Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Dr Joanne James

Reader in Leader Dev & Org Futures


Joanne James is Director of Leadership Development and Organisation Futures team which focusses on bringing together organisations and the university in a shared ambition of supporting leaders in the changing contexts of work.  Prior to joining Newcastle University Business School in 2018, Joanne was Head of Corporate and Executive Development at Northumbria University.  In this role she was responsible for a range of under graduate, post graduate and bespoke corporate programmes that centred on experiential work based learning as the fundamental pedagogy.

Joanne describes herself as a scholarly practitioner, bringing the worlds of research and practice together, with a particular interest in the development of professional practices of leadership and coaching. Joanne has ten years experience working in leadership development and has worked with leaders from a wide range of organisations including Northumbrian Water, Barbour International, Greggs, NHS, Local authority and uniformed services, SME's and third sector. Leaders are facing unprecedented levels of change and uncertainty, so Joanne's work focusses on how leaders can develop psychological awareness, resilience, and a strong personal ethical foundation based on values. In addition, her leadership development approach focusses on the relational and systemic where the leaders understand their role in supporting others, collaborating across boundaries and recognising their ability to influence in the wider system.
Joanne is an executive coach and explored the intricacies of team coaching for her professional doctorate which she completed in 2017. Coaching philosophies underpin much of Joanne's work in that her beliefs regarding personal agency and co-construction informs her approaches with others. 

Prior to joining academia Joanne worked for almost 20 years in large multinational corporations including Procter and Gamble and IBM. Her experience spans manufacturing, logistics, human resource management and organisation development, with over 10 years in senior leadership roles leading organisational and culture change programmes in the UK and across Europe.


My research centres on coaching and leadership.  I am particularly interested in the professional development journey that we all participate in as we navigate our professional lives. In my doctoral research I adopted autoethnography to immerse myself  deeply into my own practice of team coaching and revealed themes of thinking, seeing, relating and being with teams. In parallel with this activity I engaged in a series of participative group sessions with professional coaches where we co-constructed our understandings of what it means to be a team coach.  Through these twin approaches I attempted to answer the question what is going on in team coaching?

I am interested in narrative, imagery and metaphor to gather data about and make sense of organisational phenomena and lived experiences in our professional lives. 


Joanne is Director of Executive Education and responsible for the development and delivery of a suite of part time work based learning programmes:

The Executive MBA

MSc Strategic leadership

Msc Coaching and Mentoring

Joanne teaches on NBS 8964 Critical Reflexivity and Mastering Practice and NBS 8974 Strategic Relational Leadership

Joanne is working on the development of two modules for the MSc Coaching and Mentoring both relating to organisational systems and team coaching. ( NBS 8966 and NBS 8967)