Dr Louise Knight

Dr Louise Knight

Senior Lecturer

Phone number
+44 (0)121 204 3605


Room number                                                            
Main Building 174                                                                                              


  • Senior Lecturer in Management (ESM)
  • Director of Research Degree Programmes for EAS. 
  • Deputy Director of Aston Centre for Critical Infrastructure and Services (ACCIS).
  • Associate Editor of Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management
  • Co-convenor of the British Academy of Management’s Special Interest Group on Interorganizational Relations (BAM SIGIOR) & Track Chair for the IOR track at BAM2011 conference (Aston)

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 with Professor Andrew Pettigrew.

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 and

Qualifications & Education


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


Professional Stage (1989) and Foundation Stage (1988), Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, qualification for membership by examination.


  • 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

Teaching activity

Module tutor for MSc programmes (Engineering Management, Industrial Enterprise Management, Supply Chain Management):

  • EM4002 Strategic Management
  • EM 4030 Purchasing Strategy, Management and Process

Module tutor for final year undergraduate programmes (Logistics, Construction Management, Construction Project Management):

Lecturing on qualitative research methods for MSc Research Methods module (EM4019), and final year BSc students (LT3317)


  • BSc Logistics final year projects
  • MSc research projects
  • PhD students

Research interests

Purchasing and supply management

  • 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 what companies need 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.
  • Network leadership – a critical perspective on leadership in/of complex interorganizational networks
  • Collaborative research in management and the social sciences – two forms: international collaborations amongst academics, and ‘co-production research’ in which practitioners actively participate in the research process working with academic researchers

Recent research funding

ESRC Research Seminar Series Grant 'Collaborative futures: new insights from intra and inter-sectoral collaborations', Nov 2009 – April 2011.

PhD Supervision
  • Paul Morris (part-time) Investigating the impact of increased customer visibility in pharmaceutical supply chains on the occurrence and management of product shortages
  • Mohsan Hussain.  EPSRC CASE funded student researching RFID in the health service (network level analysis of the adoption of IT/IS across supply chains)
  • Jenny Surtees ESRC CASE student learning to innovate in interorganizational teams (medical devices innovation involving NHS and SMEs)
  • Ahsan Munir Researching technology management capability in exporting SMEs in Pakistan

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Co-Convenor of British Academy of Management Special Interest Group on Interorganizational Relations (BAM SIGIOR)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, since 1988
  • Member, International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association (IPSERA), since 1995

Selected publications

Journal Articles:

  • Knight, L., Yi-Hsi, T and Preston, J. (2013), Integrating skills profiling and purchasing portfolio management: An opportunity for building purchasing capability, International Journal of Production Economics (2013 article in press)
  • Sullivan, H., Williams, P., Marchington, M., Knight, L, Collaborate futures: discursive realignments in austere times, Public Management and Money, V. 33, No. 2, pp. 123-130.
  • Walker, H., Gough, S., Bakker, E., Knight, L. and McBain, D. (2009) Greening Operations Management: An Online Sustainable Procurement Course for Practitioners, Journal of Management Education, Vo. 33 No. 3  pp.348-371
  • Bakker, E., Zheng, J., Knight, L. and Harland, C. (2008) Putting e-commerce adoption in a supply chain context International Journal of Operations & Production Management,  Vol 28, No. 4, 313 - 330 

  • Zheng, J., Knight, L., James, K., Harland, C. and Humby, S. (2007) An Analysis of Research on the Future of Purchasing and Supply Management.  Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Vol 13, No 1, 69-83

  • Phillips, W.E., Knight, L., Caldwell, N.D. and Warrington, J. (2007) Policy through Procurement – the introduction of Digital Signal Process (DSP) hearing aids into the English NHS. Health Policy, Vol 80, No.1, 77-85

  • Knight, L. and Harland, C. (2005) Managing Supply Networks: Organizational roles in network management.  European Management Journal , Vol 23, No. 3, 281-292

  • Knight, L. and Pye, A. (2005) Network Learning: an empirically-derived model of learning by groups of organizations.  Human Relations, Vol 58, No 3, 369-392

  • Knight, L., Walker, H., Harland, C. and Sutton, R. (2005) Competence Requirements for Managing Supply in Interorganizational Networks.  Journal of Public Procurement, Vol 5, No 2, 210-234

  • Caldwell, N., Walker, H., Harland, C., Knight, L., Zheng, J. and Wakeley, T. (2005) Promoting Competitive Markets: The Role Of Public Procurement. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Vol 11, No.5-6, pp.242-251

  • Knight, L and Pye, A. (2004) Exploring the relationships between network change and network learning.  Management Learning, Vol 35, No 4, pp. 473-490

  • Knight, L. (2002) Network Learning: Exploring learning by interorganizational networks.  Human Relations, Vol 55, No. 4, pp.427-453

  • Harland, C. and Knight, L. (2001)  Supply Network Strategy: Role and Competence Requirements.  International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol 21, No. 4, April, pp. 476-489

  • Knight, L. (2000) Learning to Collaborate: A study of individual and organizational learning, and interorganizational relationships. Journal of Strategic Marketing, Vol. 8, pp.121-138.


  • Knight, L.A., Harland, C.M., Telgen, J., Callender, G., Thai, K.V. and McKen, K.E. (Eds)  (2007) Public Procurement: International Cases and Commentary.  London: Routledge. 

Book chapters:

  • Knight, L. and Pye, A. (2007) The Search for Network Learning: some practical and theoretical challenges in process research. In: Gößling, T., Jansen, R. and Oerlemans, L. (eds.) Inside Networks: A process view on multi-organisational partnerships, alliances and networks,  Edward Elgar, pp.163-191

  • Harland, C., Knight, L. and Cousins, P. (2004) Supply Relationships.  In: New, S. and Westbrook, R. (eds.) Supply Chains: Concepts, Critiques and Futures. Oxford: Oxford University Press

  • Knight, L. and Harland, C. (2001)  Outsourcing: A national and sector level perspective on policy and practice in Erridge A., Fee, R. and McIlroy, J. (eds.) Best Practice Procurement: Public and Private Sector Perspectives.  Gower, pp. 55-62

  • Forrest, S, Stokoe, H. and Knight, L. Case Study: The supply of pharmaceuticals in NHS hospitals - setting up a strategy in Brown, S.E., Lamming, R.C., Bessant, J.R. and P Jones, (2004) Strategic Operations Management 2nd Edition, Elsevier, UK,pp 239-240

Conference papers, working papers, etc:

  • Knight, L. and Pye, A. (2006) Multiple Meanings of ‘Network’: some implications for interorganizational theory and research practice.  University of Bath School of Management Working Paper Series.

  • Pettigrew, A. and Knight, L. (2007) Process and Performance in International Collaborative Research.  Academy of Management Conference, Philadelphia, August 2007.

  • Knight, L. and Pettigrew, A. (2007) Explaining process and performance in the co-production of knowledge: a comparative analysis of collaborative research projects.  Paper presented at the Organization Studies Third Summer Workshop, June 7-9,Rethymno, Crete.

  • Pye, A. and Knight, L. (2005) Network Leadership:  A new perspective on leadership? Paper presented at the Leadership conference, 12-13 Dec (Lancaster).

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research