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Nick ButlerAssociate Professor

About me

Nick Butler joined Stockholm Business School in 2016. He previously worked at Lund University as a postdoctoral researcher and St Andrews University, Scotland as a lecturer. Prior to this, he trained at the universities of Warwick, Sussex, and Leicester in the UK. Nick researches in the field of organization studies, focusing on the sociology of work and critical perspectives on management. He is particularly interested in the fusion of social theory, philosophy, qualitative methods, and interpretive analysis. He is a member of the editorial collective of ephemera: theory & politics in organization and an Associate Editor of Organization.

Nick is continuing his research on game-playing in organizations. He is currently working on a project about serious play and digital management, alongside Dr Sverre Spoelstra (Lund University) and Prof. Bent Meier Sørensen (Copenhagen Business School). Funded by Handelsbanken’s Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Research Foundation, the study examines gamification as a technology that seeks to re-engineer human relationships at work. Nick also writes on other topics including leadership science, research ethics, management consulting, stand-up comedy, and the philosophy of jokes.


Course leadership

Business, Politics and Culture (BPC) - undergraduate level

Management Theory and Analysis (MTA) - Masters level

Leadership and Management in Organizations (LMO) - Masters level

Masters Thesis in Management (EXMAN) - Masters level

Programme leadership

International Business and Politics (IBP) - undergraduate level


Journal articles

Spoelstra, S., N. Butler and H. Delaney (2021) 'Measures of Faith: Science and Belief in Leadership Studies', Journal of Management Inquiry 30(3)

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2020) 'Academics at Play: Why the "Publication Game" is More than a Metaphor', Management Learning 51(4)

Collins, D. and N. Butler (2020) 'Success and Failure in Professional Projects: The Nature, Contours and Limits of Consulting Professionalism', British Journal of Management 31(3)

Butler, N. and D. Stoyanova Russell (2018) 'No Funny Business: Precarious Work and Emotional Labour in Stand-Up Comedy', Human Relations 71(12)

Butler, N. (2018) 'Fantasies of Strategy: Žižek, Discourse and Enjoyment', Critical Perspectives on Accounting 53

Butler, N., H. Delaney and S. Spoelstra (2018) 'Risky Business: Reflections on Critical Performativity in Practice', Organization 25(3)

Butler, N., H. Delaney and S. Spoelstra (2017) ‘The Grey Zone: Questionable Research Practices in the Business School’, Academy of Management Learning and Education 16(1)

Spoelstra, S., N. Butler and H. Delaney (2016) 'Never Let a Good Academic Crisis Go to Waste: Leadership Studies in the Wake of Journal Retractions', Leadership 12(4)

Butler, N. (2016) ‘Functional Stupidity: A Critique’, Ephemera 16(2)

Butler, N. and D. Collins (2016) ‘The Failure of Consulting Professionalism? A Longitudinal Analysis of the Institute of Management Consultants’, Management & Organizational History 11(1)

Butler, N., H. Delaney and S. Spoelstra (2015) ‘Problematizing “Relevance” in the Business School: The Case of Leadership Studies’, British Journal of Management 26(4)

Butler, N (2015) ‘Joking Aside: Theorizing Laughter in Organizations’, Culture and Organization 21(1)

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2014) ‘The Regime of Excellence and the Erosion of Ethos in Critical Management Studies’, British Journal of Management 25(3)

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2012) ‘Your Excellency’, Organization 19(6)

Butler, N. and S. Dunne (2012) ‘Duelling with Dualisms: Descartes, Foucault and the History of Organizational Limits’, Management & Organizational History 7(1)

Book chapters

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2017) 'How to Become Less Excellent', in T. Huzzard, M. Benner and D. Kärreman (eds.) The Corporatization of the Business School: Minerva Meets the Marketplace. London and New York: Routledge.

Butler, N. (2016) ‘Humour and Organization’, in R. Mir, H. Willmott and M. Greenwood (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Philosophy in Organization Studies. London and New York: Routledge.


Butler, N., H. Delaney, E. Hesselbo and S. Spoelstra (2020) 'Beyond Measure', Ephemera 20(3)

Butler, N., H. Delaney and M. Sliwa (2017) 'The Labour of Academia', Ephemera 17(3)

Butler, N., C. Hoedemaekers and D. Stoyanova Russell (2015) ‘The Comic Organization’, Ephemera 15(3)

Butler, N., E. Jeanes and B. Otto (2014) ‘Diagrammatics of Organization’, Ephemera 14(2)

Butler, N., S. Chillas and S.L. Muhr (2012) ‘Professions at the Margins’, Ephemera 12(3)

Butler, N., L. Olaison, M. Sliwa, B.M. Sørensen and S. Spoelstra (2011) ‘Work, Play and Boredom’, Ephemera 11(4)

Butler, N., C. Land and M. Sliwa (2009) ‘Throwing Shoes’, Ephemera 9(3)

Popular media

Butler, N. (2018) 'The emotional labor of stand-up comedy', Work in Progress: Sociology on the Economy, Work and Inequality (American Sociological Association), 13 October

Butler, N., S. Spoelstra and H. Delaney (2016) 'The grey zone: How questionable research practices are blurring the boundary between science and misconduct', Times Higher Education, 14 October

Butler, N., S. Spoelstra and H. Delaney (2015) ‘Business schools must not cater to their funders’, The Guardian, 6 August

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2015) ‘How the REF’s regime of excellence is changing research for the worse’, The Conversation, 6 February

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2015) ‘The dark arts of academia – and why journals must do more to tackle the problem’, The Conversation, 7 January