Dr Tyrone Pitsis
Reader in Strategic Design

  • Email: tyrone.pitsis@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1710
  • Address: 5 Barrack Road
    Newcastle upon-Tyne
    NE1 4SE


Doctor of Philosophy (Management), [University of Technology, Sydney], 2007.

Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) - Honours [University of New South Wales]

Research Interests

The best way to describe my work is to try and capture it in two words "generative strategy".  There are three key areas where I explore generative strategies: at the grand societal levels through the structuring of relationships in mega-projects; meta-projects (that is, the projects of organizational life that are not recognized as formal or legitimate project but are critical to progressing organizational life); and mesa-projects (that is, personal projects at the intersects of a sense of forward movement and existential risk - such as developing and realizing a great idea, innovation or enterprise).  In a separate stream of research I like to explore the debates, impact, value and relevance of organization and management theory and research. 

I have published and continue to publish works in leading FT45 and other journals, including: organization science (4* FT45), organization studies (4* FT45), journal of management inquiry (3*), journal of business ethics (3* FT45), management learning (3*), and business history (3*); as well as specialist journals such as International Journal of Project Management, and The Journal of Power.  

I am a founding editor-in-chief of a new Sage-IACCM journal called Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation.  

I have authored several books and book chapters: the latest is one of Sage's leading textbook with Stewart Clegg and Martin Kornberger, managing and organization, Sage: Cal.  4th edition (due autumn 2015). My latest book is the Handbook of Organizational and Managerial Innovation.

I have had over 2,000,000 dollars worth of competitive research grants from the Australian Research Council and the EU.

Current Visiting Appointments and External roles

2012-Current: Sydney University, Australia.  

- Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and IT at U. Sydney.

2014-2017: University of Technology, Sydney (Honorary Professor)

- Honorary professor in The School of Business at UTS, Sydney.

2014-2017: Lancaster University, UK. (External Examiner: MSc. programmes) 

Roles (internal)

Business School Research Ethics Convenor

Roles (external)

Director of Engagement and Impact - PTC of the Academy of Management (www.aom.org) Board Member -

Gateway Studio Project (http://www.gateway-studio-project.org/)

Member of the Expert Panel of Oxford University's NHS Benefits of Health ICT Programme project.

Founding Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Strategic Contracts and Negotiation (Sage/IACCM) - to be launched in 2015

Board Member and Academic Advisor: The International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (www.iaccm.com

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (http://www.thersa.org/about-us

Latest Grants

2015- Marie Sklodowska-Curie EC Grant: The project of Sustainability: the role of Project Management in developing a more sustainable economy and society, £135,000.00

Current PhD students (in alphabetic order)

Alexia Mellor (USA/UK) - PhD/ 1st Year - Arts, Creativity and Participatory Practices.

Sam Mitchell-Finnigan (UK) PhD/ 1st Year - Digital tools for workplace practices to reduce energy consumption (Scholarship recipient of the Institute for Sustainability)

Charles Nnjaj - (Nigeria) PhD/ 1st Year - The Value of Ethical Leadership in Project Performance

Emmalinde Roelofse (USA) - PhD/ 2nd Year - Ambiguity and Collaboration in Innovation Start Up Projects

Tabish Zaman (India) - PhD/ 1st Year - Public Private Benefits Realisation in Megaprojects

Most Recent Completions

2014 - Kal Vignehsa - PhD - ARC Post Graduate Award- Stuckedness in Projects.

2014 - Chris Biesenthal - PhD - ARC Post Graduate Award - Pragmatism and Strategic Project Management Tools.

2013 - Ace Simpson - PhD - Positive Psychology and Projects of Compassion.

About me

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia I relocated to the UK in 2011, joining Newcastle University in September. I started my academic life as a research assistant in the Centre for Corporate Change at the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW), before moving on to the Business School at UTS in Sydney. 

I have a strong interest in studying the intersects between strategy, projects and society.  I am a passionate believer in democracy and see participation, responsibility, accountability and transparency as the cornerstone of successful society: corruption and the degradation of democracy are one of our greatest challenges as a free and prosperous society.

There is a lot to learn from sociology, psychology, anthropology and politics. Most PMs have little if no knowledge about these things. While understanding and using Prince(c) is fine, I prefer you to be better versed in The Prince.

Esteem and Impact

In 2011 I was elected Chair of the Academy of Management's Practice Theme Committee (PTC), a strategic leadership committee of the Academy of Management, the largest management association in the world.  I am now Director of Impact and Engagement at the PTC of the AOM.  More recently I was appointed Academic Advisor and ex officio-Board member of the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (www.iaccm.com). 

I am a reviewer for the ESRC (international projects) as well as for several major journals and conferences. My work on mega-projects was recently recognized in an University of Oxford study by Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg as third in the top ten seminal pieces on mega-projects.

I have been recipient of a number of awards, including the Vice-Chancellor's Reader Award, The Emerald Science Citation of Excellence Award, as well as best paper awards.  

In 2013 I was proud to be elected as a Fellow of the RSA (The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce). The RSA was founded in 1754, and has a wealth of notable achievements and Fellows in its 250-year history including Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, William Hogarth, Nelson Mandela, Sir Frank Whittle and Stephen Hawking. Being elected an RSA Fellow depends on having achieved a contribution to society in a cultural or arts-related sphere.  RSA is an organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and Fellowship it seeks to understand and enhance human capability to close the gap between today’s reality and people’s hopes for a better world. 

I work with large and SMEs globally on dealing with and understanding complex strategic problems.  I have coached teams on strategy using design thinking; my teams have won the Boston Consulting Group Strategy Competition, and most recently won the "innovative idea" award at the Sustainability Challenge run by Tesco, Proctor & Gamble and Santander.  Organizations I have worked with and helped to develop their future strategy include but not limited to:

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Canterbury Council



New South Wales Department of Education

Penrith Council

Reserve Bank of Australia

Reserve Bank of India

Royal Australian Air Force



Westpac Banking Corp.

Professional Membership

Academy of Management

Strategic Management Society 


Current Projects

1. Building a Social Enterprise City: I was awarded a HEIF project to work with Gateshead Council, Stanford University, NTNU, Norway to help create a prototype of a social enterprise city to help transform the NE economy (see more here) (Larry Leifer and Martin Steinert)

2. Strategic Turning Points: The human experience of key moments of transformation (both positive and negative) as strategic devices in change projects (with John Sillince and Ben Golant), rules and norms in strategic projects (with Frank Mueller), and ideas, innovation and creativity in projects (Arne Carlsen and Stewart Clegg).

3. The phenomenology of project based organizing (with Alfons van Marrewijk, Sierk Ybema)

4. Mega-project governance and control: East versus West (Atif Ansar and Bent Flyvbjerg)

What I am reading

Being in the world by Hubert Dreyfus (who along with Alfred Schutz is one of my heroes).  I learn something new each time I read their works.

A question of strategy?

If you were to think about all the projects your organisation pursues, how many are central to your strategic intentions? How central are your projects in innovating what you do and how you do it? Of those that are strategically imperative, how well do they help you achieve those imperatives? How are projects governed to enable the tensions between control, prediction and planning with the need for improvisation, adaptation and transformations?  Importantly, how well does your organisation understand the power and social relations inherent and endemic in project based organising?  These are just some of the questions I seek to investigate, interrogate and explore through my research. 

My research focuses on two loosely connected but inter-related areas: 1) emergent strategy in mega-projects and how these projects lead to oganisational and social innovation; and 2) the governance mechanisms organisations put into place to foster hope achievement (or, what I call future perfect strategy).  

Do you want to do a PhD with me?

If you want to do a PhD specifically in my area (see below), I would love to have a chat with you.  Please be aware I will not supervise anyone outside my specific area of interest.  Feel free to email me at tyrone.pitsis@ncl.ac.uk  or call me on 0191 208 1710

Research Interests

- strategy and foresight 

- mega-projects and project governance (especially public/private collaboration)

- managerial and organizational innovation and creativity 

Theoretical influences and underpinning

- Pragmatic philosophy

- Phenomenological Psychology

- Alfred Schutz, Hubert Dreyfus and the work of Richard Sennett










Strategic Design Thinking

- Using strategic design thinking I teach change management using live work based projects. (extremely popular but also extremely demanding).  This is now a core module in the MBA/EMBA programme.

Change and Organisational Transformation Projects

- The design, execution and management of mega-projects of change

Organisational Behaviour

- A core module exploring the psychology, sociology and anthropology of organizational life.

Research Methods

- Qualitative (narrative, discourse analysis) and quantitative (S.E.M) research methods

- Research design