PhD Scholarship in Sustainable Corporate Governance (2020 Entry)
 Reference: 2003ERA_PH
 Length of Scholarships: up to 36 months, subject to satisfactory progression
 Programme PhD Strategy
School/Department Nottingham University Business School China
 Place:  1
 Closing Date:  15 May 2020


The available PhD scholarships cover:

  • Tuition fee
  • Monthly stipend (RMB4,500)
  • Medical insurance with designate providers
  • All above items are covered for up to 36 months based on satisfactory progression
  • All regulations set out in the UNNC PGR Scholarship Policy apply

In addition to the above scholarship, successful candidates also have the opportunity to carry out paid teaching (after complete Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) training) or research assistant duties at UNNC from second year.

Available PhD research areas:

The above scholarship is to support research projects outlined under the following theme: 

Title of the theme: The role of board and corporate governance in the long term performance and sustainability of firms

Well-designed governance structures with long-term and CSR components can contribute to firms’ competitiveness in the long run. Yet, majority of companies continue to focus on meeting short-term goals, even if doing so prevents the pursuit of long-term performance. This financial focus of corporations has had a significant negative impact on stakeholders, such as employees, society, and the environment. However, this is starting to change and top corporations are realizing the purpose of firms as being beyond that of pursuing economic short-term profits and that firms should become more long-term and stakeholder oriented. Also academically increasing evidence is accumulating that a long-term orientation of firms can benefit long-term competitive advantage (see for example Flammer & Bansal 2017; Ortiz & Bansal, 2016; Kramer & Porter, 2011). However there is still limited understanding how the nature of board, top management team and further aspects of corporate governance is linked to short-term or long-term orientation of firms. Furthermore, we have still limited understanding of this within the Chinese context. This PhD research will contribute to our understanding in these two areas. 

This project specifically focuses on the role of corporate governance in facilitating a long-term and stakeholder oriented purpose of the corporation. We examine how board of directors affect the firm’s purpose and orientation to long-term plans and stakeholder value. First, we focus on developing a model on the role of board and corporate governance in long-term performance and sustainability of firms. We posit that firms vary in their investment horizon (long-term vs short-term), objectives (economic vs social), and governance activity (active vs passive) and delve to understand factors affecting the governance of the firm for the societal purpose. 

We further focus on the Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and privately-owned enterprises (POEs) long-term orientation. We posit that SOEs will inherently be long-term oriented, because the owners are the government and objectives, investment horizon, and governance activity will be different from that of more market oriented societies. While POEs will also be influenced by the Chinese context, e.g. government as key stakeholder, they will also perceive more significant (international) market/investor influence that will affect their long-term orientation. Therefore we examine how the China context will impact the purposefulness and nature of long term orientation of corporations. 

This research is an emerging area with strong implications on the well-being of the society as well as China. As firms are moving towards a more purposeful objective of the firm, there is a strong need to better understand how corporate governance and country context facilitates this move. Through this project we aim to have a better understanding of the tension between shareholders and stakeholders objectives as well as short-term vs long-term implications. 

Informal inquiries may be addressed to Dr. Peter Hofman ( or Dr. Young Un Kim ( but formal applications should follow the instructions in ‘How to apply’ section Please specify 2003ERA_PH as scholarship reference code when submitting application. 

PhD programme structure

PhD programmes at the UNNC are composed of 3 years research and submission is expected within 3 years for full-time students. PhD supervision is undertaken jointly by academics from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) and the University of Nottingham UK (UNUK). On successful completion, students will be awarded the University of Nottingham PhD degree, and no reference will be made on the degree certificate as to where the degree has been completed. The University of Nottingham PhD degree will be accredited by the Chinese Ministry of Education.


  • Applicants must have a first class honours undergraduate degree or 65% and above for a Masters’ degree from a British university, or the equivalent from other institutions.
  • Applicants must meet the required English language proficiency for the relevant subject area. IELTS 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all elements) or its equivalent is required for Faculty of Science and Engineering (FoSE) scholarship applicants.
  • More details can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ page of the website.

How to apply

No separate application is required for applying for a scholarship but please make sure you quote the scholarship reference number in your PhD application form. It normally takes 7-8 weeks for a final decision to be made after the closing date.  List of required documents can be found on the ‘how to apply’ page.