Dr Matthew Higgins

Associate Professor in Marketing and Consumption

Dr Matthew Higgins

Contact details

Personal Details

BA (First), MA (Distinction), PhD.

I joined the University of Leicester in December 1998 as a Research Associate, completing my PhD in Marketing and Existential Philosophy from Keele University in 2001. Following promotion to a Lecturership in 2001, I was made an Associate Professor in 2005. I have held visiting teaching roles at the University of Hertfordshire, University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham City University and the University of Worcester.

Having held a variety of academic leadership roles within the School, College and University, I am currently responsible for the School of Business' flexible learning provision, having been part of the Distance Learning Directorate since 2005. Through distance learning I have been fortunate enough to teach in a number of countries in continental Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Americas. In addition to this, I am also the academic lead for student recruitment and alumni activity.

In 2017, following a successful ERDF funding bid, I took on the role of Marketing and Management Academic Lead within the University of Leicester Innovation Hub. The Leicester Innovation Hub was created to provide a front door for the businesses-facing activities of the University, allowing our academic and research staff to develop new opportunities for strong partnerships with business and industry.

My research and enterprise interests are in marketing and consumer related issues around supply chains, education management, ethics, social marketing, social enterprises and not for profit organisations.

Prior to joining the University of Leicester I have worked in a number of fields, including exhibition management, law, finance and retail. I’ve maintained this practitioner interest throughout my academic career, delivering applied research and consultancy in the areas of consumer research, service and product evaluation, channel management development, market intelligence, strategy development and branding.

I am a member of the Chartered Association of Business School (CABS) Small Business Charter Management Board. I am also a Programme Board member for Giving World and Personal Care Packs Ltd.

I have been an External Examiner at a number of UK and international HEIs, presently I am an External Examiner at Essex University and Staffordshire University.

Professional Memberships

  • Chartered Fellowship of the Chartered Management Institute
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I also hold a SEDA Level III Higher Education Teaching Certificate.

Administrative responsibilities

  • Innovation Hub Marketing and Management Academic Lead
  • Flexible Learning Director
  • Programme Leader MSc Management (Distance Learning)

Business Engagement and Enterprise

As Academic Lead for the Innovation Hub, I have promoted the development of the School of Businesses' relationships with external organisations to embed enterprise within the curriculum and provide programmes which are delivered in partnership with practitioners. This work has provided opportunities for colleagues to undertake projects and consultancy with a wide variety of organisations and foster new research collaborations.

Contract research

For nearly 10 years I’ve undertaken contract research and consultancy for Giving World, a charity that promotes and enables the redistribution of corporate surplus stock through charities and social causes. To support this work, Giving World has developed a social enterprise, Personal Care Packs. Personal Care Packs (PCP) are designed for, and provided to, patients who are admitted to hospitals. As a social enterprise and arm of the Giving World charity, PCP provides NHS Trusts with standard and bespoke comfort packs (containing ear plugs, eye masks, anti-slip socks, combs, shampoo, shower gel/soap and ‘chewable’ toothbrushes) which they in turn distribute to vulnerable patients so as to provide a comfortable care experience during their stay. The contract research projects have included domestic and international market evaluation of care packs, evaluation of the volunteering projects linked to the assembly of care packs and evaluation of the packs in NHS Trusts.

Training and consultancy

Eartheat are a SME supplying bespoke heat pump solutions to the trade and public. This was a particularly interesting project because it combined training and consultancy, enabling the company to utilise its own staff to look closely at its marketing and supply chain strategy.

Supported internships

Danaher & Walsh are a family owned civil engineering and plant hire firm based in Leicestershire. Established in 1969, the company was looking to pursue an aggressive expansion programme with ambitious growth targets. To meet these targets Danaher & Walsh approached the University of Leicester to undertake a research project to review the current offering and potential market opportunities. The project was delivered through a combination of an internship with a MSc Marketing student and consultancy provided by Professor Mike Saren and myself.

A further example of supported internships can be found here.


In the academic year 2019-20, I am module leader or teaching on the following:

  • MN3101: BA (Hons) Dissertation, Supervision
  • MN4507: Professional Diploma in Management, Professional Management Project
  • MN7599/MN7507/MN7508: MBA and MSc, Dissertation and Research Methods (Marketing)
  • Distance Learning Personal Tutor
  • BA (Hons) Management, Personal Tutor
  • Distance Learning Personal Tutor



I have both a theoretical and applied interest in the field of marketing. My research interests and approach build from my training in sociology. I am interested in the conceptualisation and application of marketing in non-traditional organisational forms, specifically, this has involved research with the NHS, public sector, charities, social causes, SMEs, NFP network hubs and social enterprises. More broadly my research explores ideas of marketing and consumption, with work looking at ideas of ethics, identity, invisibility, waste and performance.

Over the last 7 years I have been a lead researcher on a series of projects funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund and Economic Challenge Investment Fund which have combined research and consultancy in regional SMEs and social enterprises. Examples of these include:

  • An evaluation exercise with 5 London acute and mental health NHS Trusts.
  • An evaluation of impact for a social enterprise volunteering programme.
  • Examining corporate donation and corporate social responsibility practices. ‘Green’ enterprise examining the role of marketing within small innovative firms.
  • Market intelligence analysis in a construction firm.
  • Branding and segmentation studies in several cosmeceutical firms.
  • Social media and slow food marketing.
  • Channel management in health related supplier organisations.
My other recent research projects include procurement in the NHS (with Dr. Gray, Coventry University), identity (with Dr Smith, Open University), waste and supply chain logistics (with Dr Lai, University of Leicester), distance learning pedagogy (with Dr Ellis, Durham University), and the consumption behaviour of singles (with Dr Lai and Dr Lim, University of Leicester).

I am presently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Management and a reviewer for a number of book publishers and leading journals in the areas of marketing, ethics and organisation.

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising theses in the following areas:

Marketing ethics; consumption identity development; waste/rubbish; exhibitions management; distance learning education management. I am presently supporting the following PhD students and their topics

  • Tiantian Zheng - trust and supply chains in Chinese agricultural industries.
  • Lubica Mueller - the role of social enterprise in value chains in the Philipines.
  • Charlotte Jones - action research and network development.
  • Veronica Morino - fraud resistance.
  • Alejandro A. Ramirez, - Actor network theory and Fine Dining in South Korea
  • Gifty Brew Mensah – Banking supervision in Ghana
  • Jannel Chan – Gamification and Advertising
  • Kenji Ishihara – Habitus, Ethical Consumption and Religion in Japan
  • Mostafa Saadeldin – Habitus, Consumption and Religion in Egypt

Publications and Conference Papers


Tadajewski, M. Higgins, M. Denegri-Knott, J. and Varman, R. (eds) (2018) The Routledge Companion to Critical Marketing, London: Routledge.

Ellis, N, Fitchett, J, Higgins, M, Jack, G, Lim, M, Saren, M & Tadajewski, M (2010), Marketing: A Critical Textbook, London: Sage.

Parker. M, Higgins. M, Lightfoot. G and Smith. W (eds.) (2001) Science Fiction & Organization, London: Routledge.

Chapters in Edited Collections

Higgins, M, Morino, V and Iyer, N. (2018) 'Imperialism, Dirty Money Centres and the Financial Elite' in Grady, J. and Grocott, C. (eds) The Continuing Imperialism of Free Trade: Developments, Trends and the Role of Supranational Agents, Routledge, London.

Lai, A. Lim, M and Higgins, M (2017) ‘The abject single: exploring the gendered experience of singleness in Britain’, in Arsel, Z. Eräranta, K. and Moisander, J. (eds) Gendering Theory in Marketing and Consumer Research, Routledge. London.

Higgins. M. and Ellis, N. (2015). Ethics and the Supply Chain in Pullen, A and Rhodes. C. THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO ETHICS, POLITICS AND ORGANIZATION, Routledge. London

Higgins. M (2007, 2009, 2015) 'Branding & Organisational Identity' in Ritzer.G Encyclopedia of Sociology, London: Blackwell Publishers.

Higgins. M (2001) ʻMore Amazing Talesʼ in Parker. M, Higgins. M, Lightfoot. G and Smith. W (eds) Science Fiction & Organization, London: Routledge.

Smith. W & Higgins.M (2001) ʻTrust No-One: Science Fiction and Marketingʼs Future Presentʼ in Brown. S & Patterson. A (ed) ʻImagining Marketingʼ Routledge, London.

Articles in Journals

Godfrey, R. and Higgins, M. (forthcoming) Marketing Strategy and the Hunt for Era V. Journal of Marketing Management

Lai, Ai-Ling, Lim, M. and Higgins, M (2015) The ‘Abject’ Single: Exploring the Gendered Experience of Singleness in Britain. Journal of Marketing Management. Volume 31, Issue 15-16, October 2015, pages 1559-1582

Warren Smith, Matthew Higgins, George Kokkinidis & Martin Parker (2015) Becoming invisible: The ethics and politics of imperceptibility. Culture and Organisation. November. DOI:10.1080/14759551.2015.1110584

Gray, K and Higgins, M. (2012) Legacy, trust, and turbulence in the NHS healthcare commissioning process: An exploratory study. International Journal of Healthcare Management, Volume 5, Number 1, April 2012 , pp. 40-47

Higgins, Matthew, Gray, Keith, Bailey, Mark Francis (2011) Exploring the development of relationship marketing in the National Health Service: An empirical analysis of supplier‐purchaser relationships in a quasi-market environment. Journal of Management & Marketing in Healthcare, Volume 4, Number 3, August 2011 , pp. 196-204

Brennan, R, Eagle, L, Ellis, N & Higgins, M (2010), ʻOf a Complex Sensitivity in Marketing Ethics Educationʼ, Journal of Marketing Management, 26 (13-14): 1165 – 1180

Ellis, N & Higgins, M (2006), ʻRechatechizing Codes of Practice in Supply Chain Relationships: Discourse, Identity and Othernessʼ, Journal of Strategic Marketing, 14: 327-350.

Ellis, N, Higgins, M & Jack, G (2005), "(De)constructing the Market for Animal Feeds: A Discursive Study", Journal of Marketing Management, 21: 117-146.
Smith. W and Higgins. M (2003) ʻPostmodernism and Popularisation: The Cultural Life of Chaos Theoryʼ Culture & Organization Issue 9(2): 93-104

Higgins. M and Smith. W (2002) ʻBabies cost less at Tescosʼ Journal of Marketing Management 18 (9-10): 833-856

Higgins. M and Smith. W (2002) ʻEngaging the Commodified Face: The Use of Marketing in the Child Adoption Processʼ Business Ethics: A European Review 11 (2): 179-191

Higgins. M and Tadajewski (2002) ʻAnti-Corporate Protest as Consumer Spectacleʼ Journal of Management Decision 40 (4): 363-371

Smith. W and Higgins. M (2000) ʻReconsidering the Relationship Analogyʼ Journal of Marketing Management 16 (1): 81-94

Smith. W and Higgins. M (2000) ʻCause Related Marketing: Ethics and the Ecstaticʼ Business and Society 39 (3): 304-322

Parker. M, Higgins. M, Lightfoot. G and Smith. W (1999) ʻAmazing Stories: Organization Studies as Science Fictionʼ, Organisation 6 (4): 579-590

Smith. W and Higgins. M (1998) ʻRepresenting Postmodernism?: Control, Creation and Cyborg Mythologyʼ University of Leicester: Discussion Papers In Management & Organization Studies 98 (1): 1-19

Conference Papers and Proceedings

Lai, Ai-Ling, Lim, M and Higgins, M. (2013) Spinsters and Bachelors: Negotiating the ‘Single’ Identity in a Couple-Orientated Marketplace, European Conference of the Association for Consumer Research (EACR) at IESE Campus in Barcelona, 4-7 July, 2013.

Lee, M. Davies, A and Higgins, M. (2013) ‘Lone no more: The Sociable Ethical Consumer’, European Conference of the Association for Consumer Research (EACR) at IESE Campus in Barcelona, 4-7 July, 2013.

Lee, M. Davies, A and Higgins, M (2013) 'The Politics of Meaning-making / Meaning-breaking' The 8th Annual Liverpool Symposium on Current Developments in Ethnographic Research in the Social and Management Sciences at VU University Amsterdam, 28th – 30th August 2013.

Brennan, R, Eagle, L, Ellis, N & Higgins, M (2010), ʻAlterity & Sensitivity: Contours of the Tutor in Marketing Ethics Education' Academy of Marketing Conference, Coventry. June 2010. Best Paper Prize (2010) sponsored by Chartered Institute of Marketing Charitable Trust.

Higgins, M and Ellis, N (2009) Ethics and industrial networks: a Levinasian approach towards the study of justice in the supply chain, IMP Conference, Marseille, France September 2009

Anand,C. Folkard, G. Fieldhouse, E & Higgins, M (2008) Enhancing Environmental Management System in University Buildings 14th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference. Delhi

Higgins, M & Ellis, N (2006) The Search for Justice in Supply Chain Management: A Levinasian Perspective, EGOS Bergen, June 2006.

Ellis. N & Higgins. M (2004) “Constructing the Supply Chain: The Constitution of Relationship Facts and Organisational Types within Management Texts” 6th International Conference on Organizational Discourse: Artefacts, Archetypes and Architexts Amsterdam.

Higgins. M & Ellis. N. (2004) Discourse, Otherness and Supply Chain Management – Competitive Paper, Academy of Marketing. July, Cheltenham.
Ellis. N & Higgins. M (2003) The Role of Codes of Practice in the Supply Chain: Discourse, Power & Agon, APROS, Mexico. December 5-8th.

Higgins. M (2001) ʻConsumer Protest & Corporate Criticismʼ. 2nd Critical Management Workshop – Stoke on Trent, UK May 2nd-3rd

Higgins. M & Smith. W (2001) ʻEngaging Ethics: Marketing & Child Adoptionʼ A Paper accepted for the World Marketing Congress - Cardiff, Wales, UK- June 27th-July 1st.

Higgins. M & Smith. W (2000) Socially Sensitive Marketing?: The Processes of Objectification in the English & Welsh Child Adoption Process An Abstract for the Seventh Annual International Business Ethics Conference New York September 21st-23rd

Smith. W and Higgins. M (1999) ʻBuilding Better Worlds: Science Fiction and Marketingʼ Paper presented at Science Fiction and Organization Conference. Leicester. September.

Higgins. M and Smith. W (1999) ʻI Dreamt I Was Caught Dead Without My Virginform Casket: Science Fiction and Marketingʼs Future Presentʼ. Proceedings of the Marketing Paradiso Conclave (eds. Stephen Brown and Anthony Patterson) University of Ulster (ISBN 1-85923-1144) pg. 159-171

Smith. W, Higgins. M and Ashiagbor. L (1999) ʻRefreshing the Relationship Analogy: Marketing, Morality and Masochismʼ Paper presented at First Critical Management Conference, Manchester. July.

Smith. W and Higgins. M (1999) ʻRough Cut for ʻBuilding Better Worlds: Science Fiction and Marketingʼ Paper presented at First Critical Management Conference. Manchester, July.

Higgins. M and Smith. W (1997) ʻCharity Begins At Hovis: Ethics & Cause Related Marketingʼ Proceedings of the Marketing Illuminations Spectacular (Eds. Stephen Brown,Anne Marie Doherty & Bill Clarke), University of Ulster [ISBN 1-85923-063-6] pp. 240-251.

Higgins. M and Smith. W (1998) ʻ“What a Handsome Pair!” Relationship Marketing and Representations of the Consumer.ʼ British Academy of Management Conference September 1998

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