Higher Degree by Research Application Portal

TitleToo hot to handle: Developing fire safety regulations for Australia
CourseDoctor of Philosophy

We invite applications for a 3 year PhD with scholarship at the University of Western Australia, with the intent to analyse and improve the implementation of fire safety regulations in Australia. This PhD position is part of a wider prestigious ARC grant that explores the development of new fire safety materials and regulations across Australia.

Forms of regulatory compliance are generally at odds with the profit motives of many organisations, and are frequently implemented involuntarily or only superficially. As a result, the uptake of regulations and their effectiveness is heavily contingent on how these regulations are developed, formulated, and implemented. Drawing on concepts from organisation theory and institutional theory, this project will examine how the dynamics of coercive, normative and mimetic forces affect how organisations engage with semi-compulsory regulations, with the overall goal to determine which approach ensures maximum uptake and effective compliance.

Fire safety is of paramount importance, especially in a country like Australia where wildfires pose an ever-looming threat. One of the major complexities of the current regulatory environment is that fire safety regulations differ significantly across states, as does the extent to which these regulations are mandated. This has resulted in a diverse range of organisational responses to these regulations with varying degrees of effectiveness. With the looming development and introduction of new fire safety materials, now is the perfect time to assess whether and how the accompanying regulations should be updated as well.

Empirically, this project will encompass a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research methods, and will likely include textual analysis of current regulations, surveying firms affected by fire safety regulations, and comparative case study. 

International Management
Opportunity statusOpen
Open date15 Apr 2024

Standard eligibility requirements for a PhD.

Citizenship statusDomestic
Enrolment statusCurrent student
Future student
Specific requirement

The ideal candidate for this project should have a background in management studies, organisation theory, non-market strategy, or stakeholder theory, and have some familiarity with both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Students who have completed a dissertation or thesis, both domestic as well as international students with a WAM of 80+ (or equivalent, see https://www.ask.uwa.edu.au/app/calculator/wam) are invited to apply.

How to apply

Students are invited to contact Dr. Maas (ron.maas@uwa.edu.au),  Dr. Zhong (yifan.zhong@uwa.edu.au) or Prof. Yeo (gillian.yeo@uwa.edu.au) for an informal conversation and further information on the application process. This is a rolling application with a negotiable starting date.


Dr. Ron Maas (ron.maas@uwa.edu.au)


Dr. Zhong (yifan.zhong@uwa.edu.au) 


Prof. Dr. Yeo (gillian.yeo@uwa.edu.au) 


Scholarship details
Scholarship typeStipend scholarship
Scholarship valueAUD $35,000pa
SchoolBusiness School
Course typeDoctorates