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Professor Sarah Hurlow

Professor Sarah Hurlow

Professor of Leadership

Cardiff Business School

+44 (0)29 2087 5756
R30, Aberconway Building, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


I am Professor of Leadership Learning. My scholarship, teaching and consultancy focus on different approaches to facilitating leadership and team development.  This includes critical, relational and collective perspectives.

I am particularly interested in the theory and practice of coaching. My most recent publication is:

Hurlow, S. 2022. Revisiting the Relationship between coaching and learning: The problems and possibilities. Academy of Management Learning and Education 21(1), pp. 121-138.

I set up a team of coaches to support the professional development of participants on the Business School’s accredited professional programmes. I also provide individual and team coaching and run workshops to build coaching skills. Current coaching research projects include:

  • The role of coaching on formal accredited programmes
  • Identity coaching
  • The role of vulnerability in performance conversations

I have scoped, developed and facilitated numerous leadership and management programmes for a range of private and public sector organisations, as well as international clients. I have also led a range of organisational behaviour modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level.  Most recently, I developed and delivered the Leadership Development Programme that underpins the Business School’s flagship MBA.

I have held several leadership roles including Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes at Cardiff University where I was responsible for refreshing the Business School’s postgraduate portfolio and contributed to securing AMBA accreditation. The collaborative approach underpinning this work was recognized in a Cardiff University Celebrating Excellence Award for ‘Exceptional Enhancement of the Student Learning Experience’ in 2019. I served as Director of the Executive MBA and was a member of the School’s Shadow Management Board. I was also a member of the Steering Group for Academic Engagement that formed part of the University’s Education Portfolio for Change.

From January 2023 I will take up the role of Director of Executive Education in the Cardiff Business School.  This is an important vehicle for the School’s engagement with the post-experience community. It embraces credit bearing programmes (MBA full and part-time, MSc in Public Leadership and the Diploma in Health Care Planning) as well as short courses and tailor-made development solutions for clients.

My first degree in English Literature was from the University of London (Goldsmiths College). I gained a PGCE (FE) from Cardiff University, along with her PhD for which I won a best doctoral dissertation award from the Academy of Management. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). I have served as an elected member of the Council of the British Academy of Management (BAM), with a particular focus on the Management Knowledge and Education (MKE) portfolio and am currently a member of the BAM Special Interest Group on Post-Experience Education.



  • PhD, Cardiff: 'The Language of Leadership', a post structuralist study of leadership in local government
  • MBA: University of Glamorgan
  • PGCE(FE): Cardiff University
  • BA (Hons) English, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Honours and awards

2016 Best Developmental Paper ‘Leadership & Leadership Development’ Track, Annual British Academy of Management Conference, Newcastle, 6-8 September, Newcastle – jointly with Darren Caudle

2010   Best Doctoral Dissertation: Academy of Management (Critical Management Studies Division)

Professional memberships

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)





  • Hurlow, S. 2006. Visible leadership. Presented at: 5th International Studying Leadership Conference, Cranfield, UK, 4-6 December 2006.



  • Hurlow, S. 2004. Playing at/with leadership. Presented at: Studying Leadership 3rd International Conference: Leadership Refrains, Encounters, Conversations and Enchantments, Exeter, UK., 15-16 December 2004.




Teaching commitments

  • MBA: Leadership Development Programme

Research interests

  • The relationship between theories of learning and coaching practice
  • Coaching as a critical reflexive practice
  • The politics of coaching: how coaching is legitimised rhetorically; coaching as a disciplinary practice; coaching as a form of resistance
  • Coaching as identity work

PhD supervision research interests

  • Leadership development
  • Coaching
  • Poststructuralism


Research links