About Me

my self

Dr Ruth Yeoman is a Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford. She is an expert in applying the ethics and practices of meaningfulness and mutuality to organisations and systems. Drawing upon her academic research, she has worked with large and small private and public sector organisations to develop new approaches based on a synthesis of meaningfulness and mutuality. Example research consulting projects include: developing a mutual leadership programme for Rochdale Boroughwide Housing; applying mutuality to whole council public service transformation for Cheshire West and Chester LA; strategic use of mutuality in a coordinated UK financial mutuals sector for the Association of Financial Mutuals and the Building Societies Association. She was a lead consultant for the Cabinet Office 2015 ‘Mutuals in Heath’ initiative. For the Said Business School, Oxford, she helped to establish ‘Mutuality in Business’, funded by Mars Inc. For the Big Innovation Centre, she led a collaboration including the Bank of England and the Office of National Statistics investigating the role of intangible assets in national wealth creation. Ruth has served as a member of the HM Treasury Council of Economic Advisers, a fellow of the Big Innovation Centre and an adviser for the Fabian Society’s Changing Work Centre. Her research projects include: Ownership, Leadership and Meaningful Work (funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme); Values to Shared Value Creation in Sustainable Supply Chains (funded by Oxford’s John Fell); The Meaningful City (funded by Hermes Investment Management and Tampere University). Ruth has degrees from Imperial College (BSc. Physics), London Business School (MBA), and Royal Holloway, University of London (MA in Politics of Democracy, PhD).


New Book in Dec 2019

My new book – Ethics, Meaningfulness and Mutuality – is published by the Routledge Studies in Business Ethics series. I ask – how can organisations use meaningfulness and mutuality to address sustainability challenges? I explore meaningfulness and mutuality to develop a philosophy of ethical organising that helps us create life value organisations. In the end, it is all about people, power, and planet.

New Projects in 2019

Member of the Centre Marc Boch Workplace Democracy Network (Berlin) – joining Roberto Frega’s workplace democacy network, together with European colleagues from political theory, economics, and organisational psychology.

Invited Speaker at Shell Scenarios Workshop – spoke on ‘Meaning and Purpose in Sustainable Transitions’ in a discussion of the psychology of transition.

Board Advisor for the Social Innovation Academy – developing social innovation education and support – http://www.socialinnovationacademy.eu/

Research Associate, King’s College, University of London – collaborating with Professor Katie Bailey to develop a new Meaningful Work consortium at King’s College.

New York University (NYU) Working Group ‘The Hard Problem’ – participated in NYU’s working group called ‘Work: The Hard Problem’. Led by Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, this group will look at the ethical and political challenges of future work, including meaningful lives, new technologies and just transitions. (see http://gias.nyu.edu/projects/the-hard-problem/)

Public Writing

Yeoman, R. &Tischer, D. (2016). Reframing Building Societies and Mutual Insurers: Collaboration as a Source of Competitive Advantage. Kellogg College, University of Oxford. Funded by the Building Societies Association/Association of Financial Mutuals.

Lewis P. & Yeoman, R. (2016). Busting the Millennial Myth: the power of purpose. Funded by FieldFisher and the Eaga Trust.

Yeoman, R. (2013). Governance and Voice: how mutuals and employee-owned businesses create stability, resilience and legitimacy. In: Making it Mutual. ResPublica Essay Collection.

Yeoman, R. (2013). How to Lead Successful Public Service Mutuals. In The Guardian.

Davies, W. & Yeoman, R. (2013). Becoming a Public Service Mutual: understanding transition and change. Mutuo&The Cooperative Group.

Mills, C & Yeoman, R. (2013). The Civic Reinvention. In the RSA Fellowship Journal.

Conference Papers

Yeoman, R (2016). Towards a Right to Meaningful Work in Global Supply Chains. 2nd Symposium of Meaningful Work. Auckland University of Technology, NZ.

Yeoman, R (2016). Care, Emotions and Deliberation in the Corporate Management of Ethical Supply Chains. Business, Policy & Sustainability Conference, Copenhagen Business School. 16-17 June, 2016.

Yeoman, R. (2016). Meaningfulness and Mutuality in a Critical Conception of the Corporation. 2016 AOM Conference, Making Organizations Meaningful.

Bailey, K.; Yeoman, R., Madden, A.; Thompson, M. (2016). Evidence Synthesis of Meaningful Work. 2016 AOM Conference, Making Organizations Meaningful.

Public Speaking

‘Current Issues in Ethics and Economics’. Guest Lecturer and Keynote Speaker. Tilburg University Summer School, August 2018.

‘The Changing Nature of Work’. Keynote Speaker. European Commission Conference, ‘The Future in the Making’, FTA 2018.

Creating Sustainable Organisations Using Meaningfulness and Mutuality. 3rd Symposium on Meaningful Work, University of Amsterdam, June 2018.

‘The Meaningful City – overview and insights’. 1st Symposium on The Meaningful City, Kellogg College, Oxford, June 2018.

‘Meaningfulness and Mutuality in Organization/System Design’. Guest Symposium. The University of Sheffield, May 2018

‘Can the Public Sector Create Meaningfulness in Lives and in Work?’ Guest speaker. The Finnish Ministry of Finance, Helsinki, May 2018

“‘Good Work’ and alternative organisations: emancipatory or bubbles of privilege in a world of McJobs?” Guest Panel Speaker – The British Sociological Association conference, Newcastle, May 2018.

‘The Future of Meaningfulness – work, organisations and lives’. Keynote lecture for the ‘The Future of Work’, University of Bucharest, April 2018. http://old.unibuc.ro/~conference/futureofwork/#about

‘A Right to Meaningful Work?’ Guest Lecturer & Keynote Speaker – Philosophy of Work Conference 2017, University of Braga. http://basicincome.org/news/2016/11/braga-portugal-philosophy-work-conference-jul-13-15/

‘Busting a millennial myth: how the young find purpose through employee owned companies’ Keynote speaker and author, 2017. Sponsored by Fieldfisher LLP. http://uk.iofc.org/busting-millennial-myth-how-young-find-purpose-through-employee-owned-companies

Research Projects

Ownership, Leadership and Meaningful Work: PI (British Academy/Leverhulme) – organisational development of employee owned businesses using change labs and participatory methods.

Values to Shared Value Creation in Sustainable Supply Chain Management: PI (Oxford John Fell Fund) – corporate/NGO partnership ecosystems in supply chains.

The Meaningful City: PI (University of Tampere and Hermes Investment Management) – applying meaningfulness as a moral value and design principle to city challenges.

Intangible Gold – an examination of intangible assets and organisational models. Led by Professor Birgitte Andersen, Big Innovation Centre.

Integrated Health and Social care (The Said Business School, 2015-2016).Project Manager and Co-I. Provided the intellectual content and networks, and used change lab methodology in a multi-stakeholder system change for a neurodevelopmental care pathway.

Mutuality in Business (The Said Business School, 2013-2016). Co-I/Project Manager. (Funded by Mars Inc)

Association of Financial Mutuals and the Building Societies Association: Leadership in Mutuality. Co-I & Project Manager (funded by the BSA). Investigated the strategic application of mutuality to prospects for a coordinated UK mutual finance sector.

Cheshire West and Chester LA: The Future Role of the Council. PI (funded by CWAC).Examined the application of mutuality to multi-stakeholder approaches to public service transformation in a context of rising demand and financial austerity.

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (CIC): Leadership in a Multi-Stakeholder Mutual. Co-I & Project Manager (funded by RBH).Addressed the transitional challenges of becoming a dual constituency public service mutual.Designed and delivered a nine month leadership programme, including three two-day workshops, action learning groups and mentoring of the Board and participating managers.