Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Professor Stephen Hughes

Professor of International Organisations



Steve Hughes is Professor of International Organisations and Head of Leadership, Work and Organisations Subject Group at Newcastle University Business School. He has extensive international experience. Steve lived and worked in New Zealand for nine years as an academic at the University of Auckland during which he undertook nationally-funded research throughout Asia and North America as Fellow of the New Zealand APEC Studies Centre. His work has been published in leading journals such as Environment and Planning A, Work Employment and Society and British Journal of Industrial Relations.


In 2015 Steve has served as UN Designated-Rapporteur for a study, ‘Evaluating the impact of the ILO Social Justice Declaration 2008 on the policy agenda of relevant UN agencies’. This involved meetings with senior staff within the UN including those from the IMF and World Bank in Geneva, Washington and New York. A report arising from these meetings was submitted to inform further high level discussions within the UN and in preparation for the International Labour Conference 2016. Prior to this appointment, Steve was the External Member of an Advisory Board to the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) tasked with examining the extent to which UN organisations have mainstreamed the ILO's Decent Work agenda into their strategic and operational activities. This was the first external appointment to the UN JIU. A major report was presented to the UN Secretary-General in March 2015.


Steve has engaged in collaborative research with colleagues at the universities of Auckland and Oxford on global value chains. He is currently updating longstanding work on executive leadership in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) alongside related collaborative research with Stephen Pursey former Director of Multilateral Co-operation and Senior Policy Advisor at the ILO. Another strand of research looks at the use of drones in search and rescue. This is collaborative work with the Ashington-based charity, The Centre for Search Research (TCfSR). Steve is a TCfSR Trustee and former team member, casualty medic and treasurer for Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team.


During his time at Newcastle, Steve has served as Director of International Strategy, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of MBA programmes and Director of International Accreditation during which time the School was awarded EQUIS and AMBA accreditations. He is also a Senior Assessor for the Association of MBAs (AMBA).


Steve is a highly regarded teacher and has previously been nominated by MBA students for the Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Google scholar: Click here.


Research Interests

Steve has a long standing research interest in the institutions of trade and development which began with his work as Fellow of the APEC Research Centre at the University of Auckland. His collaborative research into regional economic integration in the Asia Pacific evolved to incorporate research into demands to link trade and labour standards. The development of this debate within the WTO and ILO, the international labour standards regime and broader questions related to global economic governance comprise much of his research focus.

International and interdisciplinary collaboration continues to be a feature of Steve's research work. His work on executive leadership in the ILO and the development of economic and social policies during the 1930s has attracted funding from the International Institute of Labour Studies where he is an External Collaborator in the ILO History Project. 

Current Work

A variety of historical and contemporary topics related to the global political economy. Recent work has examined national and international responses to the global financial crisis; global labour regulation; global value chains.

Postgraduate Supervision

Doctoral Supervision
Zabya Krytbey (Syria) PhD Successfully Completed  2007
Supajit Panichsakpatana (Thailand) PhD Successfully Completed 2013
Paul Udofe (Nigeria) PhD Currently in Write-Up


2013, £27,000, ESRC Research Seminar Competition "Regulation of Work and Employment: Towards a multidisciplinary, multilevel framework. ESRC Ref: ES/L000660/1 (Co-Investigator)

2012, $5000 (NZ), Auckland University Research Committee Travel Grant

2007, $2,500(US) International Institute of Labour Studies, Geneva ‘ The role of the ILO in the development of economic and social policies in the 1930s’

2004, £2,200 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) ‘Executive Leadership and Epistemic Activity in an International Regime’
1998, $350,000(NZ) Foundation for Research in Science and Technology (FoRST). 'APEC and International Competitiveness: Selected Themes'. (with Prof. Fred Deyo et al).
1997 $6,000(NZ) Auckland University Research Committee (AURC). 'International Labour and Regional Integration in the Asia Pacific'. (with Haworth. Full grant awarded).
1996 $180,000(NZ) Foundation for Research in Science and Technology (FoRST). 'Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation: Implications for New Zealand'. (with Prof. Chris Tremewan et al).
1996 $6,500(NZ) AURC. 'A Social Dimension to Trade: The ILO, the GATT and International Labour Standards'. (with Haworth).
1995 $6,500(NZ) AURC. 'New Zealand and the International Labour Organisation. Current Debates and Future Directions'. (with Haworth).



Transitions in the Global Economy (MBA FT)

Emerging Market Economies. Challenges and Opportunities (MBA FT)

The Global Business Environment (UG)