Studentship opportunity

Entrepreneurialism in Work (EiW): Its forms, requisite skills and enabling organisational factors

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

University of Glasgow
Accounting, Finance, Business and Management (AFBM)
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
19th April 2019

Project details

This project investigates the phenomenon of entrepreneurialism in the workplace (EiW); the different forms that this may take in different organisational settings; and the individual skills and organisational factors which are needed to promote it.

Entrepreneurialism is increasingly viewed as essential within existing organisations as well as for founding new ventures. It is possible to identify and develop the kinds of skills that are necessary for behaving entrepreneurially. However, simply focusing on individuals’ skills and abilities is insufficient, and attention is needed as to the kinds of organisational factors (such as structure, leadership and culture) which may enable EiW to flourish. This is particularly germane given evidence (e.g. in the Skills and Employment Survey) that the kinds of organisational and work arrangements which might stimulate EiW are not the norm in the UK and may even be in decline. There is, however, a timely but relatively recent policy focus in Scotland to stimulate innovative forms of work. This makes Scotland an ideal location for investigating EiW and how organisations may promote it.

A qualitative multi-case study approach is proposed, purposively sampling different kinds of organisations in Scotland pursuing EiW. We propose the student will sample established organisations across different sectors, as well as one or more new entrepreneurial ‘start up’ companies. Access to appropriate organisations will be enabled through the supervisors’ existing networks and through contacts built by the successful applicant. The final decision on research approach and design will rest with the applicant but must include a qualitative element.

Knowledge exchange and impact activities will be foregrounded throughout, for example through collaboration with Skills Development Scotland and the case study organisations. This will include, for example, the production and dissemination of ‘good practice’ reports, and a short video.

About the institution

The University of Glasgow, established in 1451, is in the prestigious Russell Group of research intensive institutions and is the fourth oldest University in the United Kingdom. The University combines over five centuries of history with a contemporary focus on world changing research. The University, and the Adam Smith Business School, changes the world through engaging with policy and practice and stimulating economic impact through entrepreneurship and innovation. This scholarship perfectly represents these principles. The successful applicant will work in the Subject (Department) of Management in the Adam Smith Business School within the College of Social Sciences. The Subject of Management provides a vibrant intellectual and social environment for PhD students, with over 75 currently registered. The latest REF exercise (2014) rated 95% of the Adam Smith Business School’s staff outputs as internationally recognised, and 67% as internationally excellent or world leading. Within Management there are six specialist Research Clusters within which PhD students are located. This project will be supervised by academics in the Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour (HROB) and Entrepreneurship, Development and Political Economy (EDPE) clusters. The Clusters provide an environment for collegial discussion and support, for example providing feedback on PhD students’ presentations and draft papers. Cluster members also welcome engagement with others’ PhD students, giving access to leading expertise beyond the immediate supervisors. The clusters organise regular research seminars, bringing in high profile external speakers. Relevant opportunities and events throughout the College of Social Sciences will also be available for the successful applicant, e.g. in the School of Education. The Adam Smith Business School and Subject of Management are dedicated to developing their PhD researchers. At the outset of their studies, and then annually, students complete a training needs assessment to ensure they receive the training they require. Formal research methods training courses are offered through the Subject, School and the College of Social Sciences. Students also have access to a wide range of initiatives, resources and courses designed to support their research skills and professional development, from within and outwith the School and Subject. These activities are designed to complement core research methods training and ensure continuous skill development throughout the PhD. The School also offers an annual doctoral retreat with expert speakers and workshops, and a first year PhD study day. The Subject and School also organise dedicated PHD social events, for example an annual Christmas dinner and a meal following students’ annual review presentations to their Clusters. For more information on the Adam Smith Business School and its research please see For more information on the Subject of Management please see


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
  • A good first degree* (at least 2:1), preferably with a social science component.
  • For a +3 award (see below) applicants must additionally have: a) A Master’s degree at merit or distinction level* with a substantial component allied to business, management or related areas; and b) The equivalent of 60 credits research methods training at Master’s level.
  • A demonstrable interest in, and knowledge of, organisations, work and entrepreneurship.
  • A good grounding in social science research methods, economic and management issues.
* If degree results are not known at the time of application, we can take the application forward based upon grades achieved on the degree so far. Results will need to be confirmed prior to commencing the programme.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a three year ‘+3 ‘(PhD only) or a four year ‘1+3’ (research masters plus PhD) programme, depending on level of prior qualifications and research training.  This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2019.  It includes  
  • An annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2019/20 rate £15,009 full-time).
  • Fees at the standard Home rate.
  • Students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year.

Other information

For further information on the application process and eligibility criteria please contact William Shirriffs (email above). For other information (e.g. on the project itself) please contact Scott Hurrell  ( ) or Jillian Gordon (

How to apply

1. Applicants register on the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences GradHub and fill out equal opportunity data (this is a requirement of the application process and equal opportunity data is used for monitoring purposes only, and not in the decision making process).

2. Applicants complete and upload the following documents on to GradHub:

• Application form.
• Academic transcripts.
• References.
• CV.
• A cover letter detailing the following:
a. Your research interests.
b. A detailed course description of your Master’s research training (where applying for
the +3 award).
c. Details of any other relevant training and skills you have.
d. Your long-term career goals.
e. A short statement (max 1,000 words) explaining how the above fit with, and can add
to, the research project.

The cover letter should be uploaded as a standalone document with the file named as follows *your name_HurrellGordonGlasgowSDS_date*

3. Applicants submit application through GradHub (button below)

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by 3rd May 2019. Interview dates are to be confirmed. All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within the Adam Smith Business School. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

William Shirriffs