Oxford School of Hospitality Management

Research Topics

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  • We invite MPhil/PhD and Doctor of Coaching and Mentoring applications based on topic areas that are relevant to the research activity undertaken in the Oxford School of Hospitality Management.

    There is also the opportunity to base your proposals around topics that are relevant to individual academics in each department.

    Research Cluster topics in OSHM

  • We are very interested in receiving topic proposals for doctoral research in the realm of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

    Within the broad theme of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Oxford School of Hospitality Management welcomes applications on topics related to hospitality and tourism organisations and destinations, hospitality and tourism consumers, employees and managers/leaders. The following streams are the indicative of the topics:

    • Exploring how hospitality and tourism entrepreneurs start up and develop their businesses internationally;
    • Understanding the socio-cultural complexities of consumer behaviour and experience in hospitality and tourism industries;
    • Examining the management of risks/crises and disasters both in hospitality organizational and tourism destination contexts;
    • Evaluating migrants' experiences of hospitality work;
    • Understanding how hospitality and tourism organisations establish franchise partnerships internationally.

    Research staff are publishing in prestigious top tier internationally rated journals including Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, International Journal of Hospitality Management, The Service Industries Journal, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Services Marketing, International Small Business Journal and Journal of Small Business Management. Currently, staff serve on the editorial boards of major journals including Journal of Services Marketing, The Service Industries, International Journal of Hospitality Management and International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management; edit special editions of journals including International Journal of Service Industry Management and Contemporary Hospitality Management; and present at both academic and practitioner conferences as key note speakers. Staff also make strong representations in prestigious bodies such as CHME, CHRIE, Tourism and Complexity Society, Global Council in Crisis Management of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, and use their enhanced academic credibility to undertake consultancy activities.

    The research conducted by our groups is of direct use or interest to hospitality and tourism businesses. Our research and consultancy activities continue to develop interventions, tools and techniques which promote effectiveness of organisations and destinations, such as Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG) and Macau respectively.

    When applying for PhD through UCAS Postgraduate (see below 'Applications') please state clearly at the front of your 2,000 word proposal which key cluster you are interested in joining e.g. Oxford Scholl of Hospitality Management, Key Cluster 1: Hospitality and tourism management.

    Please note that you can also orientate your proposal to the non-indicative topic of an individual faculty member at the Oxford School of Hospitality Management as also listed on this web-page. In such an instance, please state clearly at the front of your 2,000 word proposal which individual faculty member and non-indicative topic in hospitality and tourism your proposal fits e.g. Dr Rebecca Hawkins, non-indicative topic: environmental management and sustainability in hospitality and tourism.

  • Individual research topics in OSHM

  • The UK has nearly 400 professional associations with over 1000 members representing over six million workers (PARN, 2010). These organisations range from those recently formed with limited membership criteria to those based upon extensive periods of scholarship and practice. Professional associations are a growth area and have been argued to provide considerable opportunities for personal and also wider economic and social development (PARN, 2010). Within professions there is now ever more pressure to rise to leadership and managerial roles and accordingly development initiatives which focus not just on profession specific expertise but wider generic influencing and management skills and knowledge. Proposals which explore the development issues facing professional associations are encouraged along with submissions that consider the role of social capital development alongside the human and intellectual capital aspects which are relatively explicit in specific professions. The value of specific interventions, such as mentoring, networking and social media in reinforcing professional associations' development of their members will also be welcomed.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Judie Gannon

    This research area is concerned with the interaction between entrepreneurship and culture. It aims to investigate the relationship between the cultural backgrounds of the business owners and their business start-up and growth. In particular, this research area captures the interface between the entrepreneur, small business strategies, and the dynamic socio-cultural and economic environment in which small businesses operate.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Professor Levent Altinay

    Recent years have seen increasing interest in the production and consumption of food and drink in contemporary society. We invite applicants to conduct research into the material and embodied practices surrounding food and drink in social, domestic and commercial contexts. Research may consider how issues such as culture, age, class, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, lifestyle and identity shape and are shaped by food and drink related social and cultural practices. We are keen to develop multi and inter-disciplinary work and we encourage applicants with a background in sociology, anthropology, geography, cultural and media studies, gender studies, business and management as well as related fields to apply.

    Candidates are asked to outline in their application the disciplinary context and academic audience(s) of their project, the prospective contributions to specific fields of enquiry and, where appropriate, the potential impacts of the proposed research beyond academia, for example on social or cultural policy, cultural practice, public health, or business and management practice.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Peter Lugosi

    This research area is concerned principally with the management of strategic alliances and formation of international partnerships. It explores how international organisations or small businesses identify and select strategic partners in different country markets. Informed by the social exchange, transaction cost and power dependency theories, this research area aims to understand the multidimensional phenomena of strategic alliances/partnerships.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Professor Levent Altinay

    Business format franchising has emerged as a powerful form of international market expansion, particularly within service industries. Recent research conducted by Franchise Direct (2009), identifies that 77% of the top 100 global franchises are within hospitality, maintenance, professional and retail services. In any franchise system, the importance of maintaining tightly controlled and integrated system that supports a defined brand name and image is well-recognised. However, in international franchise systems a trade off between centralisation and standardisation, and adaptation to respond to local market demands is also required. These potentially conflicting demands underpin the need for careful partner selection and effective relationship management between franchisors and franchisees. Furthermore, they also emphasise the relevance of effective knowledge management within a franchise network.

    PhD proposals which examine any of the three critical areas of partner selection, relationship management or knowledge management within the context of international franchising are welcomed.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Maureen Brookes

    Internationalisation has had a profound impact on organisations abilities to effectively manage their human resources'. Geographical dispersion, cultural and institutional differences compound the challenges of successfully managing people across the globe. Where enterprises have deployed multiple market entry modes corporate executives have had to learn to share with, and devolve to, property owners and franchisees HRM and HRD responsibilities. As yet very little is known about these HRM interfaces between international companies, their managerial representatives and investors/business partners so proposals which explore these relationships would be welcomed. In addition the issues of dual allegiance of expatriates, who report to their international employers and local investors, remains a topic ripe for investigation. Another real dilemma for international companies involves managing the support and costs of expatriates and frequent flyers against pressures to localise management positions and the deployment of inpatriates. Proposals in this area of IHRM would also be very much welcomed.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Judie Gannon

    We invite candidates with a strong academic grounding in social scientific disciplines to develop research into the interaction between hospitality, which includes the transactions of food, drink and accommodation in social and commercial contexts, and social-spatial processes. Research may consider such areas as the role of hospitality in urban and regional regeneration, in social inclusion and community cohesion, and in both place and tourism destination management. However, proposals on related themes and issues are welcome. We are keen to develop multi and inter-disciplinary work and we encourage applicants with a background in geography, planning and policy, sociology, anthropology, business and management as well as related fields to apply.

    Candidates are asked to outline in their application the disciplinary context and academic audience(s) of their project, the prospective contributions to specific fields of enquiry and, where appropriate, the potential impacts of the proposed research beyond academia, for example on social or cultural policy, cultural practice, public health, or business and management practice.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Peter Lugosi

    Business format franchising has emerged as a powerful form of international market expansion, particularly within service industries. As franchisors enter new international markets, they are required to seek out new franchisees to expand their network and work across geographical and cultural boundaries to maintain relationships with these franchisees. Recent research suggests that social networks have an important role to play in stimulating franchise network growth and in enhancing network sustainability.

    PhD proposals which examine the role of social networks either in the growth or sustainability of franchise networks are welcomed.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Maureen Brookes

    In recent years, the debate around the achievement of more sustainable forms of development has moved on significantly. No longer the preserve of environmentalists and the NGO community alone, the pursuit of sustainable development has become a core element of strategies and communications from mainstream businesses to individual communities.

    In tourism, the study of sustainability has divided and focuses around: the activities of major international businesses that seek to demonstrate their sustainable credentials through responsible business policies, the development of niche products that seek to attract specific types of tourism, initiatives seeking to define who sustainable tourists are or research that examines the virtues of specific sustainable tourism certification initiatives. Each of these issues has significant value and considerable research potential in their own right and we would be interested in talking to students with PhD proposals under any of these themes.

    There are also a number of opportunities to research the policy context for sustainable tourism, especially in the light of recent strategy papers by organisations from the OECD to United Nations focussing on the potential of the green economy as a mechanism for stimulating a new development paradigm. The role of tourism in delivering commitments to this 'green economy' is largely under-researched offers considerable potential for one or more PhD topics.

    Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Rebecca Hawkins

    It is suggested that tourists increasingly strive for a sense of belonging through the individual or group consumption of place (environments, events, situations, people). Your research will explore and evaluate the overall process that leads tourists to such a sense of belonging. This research moves beyond satisfaction and loyalty toward a feeling that is perhaps of greater significance to tourism providers and marketers. The theoretical base is likely to revolve around relevant aspects of tourist behaviour and the concepts of belonging and place. Primary work will adopt an interpretive approach and might include depth interviews, focus groups, travel blogs or other relevant methods.

    Contact for informal inquiries and further information about the project: Dr David Bowen

    The tourism is a highly climate/weather sensitive industry. The nexus between tourism and climate is gaining more attention and generating further discussion as its impact at the present and in the future considered one of the challenging issues of 21st century. One of the urgent issues that demand an innovative strategy and evaluation is how to adapt to such an inevitable challenge, especially in relation to tourism and destination marketing. Tourism has been evolved from a laissez-faire approach to a highly planned and controlled approach under sustainable development. Tourism industry needs to come to terms with an adaptation studies into various dimensions such as satisfying consumers demand with proposed product/s to reduce the vulnerability that the industry confronts in both current and future. Candidates are expected to propose innovative and implementable strategies for maximizing the benefit of climate/weather as a tourism resources and minimizing the adverse effect of climate/weather as an external threat to tourism. Contact for informal enquiries and further information about the project: Dr Hossein Olya (holya@brookes.ac.uk).
  • For further insights, please contact Professor Levent Altinay, Research Lead: laltinay@brookes.ac.uk

  • "The school's training and development in research and teaching provided me with a strong foundation for my future career in academia. Students coming from all over the world made Oxford a vibrant and exciting place to live and study in."

    Dr Stefan Groschl
    PhD Alumnus, Oxford School of Hospitality Management