Dr Rob Willis

Director of Research Students

Faculty:Lord Ashcroft International Business School

Department:Economics and International Business Staff

Location: Cambridge

Robert’s research interests include public policy and the impact on public service delivery and innovation, sustainable business practices and strategic direction of organisations.

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Robert's research areas have been eclectic in nature, covering topics ranging from entrepreneurship, pharmaceuticals, the strategy process, Japanese management practices, the impact of the global economy on business organisations, business models and their relevance, entrepreneurial education and sustainability.

Recently, research has been focused on the areas of public policy and how this impacts on public service delivery and the change agenda with this area. This incorporates sustainable management practices and strategic response to changes within different organisational contexts.

Research interests

  • Public Policy
  • The politics of organisations
  • Emerging higher education models
  • Sustainability

Areas of research supervision

  • Leadership in the NHS
  • Leadership training in public services
  • Building trust in organisations
  • Network analysis of public services
  • Innovation policy
  • Technology transfer and adoption
  • Cultural change in organisations
  • Marketing strategies for the Indian Youth Market
  • Strategy in family owned businesses
  • The impact of Web 2.0 on education
  • The impact of new technology on pedagogy


Robert has taught at all levels and delivered courses at all levels and to corporate clients. His main areas of teaching have been in the dynamics of strategy, public policy, economics and sustainability.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Aberystwyth University
  • BSc Econ (Hons) First, Aberystwyth University

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • IPO Fast Forward award, 2013, £60,000
  • Leader academic on two KTP’s
  • Leader academic on Low carbon KEEP

Selected recent publications

Adcroft, A. and Willis, R. (2012) Do those who benefit most need it the least? A four year experiment in enquiry based feedback, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, August, 1-13

Leech, D., Willis, R. and Jones, C. (2011) Competition in a Shrinking NHS Market, British Journal of Healthcare Management, Vol.17, No.5

Adcroft, A., Teckman, J. and Willis, R. (2010) Is Higher Education in the UK Becoming More Competitive?, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Volume 23, Number 6.

Recent presentations and conferences

Willis, R., et al (2012) Sustainability Beyond the Campus: Students working as eco-auditors – potential and challenges, British Academy of Management conference, 11-13 September, Cardiff