University of Essex

Academic Staff

Dr Diane Holt

Position in departmentPersonal Tutor, UG Admissions Selector
Staff positionProfessor in Management
Telephone01206 873305
RoomNew EBS Building, Room 3.33
Office hoursYou can find details of Academic office hours on the EBS UG and PG information page on Moodle or by calling EBS Student Services on 01206873911

Diane Holt (BSc, MSc, PhD) joined Essex Business School in November 2013. Previously she held posts at Queen’s University Belfast (2007-2013) and Middlesex University Business School (1996-2007). Previous duties have included designing and delivering a suite of postgraduate Masters programmes in the sustainability area whilst at Queen’s. She also spent 1.5 years seconded to Middlesex University's Dubai campus responsible for the roll out of the Business Programmes and she also held a role as Deputy Director of the campus.

She has published over 70 peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and conference papers in the areas such as green supply chain management, sustainability discourse, ecopreneuring, and the role of business in development.

She was the principal investigator on the ESRC funded Trickle Out Africa Project which considers the impact of social and environmental enterprises on poverty alleviation and sustainable development across the 19 countries of Southern and Eastern Africa. During 2011 and 2012 she spent 24 weeks on fieldwork in Kenya, Zambia and South Africa as part of this research project. The online Trickle Out Directory now lists over 4000 social purpose ventures. She has also held grants from the British Council, British Academy and the Nuffield Foundation, and has won over £600K of external funding since 2009.

She is currently leading the ESRC-NRF South Africa PhD partnering programme SASIE (2015-2018) on social innovation and social entrepreneurship in association with Universities of Wits, Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan. Recent awards also include a Newton Advanced Fellowship with Dr Silvia Pinheiro from Brazil on "Inclusion and formalization of Amazonian informal entrepreneurs into MNC value chains - mechanisms, partnerships and impacts" 


PhD. ‘The development and empirical testing of a pressure/response model of green supply chain management amongst a cross-sectoral sample of members of The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.’ Middlesex University, Business School (awarded April 2005). Supervised by Professor Abby Ghobadian (now University of Reading, Henley Management School)

MSc. Environmental Management & BSc. (Hons) Environmental Science (University of Stirling)

Current research
I am interested in supervising students looking to undertake PhDs in the following areas:
  • enterprise-based development initiatives for poverty alleviation
  • social and environmental enterprises in Africa
  • sustainability discourse in the public sphere; and
  • green and informal economy supply chains
Research interests

Please see my websites and online profiles for more information: 

Teaching responsibilities

Normally I am involved in BE422 Business and International Development and BE930 Business Research Methods and Skills 


Publications 2014 - present

Holt, D and Littlewood D. (2015) Waste Livelihoods through the lens of bricolage. Business Strategy and the Environment. On early view

Littlewood, D. and Holt, D. (2015) Social Entrepreneurship in South Africa: Exploring the Influence of Environment, Business and Society - on early view

Holt, D and Littlewood, D (2015). Identifying, Mapping and Monitoring the Impact of Hybrid Firms. California Management Review 57(3), pp.107-125

Holt, D. and Littlewood, D. (2015). The informal economy as a route to market in sub-Saharan Africa – observations amongst Kenyan informal economy entrepreneurs In S. Nwanko and K. Ibeh (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Business in Africa, Routledge 978-0-415-63545-5 pp. 198-217.

Littlewood, D. and Holt, D. (2015). Social and Environmental Enterprises in Africa: Context, Convergence and Characteristics. In Bitzner, V. Hamman, R., Hall, M., and Griffin EL, E.W., (Ed.) The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation, New Frontiers in Africa: pp. 27-48. Springer International Publishing ISBN : 978-3-319-04050-9.

Rivera-Santos, M., Holt, D., Littlewood, D. and Kolk, A. (2015). Social Entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Academy of Management Perspectives. 29(1), pp. 72-91

Kumar, V., Holt, D., Ghobadian, A., and Garza-Reyes, J. (2015). Developing Green Supply Chain Management Taxonomy Based Decision Support Systems. International Journal of Production Research, 53(21), pp. 6372-6389.

Barkemeyer, R., Holt, D., Preuss, L. and Tsang, (2014). What happened to the development in ‘sustainable development’? Sustainable Development, 22(1), pp. 15-32.

Hanson, J. and Holt, D. (2014). Sustainable food procurement in British and Irish zoos. British Food Journal 116(10), pp.1636-1651

Littlewood, D. and Holt, D. (2014). Addressing rural social exclusion in the developing world - exploring the role of African social purpose ventures. In C Henry and G. McElwee (eds.) Exploring Rural Enterprise: New Perspectives on research, policy and practice, Emerald Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research Series Volume IV, Emerald Publishing. ISSN: 2040-7246 pp. 105-131.

Selected Publications up to 2013

Barkemeyer, R., Figge, F., and Holt, D. (2013) Exploring sustainability-related media coverage and human development. Environment and Planning C, 31(4), pp. 716-740.

Barkemeyer, R., Figge, F., Hahn, T. and Holt, D. (2009), What the papers say – trends in sustainability, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Issue 33, Spring, pp. 69-86.

Barkemeyer, R., Holt, D., Figge, F. and Napolitano, G. (2010), Longitudinal and contextual analysis of media representation of business ethics, European Business Review, 22(4), pp. 377-396.

Holt, D. (2004), Managing the interface between suppliers and organisations for environmental responsibility – an exploration of current practices in the UK. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 11(2), pp. 71-84

Holt, D. (2011), The Longitudinal Evolution Of Environmental ‘Ecopreneurs’ From The 1990s: Mergers And Acquisitions and The Waste Management Industry. In Eweje, G & Perry, M (Eds), Business & Sustainability: Concepts, Strategies and Changes, Emerald Publishing pp. 101-120 ISBN: 978-1-78052-438-2

Holt, D. (2011), Where are they now? Tracking the longitudinal evolution of environmental businesses from the 1990s. Business Strategy and the Environment, 20(4), pp. 238-250

Holt, D. (2012), The Journey of a ‘Green’ Micro-Enterprise –The Green Planet. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 19(2), pp. 90-101.

Holt, D. and Barkemeyer, R. (2012), Media coverage of sustainable development issues - attention cycles or punctuated equilibrium? Sustainable Development, 20(1), pp. 1-17.

Holt, D. and Ghobadian, A. (2009), Green Supply Chain Management Practices in UK manufacturers, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 20(7), pp. 933-956. [Highly Commended award from Emerald 2009]

Holt, D. and Watson, A. (2008), Exploring the dilemma of local sourcing versus international development – the case of the flower industry, Business Strategy and the Environment, 17(5), pp. 318 – 329.2008 [Citation of Excellence Award from Emerald]

Liu, J. Viney, H. and Holt, D (2004), Environmental Issues in China, European Business Journal, 16(2), pp. 69-69

Rao, P. and Holt, D. (2005), Do Green Supply Chains Lead to Competitiveness and Economic Performance? International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 25 (9) pp. 898-916



Diane has presented and contributed to more than 40 conference papers. Recent papers include:

Holt, D. and Littlewood, D. (2014). Reaching the underbanked and unbanked in subsistence markets at the nexus of the formal and informal economy. British Academy of Management Conference, Belfast 9-11th September

Holt, D. and Littlewood, D. (2014). Financial services for the poor within the formal/informal nexus in sub-Saharan Africa. Academy of Management Conference 2014 Philadelphia 1-5th Aug

Holt, D., Downey, H., and Murphy, J. (2013). Risking it all for research: Fieldwork in socially, physically & emotionally hostile environments . Developmental Paper. British Academy of Management Conference , Liverpool, 10-12th Sept 2013

Holt, D. and McCole, P (2013) Good vs Good? Tradeoffs in sustainability decision making – a consumer perspective Holt and McCole. Academy of Management Conference, Orlando Florida, 9-13th Aug 2011

Holt, D. and Littlewood, D. (2013). The Jua Kali and the Mali-Mali: The Informal/Formal Nexus amongst Kenyan Micro Enterprises . African Academy of Management Conference , Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan 7-10th

Holt, D., Littlewood, D, and Harrison, R. (2011), Defining social and environmental entrepreneurial activity at the individual, business model and concept level. Conference paper presented at 8th Annual NYU-Stern Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, New York 2-4th November

Additional information

Trickle Out Africa Project

Watch the public lecture on YouTube.

External Income Awarded (Total 2009-2016 =£600K+)

Newton Advanced Fellowship Brazil - Sept 2016 (3 years)
ESRC-NRF Newton Fund PhD Partnering Programme - November 2015

South African PhD Partnering Network for Inclusive Growth through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship - The SASIE Programme and Network in partnership with University of Witwatersrand (Wits), University of Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan.

British Council Researcher Links workshop - September 2014

Development through Enterprise - Inclusive and sustainable futures through entrepreneurial initiatives and cross-sector partnerships.

ESRC First Grants Scheme - Feb 2011- April 2013

Trickling Up? A study of eco/social enterprises in Southern and Eastern Africa and their role in sustainable development at the bottom of the pyramid.

British Academy Small Grant Scheme - April 2010

Consuming the environment: antecedents and consequences of interaction and engagement with the natural environment (In association with Dr P McCole)

Nuffield Small Grant - Oct 2009

What future for green small businesses? Tracking the longitudinal evolution of ecopreneurial businesses from the 1990’s

Recent Awards

  • 2014: Best full paper award in Sustainable and Responsible Business Track at British Academy of Management Conference, Belfast Sept
  • 2013: Best paper in Social Ethical and Environmental Business Track, ISBE conference, Cardiff November.
  • 2013: Finalist for Outstanding Academic Study in Development category, International Development Awards - All Party Group on International Development (winners announced at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Northern Ireland on May 23rd
  • 2009: Highly Commended (Emerald) Awarded to 4 papers each year within the J. Manufacturing Technology Management
  • 2008: Awarded Citation of Excellence by Emerald Management Reviews. Holt and Watson (2008).
  • Paper was selected as one of the top 50 from the 15,000 articles reviewed by peer evaluation panel members throughout 2008

Recent External Reviewer/ Examiner Positions

  • Member of British Council Social Science Grants Panel (2015- present)
  • Member of ESRC Peer Review College (from Nov 2012)
  • Held appointments as an External Examiner on PG or UG programmes at Nottingham University, Royal Holloway, Regents Business School, Salford Business School, and  Liverpool John Moores
  • PhD External examiner (Australia, France, UK)
  • External expert reviewer panel Foundation for Science and Technology Portugal (2012)
  • Guest reviewer Austrian Science Foundation (2009, 2011)

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