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  PhD Studentship in Management and Business - Leadership and organisational culture change: A study of Anti-racist culture change in Wales

   Cardiff Business School

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  Prof Emmanuel Ogbonna  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Leadership and organisational culture change: A study of Anti-racist culture change in Wales

One of the most influential names in the study of organisational culture asserted that “the only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage organisational culture” (Schein, 1985, p. 2). Although the idea that leaders can manipulate culture in this way has been criticised by some scholars (e.g. Schneider et al, 2013), the assumptions around Schein’s contention have been taught to generations of students and managers. However, many researchers have argued that there are few empirical illustrations of the role of leadership in this process and have called for studies to provide this evidence. This evidence is especially required in the context of intractable, value-laden fundamental organisational and societal change such as anti-racism (see Ogbonna, 2019).


This project explores the role of leadership in achieving the organisation culture that is required to embed the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan (ARWAP). The focus will be on the role of leaders in facilitating (or leading) this new strategic plan by the Welsh Government to eradicate racism. The plan requires radical change in many processes to embrace anti-racism at the heart of organisations in Wales.  

It is anticipated that the study will adopt a qualitative approach and will comprise a single case study, although there may be an opportunity to adopt a mixed methods approach. The specific approach or combination of approaches will be guided by the research team. The successful candidate will work with the co-chairs of the group leading the implementation of the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan and there will be ample opportunities to engage in non-participant observation. 

Potential Research Questions and Theoretical Lens

The theoretical anchors of the study will be derived from organisational culture research, leadership theories and race theories. The potential research questions will include:

·      How do leaders define anti-racist culture and how do they view their role in creating this culture

·      What are the leadership personalities and values that are more likely to facilitate the change that is required to achieve anti-racist organisation culture

·      What factors/behaviours distinguish anti-racist leaders from other leaders

·      What are the key contextual factors that contribute to the willingness of leaders to embrace anti-racism

·      What is the role of the external and internal accountability groups in driving culture change

·      How do anti-racist leaders inspire followers to achieve their vision

·      What difficulties do leaders encounter in developing anti-racist culture and how do they overcome them

What the studentship will cover

Studentship Awards commence in October 2023 and will cover your home tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £17,668 p.a. for 2022/23 for full-time students); and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG).

Eligibility for the studentship

Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, and preferably an appropriate Master’s degree. The University and Welsh Government value diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. In line with our commitment to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, and to increase recruitment of currently underrepresented groups, applications from Black British, Asian British, minority ethnicity British and mixed race British candidates are particularly encouraged and welcomed. 

Cardiff Business School studentships are highly competitive, candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or strong upper 2nd class degree.

Preference will be given to candidates who hold a relevant research training Masters degree (or an equivalent background in research training) for entry onto a three year, full-time doctoral study (or its part-time equivalent) programme but consideration may be given to strong applications for a '1+3' programme (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time Doctoral study).

Please visit here for further information about the PhD Programme at Cardiff Business School.

To apply for this studentship, candidates should be eligible for Home fee status .

Applications welcomed by 30 June 2023.

Please see references section for further details on how to apply. Applications should be made online, please visit the Business School website and click "apply now". Applications are not accepted via email.

Business & Management (5)

Funding Notes

Cardiff University Business School - supported by Llywodraeth Cymru, Welsh Government - invites applications for funded PhD study. This studentship involves liaison with a non-academic organisation, often at many key stages of the research programme and will commence in October 2023. To apply for this studentship, candidates should be eligible for Home fee status - for further information about eligibility and how to apply please read the project details.


Ogbonna, E. (2019). ‘The uneasy alliance of organisational culture equality of opportunities for ethnic minority groups’: A British example’, Human Resource Management Journal, 29, 3, 309-327.
Schein, E. A. (1985). Organization Culture and Leadership, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Schneider, B., Ehrhart, M. G. and Macey, W. H. (2013). ‘Organizational climate and culture‘ Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 361-338.
Ensure you are eligible for Home fee status before applying.
In the funding section, please select “I will be applying for a scholarship/grant” and enter ARWAP as the funding source.
A completed application form for admission to doctoral study in Cardiff Business School by the deadline of 12:00pm GMT on 30 June 2023. Incomplete applications or applications received after this specified time will not be accepted.
The application must contain the following documents:
1. Covering letter: Please address to Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna. The covering letter must name the studentship being applied for. It must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University, and the Business and Management Pathway; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; and your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages. (Upload to ‘Personal Statement’ section)
2. Academic / Professional Qualifications: Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (6.5 IELTS minimum).
3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support. Candidates must approach referees themselves and include the references with their application.
4. Curriculum Vitae: This should be no longer than two pages. (Upload to ‘Professional Experience’ section).
5. Research Proposal: For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
• Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
• An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
• Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
• A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
• Bibliographic references
This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team ( Mae'r rhaglen hon ar gael drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg yn unig. I wneud cais am wybodaeth yn Gymraeg, cysylltwch â'r Tîm Recriwtio Ôl-raddedigion (

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