Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Faculty of Business and Law

School of Accountancy

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Dr Natalie Elms
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law
Dr Sarah Osborne
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Business & Law


The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented social and economic crisis. Firms globally have faced significant disruption to planned operating conditions forcing boards to re-evaluate whether they have the necessary skills and competencies to lead and succeed in these uncertain times.

This project aims to explore the impact of COVID-19 on CEO and director turnover and the extent to which the pandemic has impacted desired attributes for firm performance. Secondly, we aim to identify which leadership attributes are associated with firm survival/firm performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using mixed methods involving content analysis and quantitative methodology we will identify the leadership characteristics and competencies considered most desirable during the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which various leadership attributes aided firms in their recovery during the pandemic. We anticipate that the pandemic will have prompted firms to retain or seek new leaders with characteristics associated with agility, innovation, and creativity to support their response to the crisis and sustainable development of the firm.

We expect the results of this research will be of interest to boards and shareholders by providing insights as to how firms can better prepare themselves for further disruptions.

Research activities

You will assist with content analysis by gathering and analysing company announcements reporting CEO and board appointments drawn from library databases and web searches. Some literature review may also be required.

This project is expected to run for 20 hours a week, for 6 weeks.

Skills and experience

This project will be particularly suited to a student with an interest in business, leadership, or corporate governance. No particular skills are required other than a curious mind.


Contact the Graduate Research Centre at for more information on the Vacation Research Experience Scheme.