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Dr Elaine Dunn

Formerly at Lancaster University

Research overview

Influenced by interdisciplinary themes from leadership studies, sociology, psychology, philosophy and adult education I work from a poststructuralist perspective on three areas and the interplay between them: 

  • Disrupting the relationship between "doing gender" and "doing good work" in management and leadership, for the benefit of individuals, organisations and wider society.
  • Reconceptualising leadership based on an integration of orthodox thinking (e.g. skills, attributes) and emerging relational theories (e.g. relational understanding of human individuality, identity, behaviour and adult development.)
  • Critical approaches to management education (including transformative learning, identity work), learner experiences (e.g. emotions) and the impact on the practice of management and leadership.


In July 2015 I started a new 'third phase'​ in my career, working as an academic at Lancaster University Management School.  My teaching and research interests are informed by my successful track record as a senior manager, consultant, educator and researcher within financial services and higher education.

In the previous phase of my career, I undertook a number of managerial roles within Higher Education each focusing on the essential relationship between education and business activities. These included leadership development, executive education, corporate relations, alumni relations and student careers development. Alongside my full-time role I completed a PhD in Management Learning and Leadership at LUMS (Lancaster University Management School) which now provides a platform for my academic work. 

I am passionate about education and it's ability to transform lives which was one of the main reasons why I moved from the commercial sector into Higher Education in 1999. This followed a successful 18 years in financial services during which worked as a management consultant, project leader and systems architect for NatWest, having trained as an IT professional and achieved Chartered Engineer status with the British Computer Society.


Current Teaching

  • Module leader: MNGT624, Research Methods (Qualitative)
  • Tutor: MNGT120, Introduction to Business & Management
  • Tutor: MNGT200, Management (and) Consultancy - Practice and Critique
  • Tutor: MNGT320, Rethinking Leadership
  • Supervisor: MA in Human Resources and Consulting
  • Supervisor: MSc Management


PG Certificate in Academic Practice (2017)

HEA Fellow (2016)

PhD Management Learning & Leadership, Lancaster (2011)

BSc (Hons) Mathematics & Physics, Leeds (1981)


Thesis Title

Towards Transformation in Management Education: Telling the Managers' Tales



Thesis Outline

My thesis focused on the experiences of twelve senior managers who participated in postgraduate management education programmes embodying a transformative intent.  It was informed by primary empirical research into the learners’ perceptions of the emotions and changes in thinking attributed to their learning experiences and the emotions and changes in practice associated with transfer of learning into their workplace.  The empirical research involved twelve research subjects over a two-year period, from the 2003-05 cohorts of the Exeter Masters in Leadership Studies and the Ashridge Masters in Organisational Consulting.



PhDs Examined

Internal Examiner (2015): Dorothy Macfarlane "The Role and Influence of the Network in a Learning Organisation: A Case Study of an Academic School in a Post-92 University"

Internal Examiner (2016): Ksenia Zheltoukhova "Developing and validation a scale of altruistic leadership"



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Additional Information

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