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Re-innovating Public Service Organisations: improving institutional autonomy and public service delivery through narratives and strategies of de-politicisation and secularisation (SF23/BL/LHRM/MEMON)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Ally Memon, Dr Lorraine Johnston  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The aim of the project is to examine the potential for re-innovating Public Service Organisations through exploring narratives and strategies of de-politicisation and secularisation (which impact policy, leadership, and service management). Within the scope of the project, the enquiry will examine how institutional autonomy, performance and public service delivery can be better understood and improved through de-politicisation and secularisation narratives and strategies. It is well-regarded internationally that economic growth and national development are aided through secular and de-politicised institutions, hence this would be an ideological position taken from the outset of this project. Further to this, the context and setting for the study will be countries in the MENA, GCC and SAARC regions where religious and socio-political factors are known to be dominating influences on organisational cultures, norms, and work ethos in the Public Sector. Theoretically, there will be scope within the project to explore concepts such as institutionalism, public policy and reform, professional sense-making, workplace autonomy, public private partnerships, privatisation, deregulation, managerialism, and new public governance. The project also offers potential for comparative cases between Western and Eastern Public Management ideologies and practices. The proposed study should focus on Public Service Organisations and Public Service Systems in the context of the regions specified above.

This project/research topic aligns with research themes and research activity undertaken by members of the Public Policy and Management (3PM) Research Interest Group at Newcastle Business School.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Dr Ally Memon. For informal queries, please contact [Email Address Removed]. For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form below to contact Admissions. 

Funding Information

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend. Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply.

Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 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.

How to Apply

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

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. SF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 30 March 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023

Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers.


Kinder, T., Six, F., Stenvall, J., Talonen, A. and Memon, A. (2021) Emerging Governances, different Perspectives. International Public Management Review, 21(1), 5-26
Stenvall, J, Kinder, T., Memon, A. and Six, F. (2021) Relational leadership in collaborative governance ecosystems. Public Management Review DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2021.1879913
Fenwick, J. and Johnston, L. (2020) Leading the combined authorities in England: A new future for elected mayors? Public Money & Management, 40(1), 14-20.
Fenwick, J. and Johnston, L. (2020) Leading Local Government: the role of directly elected mayors, Emerald Publishing.
Memon, A. (2019) Tax Reforms a Year On. The Daily Times, XVII (196), B2
Fenwick, J. and Johnston, L. (2019) Public Enterprise and Local Place: New Perspectives on Theory and Practice, Routledge.
Memon, A. (2019) Political Partisanship and Higher Education. The Daily Times, XVI (372), B2

Russell, E, Lloyd-Houldey, A., Memon, A. and Yarker, J. (2019) Factors Influencing Uptake and Use of a New Health Information App for Young People, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 36(4), pp. 222-240.
Johnston and Fenwick (2018) Public Entrepreneurship: Is Local Government Necessary to Deliver Economic Development, The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government, Taylor & Francis.
Memon, A. (2017) CPEC and the case for community capacity building. South Asia Journal, Online, Feb 13th 2017
Memon, A. and Kinder, T. (2017) Co-location as a catalyst for service innovation: a study of Scottish health and social care. Public Management Review, 19(4), pp. 381-405
Memon, A. (2017) Making sense of the PM health insurance programme. The Daily Times, XIV (47), p7.
Memon, A. (2014) Impending Water Wars in South Asia. The Express Tribune, Feb 21, p.7
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