Dr Louise Knight

Senior Lecturer

Dr Louise Knight

Phone: +44 (0)121 204 3605
Email: l.knight2@aston.ac.uk
Room: MB222F

Developing capability and building capacity in purchasing and supply management (PSM) have been central themes throughout my career, from my industrial experience, through my time as a full-time researcher at the University of Bath, and since joining Aston as a Senior Lecturer in 2007. I am a social scientist, working within an engineering and applied sciences setting. My research work lies at the intersection of supply management (specifically supply strategy and public procurement), organization studies (specifically network learning) and innovation. My industrial experience combined supply management and human resource development. I teach strategic management, supply management and research skills. My research spans several sectors. Working across sectoral, disciplinary and functional boundaries is an enduring and central aspect of my working life.

Teaching, Programme Management and Research
Within the Engineering Systems and Management group, I teach strategic management and supply strategy to BSc and MSc students, and supervise research projects from BSc to PhD level. I also tutor postgrad research students on research skills.
From 2013 to 2015, I was the Director of Research Degrees, responsible for the management and development of the PhD/MPhil and MSc by Research programmes with more than 120 students across the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
I am involved in research in the health and bioenergy sectors investigating important, intriguing and challenging issues such as when and why market dynamics block the adoption of important innovations, and how to promote effective collaboration for strategic change across complex networks of organizations. My research in these areas is usually based on qualitative case studies – aiming to understand what drives or constrains strategic change.
I also undertake research on the development of the purchasing and supply management function and profession.

External roles and affiliations:
Co-Editor in Chief, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management (Link to JPSM)
Member of the Exec Committee of the International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association (Link to IPSERA)
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, since 2012
External Examiner for MBA Strategic Procurement at Univ. of Birmingham Business School (2012-2015)
Co-convenor of the British Academy of Management’s Special Interest Group on Interorganizational Relations: Partnerships, Alliances and Networks (2010-2013)
Associate Editor of the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management (2004-2015)

Prior to Aston:
I joined London Underground (LU) as a graduate trainee in purchasing and supply in 1987, and soon qualified as a Member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). I then held various HR development roles at London Transport until 1992, when I took on responsibility for training, developing and assessing all contracting and materials management personnel at LU.
My part-time MPhil studies at the University of Bath’s Centre for Research in Strategic Purchasing and Supply (CRiSPS) inspired me to move into research, and in 1996 I joined CRiSPS as a Research Officer. On completing my part-time PhD studies in 2002, I was appointed Research Fellow and Deputy Director of CRiSPS. In 2005, I was appointed Senior Research Fellow, and worked on ESRC-EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management funded research on collaborative management research.
At CRiSPS, I was involved in a wide range of projects, in particular the research partnership with the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency. Other funders included the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, UK research councils – EPSRC and ESRC, and GS1UK (formerly e-centre). I was a founder member of the International Study on Public Procurement and co-ordinator of its first workshop. I undertook various advisory roles with the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency and the wider NHS, the Office of Government Commerce, and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bath School of Management, 2002
  • Master of Philosophy, University of Bath School of Management, 1997
  • BSc (Hons), Geology, University of Southampton, 1986


  • Certificate in Learning and Teaching Aston University, 2009
  • Post-graduate Diploma in Purchasing and Supply, Polytechnic of North London, 1989
  •  2007 – date: Senior Lecturer, Aston University
  • 1994 – 2007: University of Bath – Research Officer to Senior Research Fellow; Deputy Director of Centre for Research in Strategic Purchasing and Supply (May 2003-Jan 2005)
  • 1987 – 1996: Industrial experience, various roles within London Underground and related companies, in purchasing and HRM
  • EM4002 Strategic Management for MSc in Engineering Management, MSc Industrial Enterprise Management and MSc Supply Chain Management
  • EM4030 Supply Management for MSc Supply Chain Management
  • Since 2014/15, LT2321 Purchasing Principles and Process for BSc Logistics 2nd year and BSc Construction Project Management final year students
  • For 2015/16, LT3104 Supply Chain and Procurement Strategy for BSc Logistics with Supply Chain Management/with Purchasing Management final year students
  • From 2016/17, LT3207 Developing the Purchasing and Supply Function for BSc Logistics with Purchasing Management final year students
  • Till 2014/15, LT3316 Purchasing and Strategy for BSc Logistics Management final year students
  • Supervision of BSc Final Year and MSc Major Projects, and research skills for projects training (qualitative research and research ethics)
  • Supervision of postgrad research students, and research skills training
  • 2013-2015 Induction programme for School of Engineering and Applied Science research students
Purchasing and supply management, and the sustainability agenda
Public procurement from a strategy and policy perspective.  In particular, the relationship between public purchasing practices and innovation, supply markets and supplier competitiveness.
Purchasing capability – understanding companies' needs and developing purchasing skills and knowledge
Strategic change in complex interorganizational networks and interorganizational collaboration, particularly in relation to supply, innovation and sustainability
Network learning – learning by groups of organizations as a group. Building on the concept of organizational learning, investigating how complex interorganizational networks develop and change over time.
I lead the supply chain management theme within the ESIF EBRI* Business Investment in Research project, providing the supply management perspective to engaging local SMEs in knowledge exchange, research and innovation and bringing new products and processes to market in bioenergy and energy systems.
In 2016/17, I am leading a project on the Future of Supply Management with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (sponsoring partner) and Dr Joanne Meehan at the University of Liverpool.
ESRC Research Seminar Series Grant 'Collaborative futures: new insights from intra and inter-sectoral collaborations', Nov 2009 – April 2011.
      (* EBRI is Aston’s Bioenergy Research Institute)


Current students
Alexandra Pfeiffer  Impact of feedstock supply risk and uncertainty on adoption of innovative energy from waste technologies.

Recently completed:
Dr Mohsan Hussain (2016) A Conceptual Foresight Model to Investigate the Adoption of Radio Frequency Identification Technology in the English National Health Service
Dr Jenny Surtees (2015) Interorganizational Innovation and Collaboration in the UK Medical Device Sector.            
Dr Lidia Gheorgiou (2015) Building Cliques and Alliances as Practices to ‘Make Things Happen’ in Complex Networks. A study of health and social care networks for Roma people in Romania

I would be happy to discuss potential projects which closely align with my research interests, as described above. Please note I currently have no funding to offer, so applicants would need to secure their own funding. In certain cases, I may be able to help with the development of a student-led grant application
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association (IPSERA)
  • Member of the British Academy of Management

Journal Articles


Book chapters