Dr Alvina Gillani

Dr Alvina Gillani

Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Strategy
PhD in Marketing, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
+44 (0)1483 683017
63 MS 03
Student Feedback & Consultation hours: Please email me to arrange a meeting.



Dr. Gillani joined Surrey Business School in January 2014 following completion of a Diploma in Social Science research methods and a PhD, both from Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. She has previously worked as a tutor and mentor in Cardiff Business School.

Her research is concerned with understanding why consumers purchase in the way they do within the context of ethical consumption, and covers three substantive areas: the attitude-behaviour gap, ethical purchase decision making and coping mechanisms.

This involves understanding consumers' attitudes, intentions and purchase behaviour specifically regarding fair trade consumption. Hence the research focuses on explicating the complexities surrounding the attitude-behaviour gap. In her Doctoral research Dr. Gillani developed a model of “reconciling demands of conscience”, which explicates consumers' ethical purchase decision-making processes. In comparison with neutralization theory, which is predicated on delinquent behaviour, her research delves into social conscience issues such as cognitive dissonance and guilt coping mechanisms within the context of ethical consumption behaviour.

She is currently researching pedagogical issues pertaining to teaching and learning and is developing a framework for module and teaching evaluation. For her research she received the Best Developmental Paper award in BAM 2014.

She is a Member of the British Academy of Management and is a committee member at the BAM Marketing and Retail SIG. Additionally, Alvina is a member of the Grounded Theory Institute, and reviews articles for the International Journal for Consumer Studies.

Previous roles

2015 - 2022
Programme Director Msc International Marketing
2014 - 2015
Programme Leader BSc International Business Management

Affiliations and memberships

British Academy of Management
Committee Member Marketing and Retail Special Interest Group
Grounded Theory Institute

Business, industry and community links

British Academy of Management
Regular speaker at the British Academy of Management Doctoral Symposium to Doctoral Students regarding research methodologies.


Research interests



Alvina Gillani, Smirti Kutaula, Leonidas C. Leonidou, Paul Christodoulides (2019)The Impact of Proximity on Consumer Fair Trade Engagement and Purchasing Behavior: The Moderating Role of Empathic Concern and Hypocrisy, In: Journal of Business Ethics Springer

The article reports the fndings of an empirical study among consumers, regarding the impact of physical, social, and psychological proximity on their engagement to the fair trade idea and purchasing behavior. Based on a random sample of 211 British and 112 Indian consumers and using structural equation modeling, it was found that high levels of physical, social, and psychological proximity leads to high consumer fair trade engagement. Moreover, consumer fair trade engagement was confrmed to have a positive impact on fair trade purchasing behavior. Furthermore, consumer empathic concern was found to positively moderate the association between proximity and consumer fair trade engagement, while the opposite was true with regard to consumer hypocrisy. Finally, consumer nationality was found to have a control efect on physical, social, and psychological proximity, with the latter felt stronger among Indian, as opposed to British consumers.

Alvina Gillani, Smirti Kutaula, Pawan S. Budhwar (2022)Heading Home? Reshoring and Sustainability Connectedness from a Home-Country Consumer Perspective, In: British journal of management Wiley

Extensive globalisation has presented several sustainability challenges highlighted in the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. These include the environmental impact of global product procurement and manufacturing and the irregular treatment of indigenous workers in developing countries. Thus, reshoring, defined as a firm's voluntary strategy to partially or totally relocate production to the home country, is gaining traction. However, most research on reshoring focuses on firms, leaving the consumers' perspective under-researched. Here, we examine British consumers' perspectives on reshoring to the UK and sustainability. By employing the theoretical lens of connectedness, anchored in attachment theory, we conducted 30 in-depth interviews using projective techniques and analysed the data using the constant comparison method. We found that consumers not only positively viewed their connectedness with the concept of reshoring from a sustainability perspective, but also appraised it from a global perspective, demonstrating empathy towards the host country. Further, they doubted corporations' motives regarding reshoring. Three theoretical dimensions emerged based on consumers' connectedness with reshoring and sustainability, specifically, supporting reshoring conditionally, inclusive reshoring, and doubting reshoring.

Smirti Kutaula, Alvina Gillani, Leonidas C Leonidou, Paul Christodoulides (2022)Integrating fair trade with circular economy: Personality traits, consumer engagement, and ethically-minded behavior, In: Journal of business research144pp. 1087-1102 Elsevier Inc

With the concept of circular economy gaining increasing momentum, its connection to consumer behavior, particularly focusing on fair trade, has been relatively unexplored. Building on cognitive-affective personality system theory, we examine the role of consumer personality traits as drivers of fair trade engagement and its subsequent impact on ethically-minded behavior concerning circular economy issues. Adopting a mixed-method approach, comprising a quantitative survey among 323 consumers in the UK and India and a qualitative study among 18 British consumers, we found that extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness positively affect consumer fair trade engagement, whereas neuroticism has a negative effect, and openness has no significant impact. Consumer fair trade engagement was subsequently revealed to positively influence ethically-minded behavior related to circular economy. The association between consumer fair trade engagement and ethically-minded behavior was stronger in older, more educated, and high-income consumers, whereas gender had no moderating role.

Smirti Kutaula, Alvina Gillani, Leonidas C. Leonidou, Dayananda Palihawadana (2020)Exploring frontline employee-customer linkages: a psychological contract perspective, In: The International Journal of Human Resource Managementpp. 1-38 Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Although the concept of psychological contract provides a valuable tool to explore frontline employees and customer relationships, this has received little research attention. To address this gap, we develop an integrated model anchored on social exchange theory and a set of research propositions which link together Human Resource Management (HRM) practices delivered by line managers, frontline employee psychological contract, frontline employee customer-oriented behaviors, and customer psychological contract fulfillment, eventually predicting customer outcomes. We also stress the moderating role of service climate and organizational identification, as well as the control effects played by frequency of interactions, nature of product/service, and frequency of purchase of the product/service. Our analysis offers useful theoretical and managerial implications, as well as directions for further research.

Smirti Kutaula, Alvina Gillani, Pawan S Budhwar (2019)An analysis of employment relationships in Asia using psychological contract theory: A review and research agenda, In: Human Resource Management Review100707 Elsevier Ltd

Psychological contract theory is increasingly gaining traction as a means of examining the linkages (black box) between Human Resource Management (HRM) and performance. This paper systematically reviews the existing psychological contract research conducted in Asia over the period from 1998-2019. It takes an important step towards building an understanding of psychological contract theory in Asia while also making a critical contribution to the broad domains of HRM and employment relationship. In our review of 96 articles, we consider the two dominant themes that capture the psychological contract evaluation and content in Asia and highlight the theoretical, methodological and contextual gaps in the literature. We also offer specific guidance in the form of potential future research directions and conclude by discussing theoretical and practical implications of the analysis.

Gavin Hilson, Alvina Gillani, Smirti Kutaula (2018)Towards Sustainable Pro-Poor Development? A Critical Assessment of Fair Trade Gold, In: Journal of Cleaner Production186pp. 894-904 Elsevier Ltd

This paper reflects critically on the progress made towards implementing Fair Trade gold programs capable of empowering subsistence artisanal miners in developing countries. Drawing on interviews with ‘ethical’ jewellers and officials at certification bodies, the very parties which have conceived and are ultimately driving these initiatives, it is argued that despite being projected as ‘pro-poor’, schemes are not empowering, nor in many cases even targeting, impoverished mining groups. Further analysis reveals that officials at certification bodies are chiefly responsible for this. Many have used stories of poor miners to engage ‘ethical’ jewellers enamoured with the idea of potentially alleviating poverty in developing countries through purchasing gold that can also be traced to the source. The case study reinforces claims that what constitutes ‘fair’ differs markedly throughout the supply chain. •Reflects critically on recent developments made to bring Fair Trade gold to market.•Surveys the views of jewellers and certification bodies on the impact of Fair Trade gold.•Surveys the views of jewellers and certification - bodies on the challenges with empowering small-scale gold miners.•Reveals that the story being told to customers purchasing jewellery is very different to the reality.•Offers explanations for why this is the case.

Alvina Gillani, Smirti Kutaula (2018)An introduction to special issue: sustainability and ethical consumerism, In: Management Decision56(3)pp. 511-514 Emerald
Alvina Gillani, Smirti Kutaula, Pawan S Budhwar (2021)Psychological contract breach: Unraveling the dark side of business-to-business relationships, In: Journal of Business Research134pp. 631-641 Elsevier

While there is an increasing awareness of the importance of developing successful business-to-business relationships, little research has explored the dark side of these relationships. We drew upon the concept of psychological contract, underpinned by social exchange theory to examine breach and the dark side of business-to-business relationships. We conducted in-depth interviews with 24 consultants in the UK and found that breach could take varying forms, resulting in differing levels of intensity of the dark side. The four theoretical categories of breach were classified as minor infractions, negative disruptions, intensified adverse events, and intolerable transgressions, which correspond to low, moderate, high, and very high levels of the dark side of business-to-business relationships, respectively. The dark side behavioral outcomes were identified as self-adjusting, renegotiating, escalating, and departing. We develop a set of research propositions, integrating and extending the business-to-business and psychological contract literature. We also highlight key implications for theory and practice.

Smirti Kutaula, ALVINA GILLANI, Saunders, M.N.K. (2016)Using storytelling to teach sampling techniques, In: Dan Remenyi (eds.), Innovation in Teaching of Research Methodology Excellence Awards An Anthology of Case Historiespp. 88-98 Academic Conferences and Publishing International