Dr Xia Shu


University of Dundee School of Business, School of Business

Accountancy & Finance, School of Business

Portrait photo of Xia Shu
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Dr Xia Shu joined the School of Business as a Lecturer in Accounting in September 2021. She completed her PhD from Sheffield University Management School and was awarded in early 2022. 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.

She has a broad interest both praxis and theories involved in critical social analysis of accounting with a particular focus on the use of PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) to deliver public infrastructure. Her research has been published in leading accounting and/or public management journals including Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal and Public Money & Management. Over the years, she has presented her work in a variety of conference settings, including the 9th Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (APIRA, 2019), the 17th Biennial Comparative International Governmental Accounting Research Conference (CIGAR, 2019), British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA 2020-2023) Annual Conferences, International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM 2022, 2023) Annual Conference, and the American Accounting Association Annual Meeting (2022). She has on-going projects on the evaluation, governance, policy-making and counter stories on PPPs collaborated with scholars in and out of Dundee. Her projects have been funded by the School’s Strategic Development and Impact funding scheme.

Xia has five years’ experience of teaching at both UG and PG levels and has gained Associate Fellow status at the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2020. She has taught on a number of modules including Corporate Social Reporting, Corporate Governance, Research Methods, Contemporary Issues in Accounting, Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, Financial management and Financial Statement Analysis.

Xia is a disciplinary Digital Champion in the School’s Digital Learning Technology Group, where she actively works with reps from all School disciplines, student innovations champions, and the digital learning designer to ensure and support the adoption of digital learning technologies by students and staff. In the meantime, Xia is a member of the School’s International Committee and Business and Community Engagement Committee.


Xia’s research pathway has been inspired and influenced by the Frankfurt School; in particular, the work of Jürgen Habermas. She sees modern accounting systems as organisational languages whose ‘terms’ and ‘sentences’ find meanings in the historical, organisational and societal contexts where they are used. 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 commissioning of public service/infrastructure projects, she has incorporated a critical and interdisciplinary theoretical framework drawing from the areas of political economy, sociology and dialogic theory. Methodologically, she is open to a diverse range of research methods that allow researchers 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. For instance, she has collected and analysed a large set of public documents from various sources including some obtained through the use of 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.

Areas of expertise

  • Public Private Partnerships/Private Finance Initiatives
  • Ex-post evaluations of infrastructure schemes/projects
  • Dialogic accounting and counter accounts
  • Policy-making in public spending and project evaluation
  • New Public Management and Neoliberalism
  • Contract psychology in hybrid organisations

Research themes

  • Accounting, accountability and governance
View full research profile and publications


Dr Xia Shu is involved and/or going to be involved in teaching the following subjects:

  • Corporate Social Reporting
  • Research Methods
  • Corporate Governance
  • Contemporary Issues in International Reporting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Accounting in Organisational Contexts