Portrait of Dr Yvonne Novakovic Dr Yvonne Novakovic

y.downs@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472665


Position: Research Fellow, Department of Accountancy, Finance and Economics
Qualifications: BA, MA, MA (Ed Res), PGCE, PhD
Research Group: Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group (FEGReG)


Yvonne’s previous experiences in education, financial services and business inform her work as Research Assistant to the Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group (FEGReG). She 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.

Research and Scholarship

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. In addition to supporting the research of FEGReG students and members, 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. This work informs research on the implementation of financial regulation, to be carried out by a doctoral student on a scholarship funded by the Business School and supervised by Yvonne. She is interested in the implications for identity and subjectivity in a climate where financial metrics dominate the attribution and assessment of value and is continuing to develop these ideas in the context of the financialisation of Higher Education and 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.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Downs, Y (2016) ‘The gap between rich and poor students going to university has reached record levelsThe Conversation . ISSN 2044-5032

Downs, Y (2016) ‘Neoliberalism and the value of higher education’. In: Negotiating Neoliberalism: Developing Alternative Educational Visions. Rotterdam: Sense. . ISBN 978-94-6300-852-5

Downs, Y (2016) ‘Testing the potential of auto/biographical life historyQualitative Research Journal , 16 (4), pp. 362-373. ISSN 1443-9883

Downs, Y (2016) ‘The ethics of researching something dear to my heart with others 'like me'’. In: The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History. : Routledge. pp. 458-469. ISBN 9781138784291

Al-Bassam, W., Ntim, C., Opong, K. and Downs, Y. (2016) ‘Corporate Boards and Ownership Structure as Antecedents of Corporate Governance Disclosure in Saudi Arabian Publicly Listed CorporationsBusiness & Society . ISSN 0007-6503

Downs, Y (2016) ‘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) ‘Ivor Goodson’. In: Routledge Encyclopaedia of Educational Thinkers. London: Routledge. . ISBN 978-1-13-882614-4

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


Downs, Y (2015) ‘Furthering alternative cultures of valuation in higher education researchCambridge Journal of Education . ISSN 0305-764X

Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2015) ‘Use of focus groups in business ethics research: potential, problems and paths to progressBusiness 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 NoteSocial 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 practicalitiesHuman 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 managementHuman 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 Sen’s Capability Approach as a new framework for thinking about talent management Huddersfield, UK: University of Huddersfield (Unpublished)


Elmogla, M., Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2011) Corporate social reporting in a transition economy: the case of Libya Huddersfield, UK: Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group 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 journeysInternational 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) ‘Through the looking glass: publishing in peer reviewed academic journalsPower and Education , 3 (1), pp. 39-51. ISSN 1757-7438

Downs, Y (2011) ‘Ethics review: A students taleCreative Approaches to Research , 4 (1), pp. 33-43. ISSN 1835-9442


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 love’s labour be lostInternational 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. 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) ‘Ethics and narrative research - a contradiction in terms?’. In: Narrative, memory and identities. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 21-30. ISBN 9781862180734

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


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 in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield.

Research Degree Supervision

Yvonne is currently supervising a student on the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme researching into research software implementation in higher education, and a PhD student carrying out research into the implementation of financial regulation. She has previously been second supervisor for a PhD that examined the role of non-executive directors on company boards in Nigeria and part of the supervisory team for a student researching in the area of Islamic banking in Saudi Arabia.

Administrative Responsibilities

Yvonne is Research Assistant for the Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group.

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