Prof Kevin Morrell


Management Academic

Professor Morrell researches how organizations and individuals contribute to the public good. His interests branch out to different fields such as Strategy, Sustainability and Leadership. He is known globally as the leading critic of the “evidence-based” approach to business research and for his work on understanding careers.

Professor of Strategy, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research, Director of the Doctoral Programme, Director of the Centre for Organizations and Society, Durham University Business School.

Please use the contact form for a current CV



refereed journal articles
Titles in blue link to the published article or an earlier version. Others are unavailable online owing to copyright restrictions, please use the contact form to ask about these.

Learmonth, M. and Morrell, K. (2017) ‘Is Critical Leadership Studies ‘Critical”, Leadership, 13(3): 257-271.

Arikan, O., Reinecke, J., Spence, C. and Morrell, K. (2017) ‘Signposts or Weathervanes? The Curious Case of Corporate Social Responsibility and Conflict Minerals’, Journal of Business Ethics, 146(3), 469-484.

Morrell, K. and Brammer, S. (2016) ‘Governance and Virtue: The case of public order policing’, Journal of Business Ethics, 136(2), 385-398.

Jayawardhena, C., Morrell, K. and Stride, C. (2016) ‘Fair Trade and other Ethical Consumption Behaviours in Shoppers’, Journal of Marketing Management, 32(7-8): 777-805.

Currie, G., Tuck, P. and Morrell, K., (2015) ‘Contesting, accepting, or escaping normative governance? The narration of tax inspectors’ ‘Professional’ identity’, Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal, 28(8): 1291-1309.

Morrell, K. and Learmonth, M. (2015) ‘Against Evidence-Based Management, For Management Learning’, Academy of Management Learning & Education. Runner up for Outstanding Article in AMLE of 2015.

Morrell, K. Learmonth, M. and Heracleous, L. (2015). ‘An Archaeological Critique of ‘Evidence-Based Management’’, British Journal of Management, 26(3): 529–543.

Morrell, K. and Currie, G. (2015). ‘Impossible Jobs or impossible tasks? Client volatility & front line policing practice’, Public Administration Review, 75(2): 264-275.

Morrell, K. and Tuck, P. (2014). ‘Governance, Tax and Folk Tales’, Accounting Organizations and Society, 39(2): 134-147.

Hewison, A. and Morrell, K. (2014). Leadership development in the English National Health Service: A counter narrative to inform policy, International Journal of Nursing Studies, 39(2): 134-147.

Lucas, J. W., Morrell, K. and Posard, M. (2013). Considerations on the ‘replication problem’in sociology. The American Sociologist 44(2): 217-232.

Morrell, K. and Hewison, A. (2013). Rhetoric in policy texts: the role of enthymeme in Darzi’s review of the NHS. Policy & Politics 41 (1), 59-79.

Morrell, K. (2012). ‘Evidence-Based Dialectics’, Organization, 19(4): 461-79.

Morrell, K. and Lucas, J. W. (2012). The replication problem and its implications for policy studies, Critical Policy Studies 6(2), 182-200.

Morrell, K. and Harrington, N. (2012). ‘What is Governance in The ‘Public Interest’?, Public Administration, 90(2): 412-428. Won the Haldane Prize, an annual best paper award, according to a distinguished jury.

Mabey, C. and Morrell, K. (2011). Editorial: Leadership in Crisis, Leadership, 7 (2): 105-117.

Morrell, K. (2011). Leadership, rhetoric, and formalist literary theory. Journal of Leadership Studies 3 (4), 86-90.

Morrell, K. and Clark, I. (2010). ‘Private Equity and the Public Good’, Journal of Business Ethics, 96(2): 249-263.

Morrell, K. and Jayawardhena, C. (2010). ‘Fair Trade, Ethical Decision Making and the Narrative of Gender Difference’, Business Ethics: A European Review, 19(4): 393-407.

Morrell, K. (2010). Business schools and economic crisis–Narratives, scripts and schools: counter-scripts as a response to the credit crisis. International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 4 (1), 21-27.

Morrell, K. (2009) ‘Governance and the Public Good’, Public Administration, 87(3): 538-556.

Morrell, K. (2008) ‘The Narrative of ‘Evidence based’ Management: A polemic’, Journal of Management Studies, 45(3): 613-635.

Morrell, K., Loan Clarke J., Wilkinson A. and Arnold, J. (2008). Mapping the decision to quit: A refinement and test of the unfolding model of voluntary turnover. Applied Psychology 57 (1), 128-150.

Morrell, K. and C Jayawardhena (2008). ‘Myopia and (Ethical) Choice: Framing, Screening, Shopping’, Journal of Marketing Management, 24(1-2): 135-152.

Morrell, K. (2007). ‘Aesthetics and Learning in Aristotle’, Leadership, 3(4): 497-500.

Morrell, K and Arnold, J. (2007). Look after the leap: Illustrating the value of retrospective reports in employee turnover. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18, 1683–1699.

Morrell, K. (2006). ‘Policy as narrative: New Labour’s reform of the National Health Service’. Public Administration, 84(2), 367-385.

Morrell, K. (2006) ‘Aphorisms and Leaders’ Rhetoric’, Leadership, 2(3): 367-382.

Morrell, K. and Hartley J. (2006) ‘A Model of Political Leadership’, Human Relations, 59(4): 483-504.

Morrell, K. and Hartley J. (2006). ‘Ethics in Leadership: The Case of Local Politicians’, Local Government Studies, 32(1): 55-70.

Morrell, K. and Anderson M. (2006). ‘Dialogue and Scrutiny in Organisational Ethics’, (on Enron) Business Ethics: a European Review, 15(2): 117-29.

Morrell, K. (2006). ‘Governance, Ethics and the National Health Service’, Public Money and Management, 26(1): 55-62.

Morrell K. (2005) Towards a typology of nursing turnover: the role of shocks in nurses’ decisions to leave. Nursing and Health Care Management and Policy 49(3), 315–322.

Morrell, K. (2004) ‘Decision Making and Business Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics, 50, 239-252.

Morrell, K., Loan Clarke J. and Wilkinson A (2004). ‘The Role of Shocks in Employee Turnover’, British Journal of Management, 15, 335-349.

Morrell, K. (2004). ‘Enhancing effective careers thinking: scripts and Socrates’, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 32, 547-558.

Morrell, K., Loan-Clarke J. and Wilkinson A. (2004). ‘Organisational Change and Employee Turnover’, Personnel Review, 33, 161-173.

Morrell, K. (2004). ‘Socratic Dialogue as a Tool for Teaching Business Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics, 53(4): 383-392.

Morrell, K. and Wilkinson A. (2002). ‘Empowerment: through the smoke and past the mirrors’, Human Resource Development International, 5, 119-130.

Morrell, K. Loan-Clarke J. and Wilkinson A. (2001). ‘Unweaving leaving: the use of models in the management of employee turnover’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 3, 219-244.



(2018) Policing and the Public Good: Governance, vices and virtues.

A remarkable work that draws on high theory, inter-disciplinary insights, and a wide-ranging empirical grounding to deliver a new and compelling understanding of the meaning of good policing and how to bring that public good into being. Professor Nigel Fielding, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey.

This engaging book provides a new and valuable analysis of what we mean by police legitimacy, public good and how this impacts on the ethics of the police. By offering new insights into this complex and changing topic the authors provide a thought provoking examination into how governance is managed through these complexities. Emma Williams, Deputy Director Canterbury Centre for Policing Research, Canterbury Christ Church University.

Policing and Public Management fills a much needed gap in understanding policing from a governance and organisation viewpoint. It is theoretically sophisticated but also engaging and accessible. Frontline police will recognise the account of their work, at the same time academics will draw upon its theoretical insights. Professor Graeme Currie Professor of Public Management, Warwick Business School.

(2012) Organization, Society and Politics: An Aristotelian Perspective.

Relates Aristotle’s analyses of politics and ethics to the power, rhetoric and ethics of contemporary organization. Some of this has been done before, but rarely, if ever, has it been done so competently, critically, constructively and compellingly. Weaving together insights from several disciplines in arguing for Aristotle’s continuing importance, Kevin Morrell here establishes himself as an incisive voice in contemporary Aristotelianism. Dr Kelvin Knight, Director, Centre for Contemporary Aristotelian Studies in Ethics & Politics (CASEP).

Amply demonstrates the relevance of Aristotle’s thought to the twenty-first century world, suggests fresh approaches to the problems of modern organizations and of society at large. Richard Stalley, Professor of Ancient Philosophy, University of Glasgow. 

An original and conceptually rigorous contribution to Management and Organization Studies. Iain Munro, Professor in Business Administration, Innsbruck, Austria.

It is common that texts about management pretend to be clever, and decorate themselves with a little philosophy in order to do so. In Kevin Morrell’s book, we see the reverse, the intelligent and subtle use of Aristotle’s philosophy to try to understand the nature of the challenges which management and governance presents us with. This is an important work. Martin Parker, former Editor in Chief of Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society, University of Leicester School of Management.

Other books

(2013) The Realities of Work.


(2010) The Ethical Business.



*Rotate phones for best viewing experience

This new thesis writing book takes an unconventional approach. It collects for the first time proven tips and hacks developed over 15 years of supervising Dissertations. Free with a trial of kindle unlimited, or just £2.98 (ebook) or £10.99 (paperback + includes ebook). Disclaimer: views expressed are Professor Morrell's alone and do not represent any institution or programme. Companion YouTube videos are below, with more available on this playlist.

Paperback edition

ebook edition

Free YouTube Series - Example Videos



Story-structures underpin how we make sense of many organizational phenomena like change and leadership. Understanding stories can help organizations find and communicate their purpose. Professor Morrell is intrigued by the role stories play in helping people to translate the complex social world. He has published in many leading peer-reviewed journals on this topic.

The images below illustrate that although stories can vary in terms of their detail and colour, there are often structural similarities to them. In these examples, the “hero” is being transported to an object of search which is a recurring theme in many folk tales and contemporary fiction. This approach to understanding story structures can be used to understand how people make sense of individual and organizational change as well as how they see the role of leaders.


Professor Morrell is a globally recognised authority on employee turnover. Through collecting hundreds of stories on why people quit their jobs, he has built on a radically new approach to thinking about turnover – the ‘unfolding model’. His research translates and applies academic work into actionable strategies to help any organization manage turnover more effectively.

If you have ever fully costed what happens when a good employee leaves, you will know what value can be realised from preventing just one person quitting. Understanding this is particularly important during times of change.



Centre for Organisations and Society: Durham University Business School


The Centre for Organisations and Society brings together research expertise in:

  • Organisational Ethics
  • HRM and Employee Relations
  • Critical Management Studies
  • Markets, Marketing and Consumption.

Centre strategy is set by group members with advice from an expert steering group.

We welcome suggestions for collaborative research. Please contact the Centre Director Professor Kevin Morrell, who will be delighted to hear from you.

Read examples of our research

Doctoral Research

High quality Doctoral research is central to our mission at COS. Under the supervision of the Centre’s faculty members, we provide an excellent research environment, including regular opportunities for our Doctoral candidates to engage with and shape frontier research.

Learn more about studying for a PhD at the Business School

If you want more information about applying to Durham please contact us.

COS members publish in leading academic journals such as:

  • Academy of Management Review
  • Academy of Management Learning and Education
  • Accounting Organizations and Society
  • British Journal of Industrial Relations
  • British Journal of Management
  • Business Ethics Quarterly
  • Human Relations
  • Journal of Business Ethics
  • Journal of Management Studies
  • Organization Studies
  • Public Administration
  • Public Administration Review

Recent Publications by staff in this group

Journal Article