Dr Helen Watts

Dr Helen Watts 2

Deputy Head of School, Principal Lecturer in Business

Head of School

Contact Details

email: h.watts@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 85 5316

Helen is a Principal Lecturer in Business, and teaches marketing, consumer psychology, consumer behaviour, and research methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed), as well as supervising and examining research students at various levels (UG/PG/DBA/PhD). Helen has achieved Chartership in Occupational Psychology, and holds a PhD in Customer Membership Retention giving her professional and academic expertise in both occupational and consumer psychology.

Outside of academia, Helen has conducted numerous contract research projects with high profile membership organisations, researching membership perceptions, satisfaction and loyalty, and has worked as an associate for various consultancies helping HR managers to improve their business processes in relation to retention, selection and assessment, psychometric testing (personality, ability), talent management, learning and development, outplacement and research.

Helen also supports local charities (e.g. St Paul's Hostel), bringing marketing, psychology and research expertise to the charity sector, and has recently joined the UoW and Worcester Snoezelen Partnership Steering Group.

Helen also enjoys engaging with the community, through public talks and radio/television interviews at regional/national level, and also has a background in health and fitness (qualified fitness instructor, fitness competitor), and competitive rowing.


  • PhD Consumer Psychology
  • PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • MSc Occupational Psychology
  • BSc Psychology
  • Chartered Psychologist (QOccPsych)


Current Teaching on Undergraduate and Postgraduate Modules: 

  • Customer Insight and Marketing  Level 4
  • Lifestyle Marketing – Level 5
  • Consultancy and Research Methods- Level 5
  • Business Investigation- Level 6
  • Research Methods - Postgraduate

For my modules, I blend academic content, personal stories and industry articles to enhance student engagement and performance.



  • Consumer loyalty and retention
  • Membership retention
  • Service quality
  • Customer value
  • Brand association, personality and identification
  • Social identification and anxiety
  • Services marketing and management
  • Charity marketing

Methodological expertise:

Quantitative questionnaire design, inferential statistical analysis, semi-structured interviewing, Thematic Analysis

Current PhD/DBA projects: 

  • Exploration of pandemical anxiety impacting the retail consumer behaviour
  • The Impact of Mobile Customer Relationship Management on Customer Satisfaction and Competitive Advantage
  • Exploring the attraction factors of apprenticeships in the construction trade

Doctoral examination:

Internal examiner for PhD viva:

  • Customer-Customer Interaction
  • Entrepreneurial decision-making

Funded research projects:

  • Evaluating talent management in the NHS
  • Developing open-source learning materials for entrepreneurship teaching
  • Independent verification of tenders for well-connected social impact bond
  • Brand perceptions and membership structure research
  • Membership satisfaction research


The role of cognition and affect in predicting customer loyalty (Journal or Retailing and Consumer Services, in preparation). 

Bell, R., Liu, P., Zhan, H., Bozward, D., Fan, J., Watts, H. & Ma, X. (2019) Exploring entrepreneurial roles and identity in the United Kingdom and China, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 20(1), 39-49. doi: 10.1177/1465750318792510 

Watts, H. (2016). It’s Cheaper than Acquiring New Ones: Retaining members to your service (online), IORMA. 

Watts, H. (2015). Are we doing enough to develop career competency? Talent Management: Network Knowledge (e-book), Synermetric. 

Watts, H.N. (2015). Predicting customer retention in discrete and continuous services. In: Gansser, O. and Krol, B. ed. Markt- und Absatzprognosen: Modelle-Methoden-Anwendung. Springer Gabler: Weisbaden, pp. 89-106. 

Smith, R., Bell, R. & Watts, H (2014) Personality trait differences between traditional and social entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise Journal, 10(3), 200-221. doi: 10.1108/SEJ-08-2013-0033 

Watts, H.N. & Francis-Smythe, J (2008). Membership retention in the fitness industry: The development and validation of a predictive model. Abstract published in Annual Conference of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences 2008, Journal of Sports Sciences, 26 (2), S138 — S139. 

Watts, H.N. & Francis-Smythe, J.A. (2008). Membership retention in the fitness industry: A qualitative study and the development of a predictive model. Selected proceedings of the First International Conference on Social Sciences (Volume 3), 79-90, Social Sciences Research Society, Turkey. 


Conference papers 

Nichol, L., Palmer, G. & Watts, H.N. (2016). Learning and employment outcomes of Chinese students: findings and implications for UK Higher Education. Paper presented at University Forum for Human Resource Development, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. 

Watts, H.N. (2013). The roles of age, gender and length of membership in predicting customer loyalty in high and low contact membership organisations. Paper accepted at Second International Conference on 
Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences, Middlesex University Dubai. 

Watts, H.N. & Francis-Smythe, J.A. (2010) Encouraging employees use of  
fitness clubs in Employee Wellness Programs. Paper presented at 2nd Biennial IWP Conference on Work, Well-Being and Performance. Institute of Work Psychology, Sheffield. 

Watts, H.N., Francis-Smythe, J., Upton, D. & Peters, D. (2009). How managers can predict customer retention rates through psychological profiling. Poster presented at the Leadership & Management Conference, University of Worcester. 

Watts, H.N. & Francis-Smythe, J.A. (2008). To go or not to go? Factors affecting fitness club attendance. Paper presented at Health and Social Care Research Focus Conference on ‘Health and Well-Being’, University of Worcester. 

Watts, H.N. (2008). What determines the usage of coaching and leadership skills in military instructors? An application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Paper presented at PsyPAG Annual Conference, University of Manchester. 

Watts, H.N. & Francis-Smythe, J.A. (2008). Assessing the role of personality in fitness club membership retention: Future directions for the Membership Retention Questionnaire (MRQ). Paper presented at PsyPAG Annual Conference, University of Manchester. 

Watts, H.N. & Francis-Smythe, J.A. (2008)Organisational Development within the Health and Fitness Sector: Measuring, Predicting and Improving membership Retention Rates. Paper presented at POP Conference, Stratford-upon-Avon.  

Watts, H.N. (2007) Can the research-practice gap ever really be bridged? Applying the ‘applied’ in evidence-based organisational practice. Paper presented at PsyPAG Annual Conference, London South Bank University. 

Watts, H.N. (2007) Membership retention in the health and fitness industry: The development of a predictive model. Paper presented at Research Student Conference, University of Worcester 

Professional Bodies

  • Fellow Higher Education Academy