Roles and Responsibilities

Professor of Strategy & Organization.

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


Chris researches the leaders of some of Britain’s best-known organisations. His research and teaching interests span organisational change, culture and identity, strategy and accountability.

In a 25-year career in British Business Schools, Chris has published widely and is a very experienced researcher and educator.  He focuses on broadcast organisations, professional service firms, and organised politics. 

Chris has been a regular chair of public events, including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His research makes him a sought-after advisor to high profile organisations. 

Research Taxonomy

Research Interests

Chris's  REF submission comprises:

  • Carter, Spence & McKinlay (2020) Strategic Change, Leadership and Accounting: a triptych of organisational reform. Public Administration, 98 (1): 62-91.
  • 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.

He has nine PhD students doing creative work on:

  • Codebase (Grant Murray; co-supervised with Prof Neil Pollock & Prof Martin Kornberger),
  • The  Edinburgh 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  Scotland (Christopher Klinghardt; co-supervised with Prof John Amis),
  • Change in the Pakistani public sector (Amna Chaudry; co-supervised with Prof John Amis), 
  • The Development of Financial Elites in Edinburgh (Robert Dawson Scott; co-supervised with Dr Ron Kerr), 
  • The Creation of an Institution: The case of the Scottish Parliament (Andrew Burns; co-supervised with Prof James Mitchell and Dr Ron Kerr).

Chris has lived and worked in Scotland for a long time. Much of his research focuses on understanding aspects of Scottish public and organisational life. Current projects include:

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

(2) Identity Work in the Scottish Labour Party.

(3) Creating an Institution: the Scottish National Investment Bank.

Chris has a keen interest in elites in public life.  Current projects exploring this topic include:

(4)  The Director-Generals.

(5)  Elite Media Careers.

(6)  Elite Dynasties: The Foot Family.

At the University of Edinburgh, Chris is a member of the Centre for Strategic Leadership and of the Centre for Accounting & Society. He is a board member of FinWorkFutures Institute at King's College London. He collaborates closely with the Strand Group, King's College London, Reform Scotland, and the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter.

Works Within

Research Area

Publication Type Actions