DPhil Management

Students working on a group project
​In-depth training in academic research skills to develop you as a productive scholar

Start date:


  • 4 years

Time commitment:

  • Full time


  • Oxford

About the programme

Our doctoral training will immerse you in all aspects of academic life.

You will be both a student and a junior research colleague. We provide courses in a wide variety of research methods and you will work closely with your supervisors to define your research question and develop your thesis. In addition, you will have opportunities to gain teaching and research assistant experience and become involved with the intellectual community within both Saïd Business School and the wider University. You will attend academic conferences, make presentations, organise lectures and seminars and contribute to management and academic decisions.

Both of our doctoral programmes run in parallel, with only differences in taught courses and preparation for writing in relevant journals to your subject of choice.

We have deliberately kept the programmes small which means that in the vast majority of cases, students are fully funded to allow them to devote their energies to research. The DPhil corresponds to a PhD degree offered at most other universities.



You will be assigned two supervisors to act as your academic advisers and mentors.

You will work closely with them to define your research question and develop your thesis. It is an important relationship and also a very personal one: it is shaped by you, your supervisors and the ways you interact.

You will be allocated two supervisors in your specialist area of interest. It is important that you identify that there are faculty at the school who work in your area of interest that could be potential supervisors for your thesis. You can note within your application if you feel that you are interested in a particular research area and working with a specific faculty member. 


Potential supervisors

You do not need to contact any faculty in advance of making your application. In the application form you will have the opportunity to indicate your preferred supervisor(s) and they, along with other related faculty will review your application.

Below you will find a list of faculty who are open to supervising DPhil students this coming year.

Research areas and supervisors

Entrepreneurship, governance and systems innovation

Marc Ventresca - An economic and organisational sociologist, Marc has a long-time focus on social sciences approaches to nascent markets, large-scale and systems innovation, and governance.

His current research includes four related work programmes:

  • Space commerce and governance, with a focus on growth of venture capital, ventures focused on geospatial analytics, emerging venture strategies, and space as a ‘commons’ (per Ostrom)
  • Changes in the energy industries (strategies, architecture, governance) and the move to renewable sources, with focus on digital energy services
  • A critical view of concept and empirical studies of ‘ecosystems’ in strategy, organisation theory, and innovation studies
  • Changing forms and practices in social innovation, systems change, and contested knowledge.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

Ivona Hideg - Ivona’s main programme of research includes workplace equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). In her work, she focuses on gender, but also examines issues surrounding race, ethnicity, language and accent including intersection of various identities that we all hold.

Grounded in psychological theories and using experimental methodology, Ivona’s work seeks insights on root causes of inequities in the workplace, such as persistent underrepresentation of women in top leadership positions and other male-dominated fields (ie entrepreneurship).

By doing so, Ivona seeks to develop and test solutions for greater equity, inclusion and career outcomes of traditionally disadvantaged groups.

Global strategy and comparative institutional analysis

Mari Sako - Mari's main areas of expertise include global strategy, comparative institutional analysis, outsourcing and offshoring, professional services firms and professions, artificial intelligence (AI) and business models.

Her current research examines the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in legal services, conducted as part of a UKRI-funded programme. Doctoral applications are most welcome from students in social sciences, who can work with Mari on exploring the impact of AI on:

  • business models
  • the future of work
  • technology startup ecosystems in professional services (such as law and accounting).

She is open to doctoral research proposals in this and related fields of research.

International business

Matthew Amengual - Matthew's areas of expertise are in the political economy of development and global labour standards. 

Akshay Mangla - Akshay's interests lie in questions of when, why and how states build institutional capacity to perform their core functions in developing countries. Within this broad agenda, his ongoing research investigates the causes and consequences of institutional reform initiatives within frontline agencies of the Indian state (eg primary education and the police).

He is also examining how non-state actors, including private firms and civil society organisations, engage with the frontline state during policy implementation, thereby influencing bureaucratic effectiveness and the quality of public services. He is interested in advising DPhil students working on these and related topics in the political economy of development.

Operations management and business analytics

Agni Orfanoudaki - Agni conducts research at the intersection of machine learning and optimisation with applications in the industries of healthcare and insurance. Her research agenda primarily focuses on developing new methods and models for healthcare practitioners using data-driven techniques. She is also studying the implications of these models on automated decision making, addressing the implementation challenges of machine learning algorithms in practice.

 Areas of interest:

  • Business analytics
  • Healthcare operations
  • Algorithmic insurance
  • Personalised medicine

Organisation studies and strategy

Eero Vaara - Eero’s research focuses on organisational and strategic change. His work deals with:

  • strategy process and practice research
  • studies of radical change, such as mergers and acquisitions
  • work on institutional change and legitimation
  • research on multinational corporations, nationalism and globalisation.

He is a world-leading expert especially in communicative and discursive perspectives. Eero combines practically relevant topics such as strategy work and management of post-merger integration with deep theoretical and methodological reflection on organisational and strategic processes and practices.

Eric ZhaoEric's research is cross-disciplinary in nature and sits at the intersection of strategic management, organisation theory and entrepreneurship. He is actively involved in four major research areas:

  • optimal distinctiveness
  • institutions and entrepreneurship
  • resource and resourcefulness
  • resilience and crisis.

His 2017 SMJ article 'Optimal Distinctiveness: Broadening the Interface between Institutional Theory and Strategic Management' and his solo-authored book Optimal Distinctiveness: A New Agenda for the Study of Competitive Positioning of Organizations and Markets are widely regarded as foundational contributions to the burgeoning literature on optimal distinctiveness.

Scenario planning

Rafael Ramirez - Rafael researches scenario planning and ground breaking research on interactive value and networked strategy, which has led to widely cited papers in the Harvard Business Review, the Strategic Management Journal and to the development of the Oxford Collaborative Strategy Lab.

Social entrepreneurship

Alex Nicholls - Alex's main areas of expertise include:

  • impact investing
  • impact measurement
  • social entrepreneurship
  • public policy and social innovation
  • systems change
  • social movements.

His current research explores the materiality of impact risk - in terms of both financial and impact outcome risk, the use of AI in impact measurement and reporting, and historical patterns of ethical consumption. He is open to doctoral research proposals in these areas as well as others.

Supply chain management

Steve NewSteve has interests across the field of supply chain management, including how firms' practices relate to questions of ethics, human rights and sustainability. He has particular interest in the impact of commercial practices and inter-organisational power.

His recent work has focussed on questions of supply chain transparency, wages within supply chains and the challenge of incorporating ESG criteria in procurement from smaller companies.

Sustainability and commons governance

Juliane Reinecke - Juliane’s research explores how organisations can address various sustainability challenges including climate change, human and labour rights, and sustain the global commons. As no business can address these systemic challenges alone, a particular focus of her research lies in how multiple stakeholders collaborate to create novel governance solutions. Current projects include collective action for labour rights in the Bangladesh garment supply chain and the role of institutional investors, particularly pension funds, in the transition to a net zero economy.

Juliane welcomes candidates pursuing interdisciplinary approaches and/or using qualitative methodologies, such as ethnography.

Systems complexities

Harvey MaylorHarvey is open to a range of lenses being brought to bear on systems complexities and the ‘lived experience’ of systems leaders. Particular areas of interest include:

  • What is the impact on performance of the relationship between the NEO profile of an individual and the complexities of the system that they are charged with leading?
  • Is there a moral limit to the complexity we should ask organisational leaders to face? And is there an impact on the delivery of public value of high levels of complexity?
  • What is the impact of systemic voids on the delivery of grand challenge objectives?
  • Systems of routines: linking the areas of routine dynamics and systemic design as a tool for organisational analysis.



Review some current research taking place around the school including from our DPhil students and alumni

Review articles and podcasts written by our researchers at Oxford Answers.

Learn more about becoming a researcher from Andromachi Athanasopoulou, who graduated in 2007 and is now an Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Queen Mary University London and an Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd.

Manuel Hepfer, recent graduate of the DPhil in Cybersecurity and Management Studies, has written an article on steps businesses can take to boost their resilience to cyberattack.

Ali Aslan Gümüsay, Michael Smets and Tim Morris published an article on religious diversity at work in the Harvard Business Review. An excerpt of their article 'God at work': engaging central and incompatible institutional logics through elastic hybridity, published in the Academy of Management Journal.

In his first year, current DPhil student, Alex Rustler co-authored a paper alongside faculty member, Matthew Amengual on public perceptions of business involvement in human rights violations. 

Programme milestones

You are required to take three core courses in quantitative and qualitative research methodology during their first year.

  • Introduction to management research methods
  • Statistical research methods
  • Management and organisation theory

Elective courses

During second and third terms, you will undertake advanced research methods training and, in consultation with your supervisor, select specialist courses, available from a choice of topics relevant to area of interest.

Examples of specialist elective courses previously available:

  • Political economy
  • Organisational theory
  • Foundations of strategy
  • Social network analysis

Advanced methodology courses:

  • Advanced qualitative research methods
  • Advanced quantitative research methods

Following successful completion of all necessary courses, and by the end of the 4th term, you are expected to have successfully submitted and been assessed for your Transfer of Status. This is an opportunity to discuss your work with two independent members of staff under examination conditions and to receive feedback.

By the end of the 9th term you will be due to complete your Confirmation of Status. This process allows you to have a review of your work by two assessors, to give a clear indication of whether it would be reasonable to consider submission within the course of a further three terms, if work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily.

You will be expected to attend training, workshops and seminars on job applications, teaching, learning and assessing, interviewing and presentations skills. You'll have the opportunity to improve your teaching and research skills by applying for remunerated positions as teaching and research assistants, within the school or at colleges.


The doctoral thesis should not exceed 100,000 words. It must be a significant and substantial contribution to the field of learning in management. It should be good enough to be published in book form or as a series of academic articles. You may even adopt a range of different methodologies and approaches. Your contribution can be in the field of theory, methodology or empirical results.

The faculty has made me feel like a junior colleague from the very start and they offer the chance to work together on their research projects.

Magdalena Plesa

Current DPhil in Management student

Benefits and opportunities


  • Engage with internationally renowned faculty
  • Conference and research funding
  • Training in principal research methods at both at Saïd Business School and wider University


  • Paid teaching and research assistant opportunities
  • Contribute to management and academic programme decisions through student representation on committees
  • Postgraduate careers resources

Who can apply

Our candidates are passionately intellectual people who have a superlative academic record and are committed to a career in academia.

DPhil in Management

You will require:

  • a good undergraduate degree: 2.1 (GPA 3.5 or its equivalent)
  • GMAT or GRE test results
  • TOEFL or IELTS test results (If you are not from an English speaking majority country)
  • three pieces of written work, including a well-developed research proposal
  • three academic references

Successful applicants typically have a distinction in a Master’s level degree in addition to their undergraduate studies, but exceptional applicants from undergraduate programmes in relevant subjects will be considered.

Application process


We are now accepting applications for October 2024 entry.

The deadline to apply is 13 December 2023 at 23:59 GMT. We recommend submitting your application in good time before the deadline in case you experience technical issues.

Applications which are complete will be assessed after the deadline has passed. No applications will be assessed before the deadline, so early application is not necessary. You will be informed by late January if you have been shortlisted for interview.

Final decisions will be communicated by the end of February.

Application advice

These videos will help you understand the qualities we are looking for.


Annual fees

The course fee in 2024-25 is £23,580

Fees usually increase annually, please see the University's guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Course fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability. Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a continuation charge. Information regarding continuation charges is available on the University's continuation charges page. 

For more information about fees, fee liability and continuation charges, please see the University's fees page.

Cost of living

Please view the University's living expenses page.

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Scholarships and funding

Doctoral students admitted to our programme receive full funding over four years.

This includes course fees and an annual living expenses stipend. To maximise the overall availability of funding for candidates, we will identify suitable alternative scholarships and may ask you to submit funding applications. We also ask that you identify and pursue any other funding opportunities, including external funding.   

For some scholarships you are required to submit a scholarship essay and/or tick the relevant box in the Funding section of the application form.