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Sarah Hurlow

Professor Sarah Hurlow

Professor of Leadership Learning
Director of Executive Education

Cardiff Business School

+44 29208 75756
Aberconway Building, Room R30, 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. 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
  • Finding meaning in work by identifying 'impact'.

In January 2023, I became 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), tailor-made development solutions for clients and a range of learning opportunities for individuals in the workplace and local community.

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.

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 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.




  • Hurlow, S. 2019. Coaching as identity work. Presented at: Academy of Management Learning and Education Paper Development Workshop., Bath, UK, 8 April 2019.









  • 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.







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


Teaching commitments

  • MBA: Leadership Development Programme



  • 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)