Accessibility statement

Dr Bob Townley
Lecturer in Management and Director of Postgraduate Programmes



Bob is a member of the Work, Management and Organisations (WMO) group. He joined the School for Business and Society in October 2018, having previously worked in a range of organisations (public and private) and in a freelance capacity. He is an experienced lecturer, researcher and evaluator, specialising in work, learning and skills, diversity, mental health, leadership and organisations. During his career he has completed over 50 funded research and evaluation studies and provided consultancy to a range of organisations, including the European Commission, Further Education Trust for Leadership, The British
Red Cross and Welsh Government. He has also managed research and policy teams and commissioned research and evaluation projects, including in Further Education and the Creative Industries. 

Bob has previously taught at London South Bank University and the University of Leicester, as well as facilitating workshops and delivering training to organisation managers and community groups.

Subject Group

Work Management and Organisation

Departmental roles

Director of Postgraduate Programmes



Bob’s research interests are in the psychosocial and psychoanalytic dimensions of organisations, building upon a history of research in the areas of work, employment, skills, small businesses/SMEs, leadership, discrimination, inclusion, and community development. His current focus is on mental health and wellbeing within organisations, inspired by his recent PhD study of loss, mourning and reparation in organisations. This has led into further research – including the experience of refugees and asylum seekers across the EU – thought-leadership and policy work, including repairing the damage caused by shame for leaders in the UK Further Education sector. 

Bob is currently working with colleagues within the School to develop small business/SME wellbeing policy for the North Yorkshire County Council and with colleagues within the school of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media to support the evaluation of two major regional media development programmes. Beyond this, he is involved with a network of consultants and psychologists / psychotherapists exploring ‘the art of repairing’ for the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study or Organisations (ISPSO).



Full publications list

Townley, B. (2021). Letting the light in: The damage that shame does and how to repair it. FETL (Further Education Trust for Leadership).

Townley, B. and Sliwa, M. (2020). ‘The Impact of Past Traumas on Workers from Forced Migration Backgrounds: Implications for CDS’. AoM Proceedings, 2020

Townley, B. (2019). Book Review: Discovering Organizational Identity: Dynamics of Relational Attachment. Organization.

Townley, B and Wilks-Heeg, S (1999). ‘Democratic Evaluation: Putting principles into practice’, Local Economy, Vol 14. No 1. 27-42.



Bob has taught across a range of postgraduate modules, currently teaching Managing People in the Global Context. He also teaches on the York Online Masters programme in the fields of strategic management, people management and research methods as well as enjoying supervising several Masters’ dissertation students.

External activities

Business engagement

Business engagement

I am an experienced research and evaluation consultant, specialising in work, skills, diversity, mental health and wellbeing in small businesses. I’m interested in supporting smaller businesses to develop and realise their potential within the local economy. I have worked in commercial, academic and policy environments, helping to shape policy to business needs.

I can help small businesses:

  • think about their issues and challenges
  • make links between theory and abstract notions, real-life problems and policy scenarios
  • find support at local and regional levels
  • think more strategically about their sustainability
  • consider issues of leader/manager and staff wellbeing.

I have worked with a wide range of small businesses and SMEs and policy/support organisations, including the Welsh Government, European Commission, the British Red Cross, The Further Education Trust for Leadership and various EU-Wide partnerships. 

If you would like to collaborate, please email me at

School for Business and Society
University of York
Church Lane Building
York Science Park
York YO10 5ZF

T:+44 (0) 1904 325056

Office hours

Please contact your tutor to find out when they are running their virtual office hours or to make an appointment for a virtual meeting