Nick Oliver Headshot

Professor of Management

+44 (0)131 650 3811

Roles and Responsibilities

Co-Director of the Edinburgh Strategic Resilience Initiative


Nick is a Professor of Management in the Business School, where he also served as Dean from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that he was a professor at the Judge Business School, Cambridge, where he spent 14 years and before that a lecturer at Cardiff Business School for seven years.

Nick's research mainly focuses on the characteristics high-performing organisations. He has conducted research projects on many topics including high-commitment organisations, the management practices of Japanese organisations and the transfer of these to environments outside of Japan. He has examined the relationship of ‘lean’ principles to performance, especially in the global automotive industry and has led several benchmarking studies in both manufacturing and product development environments. 

Nick is particularly interested in the concept of “organisational limits”, which is based on the idea that all organisations have limits as to what they are capable of doing. Understanding the determinants of such limits is key to improving performance and avoiding catastrophic failures.

Currently, Nick is researching the characteristics of resilient teams and organisations, i.e. those that are capable of operating reliably and efficiently in the face of difficult conditions and unexpected events. This work examines resilience in a variety of settings, from the recovery of Japanese companies following the 2011 earthquake to how flight crew deal with unexpected emergencies. 

Nick has coauthored two books, “The Japanization of British Industry” (1992) and “Crisis, Resilience and Survival: Lessons from the Global Auto Industry” (2016), as well as numerous articles.

View Nick's Google Scholar profile

Visit the website for Nick's 2016 book Crisis, Resilience and Survival: Lessons from the Global Auto Industry

Research Taxonomy

Research Interests

Nick's current research includes:

  • Crisis, Resilience and Survival: Lessons from the Global Auto Industry (2016). An analysis of the evolution of the auto industry and its competitive dynamics and the implications for the resilience of auto firms.  Published by Cambridge University Press (with Matthias Holweg, University of Oxford). See our dedicated website for more information.
  • Social Capital, sense-making and recovery from disaster, an analysis of Japanese companies recovering from the 2011 earthquake (with George Olcott, University of Tokyo).
  • Identity and leadership in complex, multi-stakeholder environments - an exploration of how leaders deal with competing pressures and the implications of this for authenticity (with Andrew Brown and Mike Lewis, University of Bath).
  • The characteristics of resilient teams and organisations (with Tom Calvard, Kristina Potocnik, Melike Senturk and Maurizio Tomasella, University of Edinburgh)

Research Area

Publication Type Actions