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Durham University

Research & business

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Professor Nick Ellis, BSc, MSc, PhD, CIM Dip Marketing

Professor of Marketing Management, Director of Masters in Management Programmes in the Business School
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 40513
Room number: MHL 510

Contact Professor Nick Ellis (email at


Nick is recognized as an early proponent of discourse analysis to explore marketing management. His research focuses primarily on the social construction of managerial and professional identities in inter-organizational relationships/networks and business-to-business (B2B) marketing contexts. He has extended this approach to critically examine aspects of supply chains, consumption and alternative modes of organization. His expertise is reflected in receiving an invitation to contribute a chapter on Networks and Identities to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Identities in Organizations (due 2020). 

Nick’s publications embrace marketing and organization studies, including world-leading and internationally excellent journal papers in both disciplines, for example in Industrial Marketing Management (Impact Factor 3.16), Organization Studies (3.11), British Journal of Management (2.98), Human Relations (2.62), Marketing Theory (2.57), Journal of Business Ethics (2.35), Organization (2.12) & European Journal of Marketing (1.33). He has written a book on B2B marketing and a co-authored text on critical marketing, and has co-edited a collection of works in B2B marketing. Nick is on the editorial board of several journals and has co-organized academic conferences and streams in marketing and critical management. Amongst his academic prizes is the most downloaded article of 2010 in Organization Studies

He has been successful in gaining research funding including a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), co-funded by the ESRC and the TSB, addressing marketing orientation and supply chain management. The KTP is now part of an ongoing Impact Case Study. Nick has also co-led projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund to provide research advice to SMEs, and by the private sector to explore KAM practices. He has acted as a rapporteur for the ESRC and been invited to present his work at ESRC seminars.

Drawing upon over 20 years of pedagogic experience, Nick’s teaching has been consistently rated highly across a variety of topics and levels by students and peers; and recognized in global rankings. In 2018 in the Financial Times’s ‘Top MBAs in selected categories’ Durham was rated 10th globally and 1st in the UK for Marketing (a module which he delivers across the MBA suite). Nick has successfully supervised to completion eight Doctoral students, and been invited to act as Examiner for a further ten candidates.

Nick has made a significant managerial/service contribution throughout his career via a series of administrative responsibilities. He is currently Director of Masters in Management Programmes. His previous roles since joining the University in 2011 have included: Head of Department of Marketing when the Dept. was ranked 40th in the world and 4th in the UK based on citation metrics (Soutar et al. 2015); Deputy Head of Dept. of Management & Marketing; and PhD Programme Director when he also led the ESRC-funded DTP. 

Prior to joining Durham, Nick was Senior Lecturer in Critical Marketing at the University of Leicester. He also worked at the University of Derby where he combined his academic role with responsibilities for HE-business liaison. He has a PhD in Industrial Marketing (Lancaster), an MSc in Marketing Management (Nottingham Trent), and the CIM Diploma. Nick's first degree was in Civil Engineering (Surrey) where he specialised in management studies. He put his training into practice during the 1980s and 90s with the HMV retail group, working in sales, marketing and purchasing of music, movie and other lifestyle products. He thus brings experience of both B2B and B2C contexts to his research and teaching.

Mini Biography

Nick’s research focuses primarily on the discursive construction of managerial and professional identities in inter-organizational relationships and B2B marketing contexts. His publications embrace marketing and organization studies, with world-leading and internationally excellent papers in journals with high impact factors, e.g. Organization Studies, Human Relations, British Journal of Management, Industrial Marketing Management and Marketing Theory. Nick’s teaching has been consistently rated positively by students and peers; and recognized in global rankings. He has also held a series of major administrative responsibilities, including Head of Department roles.

Research Groups

Business School

Research Interests

  • Marketing management
  • B2B marketing & industrial networks
  • Professional services marketing
  • Critical marketing
  • Identity & boundary construction
  • Qualitative methods
  • Discourse analysis