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Professor Barbara Townley

Professor Barbara Townley

B.A. ( Lancaster), M.Sc. Ph.D. (London School of Economics)

Professor of Management

Director, Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC)

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)1334 461974
Fax: +44 (0)1334 462812


Professor Barbara Townley B.A. ( Lancaster), M.Sc. Ph.D. (London School of Economics) is Chair of Management at St Andrews and Director of the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity ( She has worked at the universities of Lancaster, Warwick and Edinburgh and spent ten years at the University of Alberta, Canada. She has published extensively in leading US and European management journals (including Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Studies, Organization, Journal of Management Studies and Human Relations), and is the author or editor of four books, the most recent of which, Managing Creativity? Exploring the Paradox (edited with Nic Beech), was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. She was Associate Editor of Human Relations (2001-2006); currently serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Organization, Strategic Organization, and Creative Industries; and was a member of the ESRC Research Grants Board (2004-2008). Her research areas are cultural and creative industries, particularly the negotiation of contrasting institutional logics (business and artistic/cultural/professional). Professor Townley is Director of the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity (ICC), Scotland's centre for teaching and research in the creative industries, and director of the new MLitt Programme, Managing in the Creative Industries. The Institute conducts works funded by a number of RCUK research grants, including a £1.5m ESRC Capacity Building Cluster award, a major grant of PhDs and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships for industry-based research in the Creative Industries (details under "Research Grants" below).

Research Specialisms

Organization theory, performance measurement and management, creative industries

Managing Creativity book coverSelected Publications

Townley, B. (2015). "Exploring different forms of capitals: Researching capitals in the field of cultural and creative industries". In A. Tatli, M. Özbilgin, and M. Karatas-Özkan (Eds.) Pierre Bourdieu, Organization and Management. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, pp.187-206.

Townley, B. and Gulledge, E. (2015). "The market for symbolic goods: Translating economic and symbolic capitals in Creative Industries". In C. Jones, M. Lorenzen, and J. Sapsed (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Creative Industries. Oxford University Press, pp.119-134.

Townley, B. (2014). "Bourdieu and organisational theory: A ghostly apparition?" In P. Adler, P. du Gay, G. Morgan, and M. Reed (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents. Oxford University Press, pp. 39-63.

McLeod, C., O'Donohoe, S., and Townley, B (2011). 'Pot noodles, placements and the power of peer regard: the career trajectory of advertising creatives.' British Journal of Management, Vol 22 (1).

Townley, B. and Beech, N. 2010. Managing Creativity: Exploring the Paradox. Cambridge University Press.

Gulledge, E. and Townley, B. (2010) 'What is a creative field?' In B. Townley and N. Beech (eds) Managing Creativity: Exploring the paradox. Cambridge University Press.

Townley, B. and Beech, N. (2010) 'The discipline of creativity'. In B. Townley and N. Beech (eds) Managing Creativity: Exploring the paradox. Cambridge University Press.

Townley, B., Beech, N. & McKinlay, A. (guest eds.) (2009) Human Relations Special Issue: Managing in the creative industries: Managing the motley crew. Vol. 62 No. 7

Townley, B., Beech, N. and McKinlay, A. (2009) 'Managing in the creative industries: managing the motley crew'. Human Relations Special Issue: Managing in the creative industries: Managing the motley crew. 62: 939-962.

McLeod, C., O'Donohoe, S. and Townley, B. (2009) 'The elephant in the room? Class and creative careers in British advertising agencies'. Human Relations Special Issue: Managing in the creative industries: Managing the motley crew. 2009 62: 1011-1039.

Reason's Neglect cover Townley, B. 2008. Reason's Neglect: Rationality and Organising. Oxford University Press.

Gendron, Y., Cooper, D., and Townley, B. 2007 'The construction of auditing expertise in measuring government performance.' Accounting, Organizations and Society, 32, 101-129.  [ Gendron et al (PDF, 314 KB) ]

Townley, B. 2004. 'Organization Studies and Academic Boundaries: the Rationale of the Subject?' Human Relations. 57, 7, 893-909.

Townley, B. 2004. 'Managerial Technologies, Ethics and Management' Journal of Management Studies, 41, 3, 425-445.

Townley, B., Cooper, D., and Oakes, L. 2003. 'Performance Measurement and the Rationalization of Organizations.' Organization Studies, 24, 7, 1045-1071.

Townley, B. 2002. 'Managing with Modernity' Organization. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Organization Theory and Society, Vol. 9, No. 4, 549-573.

Townley, B. 2002. 'The Role of Competing Rationalities in Institutional Change'. Academy of Management Journal .Vol. 45, 1, 163-179.

Oakes, L., Townley, B. and Cooper, D. 1998. 'Business Planning as Pedagogy: Language and Control in a Changing Institutional Field'. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 43: 2, pp 257-292 (reprinted 2005, 2008 in G. Johnson, A. Langley, L. Melin, R. Whittington Strategy as Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 152-164).

Townley, B. 1993. 'Foucault, power/knowledge and its relevance for Human Resource Management'. Academy of Management Review, vol 18, No. 3, pp 518-545 (reprinted 1997, 1999, 2001 in M.Poole (ed) Human Resource Management. Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. Vol III, pp.290-308. London: Routledge.)

Selected Other Information

Research Grants

  • ESRC Capacity Building Cluster: Capitalising on Creativity, a £1.5m consortium grant led by ICC, 2008-2014;
  • AHRC Design in Action (lead institution: University of Dundee), 2012-2016;
  • RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (lead institution: University of Glasgow), 2012-2016;
  • European Union Humanities in the European Research Area Cultural Encounters Programme (lead institution: University of Leeds), 2013-2016;
  • ESRC AIM (Advanced Institute of Management Research) Public Services Fellow, 2004
  • £174,000 Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), The metrics of management: performance measurement in the public sector. 2004
  • $114,000 Social Science and Humanities Research Council, (SSHRC), Canada. 'The Managerial Construction of New Public Management', (with David Cooper). 2000-2003

Academic Journals

  • Guest Editor: Special issue of Organization Studies (forthcoming): Misfits, Mavericks and Mainstreams: Drivers of Innovation in Creative Industries. With guest editors: Candace Jones, Silviya Svejenova, Jesper Strandgaard
  • Associate Editor:Human Relations.
  • Editorial Board Membership: Journal of Management Studies; Organization; Human Resource Management Journal; Strategic Organization.

National Committee Membership

  • ESRC: Panel member, Research Grants Board, 2004-2008.
  • ESRC: Member, Commissioning Panel, Evolution of Business Knowledge Programme. 2002.