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Yvonne’s began her career teaching German and French in the secondary and tertiary sectors before obtaining funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to study for an MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Bradford. This had a profound influence on her thinking and her self-designation as someone who does feminist research. After several years working in the financial services industry she set up her own personal and professional development business and was also director of a company specialising in coaching for managers. Receipt of funding, first from the University of Sheffield for an MA in Educational Research and later an ESRC studentship, enabled a return to education and doctoral research. She was awarded her PhD in 2011 and she took up a research post at Huddersfield Business School in the same year.
Yvonne’s overarching passion is for the theories, politics and practices of research and their implication in setting the parameters of knowledge. She is also fundamentally curious about people and their everyday interactions with and negotiations of social systems. This drives the substantive foci of her research, her methodological allegiances and her use of particular conceptual and evaluative frameworks. She specialises in qualitative research, particularly narrative methodologies, and specifically life history genres, because of their potential to offer fresh vantage points in understanding the dynamic between the personal, historical and the social. Yvonne won funding from the Business School in 2013 to investigate narratives of the lived experience of financial ethics and to evaluate methodologies for researching sensitive topics in this field. Her work in the area continues and she is supervising funded doctoral work on the implementation of financial regulation which builds on her early findings. She is concerned about what happens to identity and subjectivity when financial metrics dominate the attribution and assessment of value and is developing these ideas in the context of the financialisation of Higher Education, through the prism of individual biographies. Related interests centre on corporate social responsibility and the social construction of the accounting profession. Returning to her deeply buried roots, Yvonne is also developing her ideas on the application of literary theories in reading company annual reports.
Melissen, F., Mzembe, A., Idemudia, U. and Novakovic, Y. (2017) ‘Institutional Antecedents of the Corporate Social Responsibility Narrative in the Developing World Context: Implications for Sustainable Development’ Business strategy and the environment . ISSN 0964-4733
Anderson, P. and Novakovic, Y. (2017) ‘Listening to student views on the transition from work placement to the final year’ Accounting Education , 26 (4), pp. 377-391. ISSN 0963-9284
Downs, Y (2017) ‘Neoliberalism and the value of higher education’. In: Negotiating Neoliberalism: Developing Alternative Educational Visions. Rotterdam: Sense. . ISBN 978-94-6300-852-5
Downs, Y (2017) ‘Furthering alternative cultures of valuation in higher education research’ Cambridge Journal of Education , 47 (1), pp. 37-51. ISSN 0305-764X
Downs, Y (2017) ‘The ethics of researching something dear to my heart with others 'like me'’. In: The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 458-469. ISBN 9781138784291
Downs, Y (2016) ‘The gap between rich and poor students going to university has reached record levels’ The Conversation . ISSN 2044-5032
Downs, Y (2016) ‘Testing the potential of auto/biographical life history’ Qualitative Research Journal , 16 (4), pp. 362-373. ISSN 1443-9883
Downs, Y (2016) ‘Ivor Goodson’. In: Routledge Encyclopaedia of Educational Thinkers. London: Routledge. . ISBN 978-1-13-882614-4
Novakovic, Y (2016) ‘Evaluating the use of life history approaches in financial ethics research’. In: 15th Qualitative Methods Conference, 3rd-5th May 2016, Glasgow, UK
Mzembe, A., Downs, Y. and Meaton, J. (2016) ‘Corporate social responsibility in Malawi: Antecedents, issues, practices and future directions’. In: Corporate Social Responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 3-30. ISBN 978-3319266671
Al-Bassam, W., Ntim, C., Opong, K. and Downs, Y. (2015) ‘Corporate Boards and Ownership Structure as Antecedents of Corporate Governance Disclosure in Saudi Arabian Publicly Listed Corporations’ Business & Society . ISSN 0007-6503
Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2015) ‘Use of focus groups in business ethics research: potential, problems and paths to progress’ Business Ethics: A European Review , 24 (S1), p. S54-S66. ISSN 1467-8608
Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2015) ‘Heated debates and cool analysis: thinking well about financial ethics’. In: The Philosophy, politics and economics of finance in the 21st century: From hubris to disgrace. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 439-452. ISBN 978-0-415-85901-1
Elmogla, M., Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2015) ‘Corporate Social Reporting in Libya: A Research Note’ Social Responsibility Journal , 11 (4), pp. 923-932. ISSN 1747-1117
Swailes, S., Downs, Y. and Orr, K. (2014) ‘Conceptualising inclusive talent management: potential, possibilities and practicalities’ Human Resource Development International , 17 (5), pp. 529-544. ISSN 1367-8868
Mzembe, A. and Downs, Y. (2014) ‘Managerial and stakeholder perceptions of an Africa-based multinational mining company's corporate social responsibility(CSR)’ The Extractive Industries and Society , 1 (2), pp. 225-236. ISSN 2214-790X
Downs, Y (2013) Reading and Teaching Ivor Goodson (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education) . New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 9781433120176
Downs, Y. and Swailes, S. (2013) ‘A Capability Approach to talent management’ Human Resource Development International , 16 (3), pp. 267-281. ISSN 1367-8868
Bampton, R., Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2013) ‘The e-interview in qualitative research’. In: Advancing social and business research methods with new media technology. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. pp. 329-343. ISBN 9781466639188
Hill, R., Downs, Y. and Drake, J. (2012) Getting Ready for New Governance Freedoms: A Survey of Further Education College Governance 2012 University of Huddersfield
Swailes, S. and Downs, Y. (2012) Problematising the war for talent: using Sens Capability Approach as a new framework for thinking about talent management Huddersfield, UK: University of Huddersfield (Unpublished)
Taylor, C., Downs, Y., Chikwa, G. and Baker, R. (2011) ‘I did it my way: Voice, visuality and identity in doctoral students reflexive videonarratives on their doctoral research journeys’ International Journal of Research and Method in Education , 34 (2), pp. 193-210. ISSN 1743 727X
Downs, Y (2011) ‘Muddy rules for cyberspace: Musings of a she-blogger’. In: Gender and Education Conference (GEA) 2011, 27th-29th April 2011, University of Exeter, Exeter UK
Downs, Y (2011) ‘Ethics review: A students tale’ Creative Approaches to Research , 4 (1), pp. 33-43. ISSN 1835-9442
Downs, Y (2011) ‘Through the looking glass: publishing in peer reviewed academic journals’ Power and Education , 3 (1), pp. 39-51. ISSN 1757-7438
Downs, Y (2010) ‘Phoenix rising? Minding the gaps? Learning lessons from intimate publics’. In: The 7th Biennial International Auto/Biography Association Conference, 28th June-1st July 2010, University of Sussex
Downs, Y (2010) ‘Transcription tales. Or: Let not loves labour be lost’ International Journal of Research and Method in Education , 33 (1), pp. 101-112. ISSN 1743 727X
Downs, Y (2009) ‘Ethics and video-narrative: a personal account’. In: Faculty of Development and Society Conference, 19th June 2009, Sheffield Hallam University
Downs, Y (2009) ‘Ethics and narrative research - a contradiction in terms?’. In: Narrative, memory and identities. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 21-30. ISBN 9781862180734
Downs, Y. and Watts, M. (2009) ‘Fatal Attraction? Feminist life history research and the capability approach’. In: Capabilities Approach and Education Network, 25th June 2009, University of Cambridge
Downs, Y (2009) ‘It's a bit like giving birth. Middle-aged women graduates talk about their experience of higher education.’. In: DPR8: Power and the Academy The 8th Discourse, Power, Resistance Conference, 6th - 8th April 2009, University of Manchester
Downs, Y (2009) ‘Ethics and Narrative Research A Contradiction in Terms?’. In: Narrative, Memory and Identities. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 21-30.
Allen, A., Anderson, K., Bristol, L., Downs, Y., O'Neill, D., Watts, N. and Wu, Q. (2008) ‘Resisting the unethical in formalised ethics: Perspectives and experiences’. In: Power in the Academy. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. pp. 135-152. ISBN 9781858564470
Yvonne is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Qualitative Research Journal and a reviewer for a number of other business and education journals. She has twice been an invited panelist at the biennial Research Festival of the ESRC’s National Centre for Research Methods. In 2013 a paper co-authored with Professor Stephen Swailes that explored talent management in a Capabilities framework was shortlisted for the Alan Moon Memorial Prize at the 14th International HRD Conference at the University of Brighton. In 2016 she successfully bid for a funded PhD student to carry out research on her project on the implementation of financial regulation. She is an external examiner for professional doctorates in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield and in the Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University and an internal doctoral examiner at Huddersfield.
Yvonne has supervision experience and expertise in a number of areas. She is currently supervising a funded PhD on the implementation of financial regulation in addition to three students undertaking qualitative research towards the award of Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). She is part of the supervisory team for a student researching into narrative structure in brand storytelling and has also contributed to the successful completions of PhDs on the role of non-executive directors on company boards in Nigeria and Islamic banking in Saudi Arabia.
Yvonne manages a dedicated staff writing room in the Business School.
Yvonne is joint module leader for BDX001 Research Methods: The Subject Influence. As a trained writing retreat facilitator she also runs one-day and residential writing retreats.