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Personal profile

Contact Details

Phone: +44 (0)121 204 3184 Email: burkeg@aston.ac.ukRoom: ABS 232



Gary joined the Strategy Department in 2010 after receiving his PhD.  Prior to this, he held management positions in various multinational companies, before entering the education sector in 2003 to work on a CIMA funded research project and then to manage Aston’s Executive Development Programme.   

His research uses qualitative and ethnographic methodologies to study how managers’ experience and manage within complex pluralistic settings. Adopting a processual lens, his doctoral work focussed on studying partnering practices and identity change dynamics within public-private partnerships. He is also part of an ethnographic study of Lloyd’s of London, which is generating new insights about how managers balance competing logics, perform strategizing work and use client portfolios to generate ambidexterity.  He recently joined a project, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is studying business growth in small businesses. 

Gary has received numerous Best Paper Awards and his work has been published in leading academic journals. In 2014, he was the recipient of Aston’s Outstanding Early Career Researcher award.



  • 2015 PgCert in Higher Education (Distinction) 
  • 2011 PhD., Aston Business School (Passed, no corrections) 
  • 2007 M.B.A., Aston Business School (Distinction) 
  • 2000 BA (Hons) Business Studies (Upper second)


  • 2015-  >     Senior Lecturer in Strategy
  • 2012-2015  Lecturer in Strategy
  • 2010-2012  Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Aston University
  • 2009-2010  Sessional Lecturer, Aston Business School
  • 2004-2005  Executive Development Programme Manager, Aston Business School
  • 2003-2004  Research Assistant, Aston Business School


Teaching Activity

  • BSM931 Topics in Advanced Strategy (MSc) 
  • BSM943 Strategic Management (MBA) 
  • SE1500 Introduction to Business Management

Research Interests

I am especially interested in questions related to strategy-as-practice. I use in-depth qualitative methodologies to study how managers work and strategize in complex pluralistic settings often characterised by high degrees of ambiguity, competing logics and contradictions. My research tends to be problem-centered, focussing on questions such as how do managers adopt to new strategic challenges, balance competing demands or cope with ambiguity? 

Theoretically, my research draws from theories of social practice, identity, sociomateriality and institutions. Methodologically, my work tends to be process-oriented and ethnographic in nature, with a growing interest in using video-ethnographic approaches. My current research is addressing three key topics; (1) the affordances of strategy toolmaking  in ambiguous strategic environments, (2) the dynamics of changing and maintaining complex collective organizational identities (3) the extension of  strategy-as-practice perspectives to new fields, such as marketing and entrepreneurship. 

I currently supervise PhD students in the area of strategy-as-practice and process. 

2014-2017 I was secretary of the Strategizing Activities and Practices (SAP) Interest Group of the Academy of Management. I was also co-founder and organizer of the Strategy-as-Practice Review (SAP_R) Group with Sotirios Paroutis (Warwick) and Richard Whittington (Oxford). SAP-R Group is a supportive forum to help authors develop papers and, in particular, deal with reviewers’ comments.



  • 2017 Best Practice Paper.  AOM Annual Meeting, SAP
  • 2015 Best Reviewer Prize, Academy of Management Meeting, SAP
  • 2015  Nominated Aston teaching award (‘Most Inspirational Academic’)
  • 2014 Early CareerResearcher of the year, Aston University
  • 2014  Nominated Aston teaching academic award (Most Engaging Academic)
  • 2012  Best Paper Award.  AOM Annual Meeting, OMT Division
  • 2012  Best Paper Award. EGOS, New Forms of Organizational Ethnography
  • 2012  Highly Commended Paper Award, Emerald Literati Network
  • 2011 Best Student Reviewer Prize, Academy of Management Meeting
  • 2006 Routledge Prize for Best Research Methods Course Student
  • 2005 AwardedESRC (CASE) Studentship: 1+3
  • 2005 Beta Gamma Sigma Honour Society Membership


Funding Applications and Awards

  • 2017. Prize PhD Studentship. Topic: Language Capability as a means of Sustainable Competitive Advantage for UK SME’s. With Ad-De-Jong, Geoff Parks and Iftakar Haji. Amount: £59,000 
  • 2017. British Academy of Management. Topic: Developing a marketing-as practice research agenda. Co-investigator with Keith Glanfield, Tony Kent and Carola Wolf. Amount: £5,000 
  • 2016. Aston Seed Corn Funding. Topic: Scoping a marketing-as practice research agenda. Co-investigator with Keith Glanfield, and Carola Wolf. Amount: £1,000 
  • 2014. Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Topic: The Sociology of Enterprise Research. Co-investigator with Mark Hart, Nick Theodorakopoulos, Ute Stephan and Durham Policy research Institute. Amount: £75,000. 
  • 2012. Economic and Social Research Council. Topic: Charting New Territory: Positioning the UK (Lloyd's) in a changing global reinsurance landscape. Co-investigator with Paula Jarzabkowski (Principal Applicant) and Michael Smets (Co-investigator). Amount: £113, 374.

PhD Supervision

  • Susan Lanz (PhD)
  • Sandrine Tunezerwe (PhD) 
  • Uche Ogwude (PhD) 

Available to supervise new suitable PhD applicants in the field of strategy-as-practice.


Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Academy of Management 
  • European Group for Organizational Studies 
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy


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