Karen Handley

  • Internal Associate

    Karen is a Reader in Work & Organisations, Faculty of Business, Oxford Brookes University.

    Dr Karen Handley studied international relations at the University of Sussex, and later qualified as an ACIB with the Chartered Institute of Bankers. After a career at Barclays Bank, Karen completed her MBA at Cranfield School of Management, and subsequently joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant in the financial services division. Her interest in knowledge sharing and management education led to doctoral research at Imperial College, University of London, where she completed her PhD in 2003.


    Karen Handley's current research area is the changing nature of work and employment, with a particular interest in the social construction of 'employability', the recruitment experiences and aspirations of young graduates, and the work/life trajectories and experiences of older workers as they navigate a changing labour market. Karen is an associate at the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, where she is closely involved with the age diversity stream of research. Her current project, on the work narratives and aspirations of knowledge workers in their 50s, is funded by the British Academy.

    Karen has published in the Journal of Management Studies, Management Learning, Organization, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Studies in Higher Education, and Higher Education Research & Development.

    Selected publications:

    Handley, K. and den Outer, B. (Forthcoming) Work and careers: narratives from knowledge workers aged 48-58, in: Manfredi, S. and Vickers, L. (eds.) Challenges of active ageing for equality law and for the workplace. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    den Outer, B., Handley, K. and Price, M. (2013) 'Situational analysis and mapping for use in education research: a reflexive methodology?' Studies in Higher Education, 38, 10, 1504-1521

    Sturdy, A., Clark, T., Fincham, R. and Handley, K. (2009) 'Between innovation and legitimation: boundaries and knowledge flow in management consultancy', Organization, 16, 5, 627-653.

    Handley, K., Sturdy, A., Fincham, R. and Clark, T. (2006) Within and beyond communities of practice: making sense of learning through participation, identity and practice, Journal of Management Studies, 43, 3, 641-653.