Sustainable leadership on boards

Sustainable leadership on boards of directors: An experimental study

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022


Hobart, Launceston

Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Boards of directors have the opportunity to enact sustainable leadership practices to respond to changing stakeholders’ expectations. Leaders on boards are challenged to meet those sustainability outcomes within complex organisational environments. There is growing awareness of the role of individual differences on boards – or top management teams – and their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes. Yet, there remains limited causally-evidenced approaches for leadership development that enables sustainable outcomes.

This study takes a leadership development lens to examine and test leadership development practices with board directors that are theoretically demonstrated to improve sustainability outcomes. To do this, this project uses a single-blind randomised control trial to test leadership development methods (experimental group) of sustainable leadership against a control group (no development), and identify how such development influences future performance through Board of Management decision-making experiments in the Tasmanian Behavioural Lab drawing on top management team theory. This doctoral project is designed to extend on this initial understanding by leveraging the capabilities of the Tasmanian Behavioural Economics Lab to design decision-making experiments.

The significance of this project is in seeking to drive a causal understanding of how leaders elected to director roles can enact sustainable leadership in their decision-making practices. By doing so, programs that recruit, select, train, and develop board members will be able to draw on experimental knowledge from this study to build more sustainable boards to achieve sustainable growth.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Dan Daugaard


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to Domestic, International, and Onshore applicants
  • Applications are open to applications from management or finance discipline background only
  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Academic writing skills to complete a thesis that incorporates publications
  • Social and communication skills required to build connections with Tasmanian and Australian Boards of Directors
  • Advanced knowledge of quantitative research methods, preferably with some experience in experimental methods
  • A willingness to live in Tasmania (including relocation)

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Related industry experience (preferably)

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Dan Daugaard to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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