Professor Oliver Mallett

Professor of Entrepreneurship

Management, Work and Organisation Cottrell Building

Professor Oliver Mallett

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About me

About me

I joined Stirling Management School in 2018 having previously worked at Durham University Business School and Newcastle University Business School. My research focuses on the sociology of entrepreneurship, principally in terms of the experience of self-employment and employment relationships in small firms. I also research the context for this activity in terms of enterprise policy and business support.

Prior to joining academia, I spent nearly 10 years working as a civil servant for the UK Department for Work and Pensions.

I am currently the Associate Dean of Research for Stirling Management School.


I have researched and written extensively on employment relationships in small and medium-sized enterprises, for example producing a book published by Routledge, Managing Human Resources in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Entrepreneurship and the Employment Relationship. This book has been described as 'a thoughtful, engagingly-written and compelling analysis of the importance of people to small firms and entrepreneurship'.

My research has explored identity challenges at work, for example in relation to the potential difficulties faced by older entrepreneurs marginalised and excluded by dominant conceptions of entrepreneurial legitimacy.

I am also interested in government policy and other forms of influence on small businesses and their owner-managers. As part of this research agenda I have studied the impacts of regulation on smaller businesses, including a project funded by the UK government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. I also conducted a research project examining the interactions of formal and informal business support that was funded by the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

My research on enterprise policy produced a book published by Routledge, A History of Enterprise Policy: Government, Small Business and Entrepreneurship. This book examines the history of UK government policy relating to small businesses and entrepreneurship over the past one hundred years. It has been described as 'a fascinating insight into the evolution of enterprise policy'.

This was followed by a monograph (also published by Routledge) titled Small Business, Big Government and the Origins of Enterprise Policy. This book examines the emergence of UK enterprise policy through a detailed, archival analysis of the Committee of Inquiry on Small Firms (the Bolton Committee), its report and recommendations. The analysis provides new insights into the birth of enterprise policy in the UK as well as the wider changes in political economy that saw powerful tensions between free market rhetoric and new forms of interventionism in practice.

I am currently collaborating on a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council that is exploring the experiences of homeworking under crisis. More detail on this project can be found here:

Outputs (40)


Book Chapter

Marks A, Mallett O & Skountridaki L (2024) The increasing burden of work. In: Proctor S (ed.) A Research Agenda for Work and Employment.

Book Chapter

Meliou E & Mallett O (2024) Age, gender and precarity: the experience of late career self-employment. In: Diversity and Precarious Work During Socio-Economic Upheaval. Cambridge.

Research Report

Wapshott R & Mallett O (2022) Bolton 50 Years On: What We Can Learn from a Landmark Study of Small Businesses. Enterprise Research Centre. ERC Insight Paper. Coventry.

Book Chapter

Wapshot R & Mallett O (2021) HRM in small- and medium-sized enterprises. In: Wilkinson AJ & Dundon T (eds.) Contemporary Human Resource Management: Text and Cases. 6th ed. London: SAGE, pp. 469-485.


Wapshott R & Mallett O (2021) Small Business, Big Government and the Origins of Enterprise Policy. Routledge Focus on Business and Management. New York: Routledge.

Book Review

Mallett O (2021) A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship Policy. Review of:
ed. by David Smallbone, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2020, 224pp. ISBN: 978 1 78643 093 9. International Small Business Journal.

Authored Book

Mallett O & Wapshott R (2020) A History of Enterprise Policy: Government, Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Routledge Studies in Entrepreneurship. New York: Routledge.

Book Chapter

Mallett O (2019) Business support as regulatory context: exploring the enterprise industry. In: Higgins D, Jones P & McGowan P (eds.) Creating Entrepreneurial Space: Talking through multi voices, reflections on emerging debates Vol: 9, Part B. Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, 9B. Bingley: Emerald, pp. 95-114.

Book Chapter

Slutskaya N, Mallett O & Borgerson J (2018) Cruel optimism: the stories of entrepreneurial attachments. In: Fayolle A, Ramoglou S, Karatas-Ozkan M & Nicolopoulou K (eds.) Philosophical Reflexivity and Entrepreneurship Research. Routledge Rethinking Enterpreneurship Research. London: Routledge, pp. 122-135.

Technical Report

Diamond A, Vorley T, Mallett O, Higton J, Spong S, Corley A & Mulla I (2017) The Community Business Market in 2017. Power to Change. London.

Book Review

Mallett O (2016) Identity as a category of theory and practice. Review of: Moran, M. (2014) Identity and capitalism. London: Sage. (PB, pp.208, £26.00, ISBN: 9781446249758). Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 16 (3), pp. 161-169.

Book Chapter

Wapshott R, Mallett O & Spicer D (2014) Exploring Change in Small Firms' HRM Practices. In: Machado C & Davim J (eds.) Work Organization and Human Resource Management. Management and Industrial Engineering. Management and Industrial Engineering. London: Springer International Publishing, pp. 73-92.



My research-led, practice-oriented teaching seeks to enthuse and inspire students, drawing on my own passion for the study of entrepreneurship. I encourage further, inquiry-based learning to develop understanding as well as creativity and critical thinking. Students are encouraged to question underlying assumptions, both in terms of the academic work they read but also in the application of theory to practice. This supports the exploration of contemporary academic and practitioner debates, developing and disputing arguments in terms of both theory and practice.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.