Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management

Photo of Professor Karen Johnston

Professor Karen Johnston

  • Qualifications: PhD, Political Science/ Public Administration, University of Cape Town, 2002 MPA, Public Administration, Ohio State University, 1997 BA (Hons.), Public Administration, School of Government University of the Western Cape, 1994 BSocSc, Public Administration & Organisational Psychology, University of Cape Town, 1992
  • Role Title: Professor of Organisational Studies
  • Address: Richmond Building Portland Street Portsmouth PO1 3DE
  • Telephone: 023 9284 4013
  • Email:
  • Department: Organisational Studies & Human Resources
  • Faculty: Portsmouth Business School


Karen Johnston has extensive academic and research experience having worked in leading universities in South Africa, USA and UK. In addition to her academic career she has worked with and for public sector and civil society organisations to improve public administration. She has also worked for a donor organisation to promote democratic development and service delivery on an international scale. Professor Johnston has a strong research publication record in the areas of public sector management and leadership, public-private-voluntary sector governance, and gender equality. She has led and been involved in numerous research projects in these research areas. The UK 2014 research assessment exercise ranked the impact of her research on gender equality in public policy as 'internationally excellent.' Professor Johnston's research excellence was internationally recognized with the Julia J. Henderson award for 'substantial contribution to international public administration.' Professor Johnston was the editor for the journal Public Policy and Administration and now serves on a number of prestigious editorial boards such as Public Administration Review. She also holds executive positions on boards of the International Research Society for Public Management and the European Group for Public Administration. 

Teaching Responsibilities

MBA, DBA and MSc.


  • Public Management and Leadership
  • Public Sector Reform and Innovation
  • Public-Private-Voluntary Sector Partnerships
  • Women in Management and Leadership

In the video below Karen talks about her research interests.

MBR K Johnson Interview v4 from University of Portsmouth on Vimeo.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile