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Durham University

Research & business

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Professor David Greatbatch, BA, PhD

Professor in the Business School
Leader of Work Package 4 in Tipping Points Research Project

Contact Professor David Greatbatch (email at


David is a sociologist who was educated at Warwick University (BA and Ph.D). He has been a Visiting Professor in Durham University Business School since 2005. He has previously held positions at the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford, London and Warwick, and the Xerox Research Laboratory in Cambridge. 

David's specialises in studies of social interaction in organisational settings, drawing on conversation analysis and ethnomethodology. He has undertaken research in a wide variety of contexts including, management consultancy, live corporate events, broadcast journalism, general practice and telemedicine. These projects have been funded by ESRC, the Wellcome Trust and industry bodies. Over the last twenty years he has undertaken a series of studies of the presentation and public speaking techniques used by leading management speakers, corporate executives, politicians and others to communicate ideas and information, visions, goals and strategies to a diverse array of audiences. The findings from these programmes of research have resulted in a number of influential publications, including Management Speak: Why We Listen to What Management Gurus Tell Us  (with Timothy Clark).

Alongside his academic activities, he acts as an independent research and evaluation consultant specialising in the fields of education and training, skills and learning, and communication. He has undertaken projects for a wide range of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including: the Department for Education, the Department of Health, the Department for International Development, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the Welsh Government, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, the Welcome Trust, the South West Regional Skills Partnership, the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education, the Council of Deans of Health, the National Higher Education STEM Programme, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Skills Funding Agency, the Economic and Social Research Council, YMCA Training and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Research Groups

Business School

Research Interests

  • Oratory and Rhetoric
  • Educational policy, leadership and governance in higher education
  • Programme Evaluation
  • Organizational and managerial communication
  • Social interaction in organizational settings


Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Clark, T., Bhatanachareon, P. & Greatbatch, D. (2014). Manufacturing management celebrity. Discover Society 5.
  • Clark, T., Greatbatch, D. & Bhatanacharoen, P. (2013). Consulting, Gurus and Big Ideas. Mercury Spring/Summer(4): 22-27.


  • Greatbatch, D. (2016). A False Economy: Cuts to Continuing Professional Development Funding for Nursing, Midwifery and the Allied Health Professions in England. London, Council of Deans of Health.
  • Greatbatch D., Tate, S., Keddie, V. & Berry-Lound, D. (2016). Rapid review of higher technical and professional education. Coventry: Skills Funding Agency.
  • Berry-Lound, D., Tate, S. & Greatbatch, D. (2016). Social work teaching partnership programme pilots: evaluation. London: Department for Education.
  • Greatbatch, D. & Holland, J. (2016). Teaching quality in higher education. London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
  • Greatbatch, D. (2015). Governors’ views of their institutions, leadership and governance: Higher Education Leadership and Management Survey (HELMs). London: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
  • Greatbatch, D. (2014). Governance in a Changing Environment: Literature Review. London: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
  • Tolley, H., Greatbatch, D. & Mackenzie, H. (2013). Investigating Longer-Term Curriculum Change and Institutional Impact Within Higher Education. Birmingham University: STEM education Centre.
  • Chatwin, S., Fenlon, A., Grant,
 L., Greatbatch, D., Grove, M., Spicer, S. & Tolley, H. (2012). Evaluating Your HE STEM Project. University of Birmingham.
  • Tolley, H. & Greatbatch, D. (2010). Functional Skills English: Speaking, Listening and Communication. Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
  • Greatbatch, D. & Tolley, H. (2010). Functional Skills in Work-based Learning. Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
  • Tolley, H. & Greatbatch, D. (2010). Leading Functional Skills in a Diploma Consortium Context. Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
  • Greatbatch, D. & Tolley, H. (2009). Functional Skills (ICT) in Secure Estates, Learning and Skills Improvement Service. Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
  • Tolley, H., Greatbatch, D. & Hamer, J. (2006). An Integrated Approach to Teaching Key Skills in Business Studies and Information Communication Technology: Case Studies. London: Learning Skills Network.
  • Hamer, J., Tolley, H. & Greatbatch, D. (2006). An Integrated Approach to Teaching Key Skills in Construction: A Case Study. London: Learning and Skills Network.
  • Tolley, T., Greatbatch, D., Bolton, J. & Warmington, P. (2003). Improving Occupational Learning: The Validity and Transferability of NVQs. Department for Education and Skills.
  • Davis, G., Bevan, G., Clisby, S., Cumming, Z., Dingwall, R., Fenn, P., Finch, S., Fitzgerald, R., Goldie, S., Greatbatch, D., James, A. & Pearce, J. (2000). Monitoring Publicly Funded Mediation: Report to the Legal Services Commission. London: Legal Services Commission.
  • Murphy, E., Dingwall, R., Greatbatch, D., Parker, S. & Watson, P. (1997). Qualitative Research Methods in Health Technology Assessment: A Commissioners Guide. National Health Service Executive.
  • James, A.L., Hay, W., Greatbatch, D. & Walker, C. (1992). Court Welfare Work: Research, Practice and Development. University of Hull: Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice.
  • Greatbatch, D. (1992). System Use and Interpersonal Communication in the General Practice Consultation: Preliminary Observations. Cambridge: Rank Xerox Limited.