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Nicholas Ellis

Professor of Marketing Management

Professor of Marketing Management in the Business School


Nick is recognized as an early proponent of discourse analysis to explore marketing management. His research focuses primarily on the construction of identities in inter-organizational relationships and B2B contexts. His outputs thus embrace marketing and organization studies, with publications judged as world-leading and internationally excellent in both disciplines, in journals with high impact factors like Industrial Marketing Management, Organization Studies, Human Relations, British Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Marketing Theory and European Journal of Marketing. Nick’s expertise is reflected in being invited to contribute a chapter on Networks and Identities to the Oxford Handbook of Identities in Organizations in 2020. He has written a book on B2B marketing and a co-authored text on critical marketing.

He has been successful in gaining research funding from a number of external sources including a Knowledge Transfer Partnership on marketing orientation and supply chain management co-funded by the ESRC and TSB which is now part of an Impact Case Study, a Research Collaboration Award from the University of Western Australia to explore autonomous vehicle networks, several grants from the European Regional Development Fund to support SMEs, and funding from private sector firms for consultancy projects. He has acted as a rapporteur for the ESRC and been invited to present his work at ESRC seminars.

Drawing upon over 25 years of pedagogic experience, Nick's teaching has been consistently rated highly across a variety of topics and delivery modes (F2F, blended and online) by students and peers; and recognized in global rankings. In 2018 the Financial Times ‘Top MBAs in selected categories’ ranked Durham 10th globally and 1st in the UK for Marketing, the core subject he teaches across the MBA suite of programmes. He also led the Research Methods & Dissertation module on the MSc Management, and has extensive experience in supervising dissertations and business projects. Nick has successfully supervised to completion ten Doctoral students, and been invited to act as Examiner for a further ten candidates.

Nick has made a significant managerial/service contribution throughout his career via a series of administrative responsibilities. He was most recently Director of the Masters in Management Programmes when they were ranked 3rd in the UK by the FT in 2021. His previous roles included: Head of Dept of Marketing when the Dept was ranked 40th in the world and 4th in the UK based on citation metrics; Deputy Head of Dept of Management & Marketing; and PhD Programme Director when he also led the ESRC-funded DTP pathway.

Prior to joining Durham, Nick was Senior Lecturer in Critical Marketing at the University of Leicester. He also worked at the University of Derby where he combined his academic role with responsibilities for HE-business liaison. He has a PhD in Industrial Marketing (Lancaster), an MSc in Marketing Management (Nottingham Trent), and the CIM Diploma. Nick's first degree was in Civil Engineering (Surrey) where he specialised in management studies. He put his training into practice during the 1980s and 90s with the HMV retail group, working in sales, marketing and purchasing of music, movie and other lifestyle products. He thus brings experience of both B2B and B2C contexts to his research and teaching.

Mini Biography

Nick’s research focuses primarily on the discursive construction of managerial and professional identities in inter-organizational relationships and B2B marketing contexts. His publications embrace marketing and organization studies, with world-leading and internationally excellent papers in journals with high impact factors, e.g. Organization Studies, Human Relations, British Journal of Management, Industrial Marketing Management and Marketing Theory. Nick’s teaching has been consistently rated positively by students and peers; and recognized in global rankings. He has also held a series of major administrative responsibilities, including Head of Department roles.

Research interests

  • Marketing management
  • Qualitative methods
  • Discourse analysis
  • B2B marketing & industrial networks
  • Professional services marketing
  • Critical marketing
  • Identity & boundary construction


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students

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