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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Xia Shu joined the School of Business as a Lecturer in Accounting in July 2021. She has just completed her PhD from Sheffield University Management School. 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.

Xia’s PhD project focused on the UK’s use of PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) to deliver public infrastructure. She has a broad interest in the critical social analysis of accounting. Her research has been published in Public Money & Management and is under review at Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. 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) and the 2021 British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) Annual Conference.

Xia has more than three years’ experience of teaching at both UG and PG levels and has gained Associate Fellow status at the Higher Education Academy (HEA). She has taught on a number of modules including Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, Financial management and Financial Statement Analysis.


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 evaluation 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
  • Ex-post evaluations of infrastructure schemes/projects
  • Policy-making in public spending and project evaluation
  • Critical theories in accounting
  • New Public Management and Neoliberalism
  • Evaluation theory
  • Contract psychology in hybrid organisations

Research themes

  • Markets and Governance


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

  • Contemporary Issues in International Reporting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Accounting in an Organisational Context
  • Corporate Social Reporting