Professor Michael Butler




Michael Butler is Professor of Management at Bangor Business School, UK, and Visiting Professor at Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, China. Prior to Bangor Business School I worked at Aston Business School and Cranfield School of Management.

Michael is Founder/Director of The TRANSFORMATION Project ( The Project captures his research interests in understanding the process and practice of change from a multi-disciplinary perspective (institutional, biological and historical).

He is on the Editorial Board of Complexity, Governance and Networks and Asia Pacific Journal of Business Administration. He publishes in leading management and organization journals (British Journal of Management, Human Relations, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, The Leadership Quarterly, Organization Science and Public Management Review - all rated 4* [out of 4] internationally excellent).

He has co-authored one book and co-edited three. One of the books is a textbook about ‘Organisational Behaviour’ (CIPD) and the most recent is titled ‘Embedding Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics in Business Education’ (Edward Elgar).

His engaged scholarship (funded to c£1.5m) has been recognized (CMI and ESRC), and the OECD used his research to evaluate international policy implementation. An ERDF project facilitated measurable growth across 38 SMEs, and in 2019 knowledge was transferred about measuring growth evidencing US$13,925,474.60 (£11,406,000) Gross Value added to the Nairobi economy, and 357 jobs created.

In 2015, he became Fellow, RSA (Royal Society for Arts). In 2017, Senior Fellow, HEA (Higher Education Academy), and Fellow, CMI (Chartered Management Institute).

Research Group/s

Lead: Business Management, Marketing, Human Resources Management and Tourism Subject Area

Management Board: Rhanbarth – Centre for Sustainable Regions and Economies

Lead: Organisational Behaviour Research Planning Group (within Rhanbarth)


Postgraduate Project Opportunities

1. I can supervise within Business and Management.

2. My research interests focus on organisational change, taking a multi-disciplinary perspective (transformational, biological and historical).

3. I have a specific project called The TRANSFORMATION Project ( and I'm looking for research students to contribute to this research agenda.

4. I have some live projects, again, I'm looking for research students:

- Investigating Future Prosperity - How Management Skills can Boost Growth in the Regions and Beyond 
This project is an extension of the supervisory team’s contribution to the CMI's latest policy paper which focused on the West Midlands Future Prosperity. The new project will address the important topic of boosting growth through management skills by comparing and contrasting three regions including Wales, the North East and the West Midlands. There are wider implications by addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Qualitative methods will be used to reveal key themes and build towards new theory, especially related to place leadership. There is a practice dimension which delivers impact by helping regional organisations such as SMEs to grow.

- Sustainable Heritage and Social Innovation as Enablers of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 
In 2015, UNESCO published a policy document for the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention. In other words, for the first time, the role of heritage and creativity is seen as an enabler of sustainable development across the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to develop and test new approaches, this project will compare and contrast two live projects which are in the process of bringing heritage sites into re-use with an emphasis on community involvement. Action research will surface concepts and practices about sustainable heritage. There will be a wider contribution to social innovation and emergent theory in this field.

Teaching and Supervision

Currently I teach postgraduates:

Int'l Strategic Management 2023/24 (there is a double running of this module given the size of the cohort)

Corporate Strategy 2023/24

I will also supervise projects.



External Positions

  • Visiting Professor, Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance

    May 2023 → …

  • Member Board of Trustees, The Chamberlain Highbury Trust

    Dec 2021 → …

  • Member Board of Trustees, The Birmingham Civic Society

    Jul 2015 → …

Research areas and keywords


  • H Social Sciences (General) - Strategy, Transformation, Change Management
  • D204 Modern History - Business History, Design History
  • Q Science (General) - Organisational Cognitive Neuroscience

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2016 - MA , MSt. in the History of Design (Pass with Distinction) (2013 - 2016)
  • 2000 - PhD , The Rise and Rise of the New Public Management (1995 - 2000)
  • 1988 - BA , History (Hons) (1985 - 1988)
  • 1985 - BA , Certificate in Field Archaeology (1984 - 1985)

Research outputs (90)

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