbairn

Holly Fairbairn

How do stakeholders form judgements about corporate responsibility?

Before starting the PhD, I studied Economics and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. I then came to the University of Bath, to complete my Masters in Sustainability and Management. I chose to study Sustainability because it is becoming an increasingly important area for businesses and it is something that I feel passionate about.

My research aims to further the understanding about how corporate reputations are formed, and how they can change, based on the activities that a firm does that impact society and the environment. Because reputations are essentially a collection of individual judgements made about a firm, I will be looking, more specifically, at how these individual judgements are formed and how they can change. In order to investigate this, I will be using experimental methods.

A good reputation is a highly valuable asset to a firm, and companies are investing increasing amounts of money into CSR activities, often as an attempt to improve their corporate reputation. Therefore, furthering the understanding about how these reputations are formed, and how they might subsequently be altered, would hold significant value for organisations.

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Selected conference presentations:

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Marilena Gemtou

Marilena Gemtou

Customer revenge at unfair treatment: the role of emotion regulation processes

I hold a BSc in Economics from the University of Macedonia in Greece and an MSc in Management from the University of Bath. Currently, I am doing my PhD in the area of consumer behaviour and also teach various marketing modules for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School of Management of the University of Bath.

My research focuses on the underlying processes of customer revenge behaviour. In recent years, incidences of customer revenge have become prevalent in service firms with negative consequences for firm reputation and employee well-being. My PhD aims to examine the emotional aspect of customer revenge and more specifically the role of emotions and emotion regulation processes. After being treated unfairly by the firm individuals experience strong negative emotions that insistently press for action or redress. Individuals employ emotion regulation strategies to cope with these negative affective states which, in turn, influence the motivation to punish the firms.

This research will provide a better understanding of the factors that drive customer revenge behaviour and will help firms develop more effective strategies to curb customers' vengeful actions.

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Selected conference presentations:

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Kerrie Howard

Kerrie Howard

I hold an MBA with distinction from the University of Bath and also teach on the MSc management and MBA programmes. My academic journey follows a career involving extensive international experience leading research and strategy in over 50 different country contexts. I have worked with a wide range of INGOs, United Nations agencies, donors, governments and large companies across diverse contexts. Before 2011, I worked with Amnesty International as Deputy Regional Director for the Americas. With global responsibility for strategy and research in the Americas, I led new work on concerns such as violence against women, indigenous rights and HIV/AIDS, and guided AI's response to big challenges such as the Honduran coup, the fight against impunity in Guatemala, the Mexican war on drugs, the Haitian post-earthquake disaster, and attacks in Colombia on lawyers and human rights activists.

We know a lot about how CSR is presented to external audiences, but we know far less about the internal dynamics of CSR and how businesses strategize in CSR. Sitting at the junction between business and society and organization studies, my research is driven by an interest in understanding whether and how business can meet society's expectation of the good organization. Taking a strategy-as-practice approach, I also draw on my academic and practitioner interest in sub-strategies and practice based approaches. Other research interests include organizational development and knowledge management.

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Thomas Mansell

Thomas Mansell

How does sustainable consumer behaviour effectively spread through social systems?

Prior to joining CBOS and deciding to study for a PhD I worked as a business advisory executive for a large accountancy firm. I have a BSc (hons) in Business Management (Marketing) from Cardiff University and an MSc in Sustainability & Management from the University of Bath.

My area of research is focussed on the ways in which sustainable consumption behaviours can be more effectively disseminated through social systems. The current rate of consumption in the world is leading to significant environmental degradation and the need to stop such degradation is becoming ever more pressing. The fields of marketing, consumer behaviour and social psychology have long been looking at ways in which they can facilitate the generation of sustainable behaviour changes, yet much of the research is focussed on individuals, failing to acknowledge us as fundamentally social beings. My research proposes to investigate whether social influence interventions that have traditionally been used to encourage and influence individual behaviour change, can have an impact on dynamic social systems. If the spread of behaviour change through social systems can be better understood, then more effective interventions will be able to be made in this area, thus paving the way to more widespread sustainable consumption.  

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Elisa Schweiger

Elisa Schweiger

Prior to starting my PhD, I completed a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Management. Within my PhD I use my background in psychology and marketing to understand consumer behaviour and its implications for sustainable consumption.

My PhD research investigates how and why consumers respond to different colour packaging. We use this to test whether different packaging and product colours can more effectively encourage healthy food choices. I am also conducting research on how risk perception and social influence impacts consumer acceptance of different energy technologies such as fracking and nuclear power stations.

Through understanding how different consumer perceptions are formed, my research looks to find better ways of engaging consumers in healthy and sustainable behaviours.

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Namita Shete

Namita Shete

Corporate social responsibility: organisational strategy or government mandate?

I have an MBA and worked in the corporate sector before deciding to study for a PhD. I have always been passionate about sustainability issues and while working in the corporate sector, developed a keen interest in understanding the increasing global corporate interest in corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainable behaviour.  While working for a well known MNC, I realised that corporate commitment to ‘social’ and ‘sustainable’ activities seemed questionable at times owing to the firm’s behaviour during other day-to-day activities. It made me curious about whether and what sort of link exists between organisational strategy and corporate social responsibility.

I am passionate about understanding the complex relationships between business and society. For my PhD research, I want to understand how external factors like government interventions in the form of laws and other regulatory measures could affect or shape organisational ‘social responsibility’ and whether any mutual benefits could actually be drawn. Having lived in a developing country for a long time, I am interested in understanding these topics from an emerging country perspective.

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Pei Tao

Pei Tao

Media stakeholder effect on corporate social performance: Static and Dynamic Models

Before starting my PhD I held a Lectureship in Public Relations and Advertising at Shih Hsin University (Taipei) having completed an MA in Marketing and Advertising at Leeds University and an undergraduate degree at Tatung University.

My PhD is concerned with the impact of the media on corporate social behaviour and explores the mechanism through which the news media exercises its influence on corporate community involvement activities. My research is embedded in stakeholder and communications theory and I am developing static and dynamic models which explore and explain the role of the media both as an independent stakeholder and as a conduit through which influence and pressure is channelled.

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Selected conference presentations:

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Insa Wemheuer

Insa Wemheuer

I hold a BA in European Studies (from the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany including an Erasmus year at the University of Wroclaw, Poland) and an MSc in International Strategic Management (from Stockholm Business School) and worked in Sweden as a market research project manager for five years before deciding to embark on my PhD.

Having lived and worked in several cultural contexts, I am fascinated by how consumption practices and norms differ between cultural contexts, as well as how these practices change over time. My PhD project therefore aims to explore how the legitimation of a consumption practice interacts with dominant consumption and societal norms, and how this affects consumers' choices and practices as well as their personal relationships over time. I plan to employ archival data, to track changes in the representation of a practice over time, and interview consumers on their perceptions and experiences in the short and long-term.

Considering the unsustainability of current widespread consumption norms, further understanding of consumption norms, their interaction with broader societal norms, and how they impact individual's consumption practices over time are vital for actors (such as activists, companies and policy makers) aiming to achieve, or prevent, changes in dominant consumption norms.

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