Ron Kerr Headshot

Senior Lecturer in International Management

+44 (0)131 651 5582


Following completion of an MA in Applied Linguistics (Lancaster 1993), I worked for the British Council and the Department for International Development, managing education reform projects in China, Ukraine and Russia.

On returning to Lancaster in 2003, I completed my PhD, in which, using critical discourse analysis, I studied the effects of the New Public Management on the field of international development.

I have since held academic posts at Lancaster, the Open University, and Newcastle University Business School, before joining the University of Edinburgh in September 2014.

Research Interests

My main area of interest is in extending the application of the work of Pierre Bourdieu in the study of management and organisations, with a particular focus on symbolic power and symbolic violence.

My recent research has focused on the failures of leadership and corporate culture that contributed to the global financial crisis (Kerr & Robinson, 2011; 2012; 2016) and the relationship between corporate architecture and power (Kerr & Robinson 2015; Kerr, Robinson & Elliott 2016). Our 2011 paper, 'Leadership as an elite field: Scottish banking leaders and the crisis of 2007-2009' was chosen by the editor as one of seven key papers published in the first 10 years of the journal Leadership.

With Sarah Robinson (Adam Smith Business School, Glasgow), I am currently developing a series of studies on political leadership in Scotland, with a particular focus on women and political leadership (see Robinson & Kerr 2017). Sarah and I presented on this theme at the International Studying Leadership Conference (ISLC) at the University of Lancaster in December 2015 and at the University of Edinburgh in 2016, and also at the European Group for Organisation Studies (EGOS) Colloquium in Naples in July 2016.

In September 2016, I co-convened a stream on Critical Management Studies at the British Academy of Management (BAM) conference hosted by Newcastle University Business School. I also co-convened a special session of the Stream on the impact of Brexit on the academic field.

In 2017 I co-convened two streams at the Critical Management Studies (CMS) Conference in Liverpool, one for PhD students and ECAs and one on Brexit. I also co-convened the CMS track at BAM at the University of Warwick in September 2017. In July 2017 I presented a paper on 'Politics and the "good" organisation: the Scottish parliament building as social, symbolic and physical space' at the 2017 EGOS Colloquium in Copenhagen.

In January 2018 I was invited to present a paper on 'Bourdieu and organisations' at a special workshop at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. Also in 2018, at EGOS in Tallinn I presented a study of the Climate Action's occupation of the Royal Bank of Scotland corporate headquarters in Edinburgh in 2010. Once again, in September, I co-convened (with Martyna Sliwa and Sarah Robinson) the CMS Track at BAM, this time at University of West England in Bristol.

In the immediate future I have been invited as a visiting scholar to Macquarie University in Australia, and University of Auckland in New Zealand.

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Research Area