Professor Brown worked at the University for six years from 2004 and returns after 18 months at Warwick Business School.
His research focuses on people’s identities in organisations, including the processes of identity formation, protection and renewal.
Professor Brown said: “I’m looking at what organisations do to ensure people adopt particular beliefs and values, and define their selves in a particular way. Also, how their aspirations to be a particular person are moulded in the long term by the organisation.
“The other side of my research looks at how people kick back using irony and satire, and carve out their independence.”
Professor Brown has carried out research with The Parachute Regiment, and current projects range from interviewing inmates of a prison in Helsinki to solicitors at a small regional law firm based in the south west.
He said: “Nordic prisons have a reputation for being more humane than those in other countries, but nonetheless the life of a prisoner is still pretty harsh. The project is looking at how the prison seeks to shape and manipulate prisoners to adopt an identity that is subservient and docile.
“Interviews with the prisoners ask them about their daily routines, how they get on with others and how they survive, or otherwise.”
At the other end of the spectrum, solicitors are proving an easier interview subject.
His project is investigating how solicitors use IT systems in the workplace and how the systems influence their everyday existence. For example, the solicitors ignore a computer-based billing system that tracks their time, in favour of relying on their own judgement to support a presentation of themselves as professional, hard-working and high-performing.
Professor Brown has previously worked at the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham and Cambridge. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford, and holds an MSc and PhD from the University of Sheffield.
Speaking about being back at Bath, Professor Brown said: “Bath is a very pleasant place to work. It’s both person-respecting and un-bureaucratic.
“I’m looking forward to starting a new project on a rugby team, the first time I’ll have looked at a professional sport. I’ll be exploring how elite athletes define themselves in the context of the institution, and what is done to them psychologically and physically.”
Professor Richard Elliott, Dean of the School of Management, said: “I am delighted by Andrew’s decision to return to Bath. He has an outstanding reputation, wealth of specialist research knowledge, and broad experience of business school activities that further enhance our profile.”