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Professor Fiona Denney
Professor of Leadership and Business Education


I am a Professor in Leadership and Business Education in the Organisations and People division in Brunel Business School and my focus is on human-centred leadership. My research interests are focused on hybrid management and compassionate leadership in organisations including universities and the not-for-profit and public sectors.  I hold a BA / Leverhulme grant for a project investigating the role of hybrid managers in universities.  I am always interested to hear from prospective doctoral students whose interests align with my research areas.

In a career of over 20 years, I have been a business studies academic in the areas of marketing and general managment and leadership and I have held a number of central university positions.  Between 2003 and 2019, I worked in academic staff and researcher development, including being the Assistant Director of the Graduate School at King’s College London and heading up the Brunel Educational Excellence Centre at Brunel University London until 2019.  Both of these positions plus my national and international work for Vitae (see have involved me in strategic leadership and operational management including managing people, projects and resources, which now form my research interests in leadership.  I served as a member of the Executive Committee of the UK Council for Graduate Education as well as the Honorary Secretary between 2017 and 2021.  I am also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). 

I am currently an external examiner for the University of Lincoln's College of Social Science Research Degrees Board and have served as an external examiner in many other UK universities including UCL.  I am also involved in providing consultancy work for Epigeum - a major developer of online training programmes for the higher education sector owned by Oxford University Press.  I am a qualified and highly experienced executive coach and I coach senior executives in professional services industries as additional consultancy work.


PhD: An assessment of the strategies guiding end-user involvement in consumer durable new product development (awarded 2004)

MA Management Studies

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education

BA (Hons) American and Canadian Studies


I am currently the Director of Executive Education for Brunel Business School.

Newest selected publications

Denney, F. (2023) '“Get on with it. Cope.” The compassion-experience during COVID-19 in UK universities'. Frontiers in Psychology, 14. pp. 1 - 14. ISSN: 1664-1078 Open Access Link

Journal article

Denney, F. (2022) 'Working in Universities through Covid-19: an interpretation using the lens of institutional logics'.The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management: AOM 2022 Creating a Better World Together. Seattle, WA, USA. 6 - 9 August. Academy of Management. ISSN: 0065-0668 Open Access Link

Conference paper

Denney, F. (2022) 'Book Review: Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?'. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 0 (ahead of print). ISSN: 1537-260X Open Access Link

Journal article

Denney, F. (2022) 'Building Bridges and Connections – The Language used to Connect and Define Communities in the Third Space', in McIntosh, E. and Nutt, D. (eds.) The Impact of the Integrated Practitioner in Higher Education. Abingdon, UK : Routledge. pp. 50 - 62. ISBN 13: 9780367480011. Open Access Link

Book chapter

Denney, F. (2021) 'A glass classroom? The experiences and identities of third space women leading educational change in research-intensive universities in the UK'. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 51 (6). pp. 1440 - 1460. ISSN: 1741-1432 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(21)