Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Dr Karen Elliott

Lecturer in Enterprise and Innovation/Ethics Convenor



Karen has research interests centred on the Digital Economy this includes FinTech, trust and the future of work. She is Degree Programme Director for the Groningen Double Degree and Ethics Convenor.

Within the digital economy, the FinTech (financial technologies) industry is one of the major growth industries in the United Kingdom. These companies create new, cheaper and faster services, utilizing the latest technologies such as cloud, mobile and blockchain. To succeed they need to gain the trust of customers in a period that society's trust in the financial industry is still impacted by the mortgage crisis almost a decade ago. They need to gain this trust while technologies are changing rapidly and data breaches are continuously in the news. Karen and Prof Aad van Moorsel (Computer Science) have recently been awarded a £1.2m EPSRC Research grant to work with Atom Bank (Durham) on optimising FinTech services from a challenger bank. FinTrust will research the issue of trust in FinTech organisationa, identifying the generic research challenges and establishing fundamental research results. A particular focus will be on increased automation through the use of machine learning algorithms, which may have implications that affect consumer trust in the new services. Karen is also speaking at various events on this topic including Dynamo 18 conference, Strathclyde FinTech Symposium and is currently developing a collaborative ‘FinTech England’ network website bringing, practitioners, government, financial regulators and academics together to engage in knowledge exchange and promote events.

Linked to the above initiative is examining the issues surrounding the future of work scaling Agile/Scrum software development methodologies for project management strategies and implementation. The research will develop the three dimensions of complexity theory applied to Agile/Scrum methodologies (Maylor et al., 2013, 2015). Accounting for different scaling, adaptability and complexity configurations, this study deepens knowledge of the factors practitioners/managers face when addressing the differing levels of complexity and yet, professional training remains focused on addressing structural complexity i.e., planning and tasks involved in projects. In addition, enabling firms to understand how to adapt, scale and navigating today’s complex business landscape—the reported problematic socio-political and emergent complexity to maximize firms’ performance potential. An empirical contribution is offered by the introduction of a new method for examining complex strategy configurations: fsQCA and the production of a practitioner focused report.

Karen is an enthusiastic teacher, nominated for an outstanding contribution to teaching award and integrates her research within the digital ‘future of work’ sector to inform her modules, particularly focusing on embedding ‘industry’ skills to undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students. Karen currently supervises two postgraduate students who are conducting research into project management, entrepreneurship and FinTech. 

Karen has received in excess of £1m in research funding.

Bibliographic links

Research Gate:



Google Scholar:




Roles and Responsibilities:

Degree Programme Director (DPD): Groningen Dual Award Programme, Newcastle University Business School;

Ethics Convenor, Newcastle University Business School;

Member of Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE) Research Group



Research Interests

Digital Economy - FinTech, Cyber Security, Programme and Project Management, Complexity Theory, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Agile/Scrum Methodologies, Organizational Ecology, Organisational Behaviour and Behavioural Psychology (Trust).

Current Work


Research Gate:

Google Scholar:





Research Roles

Member, Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE) Research Group
Member, NUBS Research & Ethics Committee

Postgraduate Supervision

Daniel Lee (PhD, due to graduate July 2021)
Clare Heron (PhD (PT), due to graduate July 2019))

Esteem Indicators

2018 (2016) - KEYNOTE of ‘Fintech Week’ panel regarding the future of financial technologies – Strathclyde University requested by the Financial Sector in Scotland with the Technology and Innovation Department (02/09/2016 and 21/09/2018).

2017 - ‘Unruly Innovation’, After Money Symposium, University of Edinburgh Business School.


2014 - Université Catholique de Louvain - An fsQCA analysis of Cognitive Organization Theory (COT): organization inertia and change cascades in Police Forces across the EU – UCL, Belgium, upon invitation by Professor Benoît Rihoux, COMPASSS – QCA Organization.


Expert panels/consultancy:

2018 - Expert Panel Member – ‘The future of challenger banks’, Dynamo Conference 18 Urban Sciences Building, Newcastle University.


2018 - ESRC expert consultant – provided advice for ESRC Report ‘Fintech and the future of financial services’ prepared by Professor Alistair Milne, Loughborough University.


2016 - Expert Member of Research Methods Development (RMD) Consortium (2014), upon invitation of Prof. Todd Alessandri, D’Amore Business & Strategy Group, Northeastern University, Boston, MA. This involves a series of webinars to a panel of experts covering the subjects of Publishing; Research Design; Teaching/Networking; Contribution to knowledge and ‘Methods matter–the future’.


External Examiner: PhD, University of Antwerp (BEL).


Academy of Management (AOM); Policing: an International Journal of Police Strategies & Management; Human Resource Development International (HRDI) Journal; The Open Psychology Journal; International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research; The European Journal of Finance; Journal of Asian Business & Management.


Editorial Board Member: Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies


External Examiner: PhD, University of Antwerp (BEL).



EPSRC Fund with Computer Science Faculty, 1/18, £1.2m

Social Entrepreneurship Impact ESRC, 06/17-06/18, £8k

FinTech network development (with Durham University), £7.5k, 06/17-06/18, £3k 

HaSS Learning and Teaching fund (2018-190), Agile/Scrum Professional Training pilot for student education and industry readiness, £3k.

Industrial Relevance

Karen is a qualified practitioner in PRINCE2, Management of Risk (MoR), Change Management, Management of Value (MoV) and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP), representative for PMI NE Chapter and APM for the Business School.  Her work is informed by collaboration with industry practitioner on a regional, national and international level.


FinTech; Cyber Security; Future of Work; Agile/Scrum; Complexity; QCA; Programme, Project, Risk and Change Management; Business Strategy and Processes.




NBS8062 – Research Methods (ABC, ICE and eBIS programmes)

NBS8494 – Programme and Project Management (MBA)

NBS8234 – Programme and Project Management (eBIS)

NBS8328 – International Project Management (International Management Practitioner)



  • Wilson J, Elliott K. Making time for an entrepreneurial cuddle: understanding the value of interpersonal relationships in supporting nascent social entrepreneurs. ESRC; Durham University Business School; Newcastle University Business School; Social Enterprise Acumen, 2018.
  • Elliott K, Patacconi A, Swierzbinski J, Williams J. Knowledge protection in firms: Theory and evidence from HP labs. European Management Review 2018. In Press.
  • Hughes P, Hodgkinson IR, Elliott K, Hughes M. Strategy, operations, and profitability: the role of resource orchestration. International Journal of Operations and Production Management 2018, 38(4), 1125-1143.
  • Elliott K, Massacci F, Ngo C-N, Williams J. Unruly Innovation: Distributed Ledgers, Blockchains and the Protection of Transactional Rents. Rochester, NY, USA: Technovation/Social Science Research Network (SSRN), 2018. Available at:
  • Wilson J, Elliott K. Making time for an entrepreneurial cuddle: Understanding the value of interpersonal relationships in supporting nascent social entrepreneurs. In: SEWF 2018 Academic Symposium. 2018, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK.
  • Elliott K, Cambre B, Newbery R. Intangible behaviours in University spin out activities: a configurational approach. In: 34th EGOS Conference. 2018, Tallinn, Estonia.
  • Elliott K. Adapt-ability, Agility and three dimensions of complexity. In: 19th International Conference on Agile Software Development. 2018, Porto University, Portugal.
  • van den Oord A, Elliott K, van Witteloostuijn A, Barlage M, Polos L, Rogiest S. A Cognitive Organization Theory of Organizational Change: Measuring Organizational Texture, Audience Appeal, and Leadership Engagement. Journal of Organizational Change Management 2017, 30(6), 903-922.
  • Brookes M, Elliott K, Pretorius D, Williams J. Complexities of adaptation and change for community-based agencies in South Africa: investigating the introduction of new development models for inclusive growth. In: 9th International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC). 2017, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Wilson J, Elliott K. Relationships Matter: examining the effectiveness of building relationship quality when supporting social entrepreneurs in business start-up. In: 9th International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC). 2017, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Elliott K, Massacci F, Williams J. Action, Inaction, Trust and Cybersecurity's Common Property Problem. IEEE Security & Privacy 2016, 14(1), 82-86.
  • Horton KE, Jacobs G, Bayerl PS, Rothengatter M, Elliott K, Gasco M, Giljohann S, Rus C. A balancing act: How to avoid professional disidentification when faced with stakeholder critique. In: 75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Best Paper. 2015, Vancouver. Submitted.
  • Bayerl PS, Horton KE, Jacobs G, Rogiest S, Reguli Z, Gruschinske M, Constanzo P, Stojanovski T, Vonas G, Gasco M, Elliott K. Perspectives on the police profession: an international investigation. Policing: an International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 2014, 37(4), 728-745.
  • van den Oord A, Elliott K, van Witteloostuijn A, Polos L, Rogiest S, Barlage M. A cognitive organization theory (COT) of organizational change: Measuringorganizational texture, audience appeal, and leadership engagement. In: Organizational Ecology Conference. 2014, Barcelona, Spain.
  • van den Oord A, Elliott K, van Witteloostuijn A. An fsQCA analysis of Cognitive Organization Theory (COT): organization inertia and change cascades in Police Forces across the EU. In: Institute of Work Psychology, International Conference. 2014, Sheffield University.
  • van den Oord A, Elliott K, van Witteloostuijn A. An fsQCA analysis of Cognitive Organization Theory (COT): organization inertia and change cascades in Police Forces across the EU. In: QCA Expert Conference Workshop. 2013, Zurich, Switzerland. Submitted.
  • Stone IE, Elliott K, Lamb J. Integrating Impact Assessment with the Business Process: A Case Study of BE Group. In: Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) 34th annual conference. 2011, Sheffield. Submitted.
  • Macnaughton RJ, Collins PJ, White M, Elliott K, Soukas A, Purves G, Kellett P, Coleman SM. Designing for Health: Architecture, Art and Design at the James Cook University Hospital. London: NHS Estates, 2007. Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine (Durham University).