Chris Carter Headshot

Chair in Strategy & Organisation

Roles and Responsibilities

REF Director for the Business School.

Professor of Strategy & Organization.

Advisory Board Member, Fin Work Futures Research Centre, King's Business School, London.


I teach, research and advise on strategic change. I am a career academic and have been a Professor at Edinburgh since 2013.

Previously I worked at London Metropolitan University (1998-99), Leicester University (1999-2002), the University of St Andrews (2002-2011) and Newcastle University (2011-2013).  

Research Interests

I am from Cornwall and combine storytelling with more formal training in organization theory.  My research is mainly in collaboration with Professor Crawford Spence (King's College), Professor Frank Mueller (Newcastle University) and Professor Alan McKinlay (Newcastle University). I am currently co-authoring a book on STV, with Kenny Kemp, a well-known business journalist.

My research interests revolve around the following questions:

1. How do organizations handle major changes in their field / sector?

2. How are occupational elites shaped? How do they change?

3.  How do different players in a field relate to each other? How do they compete, collaborate and work out their differences? In other words, what are the relations of diplomacy between them?

4. How do leaders generate agency for themselves?

My REF submission will be drawn from:

  • Carter, Spence & McKinlay (2019) Strategic Change, Leadership and Accounting: a triptych of organizational reform. Public Administration. (in press)
  • Spence, Carter, Husillos & Archel (2017) Taste matters: Cultural capital and elites in proximate Strategic Action Fields. Human Relations. vol. 70, 2: pp. 211-236
  • Spence, Carter, Belal, Husillos, Dambrin & Archel (2016) Tracking habitus across a transnational field. Work, Employment and Society. 30 (1), 3-20.
  • Mueller, Carter & Whittle (2015) Can Audit Still be Trusted? Organization Studies. vol. 36, 9: pp. 1171-1203.
  • Spence & Carter (2014) An Exploration of the professional habitus of Big 4 accounting firms. Work, Employment and Society. vol. 28, 6: pp. 946-962
  • Carter & Spence (2014) Being a Successful Professional: An Exploration of Who Makes Partner in the Big 4. Contemporary Accounting Research. 31 (4), 949-981. 
  • Spence, Dambrin, Carter, Husillos & Archel (2014) Global ends, local means: Cross-national homogeneity in professional service firms. Human Relations. vol. 68, 5: pp. 765-788.

I have eight PhD students doing creative work on Codebase (Grant Murray; co-supervised with Prof Neil Pollock & Prof Martin Kornberger), the Asset Management Industry (John Millar; co-supervised with Prof David Cooper), the Future of Audit (Martin Martinoff; co-supervised with Prof Paolo Quattrone), Budgeting in the South African Treasury (Nokwazi Makanya; co-supervised with Prof James Mitchell), Crisis Management (Julian Rawel; co-supervised with Prof John Amis), Street Soccer (Christopher Klinghardt; co-supervised with Prof John Amis), Change in the Pakistani public sector (Amna Chaudry; co-supervised with Prof John Amis) and the Development of Financial Elites in Edinburgh (Robert Dawson Scott; co-supervised with Dr Ron Kerr).

I am currently finishing the following empirical research projects:

(1) Re-imagining STV (2007-2017)

(2) Strategic Change in the BBC (1982 - 2004).

I have a fair amount of editorial experience, serving as an Associate Editor of Organization Journal (2011-2016) and Critical Perspectives on Accounting (2011-2015). He currently sits on the editorial boards of AAAJ, AOS, CPA and Organization. I have edited many Special Issues of journals, including AAAJ, Business History, CPA, European Management Review, Management & Organizational History, and Organization.

At the University of Edinburgh, I am a member of the Centre for Strategic Leadership and of the Centre for Accounting & Society.

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