Dr Joanna Karmowska


Reader in Strategy and Innovation

Oxford Brookes Business School


Research Lead for Business and Management
Co-Director of Oxford Regions, Innovation and Enterprise Lab (ORIEL)

Joanna is a Sociologist, using insights from her host discipline to advance the study of organisations.  She gained her PhD in Sociology from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland; her doctoral thesis concerned the social implications of the promotion of historic European cities. She has also undertaken executive education at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.  The main focus of her academic as well as consultancy work has been on international aspects of organisations.  She has held visiting academic positions in Ireland, France, Portugal and Spain, the UK and the US.  Joanna has also worked in managerial roles in business, for example as a project manager in internationalisation of multinational enterprises and as HR Director in a financial institution.  Her experience in international business now informs her teaching and research. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise (MBA 7046)
  • Individual Consultancy (MBA 7021)
  • Dissertation (MBA 7020)

Joanna’s international teaching experience includes teaching at the Centre for European Studies, Jagiellonian University in Cracow (Poland), working with the London Business School, the Henley Business School and the University of Birmingham (UK) in the delivery of their Executive MBA Programmes, collaboration with Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (Belgium) on the development of courses for an MA Programme, visiting lectureship for ESCP Europe (UK), long-term contribution to the Excellence in Pedagogy programme at ESC Dijon (France), as well as some shorter visiting lectureship assignments, among others in Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach (US) and Karit Has Universitesi in Istanbul (Turkey). 

Her teaching experience at Oxford Brookes University embraces curriculum design, lecturing, as well as individual and group supervision at UG, PG, and post-experience programmes. Currently, Joanna teaches exclusively on the MBA programme.  


Joanna is an experienced supervisor for dissertations and consultancy projects.  She currently supervises several pieces of work within MBA Programme. 

Doctoral Supervision:

  • Kat Kornacka ‘How do biotech SMEs adopt their business models to achieve innovation? A comparative study between China and the US’ (active)
  • Tushar Banerjee ‘An exploration of resource configuration in social enterprises in response to tensions between social, economic and environmental objectives’ (active)
  • Christine Vitzthum ‘Exploring the approaches adopted by coaches and organisational stakeholders in support of gender diversity’ (completed)
  • Heba Younis ‘The internationalisation decision of the endowed SME’ (completed) 
  • Shirley Velasquez-Hoque ‘Ecuadorian remittances, gender and family relations’ (completed)

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Christine Vitzthum How do coaches and organisational stakeholders approach coaching to support gender diversity? Active


Joanna’s research interests encompass social, spatial and temporal dimensions of organisations in an international context.  Her work has been published among others in Journal of World Business, British Journal of Management, International Business Review, Journal of International Management, Urban Studies. 

Her current research focuses on creativity, innovation and internationalisation of SMEs.  Joanna has been Principal Investigator on a British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust funded study which has generated insights into UK-Polish international relations between SMEs. She is also Co-investigator on the SINET research project, which explores the role of strategy, decision-making and network links in the internationalisation of SMEs in China, Denmark, Egypt, India, Jordan, Poland, the UAE and the UK.  Joanna’s work has been recognised with a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.  Joanna is an associate member at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Group at EAE Business School in Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), as well as the Centre for Organisational Time at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

Joanna takes a proactive role in leading research and scholarship within the UK and internationally.  She is a regular sub-theme convenor at the European Group for Organisational Studies (EGOS), having co-chaired streams such as The Power of Performing in Performing Arts Organisations (with John Child and Roy Suddaby), Internationalisation of SMEs (with John Child and Said Elbanna), and most recently co-ordinating an EGOS Standing Working Group on Organisation & Time (with Tor Hernes, David Chandler and Mar Perezts). Joanna is also a member of the Scientific Board of Research Network 17 within the European Sociological Association. Within Oxford Brookes, Joanna is a Research Lead for Business and Management and a Co-director of Oxford Regions, Innovation and Enterprise Lab (ORIEL). 

Joanna is an experienced Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on international and national research project.  This includes two awards from the British Academy, several from the EU Commission and two Fellowships from the French Government and the Tokyo Foundation. 

Research impact

Joanna is also involved in wide range of activities, where her research expertise benefits people and organisations.  Her work in the area of social entrepreneurship has resulted in case studies of good practice as well as actionable recommendations; it has also inspired changes in the procurement law at the European as well as national levels. Most recently, Joanna’s work on SME growth has been directly referenced and quoted in the Independent Review of Net Zero commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

Centres and institutes



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • AIB (Academy of International Business)
  • BAM (British Academy of Management)
  • EGOS (European Group for Organizational Studies)
  • ESA (European Sociological Association)
  • ICOMOS International Scientific Cultural Tourism Committee

Editorial Boards

  • Management International Review, member of the Editorial Review Board
  • Service Industries Journal, member of the Editorial Board
  • Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, member of the Editorial Board


Joanna regularly chairs and presents at international academic conferences, such as AIB, EGOS and ESA.


During her academic as well as management career, Joanna completed a range of consultancy projects.  Some examples: (1) Comedia Consultancy, member of a project team for creating a strategic programme for Cracow city regeneration through creative industries, (2) International Development Ireland, local counterpart for pre-feasibility study for the Science and Technology Park, (3) Link Pars Europe, local counterpart for full feasibility study for the Science and Technology Park.