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Richard Whitley joined Manchester Business School in 1968 after undertaking research at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively on the organisation of the natural and social sciences, including The Intellectual and Social Organisation of the Sciences (Oxford University Press 1984, 2000).

More recently, he has studied the nature of capitalism in East Asia and Western Europe, as well as researching the development of firms and markets in Eastern Europe and the development of innovation systems. Recent books on these topics have included Business Systems in East Asia (Sage 1992), European Business Systems (Sage 1992), The Changing European Firm (Routledge 1996), Governance at Work: The Social Regulation of Economic Relations (Oxford University Press 1997), Divergent Capitalisms: The Social Structuring and Change of Business Systems (Oxford University Press 1999), National Capitalisms, Global Competition and Economic Performance (Benjamin, 2000), The Multi-national Firm (Oxford University Press, 2001), Competing Capitalisms (Edward Elgar, 2002) Changing Capitalisms? Internationalization, institutional change and systems of economic organization (Oxford University Press, 2005), Business Systems and Organisational Capabilities: The institutional structuring of compeititive competences (Oxford University Press, 2007), Reconfiguring Knowledge Production: Changing authority relations in the sciences and their consequences for intellectual innovation (Oxford University Press, 2010), Capitalisms and Capitalism in the Twenty First Century (Oxford University Press, 2012), Changing Asian Business Systems (Oxford Univerdsity Press, 2016). He also co-edited The Changing Governance of the Sciences: The Advent of Research Evaluation Systems, (Springer, 2007), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Organizational Transformation and Scientific Change: The impact of institutional restructuring on universities and intellectual innovation (Emerald, 2014).

He has also edited a special issue of Organization Studies on 'The Institutional Dynamics of Innovation Systems' (volume 21 (5), 2000), co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Management Studies on 'The Changing Multinational Firm' (volume 40 (3) 2003) and co-edited a special issue of Organization Studies on 'Institutions, Markets and Organizations' (volume 26 (12) 2005). Richard has served as co-director of the European Science Foundation's Programme on European Management and Organisations in Transition (1993-97), as chair of the European Group for Organisational Studies (1998-99), and as president of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-economics in 1999-2000. In 1988 he was Visiting Professor in Management Studies at Hong Kong University, in 1998-99 he was Fellow in residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and in 1999-2000 he was visiting professor at the Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. From 2000-2004 he was a Visiting Professor in Comparative Business Systems at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. In 2007 he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

Research interests

Comparative Business Systems; East Asian Business; Innovation patterns in different institutrional contexts; International Business and Management; Japan (Japanese Management); Multi-national Companies; Comparative Organisational Analysis; Institutional Change and the Restructuring of the Sciences; The Relationship between Knowledge and Practice in the Social and Management Sciences.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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