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Business-Government Relations, Entrepreneurial Networks and Civic Development in the North East of England (Advert Reference: RDF22/BL/EIS/BUCHNEA)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Emily Buchnea  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD proposal engages with critical themes in the burgeoning scholarly literature bridging business and management studies and history. It is also timely in terms of debates around regional economic disparities, exploring as it will the role of business elites (and their relationship with the institutional environment, particularly with government) in the rise of the north east as a centre for trade and industry and conversely its decline (McCord, 1979). The subject reaches across a couple of FBL’s key RIGs – the Business History Group and the Responsible Business Group – and with iNCITE.

The proposed study will provide a comparative study of business-government relations, entrepreneurial networks and civil development in two of the largest urban conurbations in the north east of England, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Sunderland, between the late 18th and mid-20th centuries. It will explore the use of entrepreneurial networks in business-government relations and how this affected civic development in both conurbations and how those patterns changed over time.  In so doing, it is intended to contribute to a number of key literatures around elites and business networks (Maclean, Harvey and Press, 2006; Harvey and Maclean, 2008; Maclean, Harvey and Kling, 2017; Perchard and MacKenzie, 2020), corporate political activity (CPA) and nonmarket strategy (Rajwani et al, 2013; Lawton et 2014), network analysis (Powell, 1990; Borgatti and Foster, 2003; Cannizzaro, 2020), political corporate social responsibility (PCSR) (Scherer and Palazzo, 2011; Scherer et al, 2012; Scherer et al, 2016), and business-political engagement in municipal government and politics following studies of the Black Country (Trainor, 1993), Clydeside (Johnson, 2000), and north west England (McIvor, 2002). It will thus provide a vital insight into part of the ‘multi-level’ and multi-disciplinary analysis required for a greater understanding both of CPA and PCSR (Windsor, 2007; Den Hond et al, 2014) and contribute to burgeoning insights from the application of the ‘dual integrity’ of history and business and management studies (Rowlinson et al, 2014; Maclean et al, 2016; Perchard et al, 2017).

The successful candidate will undertake the necessary research at local and national archives, as well as desk-based research (including use of historical databases of regional and national newspapers and parliamentary records). They will work with archives, museums, and the North East Chamber of Commerce and the city councils to consider the greatest public engagement possible from this work. They will also be supported by an experienced supervisory team with considerable knowledge in these fields.

This project is supervised by Dr Emily Buchnea.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22/BL/EIS/BUCHNEA) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


Second and third supervisors: Dr Michael Price and Professor Andrew Perchard (both EIS and FBL)
E. Buchnea. (2020). “Bridges and Bonds: the role of British merchant bank intermediaries in Latin American trade and finance networks, 1825-1850.” Enterprise & Society 21 (2): 453-493
E. Buchnea, A. Tilba, A., and J. Wilson. (2020) “British corporate networks, 1976–2010: Extending the study of finance–industry relationships.” Business History 62 (6): 1027-1057.
J. Wilson, E. Buchnea, and A. Tilba. (2018) “The British corporate network, 1904–1976: Revisiting the finance–industry relationship.” Business History 60 (6): 779-806.
M. Price, C. Harvey, M. Maclean, and D. J. Campbell. (2018). “From Cadbury to Kay: discourse, intertextuality and the evolution of UK corporate governance.” Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 31 (5): 1542-1562.
A. Perchard and N. G. MacKenzie (2020). “Aligning to Disadvantage: How corporate political activity and strategic homophily create path dependence in the firm”. Human Relations 74 (7): 978-1006.
A. Perchard (2019). “This Thing Called Goodwill: The Reynolds Metals Company and Political Networking in Wartime America”. Enterprise & Society 20 (4): 1044-1083.
A. Perchard, N. G. MacKenzie, S. Decker and G. Favero (2017). “Clio in the Business School: Historical Approaches to Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship”. Business History 59 (6): 904-927.
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