Dr Joanna Karmowska

Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies and International Management

Oxford Brookes Business School

Joanna Karmowska


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 Kraków, Poland; her doctoral thesis concerned the social implications of the promotion of historic cities. She has also undertaken executive education at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Her main focus of academic as well as consultancy work has been on international aspects of organisations. She has held visiting academic positions in Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, the UK and the US. Joanna has also worked in managerial roles in business, for example as project manager for international ventures and as HR Director in a financial institution. Her experience in international business now informs her teaching and research.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Entrepreneurial Behaviours and Practices 
  • Global Strategy and Innovation 

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

Her teaching experience at Oxford Brookes University embraces curriculum design, lecturing, seminars, as well as individual and group supervision at UG, PG and post-experience (MBA and HRM CIPD) programmes.


Supervisor for Consultancy Projects (MBA) and Dissertations (MBA and MA).  

Doctoral Supervision:

  • Tushar Banerjee 'An exploration of resource configuration in social enterprises in response to tensions between social, economic, and environmental objectives'
  • Christine Vitzthum 'Exploring the approaches adopted by coaches and organisational stakeholders in support of gender diversity'

Research Students

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


Research interests

A Sociologist by background, Joanna’s research interests encompass social, spatial and temporal dimensions of organisations in an international context. Joanna’s work has been published in academic journals (such as British Journal of Management, International Business Review, Journal of World Business and Urban Studies); she has also published numerous book chapters, as well as practitioner-oriented reports and conference papers.

Joanna’s research interests and activity fall into three broad categories:

  1. International Entrepreneurship: This research explores the challenges and opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises undertaking international expansion. Joanna has been Principal Investigator on a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust-funded study which has generated insight 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. As a result, she has organised two workshops at St Edmund Hall (Oxford), designed to integrate academic, practitioner and policymaker perspectives on SME internationalisation, with a view to developing an agenda for future research in this area. Joanna is an associate member at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Group at EAE Business School, Spain. 
  2. Time, place and culture: This area of Joanna’s research encompasses the study of cultural and creative organisations, promotion of historic European cities, the social and economic value of cultural heritage as well as the temporal character of organisations. She has been involved in variety of collaborative interdisciplinary projects in this area, and she is currently a member of the Place, Culture and Identity Research Group at the School of Architecture (Oxford Brookes); Joanna is also associated with the Centre for Organisational Time at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
  3. International work and employment: Joanna researches employment relations and the social integration of international migrant workers and other marginalised communities. She has conducted an EU-funded international study focused on social entrepreneurship as a means for overcoming inequalities on the employment market. The study involved organisations from Finland, Italy, Poland and Scotland and resulted in theoretical comparative case studies as well as practical guidance and recommendations. Joanna has also conducted a longitudinal study investigating the role of British trade unions in the workplace integration of migrant workers.

Research leadership

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 (the EGOS Standing Working Group) Conference, having co-chaired streams such as The power of performing in performing arts organisations (with John Child and Roy Suddaby) and Internationalisation of SMEs: Actors, Processes and Practices (with John Child and Said Elbanna). She currently co-ordinates an EGOS Standing Working Group on Organization & Time (with Tor Hernes, David Chandler and Mar Perezts). Joanna is also a member of the European Sociological Association’s Scientific Board of Research Network 17 Work, Employment and Industrial Relations. Within Oxford Brookes, Joanna is the Faculty Grant Panel Chair, with responsibility for ensuring the quality of the School’s research funding applications. 

Research grants and awards

Joanna is an experienced Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on international and national research projects. 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 practical recommendations; it has also inspired changes in the law at the European as well as national levels. Joanna has served as a jury member for the Research Category of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage; she is a member of the Scientific Council of Europa Nostra and a member of the Scientific Cultural Tourism Committee of ICOMOS. This has given rise to her collaboration in practice-oriented initiatives such as Sacred spaces: from 'visitor management' to managing the experience of visitors: St Paul's Cathedral (http://www.icomos-uk.org/icomos-resources/). 

Centres and institutes



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • AIB (Academy of International Business
  • EGOS (European Group for Organizational Studies)
  • ESA (European Sociological Association)
  • ICOMOS Scientific Cultural Tourism Committee 
  • Europa Nostra Scientific Council

Management International Review, member of the Editorial Review Board

Service Industries Journal, member of the Editorial Board 


Examples of consultancy projects: (1) Comedia Consultancy, member 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 Cracow Science and Technology Park, (3) Link Parks Europe, local counterpart for full feasibility study for the Cracow Science and Technology Park, i.e. establishing collaborative links between the university and industry.