Personal profile

Personal profile

Laura J. Spence is a Professor of Business Ethics in the Department of Human Resource Management and Organisational Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London.  She has previously held the posts of Associate Dean (Research) supporting the School of Business and Management and the School of Law and Social Sciences, Director for the Centre for Research into Sustainability and School Director of Impact.

In 2023, Professor Spence was conferred the honour of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.  She was a REF2021 Sub-Panel Member for Business and Management Studies.  At the University of Oxford, Professor Spence is a sponsored Visiting Academic and International Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Centre for Corporate Reputation, and Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College.

Research interests

Laura's research interests relate to a wide range of management studies issues, in particular, critical corporate social responsibility, small business social responsibility, supply chain sustainability and a critique of Creating Shared Value.  She uses moral and social theory in her research, favouring qualitative and conceptual studies. Laura has a particular interest in the place of gender and feminist perspectives in business ethics and corporate social responsibility research and practice. She is developing work on SMEs and climate action, particularly in relation to NetZero. 

She has published in highly respected journals including Human Relations, Organisation Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Accounting Organisations and Society, California Management Review, and Business Ethics Quarterly. Laura is Consulting Editor of the Journal of Business Ethics.

PhD student applications are welcome including (but not only) in relation to small business social responsibility and critical corporate social responsibility.

Research interests (continued)

Research Impact

Professor Spence is a recognised leader in Research Impact for the Business & Society field and is one of the few to have submited Impact Case studies to two successive Research Excellence Frameworks. 

Professor Spence is an International Advisory Council member of the Institute of Business Ethics, previously being a Trustee. She is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Responsibility and has presented her research on small business social responsibility to the Group. Laura was Chair of the Academic/Practitioner Horizon Group for the UK Construction Industry through her work with the Supply Chain Sustainability School from 2017-2020.  From 2022 she started working with the United Nations Global Compact on Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Engagement. 

Learn more about Professor Spence's work with the construction industry here: 


Professor Spence has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the School of Management on a range of topics related to Business Ethics including Corporate Social Responsibility, Responsible Entrepreneurship and Business and Society. She also contributes to the PhD student course on Qualitative Research, particularly in relation to Research Ethics.

Teaching related books include:

Crane, C., Matten, D., Glozer, S. and Spence, LJ (2019) 5th edn, Business Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Crane, A. Matten, D. and Spence, L.J. (eds) (2013), 2nd edn, Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases in a Global Context, Routledge, London.


Professor Spence has given guest lectures for the University of Cambridge, Copenhagen Business School, London Business School, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Nottingham. 

In the Talking Teaching series, Professor Laura Spence talks about how cutting edge research in business ethics and sustainability underpins teaching at Royal Holloway, University of London, creating an inspiring learning community.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

External positions

International Research Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Nov 2022Nov 2025

Guest Lecturer, Institute for Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge

Nov 2022

Visiting Academic, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Oct 2022Aug 2023

Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, University of Oxford

Sept 2022Sept 2024

REF2021 Sub-Panel Member, Business and Management, Research Excellence Framework 2021


International Advisory Council Member, Institute of Business Ethics

2017 → …

Chair, Horizon Group, Supply Chain Sustainability School -Construction Industry


External Examiner, University of Bath



  • Management studies
  • Business Ethics
  • Corporate Social Responsibility, International Labor Migrants, Issues in Sustainability
  • Small Business Social Responsibility
  • Sustainability

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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