Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Dr Oliver Mallett

Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour


I joined Newcastle University Business School in 2016 having previously lectured in management at Durham University. I completed my PhD at the University of Leeds in 2007 where my research explored psychoanalytic approaches to social space. I have subsequently developed these ideas in theoretical and empirical articles on employment relationships in small firms, entrepreneurship and narrative identity. Prior to joining academia, I spent nearly 10 years working as a civil servant for the UK Department for Work and Pensions.


My research-led, practice-based teaching seeks to enthuse and inspire students, drawing on my own passion for the study of organisational behaviour. I encourage further, inquiry-based learning to develop understanding as well as critical thinking. Students are encouraged to question underlying assumptions, both in terms of the academic work they read but also in the application of theory to practice. This supports the exploration of contemporary academic and practitioner debates, developing and disputing arguments in terms of both theory and practice.

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I currently teach on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including contributions to the following modules:

BUS2018 Research Methods

NBS8384 Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management (ML)

NBS8159 Organisations and People Management (ML)

NBS8520 MBA Individual Projects (ML)

NBS8013 Leading Organisational Change (ML)

I am also Senior Tutor for Undergraduate Business Management students.


My research relates to four core areas of interest and I am happy to discuss PhD proposals relating to any of these areas.

  • Employment relationships in small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Enterprise policy: governments, SMEs and the self-employed
  • Enterprise support and entrepreneurship education
  • Narrative approaches to theory and research, particularly in relation to identity

I am currently editing a special issue for the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship on entrepreneurship education in Africa. The closing date for submissions is 31 March 2019, the call for papers is available here.

In 2012 I completed a post-doctoral research fellowship co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (RES-073-27-0023). This project explored employee experiences of leadership in a small firm. This research highlighted the complicated role of management humour in small firms and was featured in articles in the UK Sunday Times and FTAdviser. Full details and outputs for this project can be found at the Research Councils UK website.

I have researched and written extensively on employment relationships in small and medium-sized enterprises, for example producing a book published by Routledge, Managing Human Resources in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Entrepreneurship and the Employment Relationship. This book has been described as 'a thoughtful, engagingly-written and compelling analysis of the importance of people to small firms and entrepreneurship'. Ideas from the book on the topic of employment relationships in start-ups featured in a Financial Times article

My research has also explored identity challenges at work, for example in relation to the potential difficulties faced by older entrepreneurs marginalised and excluded by dominant conceptions of entrepreneurial legitimacy. I discussed this research on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed

My current research focuses on government policy and other forms of influence on small businesses and their owner-managers. As part of this research agenda I have studied the impacts of regulation on smaller businesses, including a project funded by the UK government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. I recently concluded a research project examining the interactions of formal and informal business support funded by the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Details of this project are available here.

I am an Associate Editor for the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (for which I was selected by publisher Taylor & Francis for an “Outstanding Editor" Award in 2016 and 2017). I am on the Editorial Boards of Organization Studies, International Small Business Journal and Personnel Review and the Editorial Review Board of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.