Graham Perkins – PhD in Business and Management Studies

Year of graduation: 2014

Current Employer: University of Exeter

Current Job Title: Lecturer in Human Resource Management

Current Location: Devon

“It was useful being able to leverage the University’s networks and connections when beginning my fieldwork, because gaining research access into small companies is incredibly difficult.”

What is / was the title of your project?

My thesis was titled, “The Factors External to the Individual Influencing Idea Generation in SME Contexts.”

Describe your research in one sentence.

Exploring organisational factors that affect the generation of ideas within small-medium business contexts and unpacking the issues that affect ideation and understanding why some small businesses are more creative than others.

What was the most exciting element(s) of your project?

Getting to interact with a range of small businesses around the South West. Given that the region is dependent on small companies in order to generate employment and prosperity, it was very rewarding to be able to see the great work that so many businesses are undertaking.

What was the most exciting outcome(s) of your project?

Receiving excellent feedback from journal editors regarding the interesting nature of my findings, and having some success in developing high quality academic content.

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your research.

Almost immediately following the completion of my doctorate I started working at the University of Exeter as a Lecturer in Human Resource Management, where I spend roughly half of my time advancing my research, and the other half of my time engaged with educational activities. I have been there ever since and have thoroughly enjoyed myself so far.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Persistence. Within the academic field it is very difficult to publish work, so in order to be successful I think it is vital that we develop a resilient attitude and persist even when we receive rejections from academic journals. Developing your network is also important; it is vital when you are new to this line of work that you can build links with successful researchers, which allows you to pick up tacit knowledge and learn from some of their stories!

How did your time at Plymouth University help you?

I always found that Plymouth University had a very supportive and encouraging environment. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. It was useful being able to leverage the University’s networks and connections when beginning my fieldwork, because gaining research access into small companies is incredibly difficult.

Would you recommend undertaking research at Plymouth University, and why?

Yes. The University employs some excellent members of staff and has excellent research facilities, as well as a welcoming body of doctoral students.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

I think it is very important to follow your interests, whatever they may be; do something that you are enthusiastic about, because you are then more likely to put time and effort into achieving the results you really want to see.