Accessibility statement

Philip Garnett
Senior Lecturer in Systems and Organisation



‌Key Research Interests

Systems theory, complex systems theory, and network analysis techniques allow us to understand organisations and how they operate. My research is broadly focused on modelling organisational structure and interactions between organisations (figure 1) and their environment, and understanding the flow of information through organizations. Linked to this I am interested in how information processing, data analytics, algorithms (machine learning), and artificial intelligence influence decision making within organisations. In particular how humans and computers work together in decision making processes and the consequences that has for operations, discretion, and responsibility. I am also interested in the power of information and its consequences for our privacy and liberty.

Network Structure of interlocking directorships

Figure 1: Network Structure of interlocking directorships.

Important to these processes is how organisations manage their information, and the processes and policies in place to do this. On this theme I am interested in researching  cyber and information security practice within organisations, and how organisations manage incidents or leaks.

I am a member of the management team of the York Centre for Cross-disciplinary Systems Analysis (University of York UK,, and a Co-director of the University of York Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU, I am also a member of the external advisory board for The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN,

Personal website:

Twitter: @prgarnett

Departmental roles

Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research



Research Themes

  • Human-computer decision making. Increasingly workplaces will be populated by humans working with artificial intelligence (AI). The consequences of this for how decisions are made within organisations will be significant, particularly where the responsibility lies for decisions, and the role of discretion in decision making.

  • Data Mining and Analytics. Business (and society at large) generates huge amounts of information. Leveraging this mountain of information to extract value is becoming increasingly challenging. We use modelling and analytical techniques to help mine information out of Big Data.

  • Cyber/Information Security, and Big Data Analytics. Information can be both a defender liberty, as it can increase transparency in society. It however can also be be used to erode our civil liberties and freedom, by increased surveillance by both the state and private sector.

  • Modelling and simulation of organisational behaviour. How do the interactions of connect organisations shape the development of economic sectors? What are the significance of hidden and explicit connections between businesses, such as shared directorships? This research uses network analysis techniques and modelling to investigate now relationships between business and the people running them influence those businesses and the wider economy.

  • Systems of systems. Increasing dealing with the complexity of physical, natural and human systems, and how they are connected demands new approaches to their study. We use the notion of systems of systems to model different aspects of society, such as the distribution of risk in financial systems.

  • Business history. Analysis of historical data can often lead to insights into the presence and the future. We apply all the techniques we use to model and analyse contemporary data to historical business history. As a way of learning from the past, and overturning misconceptions.

Keywords: Complexity Theory, Network Analysis, Big Data, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence

Phd Applications.

I would be interested in PhD applications in any of the above thematic areas, with a particular interest in AI and Analytics, and Cyber and Information Security.

Current projects

The role of algorithms and AI in decision making processes in firms. In particular I am interested in human-computer decision making and how that affects discretion and responsibility in decision making processes. The role of AIs within organisations will extend beyond straightforward automation, to impact all levels of operations, and understanding the consequences of this will be essential.

I am also interested in how data analytics can improve our understanding of how a process has been conducted. What can the evidence produced by a process say about the process itself, and can we make explicit links between the process and outcome by analysing the data.

My final research interest is in the policy and processes within organisations around cyber and information security, and how those policies are put into practice within organisations.



Selected publications

  • Garnett, Philip. 2018. “Total Systemic Failure?” The Science of the Total Environment 626 (January):684–88.
  • Garnett, Philip, Simon Mollan, and R. Alexander Bentley. 2017. “Banks, Births, and Tipping Points in the Historical Demography of British Banking: A Response to J.J. Bissell.” Business History 59 (5). Routledge:814–20.
  • Ruck, Damian, R. Alexander Bentley, Alberto Acerbi, Philip Garnett, and Daniel J. Hruschka. 2017. “ROLE OF NEUTRAL EVOLUTION IN WORD TURNOVER DURING CENTURIES OF ENGLISH WORD POPULARITY.” Advances in Complex Systems 20 (06n07). World Scientific Publishing Co.:1750012.
  • A Skrebyte, P Garnett, JR Kendal (2016).  “Temporal Relationships Between Individualism–Collectivism and the Economy in Soviet Russia A Word Frequency Analysis Using the Google Ngram Corpus”, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol 47, Issue 9.
  • Ying Kei Tse, Minhao Zhang, Bob Doherty, Paul Chappell, & Philip Garnett. (2016). Insight from the horsemeat scandal: Exploring the consumers’ opinion of tweets toward Tesco. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 116(6), 1178–1200. doi:10.1108/IMDS-10-2015-0417.
  • Bentley, R. A., Maddison, E. J., Ranner, P. H., Bissell, J., Caiado, C. C. D. S., Bhatanacharoen, P., … Garnett, P. (2014). Social tipping points and Earth systems dynamics. Frontiers in Environmental Science, DOI=10.3389/fenvs.2014.00035.
  • Clark, T., Wright, M., Iskoujina, Z., & Garnett, P. (2014). JMS at 50: Trends over Time. Journal of Management Studies, 51(1), 19–37. doi:10.1111/joms.12040.
  • Garnett, P., Mollan, S., & Bentley, R. A. (2015). Complexity in history: modelling the organisational demography of the British banking sector. Business History, 57(1), 182–202. doi:10.1080/00076791.2014.977876
  • Garnett, P. (2015). A tipping point in 300 years of banking? A conceptual simulation of the British banking system. Natural Computing, 14(1), 25–37. doi:10.1007/s11047-014-9467-0

 Selected Conference Proceedings

  • Philip Garnett. Bursting a Bubble: Abstract Banking Demographics to Understand Tipping Points? CoSMoS Satellite, UCNC13, Milan, Italy, July 2013.
  • Philip Garnett. Going Around Again: Modelling Standing Ovations with a Flexible Agent-based Simulation Framework. CoSMoS workshop, UCNC12, Orleans, France, September 2012.
  • Philip Garnett, Susan Stepney, Francesca Day, Ottoline Leyser. Using the CoSMoS Process to Enhance an Executable Model of Auxin Transport Canalisation. CoSMoS workshop, Odense, Denmark, August 2010. pp9-32, Luniver Press 2010
  • Philip Garnett, Susan Stepney, Ottoline Leyser. Towards an executable model of auxin transport canalisation. CoSMoS workshop, York, UK, September 2008, pp63-91. Luniver Press 2008.

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

Telephone: +44 (0) 1904 325027
Room: CL/A/005

Subject Group

Work Management and Organisation

Feedback & Support hours

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