Catherine Dolan

Catherine Dolan

Associate Scholar

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


An anthropologist by profession, Catherine has directed and researched programmes on ethical capitalism in relation to food, labour, poverty and gender in more than ten African countries, with an emphasis on eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania).

Prior to joining the School, she held appointments at Northeastern University, Boston, the University of East Anglia, and the University of Sussex.

Catherine was a Fulbright and Social Science Council Research Fellow, and she has held visiting fellowships at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the International Center for Research on Women in Washington, DC; and Boston University’s Center for African Studies.

During her career, Catherine has worked with Avon, Mars, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Danone, and Shell on programmes to reduce poverty and empower marginalised groups. She also works with UN agencies, national governments, and non-government organisations.

Catherine holds fellowships at the James Martin Institute and Green Templeton College, Oxford; the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce; and the Royal Anthropological Institute. She is co-founder of the Oxford Food Governance Group, co-director of the Centre for the New Economies of Development, an academic college member of the Economic and Social Research Council Peer Review College, and faculty mentor to the Oikos UNDP Young Scholarship Development Academy.

Catherine holds BA, MA and PhD degrees in anthropology.



Catherine’s research centres on contemporary forms of ‘ethical’ capitalism, and how corporations engage in partnerships to advance ethical business models such as mutual capitalism, bottom of the pyramid, fair trade, the sharing economy, and inclusive markets. Her research is focused on:

  • inclusive markets and small-scale entrepreneurship
  • corporate governance of global value chains
  • sustainability and food networks.

Catherine is currently writing a book on women and entrepreneurialism in Kenya and South Africa.

She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on anthropology, management studies, geography and development studies. Her research has been widely covered in the international press and media.

View Catherine's research.


Catherine teaches on the MBA. She brings in leading thinkers and practitioners to work with students, exposing them to the latest practices.

Catherine believes in engaging students in real-world problems and she has co-developed five teaching cases. MBA students critically examine the business models and consequences shown in these studies, for example considering how the imperative for corporate profits can be reconciled with the aim of non-government organisations to improve well-being and help poverty reduction.