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Dr Will Thomas

Associate Professor

Will-Thomas 0

Dr Will Thomas

Associate Professor

T: +44 (0)1473 338631

ResearchGate Profile

Will is an Associate Professor in the Suffolk Business School. He is passionate about supporting the learning and development of students and in doing so, supporting the development of businesses locally and further afield.

He is a student of Politics and Moral Philosophy, subjects that intersect with the interdisciplinary world of management education. In the Suffolk Business School his main teaching interests are in Business Ethics and in Research Methods. He also runs the final-year ‘Extended Project’ for undergraduate students.

As a researcher, Will works on a number of interrelated topics. His main focus, for the last 5 years, has been on health and social care management, particularly focusing on responses to the ‘wicked’ problems caused by economic, demographic and social pressures. He also works on the application of the ethics of care to management challenges and on the idea of leadership quality in social care. Will is  keen to bring together research and teaching not just through introducing students to the research that he is involved in, but also through seeking to innovate and improve the delivery of his own teaching sessions.

Having worked in research management and development, Will has several years experience of managing research projects, scoping and delivering contract research and in organising training and collaborative learning exercises.


  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • PhD Philosophy (Essex)
  • MA Ethics, Politics and Public Policy
  • BA (Hons) Politics


Will has worked for the University of Suffolk for more than 10 years and has held roles in delivering contract research and in research support as well as in the Suffolk Business School.

  • Associate Professor (2017 to present)
  • Senior Lecturer (2015-2017)
  • Interim Deputy Head of Department (2015-2017)
  • Lecturer (2013-2015)
  • Senior Research Associate (2008-2013)
  • Research Officer (2006-2008, at Suffolk College)


  • Management and Managing: an introduction – first year undergraduate
  • Business Ethics – second year undergraduate
  • Designing and Running a Research Project – second year undergraduate
  • Managing in a Complex World – third year undergraduate
  • Investing a Business Issue from a Human Resources Perspective - postgraduate


Will has two main areas of research interest.

The first area is in the application of the Ethics of Care to contemporary issues in management and education, particularly those affecting the health and social care sector. This includes concerns such as our response to demographic and economic challenges and to wicked problems more generally. This includes the pedagogical implications of an ethical framework centred on caring relationships – the idea of a ‘pedagogy of care’ as being relevant and useful within education, and management education more specifically.

The second area of interest is in the use of creative learning and teaching approaches within business education. More specifically the focus of this work is on the use of ‘serious games’, including his own design ‘Persuasion - a game of management and motivation’, within higher and professional education.


Dr Jana Patey - Workplace Friendship and Anxiety: Organisational Insight through the Psychodynamic Exploration of Interpersonal Relationships

In progress:
Joseph Paul Jr - Developing and Sustaining Rural Enterprise: A Case Study of Suffolk and Norfolk in The United Kingdom
William Mellamphy - Understanding Contemporary forms of ‘play’ a study of 5th generation video games
Warren Scott -
Lisa Peach -

Will welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students looking to work on areas aligned to his areas of research interest.


Will has worked on more than 30 pieces of contract research and consultancy including large research studies and smaller one-off projects.  He is an experienced workshop facilitator and trainer.


Thomas, W., Hujala, A., Laulainen, S., And McMurray, R. (2018) (eds) The Management of Wicked Problems in Health and Social Care. London: Routledge

Thomas W and Hollinrake S. (2018) ‘The Politics of Care: wicked constituents in care reforms’, in Thomas et al (eds) The Management of Wicked Problems in Health and Social Care. London: Routledge

Thomas W. (2018) ‘Unpacking Dependency; Managing ‘Becoming’’, in Thomas et al (eds) The Management of Wicked Problems in Health and Social Care. London: Routledge

Thomas W & Southwell M (2017) Learning from Rejection – an autoethnography of contract research in Vine, T. Clarke, J. and Richards S. (eds) Ethnographic Encounters London: Routledge

Hollinrake, S. Thomas, W. Tocca, A. and Cavenagh, P. (2016) Food Shopping and Eating Habits in Later Life: Implications for Retailers and Public Health in Contributing to the Well-Being of Older People in Baho, S.M. and Katsas G.A. (eds) Making Sense of Food Inter-Disciplinary Press, London

Hollinrake, S. and Thomas, W. (2015) Caring Relationships and Efficient Social Care Provision: can an ethic of care provide a better foundation for responding to care needs in later life?,  International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 35:5:419-436

Thomas W. and Hollinrake S. (2014) Economic and demographic challenges for social care: A critical perspective on the management and delivery of care, Journal of Health Organisation and Management 28:5:653-673

Thomas W. and Hollinrake S. (2014) Creating an Enabling Culture in the delivery of Health and Social Care: addressing economic and demographic challenges, E-proceedings of ISL Symposium 2014

Thomas W & S Hollinrake (2014) Policymakers, researchers and service users – resolving the tensions and dilemmas of working together, Innovation, the European Journal of Social Science Research 27:1:31-45