PhD candidates

Gayathri Wickramasinghe

Gaya, who has completed a Bachelor of Arts & a Master's degree, joined the PhD program at UniSA Business School (Management) in 2016 and is currently working under the supervision of Dr Ruchi Sinha & Dr Chia-Yen (Chad) Chiu. Her research interests revolve around understanding how individuals negotiate power/ status positions in informal hierarchies, particularly in teams working in the healthcare sector. Given the current trend for flatter organisational structures and the popular belief that the inclusion of a lot of experts in a team would enhance the productivity as well as the prominence of the team, Gaya's dissertation titled, "How high power individuals deal with high-status individuals in teams: the role of dominance versus deference" explores how team members with varying bases of power (expertise versus relational competence) negotiate power expressions in the presence of shifting power hierarchies.

Belinda Arch

Tough moves and soft turns: Managing employee behaviour with emotional displays (Supervisors: Professor Carol KulikDr Sanjee Perera)

Belinda Arch has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (UniSA) and is interested in the ways people communicate. In her first research project, she interviewed employees about how they told their bosses they were going to quit – and how their bosses reacted to the news. That experience showed her that communication between managers and employees is particularly challenging. Since joining CHRM as a PhD student, Belinda has been learning more about gender differences in communication. She notes ‘It’s not an even playing field: What works for men can seriously backfire for women.’

Belinda is currently preparing her PhD proposal entitled ‘Tough moves and soft turns: Managing employee behaviour with emotional displays’ under the supervision of Prof Carol Kulik, Dr Sanjee Perera and Dr Sukhbir Sandhu. Her proposed research will investigate the consequences that result when male and female leaders display strong emotions (e.g., anger or sadness) in the workplace. Effective managers use these emotions to get their points across and stimulate action in the workplace. But the research suggests that when female managers display strong emotions (especially anger), they contradict gender norms and risk damaging their reputations. Belinda aims to understand how female leaders can use emotions more effectively, to motivate their subordinates and advance their careers.

Prajit Deb

Strength of HRM: Measuring the missing link between HRM policies and their effectiveness (Supervisors: Professor Cheri OstroffDr Yoshio YanadoriDr Shruti Sardeshmukh)

Prajit Deb’s previous studies include a Bachelor in Business, an MBA and a Bachelor of Management (Honours), all at UniSA. Prajit is currently finalising his PhD proposal for his panel presentation in early 2016.

Previously, Prajit worked full time for over ten years in organisations in various managerial positions and noticed gaps that exist between the organisation’s implemented HR practices, as seen by the leaders, and how they are differently interpreted by employees which can lead to mismatched behaviour and subsequently sub-par results. Prajit’s honours year research experience highlighted this extant gap within the literature as well.

Prajit’s PhD study focusses on the factors that help reduce gaps between leaders and employees so they are on the same page in how they interpret the HR practices. On the part of the leader, gaps should be reduced when leaders foster trust among employees, are visible and clear in implementing the practices, provide employees with opportunities to voice and make suggestions, and have similar values to those of employees. From the employee perspective factors such as group cohesion, the degree of trust in their leaders and feedback seeking behaviour will be examined. The HR function can help reduce gaps by implementing HR practices in a way that makes them highly salient and visible to leaders and employees. The results of the study should provide insights in how to reduce these gaps to maximise organisational effectiveness.

Azmiri Mian

Indigenous business networks: A social exchange and social capital analysis (Supervisors: Professor Carol KulikProfessor Anthony McDonnell)

Azmiri Mian has over 18 years of experience in human services, both in government and non-government agencies in disability employment, aged care quality and compliance and Indigenous health sectors. She has worked in policy development, strategic management and human resource management capacities. Her last position was working in Aboriginal Health and developing the agency’s Indigenous health programs. With a limited Indigenous workforce there were some complexities in achieving organisational goals, and many questions unanswered. Hence the PhD. Her research area is in social exchange processes in organisational networks in a large Indigenous organisation. The study has the potential to develop a cross-cultural research program to address key issues in developing and retaining a globalised workforce by understanding why social networks develop, and how they can be exploited to increase organisational outcomes. Azmiri has worked in various projects, such as barriers to employment for people with disabilities, the importance of cultural festivals for Indigenous Peoples’ well-being, as well as looking at how quality management systems and practice standards are not often aligned and creates issues in organisational sustainability. As a qualified social worker, Azmiri still keeps close to her professional roots. She has a Bachelor and Master in Social Work, and a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology). Azmiri has developed a commitment to Indigenous health, education and employment. She is dedicated to educating others to learn and be involved in Indigenous life and economic outcomes.



Ehsan Nikookar

Modelling and Improving Supply Chain Resilience (Supervisors: Dr Yoshio YanadoriProfessor Susan Freeman; Advisor: Professor Cheri Ostroff; Associate Supervisor: Dr Andreas Wieland)

Ehsan Nikookar is a doctoral student and active member of the Centre for Workplace Excellence (CWeX).

Ehsan’s professional and academic background is in strategic management and supply chain management. He came to UniSA’s PhD program and joined the CWeX family after three and half delightful years studying and conducting research in Finland and Germany. The outputs of his research have already been published in the leading journals and conference proceedings in supply chain management.

His current academic interests lie at the intersection of supply chain management, organisational behaviour and strategic management. He commenced his academic journey at the UniSA Business School in 2015 with a great passion for solving the supply chain disruption and resilience challenges. To this end, his current industrial-oriented research project seeks to build a bridge between supply chain resilience and individual-level factors inspired from organisational behaviour literature. 

Ehsan has an extensive career history with some of the best-known companies in the manufacturing sectors. Prior to academia, Ehsan worked in car and steel manufacturing companies, where his duties included developing, implementing, and monitoring strategic plans and policies to achieve organisational goals and objectives.


Ruth Sims

Followership is the focus of Ruth’s PhD research.While leadership research has described what good leadership looks like and how leadership influences organisational outcomes there has been less attention given to followers. However, followers exercising effective followership may also influence organisational outcomes. Professor Ingrid Fulmer, Dr Sanjee Perera are supervising Ruth’s studies.

Ruth’s previous professional experience is in management, communication, and organisational development within the higher education sector with postgraduate studies across leadership and organisational development and human resources management. She holds a Masters Degree in Educational Management.

Ruth is an active member of the Australian Human Resources Institute and is currently an AHRI State Councillor. 


Vidya Vishnu

Vidya has completed an MBA with specialisation in Human Resource Management and Marketing and holds a Bachelor’s degree in commerce (B.Com, specialisation in Taxation) from Mahatma Gandhi University, India. Having worked as an executive in the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and after a career break of 5 years, she recently joined the UniSA School of Management to pursue a PhD. Her area of interest is the organisational citizenship behaviour of migrant employees in the aged care sector. In particular, she is exploring the reasons for their behaviour and especially why they choose to leave the industry. Her research is supervised by Dr Gerry Treuren and Dr Mary Bambacas.


Kylie Jamieson

Kylie has just started her higher degree by research studies under the supervision of Professor Carol Kulik and Dr Ruchi Sinha.  Kylie’s research interests lie in gender equity and supporting women in the workplace post life/career changes.  Kylie is particularly interested in skill development in negotiation and improved self-confidence and self-efficacy through mentoring, sponsorship and coaching interventions.  Will these activities see more women leverage and negotiate family friendly workplace policies to retain them in the workplace?

Kylie has an MBA from UniSA where she participated in study tours in Denmark and China, growing her global management experience and networks around the world. Kylie has over 12 years’ experience as an operations and project manager leading and managing project and operational teams in large, corporate organisations in Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific and Europe.  Kylie has experience in outsourcing, vendor and relationship management and leading and facilitating organisational change initiatives by working with internal and external teams to create change.  Kylie is an IECL Level Two Certified Coach.

Outside of Kylie’s research studies she actively uses her coaching skills to support women in the workplace.


Affan Bokhari

Affan has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management (HRM) from Aston University (United Kingdom). He has over five years of experience working in HRM roles in multi-national and inter-governmental organisations. Affan is a member of an academic honour society (Beta Gamma Sigma-?GS) as well as an associate member of Europe’s largest association of human resource management professionals (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development -CIPD). Before joining the PhD program at UniSA, Affan was a full-time academic faculty at a national university where he taught management courses on Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour.

Affan’s research interests include leadership, power/status dynamics and team innovation. He is particularly interested in exploring how "Charismatic Leadership” can be a double-edged sword with two different and contradictory potentials for influencing team performance: 1) a positive potential of empowering followers through visioning and confidence creation and, 2) a negative potential of creating a Narcissistic/Machiavellian team climate with a low learning orientation. Affan’s research attempts to comprehensively discriminate the leader cognitions and behaviours that could give rise to these two potentials.

Most organisations implicitly or explicitly select and reward charismatic leadership style in their top management leaders. Affan’s research is extremely relevant for organisations as it attempts to identify the tipping point for when charismatic leadership is likely to become destructive and potentially harmful for follower development and organisational innovation. The findings from his PhD research study will help HR managers in several ways as it will provide evidence-based insights: a) to aid the development of personnel selection methods that screen leaders on the dark potential; b) to aid leader training, particularly on how leaders can balance the positive and negative potentials of charisma and c) on how charismatic leadership influences team innovation in organizations.

Affan’s PhD supervisory panel include Dr Ruchi Sinha (Principal Supervisor); Dr Chad Chiu (Co-Supervisor); Dr Deanne Den Hartog and Professor Jackie Coyle-Shapiro (Advisors).




Jill Gould

Trickle-down effect: The impact of senior women on organisational gender diversity (Supervisors: Professor Carol KulikDr Shruti Sardeshmukh)

Jill Gould has an MBA and a Master of Public Administration. In 2012, she won the UniSA Chancellor’s Award for her MBA studies. She has worked as a management and a project accountant in both the public and private sectors. Jill's research interests lie in workforce diversity, human resource management and organisational behaviour. She is particularly interested in understanding the barriers faced by women seeking senior organisational roles and providing recommendations to help organisations achieve organisation-wide gender diversity. Jill is will soon be submitting her dissertation, in which she investigated the impact of female representation at a senior organisational level on female representation at the level immediately below. 

Jill has written blogs that translate academic research into articles for human resource practitioners. She has also published in The Conversation, with her article selected for the 2015 The Conversation Yearbook. She consults for Catalyst, a US-based not for profit gender research organisation. Jill has presented her work in Australia and the US.

Beni Halvorson

Dr Beni Halvorsen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University’s School of Management. His research focuses on workforce diversity, migrant employees, turnover and retention, and organisation trust. Dr Halvorsen’s current projects revolve around migrant employees and turnover; the impact of diversity climate and climate for inclusiveness on employee engagement and organisations’ profit margins; and positive psychological climate and its impact on intra-organisational conflict.

Dr Halvorsen holds a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Political Science and Indonesian Language) from the University of Adelaide, Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, Masters of Human Resource Management, and a Ph.D. in Human Resource Management from CHRM; this thesis was nominated for the 2016 Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize.


Kateryna Kalysh 

Kateryna Kalysh completed a Masters by Research degree in the School of Management (CHRM) in August. Her study investigated the relationship between family friendly practices offered in 2004-06 and the proportion of women in management positions in 2011 in Australian organisations. Findings revealed that overall, family friendly practices had no impact on the proportion of women in management. However, family friendly practices had a positive impact on women in management in female-dominated organisations and in male-dominated industries. In contrast, family friendly practices had a negative effect in male-dominated organisations and in female-dominated industries. The results suggest that family friendly practices have different effects depending on the salience of gender stereotypes in the local and industry contexts.

At the last stages of completing her degree, Kateryna and her supervisors (Prof. Carol Kulik and Dr. Sanjee Perera) submitted an article for publication on the relationship between work-life practices and women in management. It has recently been accepted for publication in the Leadership Quarterly journal.   



Ashokkumar Manoharan

Dr Ashokkumar Manoharan is a Lecturer in the Flinders Business School at the Flinders University. Ashok has an interdisciplinary background, he holds a Bachelors in Hotel Management, MBA, Masters in Psychology and a PhD from University of South Australia. Ashok has valuable overseas experience in teaching, training and consultancy. Ashok is a recipient of the Australia Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship. His thesis explored the relationship between organisational culture, diversity management practices and organisational effectiveness in the context of Australian hotels. The findings of the study provides understanding of diversity practices outside the commonly studied US context and also provides a better understanding of organisational culture and diversity management practices in a service environment beyond the manufacturing industries.

When asked about CWeX Ashok says: “I was fortunate to be associated with the centre during my candidature. I was given the chance to present my PhD work twice in the monthly forum, the feedback given by the centre members improve my PhD work. The centre also gave opportunity to meet a number of top international researchers, interacting with them helped me to develop my future research programs. Not but not least, the annual public talk helped me to learn how academic research could be presented to non-academic audience”.  Ashok’s future research program includes workforce diversity, diversity management, diversity climate and organisational culture.