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Dr Alison Rieple is Professor of Strategic Management and Director of IDEaS, WBS’  Innovation Design Entrepreneurship and Strategy Research Group.

After leaving university (with a degree in music) Alison worked in the probation service, latterly running a probation hostel for serious male offenders. Clearly a glutton for punishment, she left to do an MBA and then a PhD at Cranfield University. Since then she has worked for the University of Westminster, for nine years as Director of Research at Harrow Business School. She was appointed a Professor in 2002.

Apart from her work, Alison enjoys choral singing (as a member of the Philharmonia Chorus), gardening, walking the long-distance paths of the UK, and taking her life in her hands as a cyclist on the streets of London.

Activities linked to professional practice

Alison has undertaken many management consultancy projects, for commercial and not-for-profit organisations. She has been involved in the Knowledge Connect Scheme, working with companies on new product development and adoption.

Alison has also been a keynote speaker at a number of international management conferences, for example in South Korea, Germany, Iran and the Netherlands. She was the University’s academic director on the House of Commons’ Leadership Development Programme, Leading for Parliament, from 2012-2015. In October 2016 she was a guest panellist on the Chartered Association of Business Schools’ Interdisciplinary Research Summit, held at the British Academy.


Alison teaches strategic management and the management of innovation and change on WBS’ MBA programme. She is also in demand as a lecturer at international workshops, including in the USA, South Korea, Ireland, Iran and Norway.

She has many years’ experience in running workshops for senior managers in both commercial and public sector organisations. Most recently she has taught courses on the management of innovation and strategy development to senior personnel from the UK’s House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as on management development programmes for senior managers from all over the world.

Alison has many years’ experience in supervising PhD students’ titles: Current students’ topics include:

·         Service design development

·         Headquarters South East Asia Command: Planning and Conduct of Joint Operations 1943-45

·         An exploration of creativity education for the fashion industry

·         Corporate social responsibility in the Russian oil industry

·         The reproduction of gender ideology through Russian consumer culture: the iconography of ‘Russian Mother’.

·         The construction of identity in the veterinary profession

·         The use of data mining techniques to understand The role of intensity, immediacy and diversity on the impact of marketing communications


Completed doctoral projects include:

·         Strategic decision making in digital design firms

·         The construction of role identity in Chinese second generation family businesses

·         Decision-making in music industry micro firms

·         The management of design in companies that exhibit design coherence

·         Outsourcing in the NHS

·         Business to business relationships in the banking sector of the UAE

·         The design of experiential services in a major hotel chain

·         Role conflict in the Value for Money Audit (VMA) process

·         Adoption of business-to-business E-commerce in China

·        Service design leadership

·        Workplace design strategies


Professor Rieple is the author of two strategic management text books and is co-editor of a book focusing on the disruptive role of design research interests focus particularly on the management of strategy, design and innovation, and management of the creative and cultural industries such as music and fashion.

Alison is a qualitative methodologist focusing on the understanding and explaining of phenomena using deep interview data. Current projects include understanding the factors that lead to innovation and ethical cow welfare practices in the Irish dairy farming industry; sustainable farming practices in the Malaysian palm oil industry; the disruptive effects of 3D printing on design and manufacturing ecosystems; the role of the design of space on affective states and behaviour; and entrepreneurship education.

Alison has numerous collaborative research relationships both in the UK and worldwide for example with colleagues from UK universities such as Cranfield and Loughborough and international universities such as Jagiellonian in Krakow, Belmont in Nashville, USA, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, as well as agricultural and farming research institutes such as Rothamsted in the UK and Teagasc in Ireland.

She has co-organised design management conferences in Madrid, Boston, London and Hong Kong. She has also edited special issues of journals and is a reviewer for numerous academic journals and book publishers.