Staff profile

Professor Carley Foster

Professor of Services Marketing, Head of the Centre for Business Improvement

Carley Foster delivering a lecture


Business, Marketing


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Innovation and Research

Research centre

Centre for Business Improvement




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am Professor of Services Marketing and Head of the Centre for Business Improvement. My research, teaching and consultancy focuses on services marketing, particularly in terms of how organisations and customers engage with one another in a 'responsible' way. As Head of the Centre for Business Improvement, I am responsible for leading applied research in the College which relates to three research strands - Enterprise Evaluation and Applied Economics, Sustainable Business and the Green Economy, and Responsible Customer Engagement. I co-lead the Business and Management REF Unit of Assessment. I am a committee member for the British Academy of Management Marketing and Retail Special Interest Group and a Board Member of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District in Derby and Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire.

Teaching responsibilities

I have successfully supervised and continue to supervise doctoral research students (PhDs and Professional Doctorates) in the areas of marketing and retail. I currently have 15 completions and I am a Director of Studies for doctoral students at the University of Derby and Nottingham Trent University and previously, Grenoble School of Management. I have also chaired vivas and examined internal and external doctorates. Prior to my role at Derby, I was the Programme Director for the DBA at Nottingham Trent University, one of the longest-running DBA courses in the UK. I lead and deliver the Designing Research Projects module for the DBA in Derby Business School and run training sessions, such as how to publish, for all Derby PhD students. I have been an external examiner for Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Surrey and the University of Lincoln.

Professional interests

Prior to my academic career, I was an assistant buyer at Boots. I gained my PhD in 2003 which explored staff and customer diversity issues in retailing. I have then had a number of academic roles, including ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Senior Lecturer, Reader in Retail Management and Programme Director for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) at Nottingham Trent University.

Research interests

My work has a number of research strands:

In addition, I am currently involved in a project looking at pop-ups/temporary retail space and the role this has in regenerating local communities and high streets. This has been partly funded by the Academy of Marketing.

As an experienced doctoral supervisor and course leader, I am also conducting teaching related research concerned with the management of professional doctorates and PGR student experiences, particularly in relation to the DBA. In 2016, this work won the Best Developmental paper in the Knowledge and Learning track at the British Academy of Management.

I review for various journals and conferences, these include: Journal of Marketing Management, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, European Journal of Marketing, Qualitative Market Research, EURAM, BAM, EAERCD. I am the Guest Editor for the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management Special Issue - Post-Covid Retail Recovery, due 2022.

Membership of professional bodies

I am a committee member (Secretary) for the Marketing and Retail Special Interest Group at the British Academy of Management and have been an Academic Panel Member for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (Midlands).  I am a committee member for CERR (Colloquium on European Research in Retailing) and a Board Member of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District in Derby and Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire.


Recent conferences

My research has been presented at a number of conferences including the British Academy of Management, the Academy of Marketing, EIRASS, ISBE, EAERCD and Gender, Work and Organization. A full list of my conference papers can be found on UDORA.

Selected papers include:

Brindley, C., Foster, C., Oxborrow, L. and Armannsdottir, G. 'Co-creating value in independent retail: are pop-ups the solution to post-Covid retail recovery?', BAM conference, online, 2021.

Collins, C., Foster, C., Kirk, S., Parry, E and Dinauer, L. ‘Improving lives by creating impact through Professional Management Doctoral research’, Professional Development Workshop, Academy of Management, Chicago, August 2018.

Kirk, S., Foster, C., Kougiannou, K., Collins, C., Hiller, L., Parry, E., and Pilbeam, C., ‘Identity construction in the DBA doctoral journey’, 5th International Conference on Professional Doctorates, London, March 2018.

Foster, C., Brindley, C., Armansdottir, G. and Ghosh, B. Value co-creation in temporary, independent retailing: a study of customer value perceptions of pop-up stores, Academy of Marketing Conference (AM2017), Hull University Business School, 3-6 July 2017.

Foster, C., Brindley, C., Oxborrow, L. and Armansdottir, G. The role of value co-creation in SME pop-up retail space: a supply-side relational stakeholder perspective, 19th European Association for Education and Research in Commercial Distribution, Dublin, Ireland, 4-6th July 2017.

Foster, C. & Kirk, S. Professional Doctorate Curriculum Design: a resource-dependency analysis of DBA stakeholders. British Academy of Management, University of Newcastle, September 2016. This paper won Best Developmental paper in the Knowledge & Learning Track. 

Spry, L., Parker-Jenkins, M., Peart, S. and Foster, C. The Role of External Stakeholders in the Development of a Corporate Brand in Higher Education, AERA, Washington, USA, April 2016.

Foster, C., Kirk, S., Shipton, H., Zhang, M. and Kougiannou, K. An exploration of impact and engaged scholarship among DBA students, International Conference of Professional Doctorates, Belfast, March 2016.

Topimin, S., Brindley, C. and Foster, C. Government intervention in women’s entrepreneurship development: the Bumiputera craft industry, ISBE, Glasgow, November 2015.

Foster, C. and Brindley, C. Poetry in motion: creative networking in retail, BAM 2015, Portsmouth University, Portsmouth,  September 2015.

Spry, L., Foster, C. and Pich, C. The role of co-creation in corporate branding: the case of a Higher Education institution, 10th Global Brand Conference, Academy of Marketing, University of Turku, Finland. April 2015.

Armansdottir G., Brindley C., Foster C.& Wheatley D. Marketing women in Iceland: Challenges of establishing a company, ISBE Conference,   Manchester, November 2014.

Foster, C., Brindley, C. and Wheatley, D. Marketing career transitions: women marketers embedded in the profession? British Academy of Management, University of Ulster, Belfast, September 2014. This paper was shortlisted for the Best Developmental paper in the Marketing & Retail track.

Foster, C., Wheatley, D. and Brindley, C. Women in the marketing profession: an exploration. Gender, Work & Organization 8th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference, Keele University, UK, June 2014.

Abdelhadi, A., Foster, C. and Whysall, P. Arabic social and cultural influences on aberrant consumer behaviour: an exploratory study of Libyan marketers. Academy of Marketing, University of South Wales, Cardiff, July 2013. This paper won the Best Paper in the Retail Track.

Experience in industry

I have worked and continue to work with a number of large and small organisations in a research and consultancy capacity. This includes B&Q, WHSmith, Tesco, Boots, Virgin Trains as well as independent retailers, shopping centres and SME marketing service providers. I have also worked on funded research with PKF Cooper Parry, Rolls Royce and the CIPD. I have advised Derby City Council on their successful Future High Streets bid and given talks to practitioner audiences on the future of the high street at, for example, the Peak District Partnership, Destination Chesterfield and the Festival of Business. I was also the Academic Lead for a management KTP (2020-2022) with the Devonshire Group (Chatsworth House), part-funded by the ESRC, which examined the economic impact of their activities on the region.  

International experience

I have taught on a Certificate in Business Administration for the retailer Ecco in Boston, USA and delivered marketing ethics workshops to postgraduate students at Edhec, France. I have presented at a number of international conferences and supervised international doctoral students from, for example, China, Canada, Libya, Oman, Ireland, Japan and Zimbabwe.

Additional interests and activities

My externally funded projects include:

Innovate UK KTP (part-funded by the ESRC) with Chatsworth House Trust - Economic evaluation of the Devonshire Group's activities - £140k - 2020 -2022

The Society for the Advancement of Management Studies - Using visual methods in qualitative research - £3,800 - 2019

Innovate UK KTP with PKF Cooper Parry - Developing new markets using digital technologies - £30k - 2017/18

Academy of Marketing - Co-creation in temporary, independent retailing - £5k - 2016/17

Santander - Internationalising the DBA curriculum - £5k - 2016

The Society for the Advancement of Management Studies - The realities of researching under-represented groups (2nd workshop) - £3.3k - 2013

The Society for the Advancement of Management Studies - The realities of researching under-represented groups (1st workshop) - £3k - 2011

Academy of Marketing - Women in marketing: an exploration - £2k - 2010

In the media

Here my views on pop-up retail recorded with Linney as part of their consumer insight series Pop-up Podcast

Recent publications

My research can be found in a range of journals including the International Journal of Retail and Distribution ManagementJournal of Marketing Management, Services Industries JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management and HRMJ. A full list of my publications can be found on UDORA

Selected publications include:

Spry, L., Foster, C., Pich, C. and Peart, S. (2020) ‘Managing higher education brands with an emerging brand architecture: the role of shared values and competing brand identities’. Journal of Strategic Marketing, Vol. 28, No.4, pp.336-349. 

Cowling, M., Nadeem, S., Foster, C. and Baranova, P. (2020). 'Can local finance add value to local small business? Evidence from a UK local loan and grant fund'. International Review of Entrepreneurship, Vol.18, No. 1, pp. 1-27.

Hancock, C. and Foster, C. (2019) ‘Exploring the ZMET methodology in services marketing’, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 48-58.

Foster, C. and Brindley, C. (2018) ‘Female entrepreneurial networking in the marketing services sector’. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 21, No.2, pp.182-201.

Topimin, S., Brindley, C. and Foster, C. (2018) Women’s business survival and the institutionalization of entrepreneurial support in Malaysian handicraft industry. In: Shumaila Yousafzai, S., Lindgreen, A., Saeed, S., Henry, C. and  Fayolle, A., eds., Contextual Embeddedness of Women's Entrepreneurship: Going Beyond a Gender Neutral Approach. Oxon, Routledge, ch.15 , pp. 206-219.

Armannsdottir, G., Brindley, C., Foster, C., Wheatley, D. and Pich, C. (2016). An exploration of Icelandic marketing women entrepreneurs. In: Diaz C., Brush C., Gatewood E. & Welter F., eds.,  Women's Entrepreneurship in global and local contexts. Edward Elgar.

Abdelhadi, A, Foster, C. and Whysall, P. (2014) ‘An exploratory investigation of aberrant consumer behaviour in Libya: a sociocultural approach’. Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 30, No. 9-10, pp.857-873. This article was selected for the Editor’s Choice 2016 Collection.

Brindley, C., Foster, C. and Wheatley, D. (2014). Career transitions in marketing: from corporate life to self-employment. In: L. Kelly, ed., Entrepreneurial women: new management and leadership models. Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2014, ch. 5, pp. 121-138.

Lewis, J., Whysall, P. and Foster, C. (2014) ‘Drivers and technology-related obstacles in moving to multichannel retailing’. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.43-68.

Resnick, S, Foster, C. and Woodall, T. (2014) ‘Exploring the UK high street retail experience: is the service encounter still valued?’ International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42, No. 9, pp.839-859.

Tansley, C, Huang, J & Foster, C. (2013) ‘Identity ambiguity and the promises of hybrid e-HRM project teams’. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp.208-224.

Brindley, C., Foster, C. and Wheatley, D. (2013). Marketing women: a sector experience. In: D. Kariv, ed., Female entrepreneurship and the new venture creation: an international overview. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013, pp. 93-98.

Foster, C. and Resnick, S. (2013) ‘Service worker appearance and the retail service encounter: the influence of gender and age’. The Service Industries Journal,Vol. 33, No.1-2, pp.236-247.

Resnick, S., Cheng, R., Brindley, C. and Foster, C. (2011) ‘Aligning teaching and practice: a study of SME marketing’. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.37-46.

Foster, C. (2010) ‘Using scenarios to explore employee attitudes in retailing’, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 39 No.3, pp.218-228.

Foster, C, Punjaisri, K and Cheng, R. (2010) ‘Exploring the Relationship between corporate, internal and employer branding’, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 19 No.6, pp.401-409.

Busy three storey shopping centre decorated with a large Christmas tree

Professor Carley Foster, Head of the Centre for Business Improvement at the University of Derby, discusses the implications for the high street in the run up to Christmas and beyond.

A busy London street

Carley Foster, Professor of Services Marketing at the University of Derby, considers how our high street stores have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and what the retail offer of our town centres could be in a socially-distanced future.