Michael D. Fischer

Michael D. Fischer

Visiting Scholar

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Professor Michael Fischer is a Visiting Scholar and he was previously a senior research fellow at Saïd Business School.


He is Research Professor in Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at Australian Catholic University, and an Associate and Programme Director at Melbourne Business School. He holds a PhD in organisational behaviour from Imperial College London, University of London.

Trained as a business school social scientist and clinical group analyst, his research has a strong empirical focus on the practice-level microsociology of organisational change in research-intensive settings, especially in healthcare. He specialises in ethnographic and comparative case studies, analysing intersubjective relations, emotions and power, and their potential to mobilise organisational change. He has a particular interest in executive education and the role of business schools in a rapidly developing knowledge economy.

Michael’s research is published in leading international journals in the Financial Times 'top 50' and Chartered Association of Business School 4* lists, including Accounting Organizations and Society, Human Relations, Organization Studies, Public Administration, and Social Science and Medicine.  He has led major competitive research grants as principal and co-investigator, including funding by the National Institute of Health Research, the University of Oxford and King’s College London. In his research at the University of Oxford, he conducted a longitudinal study of global leadership development focused on Saïd Business School’s flagship leadership programmes: High Performance Leadership and the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme.

His international career in public services focuses mainly in the healthcare sector where he has held senior clinical, managerial and policy adviser roles. Before joining academia, Michael had an accomplished career as a Lead Consultant Psychotherapist in leading teaching hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool and London, most recently at St Thomas' Hospital, London. He is a noted expert in the group and intersubjective relations that influence contemporary organisations and can powerfully mobilise organisational change.

He is an elected member of several international learned societies, including Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is also an active member of the Academy of Management, the European Group for Organizational Studies, and a Life Member of Oxford University Anthropological Society.


Fischer is an active researcher, focusing on practice-level processes of organisational change, especially in research-intensive settings.

His research draws on sociomaterial perspectives to analyse dynamics of influence and change in complex organisations. By focusing on the 'backstage' work of everyday emotions, affect and politics, he analyses their effects in mobilising ideas, material practices and technologies that can dynamically stimulate major organisational change.

View his research.


Professor Fischer has worked closely with policymakers, senior managers and clinical leaders in the healthcare industry during his career. 

With an enduring passion for translating academic research into real-world impact, his engagement work has a particular focus on the role of Academic Health Science organisations in transforming healthcare.

He has worked as an expert advisor with healthcare, financial services, management consultancies, higher education and not-for-profit organisations.  His research into the unintended effects of healthcare regulation has gained international recognition, influencing policymakers and regulators in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.


Professor Fischer’s teaching specialises in senior leadership development and organisational change. 

As a highly experienced group analyst, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and executive coach, he is an accomplished teacher and facilitator of personal and organisational development. He has extensive experience designing and delivering executive education and postgraduate programmes in the UK and Australia.

Michael’s approach to teaching is strongly evidenced by his longitudinal ethnographic study of High Performance Leadership and the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme over a period of two years. In his in-depth study, based on approximately 500 hours of observation, 200 interviews, and six years’ of archive data, Michael and his team analysed at first hand how personal aspects of leadership develop before, during and after such programmes.