Professor Brendan McSweeney

Research interests

Prior to becoming an academic I had been a banker (retail and mergers and acquisitions), an official of a national trade union organization, and responsible for research at a leading international accountancy body. I completed my doctorate in accounting part-time at the London School of Economics. That diverse background has fuelled my intellectual interest and is reflected in the wide range of journals I have published in - including: Accounting Forum; Accounting, Organizations & Society; Journal of International Business Studies; Journal of Organizational Change Management; Human Relations Organization Studies; and The Political Quarterly. My research seeks to understand the specifics (evolution and consequences) of contemporary business organizations and the wider political-economy. I’m particularly interested in explanations of the dynamic-historical changes within economies/societies which do not resort to bland deterministic or teleological notions. Thus, for example, I have written critically about the explanatory and conceptual weaknesses of concepts such as ‘national culture’, ‘post-bureaucracy’, ‘modernization’, ‘globalisation’, ‘psychological reductionism’ and ‘certainty’. I’m interested in supervising research which first and foremost is inspired by open-minded curiosity – empirically grounded and theoretically rich analysis of business/economic behaviour, processes, and/or institutions. I’m not interested in what merely legitimates what the researcher somehow already ‘knew’ before researching/writing their dissertation. Although research which is predominantly quantitative has, of course, a contribution, indeed there are questions which uniquely can only be effectively addressed with such methods, my focus is on qualitative research. 

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