Steve Johnson

Professor Steve Johnson

Professor of Enterprise and Economic Development/ Associate Dean (Research)

Faculty of Business, Law and Politics

Hull University Business School

01482 463448

Professor Steve Johnson combines commercial experience of economic and social research and policy evaluation with academic expertise in this area.

He has undertaken a number of studies for influential organisations such as the Economic and Social Research Council and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and he has published widely in leading journals.

Professor Johnson shares his knowledge and enthusiasm for all-things enterprise with his students and brings a wealth of insights to the Business School.

His current role entails ensuring that research in our faculty is not only of the highest possible quality but also makes a difference to the world around us.


Research Interests

  • The role of entrepreneurship in economic and social development

  • The effectiveness of policies to promote entrepreneurship and small business

  • Labour markets, skills and local economic development

  • Evaluation of government economic and social policies

  • The impact of social research on business, policy and practice

Research groups

Professor Johnson has worked with colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University and Oxford Economics to analyse national and regional skills trends and in particular the nature of employer demand for higher level skills.

Professor Johnson has also undertaken a number of studies for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Welsh Government on the impact of social research on policy and practice.

He has looked at the policy impact of UK research programmes including the Millennium Cohort Study, the Global Uncertainties initiative and Understanding Society. In 2013, he led a study for ESRC that examined the business impact of social research undertaken at UK business schools.

Professor Johnson has a particular interest in skills and enterprise issues and recently completed a study for OECD of skills in UK local labour markets. He acts as an expert advisor for the OECD Local Enterprise and Economic Development (LEED) programme.

He has recently reviewed evidence on the role of entrepreneurship skills in business competitiveness, for the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and led an evaluation of a major health improvement initiative in Wales, funded by the Health Foundation.

Professor Johnson is an associate of the Centre for Systems Studies and an active member of the British Academy of Management and the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.


Johnson S., Fletcher B., Mukhuty S., Snowden S. and Williams, T. (2015), 'Entrepreneurship Skills: Literature and Policy Review', Department for Business Innovation and Skills Research Report no. 236, September

Green, A and Johnson, S (2015), 'Employment and Skills Strategies in England, United Kingdom', OECD Reviews on Local Job Creation 

Johnson, S. et al (2013), 'Business Impact of Social Science', report to Economic and Social Research Council, May 2013

Johnson, S. ‘How Can Research Influence Entrepreneurship and SME Policies in an Age of Austerity?’ Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange conference, Brisbane, February 2013

Canduela, J., Dutton, M., Johnson, S., Lindsay, C., McQuaid, R. and R. Raeside, ‘Ageing, Skills and Participation in Work-Related Training in Britain: Assessing the Position of Older Workers’, Work Employment and Society, 12(1), February 2012, 42-60

Full list


Programmes taught on (2018)

Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Entrepreneurship and the Small Firm

  • Management Consulting

  • International Business

Research PhDs

I welcome applications from prospective PhD students in the areas of entrepreneurship, small business policy, labour market policies and local economic development.

Completed PhDs 

Eriana Kartadjumena, Corporate Governance and Sustainability in Indonesia (completed 2016)

Izzat Ismail, Minority Entrepreneurship in Malaysia (completed 2017, subject to corrections)

Current PhD supervisors 

Sultanul Chowdhury, Succession in Family-Owned Ethnic Minority Businesses

Priscilla Otuo, Portfolio Entrepreneurship in Ghana

Ali Alquaie, Success Factors for Incubators in Saudi Arabia

Abdullah Almutiri, Entrepreneurship Policy in Saudi Arabia

Teaching awards and accolades

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BA Economics, University of Leeds
  • PhD, Economics and Human Resource Management, Leeds Metropolitan University
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE)

External roles

Prior to joining Hull University Business School, Professor Johnson was Research Director of Consulting, Inplace Ltd, a small company specialising in economic and social research and policy evaluation.

He has undertaken research and consultancy assignments for many government departments and agencies including HEFCE, Yorkshire Forward, the Ministry of Justice and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

He acts aS a referee for the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, International Small Business Journal, Political Studies, Local Economy, Environment and Planning C.

Awards and accolades

Winner, Best Paper Award, Institute of Small Business Affairs Conference, 1990; European Small Business Seminar, 2000; International Conference on Public-Private Partnerships, 2003; Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2005.

Given interviews on enterprise and labour market issues to BBC Radio 4, BBC local radio, BBC 9 O’clock News, BBC World Service, Falkland Islands Broadcasting Service, local and regional newspapers.

Professional highlights

Professor Johnson spent two years as a Marie Curie expert visiting fellow at the Enterprise and Economic Development Research Institute in Lodz, Poland.

He has been an adviser to the European Commission, OECD, Skills Australia and the South African Ministry of Labour, among others.