Professor Michael Fischer - Nat Peter Faber Business School (Faculty of Law and Business)

Fully accredited supervisor - Can supervise as principal supervisor


Michael D Fischer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership, Visiting Scholar at University of Oxford where he was previously a senior research fellow, and a Program Director at Melbourne Business School. He holds a PhD in organisational behaviour from Imperial College London, University of London.

Trained as a business school social scientist and clinical group analyst, his research has a strong empirical focus on the practice-level microsociology of organisational change in research-intensive settings, especially in healthcare.A He specialises in ethnographic and comparative case studies, analysing intersubjective relations, emotions and power, and their potential to mobilise organisational change.A He has a particular interest in executive education and the role of business schools in a rapidly developing knowledge economy.

His research is published in leading international journals in the Financial Times 'top 50', ABDC A* and CABS 4* lists, including Accounting Organizations and Society, Human Relations, Organization Studies, Public Administration, and Social Science and Medicine.A He has led major competitive research grants as principal and co-investigator, including funding by the National Institute of Health Research, the University of Oxford and Kings College London.A

He is a highly active researcher with a strong focus on practice-level processes of organisational change, especially in research-intensive settings. His research draws on sociomaterial perspectives to analyse dynamics of influence and change in complex organisations. By focusing on the 'backstage' work of everyday emotions, affect and politics, he analyses their effects in mobilising ideas, material practices and technologies that can dynamically stimulate major organisational change.

In his original ethnographic research at Imperial College London, he examined a UK healthcare policy from inception to implementation and subsequent collapse. Its formal risk management systems had unintended consequences on organisational life, undermining organisational functioning and leading to policy collapse. He later investigated the impact of professional regulation on healthcare professionals, analysing how embedded practices of self-regulation may be undermined by regulatory transparency, performance metrics and sanctions. His research highlights the role of supportive 'formative spaces' and forms of self-regulation which can be more effective in supporting good practice.

In a related second research theme, he examines how micro-sociological dynamics operate in knowledge leadership. His leadership research provides an in-depth analysis of how leaders interpret and 're-assemble' ideas, techniques and materials, and utilise these in their leadership practices.A Through a series of longitudinal case studies focused on research-intensive settings,A he has analysed how the most effective leadership practices assemble and mobilise organisational change.A In his research at the University of Oxford, he analysed at first hand flagship leadership programmes at Sa??d Business School - its High Performance Leadership and Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme.

His international career in public services focuses mainly in the healthcare sector where he has held senior clinical, managerial and policy adviser roles. Before joining academia, Michael had an accomplished career as a Lead Consultant Psychotherapist in leading teaching hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool and London, most recently at St Thomas' Hospital, London. He is a noted expert in the group and intersubjective relations that influence contemporary organisations and can powerfully mobilise organisational change.

For further details of his work, please see:


Phone :8314 (Melbourne)
URIs :

Research Interests

healthcare management ; knowledge mobilisation ; Organisational Change ; leadership development ; research-intensive organisations ;

Methods Expertise

Ethnography ; comparative case studies ; Qualitative Research ; psychoanalysis ; Grounded Theory ;

Research Projects

No research project is currently recorded.

Selected Publications


A global call for action to include gender in research impact assessment, in Health Research Policy and Systems

Knowledge leadership: Mobilising management research by becoming the knowledge object, in Human Relations

Affective overflows in clinical riskwork, in In Power, M. (ed) Riskwork: Essays on the organizational life of risk management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Epistemic fit and the mobilization of management knowledge in healthcare, in In Swan, J. Nicolini, D. & Newell, S. (eds) Mobilizing knowledge in healthcare: Challenges for management and organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The political economy of management knowledge: Management texts in English health care organizations, in International Journal of Public Administration (online version)


Resisting hybridisation between modes of clinical risk management: Contradiction, contest, and the production of intractable conflict, in Accounting, Organizations and Society

The creation and survival of an Academic Health Science organization: Counter-colonization through a new organizational form? , in Sa??d Business School Working Paper Series, WP 2013-26, University of Oxford, September 2013.


Organizational turbulence, trouble and trauma: Theorising the collapse of a mental health setting., in Organization Studies

Reactivity and reactions to regulatory transparency in medicine, psychotherapy and counselling, in Social Science & Medicine