Shu, Xia


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Personal profile


Xia joined the School of Business as a Lecturer in Accounting in July 2021. She has just completed her PhD from Sheffield University Management School. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, Xia gained an MSc in Finance and Accounting from the University of Sheffield and a BSc in Accounting in China. Xia's PhD research focuses on the UK’s use of PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) to deliver public infrastructure. She has a broad interest in critical social analysis of accounting. Her research has been published in Public Money & Management and is now going through the review processes at Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. In the meantime, she has also presented and published her work in a variety of well-established conference proceedings, including the 9th Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (APIRA, 2019), the 17th Biennial Comparative International Governmental Accounting Research Conference (CIGAR, 2019) and the 2021 British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) Annual Conference. Xia also has more than three years' experience of teaching at both UG and PG levels and has gained Associate Fellow status at the Higher Education Academy (HEA). She has taught on a number of modules including Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, Financial management and Financial Statement Analysis.


Xia’s research pathway has been inspired and influenced by Frankfurt School, in particular, the Habermasian approach. She sees the modern accounting systems as organisational languages whose ‘term’ and ‘sentence’ find meanings in the historical, organisational and societal contexts. Her work reflects on the role and the importance of accounting and accountants through a broader social perspective that goes beyond financial and economic viewpoints. Through her research into the financing and policies of public service/infrastructure delivery, she has incorporated a critical and interdisciplinary theoretical framework drawing from areas of political economy, sociology and evaluation theory. Methodologically, she is open to a diverse range of research methods that allows researchers and more broadly, the public, to understand, discover and alter the social meanings which adhere in accounting systems. In her prior research, Xia has collected and analysed both numerical and narrative data. Along with her PhD study, she has collected and analysed a large set of public documentations from various sources including launching Freedom of Information requests to local authorities. She has also conducted an in-depth local case study underpinned by a group of high-quality interviews with senior management professionals from both a local council and their private contractors.

Research interests

  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Ex-post evaluations of infrastructure schemes/projects
  • Policy-making in public spending and project evaluation
  • Critical theories in accounting
  • New Public Management and Neoliberalism
  • Evaluation theory
  • Contract psychology in hybrid organisations

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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