Skip to main content

Professor Jackie Ford

Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies Director of Durham DBA

Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies Director of Durham DBA in the Business School


Jackie has a long-established international reputation for her work in critical leadership studies and in gender and organization theory, and as former 50th Anniversary Chair in Leadership and Organization Studies at Bradford School of Management and before that Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies at Leeds University, she founded an interdisciplinary research centre and led an active research group in critical leadership studies. She has been instrumental in developing this research field, informed by her interests in critical, poststructural and psychosocial research methods and approaches that enable rich interpretive accounts of experiences of working and organizational life. Over the past 24 years, she has conducted empirical research on a range of leadership and management practices and contexts.

Research interests:

Jackie’s research includes the study of working lives, notably in exploring critical approaches to leadership; gender, diversity and inclusion; ethics, management and organization studies. Current research projects include: Discourses and materialities of leadership; diversity and inclusion within the retail sector; working lives of senior professional women in late career; the under-representation of women as leaders in varying contexts; and researching talent management from a critical perspective.

Jackie’s research plan for the next five years centres on three main work streams, all of which are attached to funded or planned research activity and international publications. These work streams are (i) the future of Critical Leadership Studies, which will include publications around the theme of ‘Leadership as a failure of the 20th Century: towards a 21st Century successor’; (ii) Gender, diversity and inclusion, incorporating her current 3-year ESRC award (‘Raising the ceiling on diversity and inclusion: a corporate retail case study’) together with a new bid entitled ‘women and work in late career’; and (iii) studies of working lives, including friendships at work.

Jackie supervises doctoral students who are keen to explore critical approaches to working lives, in particular, within Critical Leadership Studies. There is mounting fascination with more critical leadership studies that focus on leadership as process rather than position, on power asymmetries and on plurality rather than homogeneous forms, presenting new opportunities to understand leadership from within much richer, qualitative and contextual empirical studies.

Potential students need to be interested in researching critical approaches to leadership, which may include considerations of gender, ethics and working lives. Applicants must be self-motivated, well organized and with a consistently excellent academic track record.

Mini Biography

Jackie joined Durham University Business School in September 2017. She has held various professorial posts since 2008 at the Universities of Leeds and Bradford. She has over 24 years experience of working in Higher Education, having spent the previous 10 years in a range of managerial roles in the British NHS, culminating in an Executive Board-level Human Resources Director post in an acute hospital Trust. 


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students

This is the image alt text

A Top Global Business School

We are an international triple accredited business school. Sharing insights, supporting innovation and teaching tomorrow’s leaders. We combine our academic excellence, insightful research and exceptional global business connections, to equip our students to become innovative business thinkers.

About Us