Professor David Collins joined the University of Suffolk in January 2017 and is the founding Head of the University’s Business School. He holds an MA (Hons) in Political Economy and Sociology from the University of Glasgow, an MSc in Industrial Relations from the University of Strathclyde and a PhD in Management Studies from the University of Essex. In many ways David owes his academic career to The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (which provided a bursary for his post-graduate education) and to his erstwhile tutor Bert Moorhouse (who penned the reference that persuaded the Carnegie Trust to support this endeavour).
Ever mindful of the need a) to widen participation in higher education and b) to demonstrate a personal commitment to this agenda, David signed over the royalties for his first book ‘Organizational Change: Sociological Perspectives’ (published by Taylor and Francis, Routledge) to the Carnegie Trust and is now one of the biggest individual contributors to this fund.
In an academic career spanning more than a quarter of a century Professor Collins has worked for Napier University of Edinburgh, the University of Sunderland, the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex and, most recently, the University of Hull where he was Director of the MBA. He is recognised as a challenging yet hugely entertaining teacher and lecturer. Indeed colleagues have been kind enough to observe that ‘students visibly grow, develop and change under his tutelage’.
David’s research has produced notable publications including key books on ‘Management Fads and Buzzwords’ and on the management ‘guru’ Tom Peters (both published by Taylor and Francis, Routledge) and some 50 articles on a broad range of topics including: management consultants and the advice industry; empowerment; management fashion; professionalism and professional projects; financial regulation and the collapse of the Equitable Life. At its annual conference, The British Academy of Management (BAM) has twice awarded prizes to David for papers based upon his research.
In recent years Professor Collins has developed an academic interest in organizational storytelling, which suggests that the essence of managerial work revolves around a concern with ‘purposeful talk’. He has utilised this storytelling approach to reflect critically upon the appeal and the legacy of In Search of Excellence (a hugely influential text published by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in 1982) and has built upon this appreciation of the organized world to develop a one-day Executive seminar on storytelling. This seminar has been designed to allow participants to locate, understand and critique their own managerial priorities and the storytelling practices prevalent within their own organizations. A new book designed to support this one-day event entitled ‘Stories for Management Success: Harnessing the Power of Talk in Organizations’, will be published by Taylor and Francis, Routledge in 2018.