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Alistar Mutch

Alistair Mutch

Professor of Information & Learning

Nottingham Business School

Staff Group(s)
Department of Human Resource Management

Role

Alistair is Professor of Information and Learning in the Department of Human Resource Management

Alistair is a leading researcher in the fields of organizational theory and the history of management, having published five books and over 70 peer reviewed journal articles. His work can be summarised into three broad areas, each linked by ideas drawn from critical realism and historical forms of investigation:

  • The nature of information systems from a critical realist perspective, where he has made an impact on international debates on sociomateriality.
  • The historical development of management, especially as shaped by practices of church governance. Alistair's comparative work, with a particular focus on Scottish Presbyterianism, has opened up new lines on inquiry in this growing subject area. He has been a leader in the exploration of the nature of Protestant pastoral power, in an extension and critique of Foucault’s work.
  • The nature and value of institutionalist approaches to the study of organisations, with a particular focus on the contribution of ideas drawn from critical realism. He has made a major contribution to reframing the international debate on institutional logics

Alistair has supervised sixteen doctoral candidates to successful completion and has been an external examiner on eleven. He contributes to teaching on both DBA and PhD programmes.

Alistair’s work has been published in leading international journals, such as Academy of Management Review and Organization Science. He has served on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Review and Organization Studies and was a funder member of the editorial board of Organization Theory. He has been a regular presenter at international conferences and has carried out teaching at Nova in Portugal and Valencia in Spain. In 2018 he was a guest speaker at the international conference to celebrate 600 years of trade in Madeira.

Career overview

Before joining NBS, Alistair was a management accountant with British Telecom for ten years (1980-1990), with particular expertise in financial modelling.

Research areas

Alistair's research can be summarised into three broad areas, each linked by ideas drawn from critical realism and historical forms of investigation:

  • The nature of information systems from a critical realist perspective, where he has made an impact on international debates on sociomateriality.
  • He is interested in the historical development of management, especially as shaped by practices of church governance. Alistair's comparative work, with a particular focus on Scottish Presbyterianism, has opened up new lines on inquiry in this growing subject area. He is currently extending this work to look at the nature of Protestant pastoral power, in an extension and critique of Foucault’s work.
  • He is also researching the nature and value of institutionalist approaches to the study of organisations, with a particular focus on the contribution of ideas drawn from critical realism.

Previous and current supervisions include nature of accounting information; resistance to ICT-facilitated organisational change; data quality; Bergson and strategy; alternative practices of organizing; and electronic performance appraisal.

Please note that as Alistair is now part-time. He is no longer accepting new supervisions.

External activity

  • Associate Editor, Organization, 2010-2015
  • Editorial board member Academy of Management Review; Scandinavian Journal of Management, and Brewery History
  • Joint editor (with Dr Rick Delbridge (University of Cardiff) and Dr Marc Ventresca (University of Oxford)) of special issue of Organization on Situated analysis of organizational action, 2006
  • Guest editor (with John Mingers, University of Kent and Leslie Willcocks, London School of Economics) of special issue of Management Information Systems Quarterly on critical realism in information systems, 2013.

Alistair has been involved in numerous invited seminars at universities, including most recently:

  • The social ontology of digital data and digital technology, Centre for Social Ontology, University of Warwick, The Shard, London, 8 July 2015
  • Routines and reflexivity: consequences of developments in organizations for morphogenesis, Centre for Social Ontology, University of Warwick, December 2014
  • The business of religion: lending and the Church of Scotland in the eighteenth century, University of Newcastle, March 2014
  • Organizational routines and information systems: materiality and practice, London School of Economics, December 2013

Sponsors and collaborators

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Nottingham City Homes 2010-2012

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Cooper Parry, Nottingham, 2008-2010

Press expertise

Professor Mutch can offer comment on information literacy in companies and information use in the workplace.