Dr Paul Kelly

EBS - Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management
Dr Paul Kelly
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873305

  • Location

    EBS.3.33, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Office Hours Mondays 12pm to 1.30pm Tuesdays 1pm to 2.30pm Room EBS 3.33



Dr Paul R Kelly specialises in the socio-digital wiring, innovations, gaps, silences and inequalities associated with contemporary information systems, and circulations of digital data and expert knowledge. He focuses on data and knowledge management, impact evaluation and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), in areas such as global development, non-government organisations (NGOs), and organisations in other sectors more generally. Paul has published at top tier journals and conferences such as the Information Systems Journal (ISJ), Organisation Studies (OS), the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), and the European Group for Organisation Studies Conference (EGOS). He obtained his PhD at the UK Research Council funded HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training at Lancaster University in 2019. His doctoral thesis looked at how data, knowledge, power, politics and participation are mutually entangled in globally distributed development sector impact evaluation practices. Paul’s has over 20 years’ experience in the development sector and the education sector. He has worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the British Council, and universities in the UK, Australia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. He has also collaborated with non-government and not-for-profit organisations who work in various countries, including Laos, Thailand, UK, Nigeria, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda. In the 2000s, Paul managed enterprise wide technology projects and services for e-learning and web communications at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). More recently, he has researched participatory governance and helped set up a knowledge platform for Australian aid programs to Papua New Guinea, with the Institute for Human Security and Social Change (IHSSC) at La Trobe University. In late 2019, Paul joined the Organisation Studies and Human Resources Management Group (OSHRM), at the University of Essex Business School in the UK, as a lecturer in organisation studies.


  • PhD Digital Innovation (Interdisciplinary across Management, Design & Computing) Lancaster University, (2019)

  • Master of Research Digital Innovation Lancaster University, (2013)

  • Master of Information and Communication Technologies in Education Institute of Education, University College London, (2002)


Other academic

  • Honourary Associate, Institute for Human Security and Social Change, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, La Trobe University (28/10/2019 - 28/10/2023)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Organisation Studies

Especially "socio-technical" or "socio-digital" innovations and everyday work / mundane practices in global development and higher education.

Open to supervise

Information Systems

In my research, I try to make sense of how social factors and digital technologies become intertwined in boring everyday computer mediated work, digital innovations, and networked information systems practices. This leads me into areas such as "socio-technical" analysis, "sociomateriality", and the less defined but more flexible domain of "socio-digital" configurations.

Open to supervise

Impact and Evaluation

Impact evaluation approaches, methods, assumptions, results, silences, power dynamics, and inequalities related to how we frame impact, how we practice evaluations, and who gets included in saying and consuming what impacts can or can't be.

Open to supervise

Global Development

I am particularly interested in what I call, following others but expanding the notion, "development 2.0". This is the digitisation of global development, and relates to areas such as Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and Knowledge Management for Development (KM4D). I take a critical approach and explore what such critiques do in the wilds of development practice. I often work with NGOs in different international contexts on this work.

Key words: ICT4D, KM4D, Digital Change
Open to supervise

Approaches to "Power" and "Practice" for research and engagement

I am interested in organisational power and practice, drawing on approaches to practice (e.g. Activity Theory, Actor Networks), and approaches to power (e.g. expertise, governmentality, developmentality and datamentality)

Key words: Cultural Historical Activity Theory
Open to supervise

Current research

Building critical yet accessible frameworks for responding to power relations in Information Systems, using approaches to social & organisational practice

Impact products, processes and the "impact iceberg" in global development networks

Data/knowledge management, inclusion, and supply chains in diverse organisational contexts

Digital change, inequalities, and wellbeing in higher education organisations

Conferences and presentations

Using CHAT & Supply Chain Theory (SCT) to understand the flow and mediation of intangible assets and processes in Global Value Chains (GVCs)

European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2023, European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2023, Kristiansand, Norway, 12/6/2023

Using good ole supply chains to disentangle power, data and knowledge production in a post-truth era

Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) Seminar Series, Essex Business School, Colchester, United Kingdom, 22/4/2020

Where is power in information systems research? Towards a framework

International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), San Francisco, United States, 14/12/2018

Open Access publishing and the knowledge supply chain

Open Access Events Week, Melbourne, Australia, 23/10/2018

Cultivating a participatory approach to governance in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea Update Conference, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 15/6/2018

New ways of organising in collaborative knowledge sharing: examining the effects of power

Colloquium of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Tallinn, Estonia, 6/6/2018

Impact knowledge supply chains and activity theory: A story of power, knowledge, a philanthropy and a small NGO

Colloquium of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS),, Naples, Italy, 9/7/2016

Using activity theory to understand the design patterns visible in circulations of knowledge and data in the 3rd sector

Invited presentation, Centre for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE), Helsinki, Finland, 23/4/2016

Quick and Dirty M&E: co-designing and co-evolving for engaged impact

Youth | Participation | Impact Conference, Manchester, United Kingdom, 3/9/2015

Evaluating impact, or the impact of evaluations? NGOs, donors and ontological politics in an activity theory study of power dynamics in international development

Colloquium of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Athens, Greece, 3/7/2015

CHAT & Governmentality: The uniform in the management and activities of migrant workers

European Group for Organisation Studies Conference (EGOS), Rotterdam, Netherlands, 4/7/2014

The Dimensions of Software Engineering Success

International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), Hyderabad, India, 3/6/2014

Performing Impact Assessment in the Development Sector: The Case of Imagine Foundation

Latin American and European Management and Organisation Studies Group (LAEMOS), Havana, Cuba, 3/4/2014

Impact Assessment in the Development Sector and Sociomaterial Rankings

Invited presentation, London, United Kingdom, 4/3/2014

Altrubox – Taming Altruism: a digital platform for taming altruism through social networks

Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education C-Care Conference, Stanford, United States, 13/12/2013


Invited presentation, BBC Innovation and Sustainability Seminar, London, United Kingdom, 10/3/2013

An Arts Centre Goes Digital: What large organisations can learn from an SME

Lancaster Sociology Conference, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 8/1/2013

Web Triangles - A College, IT Team & Communications Unit's Views on a Successful Web CMS Project

SunGard Middle East User Group Conference (SMEUG), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 16/12/2008

Web Content Management: Tools & Ecologies

SunGard Middle East User Group Conference (SMEUG), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13/12/2006

Media, Education and Multimodality

Keynote presentation, UAE University Professional Development Conference, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 10/6/2006

“Implications for Blended Learning from an Evaluation of Student Approaches to Learning and Studying

Fourth European Conference on e-Learning, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 10/11/2005

Digital Video for Delivering Curricula Content

TESOL Arabia Conference, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 20/6/2004

Widening Access & Success: eAccess and eSuccess Projects

Forum for the Advancement of Continuing Education (FACE) Conference, Stirling, United Kingdom, 3/7/2003

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Leadership in Organisations (BE420)

  • Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (BE467)

  • Leading Change (BE493)

  • Understanding Organisational Management (BE707)


Journal articles (2)

Hayes, N., Introna, LD. and Kelly, P., (2018). Institutionalizing Inequality: Calculative Practices and Regimes of Inequality in International Development. Organization Studies. 39 (9), 1203-1226

Kelly, PR., (2018). An activity theory study of data, knowledge, and power in the design of an international development NGO impact evaluation. Information Systems Journal. 28 (3), 465-488

Conferences (2)

Simeonova, B., Karanasios, S., Galliers, RD., Kelly, PR. and Mishra, J., (2018). Where is power in information systems research? Towards a framework

Ralph, P. and Kelly, P., (2014). The dimensions of software engineering success

Other (2)

Kelly, P., Using good ole supply chains to disentangle power, data and knowledge production in a post-truth era

Kelly, P., (2015).Our need to talk about power & knowledge in evaluation & policy cultures. Politics & Ideas - a thinknet,

+44 (0) 1206 873305


EBS.3.33, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Office Hours Mondays 12pm to 1.30pm Tuesdays 1pm to 2.30pm Room EBS 3.33