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UOA 36 - Business and Management Studies

Aston University

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

ASTON BUSINESS SCHOOL

 

1.         RESEARCH STRATEGY

 

1.1       Introduction

Research at Aston University is aimed at making a real and measurable difference to individuals, organisations and society through discovery, dissemination and commercialisation. Aston Business School’s (ABS) research mission reflects that aspiration by:

 

      advancing understanding about the effectiveness of organisations, markets and economies at work by conducting rigorous and relevant research;

      developing theory and research that is innovative and influential;

      informing practice and policy of organisations and governments; 

      developing interventions, tools and techniques which promote effectiveness of organisations, markets and economies;

      being a model for the management of research.

 

The research strategy of the School has continued to develop since the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) when our strategy was ‘to achieve impact through research which combines intellectual and theoretical rigour with practical relevance’. 

 

1.2       Progress since last RAE and Future Plans

At the time of the last RAE the School aimed to disseminate more of its research in top international journals, to increase emphasis on interdisciplinary and cross-group research and to conduct collaborative research with scholars from around the world. In all these regards we have made significant progress. What has not changed is the School’s abiding commitment to research that is both rigorous and relevant. 

 

Since the last RAE the research capacity of the School has grown by over 30 per cent  with an increase in academic staff from 65 to 99 including 12 additional chairs.  The outputs of 96 per cent of staff are being submitted to the RAE Business and Management panel. In the 2001 RAE 83.4 per cent of our submission was constituted by journal articles of which 46.9 per cent were in internationally excellent and recognised journals (according to the Harzing journals rankings).   Our current submission consists almost entirely of journal articles and the percentage in internationally recognised and excellent journals has increased to 98 per cent. ABS has achieved AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB accreditation during the RAE period and assessors’ reports cite the research-led culture and the international standing of the School’s research as key distinguishing features. As a consequence of our policy of building sustainable research relationships, leading international researchers continually visit and revisit the School, resulting in collaborative top-level publications. Many academics in the School play key roles in the organising committees of international conferences and the School regularly hosts international academic and practitioner conferences.  (See Esteem section) 

 

Research income during the seven year period exceeded £9 million. This represents a substantial rise in research income compared with the previous RAE period. The population of research students in the School has increased from 59.0 FTEs in 2001 to 77.5 FTEs currently on the books.  The average completion time of doctorates has dropped from well over 4 years in the last RAE period to 3.5 years.

 

1.3       Future Plans

Our main objective over the next five years is to pursue our central mission of significantly advancing understanding of the effectiveness of organisations, markets and economies by undertaking rigorous research, relevant to business and society. The School’s research will focus on four themes: Performance measurement and management (people, organisations, markets and economies); Diversity, knowledge and innovation; Leadership, ethics, governance and sustainability; Strategy, partnerships and organisation and will be structured into four interdisciplinary Programmes. That process is already underway and four Programme Directors (Professors Thanassoulis, Wong, Martin and Jarzabkowski) will lead them. The purpose is to focus research on key issues and knowledge gaps, encourage inter-disciplinarity, and pursue ambitious programmes of research focused on ‘big questions’ of interest to businesses, research councils, governments and the EU. The School intends to substantially increase research income in the next four years by applying for FP7 funding in collaboration with other European institutions and by increasing the scale, quality and quantity of our applications to ESRC and EPSRC.  We will also invest substantially in two or three centres of research excellence, including recruiting research leaders in these areas.  We will focus publications even more on the top international journals and increase the research impact on policy and practice via a stronger communications and marketing function. We intend to continue to develop the quality of the PhD Programme which is focused on producing the next generation of academics for business schools by ensuring our strategies for team supervision and pre-viva publications are bedded in effectively.  We intend to increase the level of engagement with industry and organisations internationally, nationally and regionally.  Finally, we will build research collaborations with other Schools in Aston University, and other institutions with shared research interests internationally and regionally, to ensure we enhance the scale of research and the diversity of perspectives essential for a vibrant research culture. 

 

2.         ACADEMIC GROUPS AND RESEARCH CENTRES

 

All academic staff and doctoral researchers are located in one of five Academic Groups, and their contributions are described in turn below.  These Groups, with one exception (and some changes of title), mirror those presented in the last RAE. The Public Sector Management Group (which became Policy Studies) has now been merged with the other five Academic Groups since all Groups study public sector organisations and explore policy issues. This has enabled us to further develop the cross-disciplinary orientation that is, and will increasingly be, a strong feature of the ABS research culture. Each Academic Group has a Research Convenor, who is responsible for facilitating research within his or her Group.  Groups also host Research Centres which are subject to formal review every three years. Current Centres include some that were vibrant at the time of the last RAE including the Institute of Health Service Effectiveness (formerly ACHSOR); Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research; and Innovation Lab Europe. New Centres include the Aston Centre for Research in Experimental Finance; the Centre for Performance Measurement and Management; and the Organisational Cognitive Neuroscience Centre (the latter in collaboration with the Aston School of Life and Health Sciences).

 

2.1       Economics and Strategy (ES)

Professorial Leadership: Driffield (ND), Jarzabkowski (PJ) Love (JL), Roper (SR). Group members: Anon-Higon (DA early career), Binner (JB), Bissoondeeal (RB early career), Bruce (KB), Crotty (JC), Du (JD early career), Giulietti (MG), Henry (MH early career), Izushi (HI), Leask (GL early career), Saal (DS), Sena (VS), Tapinos (ET early career) and Vaidya (KV).

 

Objectives:

The research of the Group aims to apply rigorous methods to a wide range of data types to develop best practice approaches and decision-making tools for governments and industry across the world. The econometric applications, case study analyses, action research and strategic thinking are aimed at influencing policy at the highest level. The core discipline of the Group is applied economics and research is carried out in four themes of direct relevance to government policy and business performance:

 

Main Activities:

The Innovation and Productivity (IP) team play a key role in Innovation Lab Europe (ILE), the outlet for innovation and policy-relevant research. Policy-relevant work includes: an analysis of the drivers of productivity as part of Advantage West Midlands’ regional economic strategy; and a detailed evaluation of support provided to small firms from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI[1]) as part of a wide ranging policy review.  Ongoing projects focus on innovation, innovation systems, business performance, spillovers and related policy analysis. The IP team has attracted £867k in funding from ESRC (5 projects), EPSRC, DTI, Scottish Executive, Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and Invest Northern Ireland. 

 

The Industrial Economics (IndEcon) team pursue research on the theory and application of efficiency and productivity measurement. The research has contributed directly to numerous national and international organisations including recent programmes funded by OFWAT and the American Power Association. 

 

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) team investigate the determinants and regional distribution of foreign direct investment growth.  A crucial contribution is the linking of the motivation for FDI to its impacts on host and source countries. Since FDI growth has far outstripped trade growth in the past 30 years, it is vital for business and policy makers to understand how capital flow movements impact on markets and contribute to development. It has been identified by the UK Government’s House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee as a key area to increase UK competitiveness. 

 

The Strategy team cover key issues ranging from the performance implications of market- and industry-based changes to the historical origins of strategy and organisation theories, knowledge adoption, and implications for corporate social responsibility. PJ is one of the UK’s leading researchers in strategy as practice.

 

Main Achievements:

Innovation and Productivity: Using large-scale comparative survey data, JL and SR have found that the ‘open innovation’ strategy which is now widely advocated in the managerial literature actually reduces the level of innovativeness in both British and German firms. This is the first detailed test of the open innovation hypothesis and has relevance not only for firms’ strategies, but also for the development of theoretical understanding of the limits to market-based structures in the internal organisation of the firm.  SR and JL carried out a detailed assessment of the Scottish innovation system, discovering weaknesses in key elements of the system. This led to further research identifying policy measures to correct these weaknesses, now under active consideration by the Scottish Executive. JB’s work on optimising the construction of monetary aggregates has shown that technological change and financial innovation have had important influences, changing the composition and structure of effective measures of monetary aggregates. JB serves as advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis on the construction of monetary services indices and has acted as an advisor to the Bank of England and the European Central Bank on how to improve the construction of monetary aggregates. KV’s work on rural travellers’ time savings from improved transport in developing countries shows significant gains in production and welfare. These findings have been incorporated in World Bank and other development agencies' project appraisal guidelines. 

 

Industrial Economics: DS’s research on the English and Welsh water industries has demonstrated that tightened regulation, not privatisation, is responsible for improved productivity and efficiency in the industry.  MG’s work on switching behaviour in residential electricity markets has shown that a significant group of customers is willing to tolerate the incumbent’s prices being substantially above entrants’ prices and that this has a significant welfare impact.  The Competition Commission and Energy Regulators in Holland and Sweden have used this work as reference when assessing competitiveness and the determinants of switching in other markets.

 

Foreign Direct Investment: ND has published widely on the impacts of FDI on host countries, showing that technology differences between foreign and domestic firms is an important determinant of productivity spillovers in the UK. Technology sourcing FDI contributes little to productivity growth in the UK, while technology exploiting FDI generates significant spillovers. ND and JL’s FDI research shows that inward investment, motivated by the desire to exploit firm specific technology, reduces the demand for unskilled labour. The productivity and employment effects of FDI coming into the UK depend crucially on relative technological strength. This has been incorporated into a DTI review of UK government support for trade and FDI.

 

Strategy: PJ’s Advanced Institute of Management Ghoshal Fellowship research on the social dynamics of strategy implementation in regulated contexts informs policy on the conflicts between regulation and commercial imperatives that may trap firms in sub-optimal strategy implementation processes. These include imbalanced spending curves, internal divisional conflict, poor customer service and legal action. Findings also inform practice on how firms can balance potential conflicts to avoid these traps.  GL’s (early career) research, published in Strategic Management Journal, illustrates how factors such as nationality influence the strategic positioning behaviours of multinational corporations, such as pharmaceutical firms. 

 

Future Research Directions:

Future plans for the Group aim to develop its core strengths in applied strategy and micro-economic analysis, developing its expertise in policy evaluation and increasing its international profile. The Group plan to enhance success in external grant winning and encourage staff to bid for larger grants.  Recent examples are JC who was awarded £250,000 from the ESRC in July 2007 to continue her work on environmental regulation and ND who has just been awarded £129,000 from ESRC to continue work on FDI, governance and firm-performance.  Inter-disciplinary and international pilot projects are supported by pump priming funds, with new appointments being targeted at development areas.  A new technically focused MSc programme in International Business Economics, with a significant research component, will be introduced in 2008-09 to support future developments in this area.

 

Esteem

Awards: DA (early career) EPSRC IDEAS Factory Researcher; MG Advanced Institute of Management Associate; MG and VS Advanced Institute of Management Scholars. 

 

Recognition from the academic or user community: ND (2007) engaged by DTI/ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to write a ‘Think Tank’ paper on globalisation and labour markets; JL, SR and ND undertook work for Advantage West Midlands Regional Economic Strategy Review; SR and DS’s (2005)  research  provided an assessment prior to transfer of responsibility for Business Links to the Regional Development Agencies; SR’s  Invest Northern Ireland funded project evaluated public R and D investment; KV’s  work on industrial development in Asia has been sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, European Commission, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), International Labour Office, DFID (Department for International Development, UK) and the World Bank. 

 

Consultancy/policy advice: DA (early career) provided advice to UKTI on innovation and exporting activities of SMEs; consultant for the Small Business Support Unit (former DTI) on gender, self-employment and financial constraints. JB appointed advisor on Divisia money construction by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, USA;  advised the Bank of England on proposed changes to Divisia construction. ND’s research for the World Bank centred on FDI into developing countries was presented at a Heads of Investment Promotion Agency Conference in Tokyo.  This work and similar work on Malaysia has been identified as a key driver of policy by OECD and UNCTAD. SR with others developed the All Ireland Business Model, used to assess the competitive impact of policy changes on competitiveness in Ireland and  Northern Ireland; SR has acted as consultant for the Department of Enterprise Trade & Investment on productivity growth (2001) and policy impact in Northern Ireland (2003), the Small Business Service (DTI) on the impact of Business Links support (2005); Forfas (Dublin, 2004) on service sector innovation; the Scottish Executive on the effectiveness of innovation support measures (2004); and the Scottish innovation system (2005); DS provided advice to Ofwat on economies of scale and scope and productivity growth in the water industry; worked with the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales, Australia in constructing appropriate total factor productivity measures for use in the regulation of Sydney Water, Hunter Water and Sydney Catchment Authority;  VS (2003) provided advice on labour market readjustment policies for the Social  Protection Unit at the World Bank and provided advice on labour demand policies for the Regional  Agency of Employment in Campania, Italy (2004).  KV provided advice and consultancy to: Asian Development Bank on management and monitoring of a rural infrastructure project in Cambodia; Ministry of Rural Development, Royal Government of Cambodia on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation unit; UK Department for International Development (DFID) on valuation of rural travel time savings in least developed countries; Government of Laos People’s Democratic Republic on a strategy for rural road maintenance;  Government of Madhya Pradesh, India on managing the rural road network which led to the development of a phased programme of institutional development and maintenance management.   

 

Participation: ND  reviewer for DTI of UKTI’s Relative Economic Benefits Project; JL review of Scottish innovation system and recommendations for policy for Scottish Executive; SR OECD Expert Group involved in comparison of Israel, Finland and  Ireland ICT clusters as part of the Helsinki Territorial Review.

 

Plenary/keynote Addresses: JB Business and Economics Society International Conference (2007); PJ Professional Practice Conference, British Psychological Society (2004); DS Beesley Lectures on Regulation Series XIV (2004).

 

Guest Editor: JB (2004) Advances in Econometrics; KB (2006) Technology Analysis and Strategic Management; PJ (2006) Human Relations; VS (2006) Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-managed firms; VS (2007) International Journal for Business Performance and Measurement.

 

Editorial Boards:  PJ Academy of Management Journal; Journal of Management Studies; Organization Science; Organisation Studies.

 

Conference Organisation: Shifting Boundaries: Governance, Competence and Economic Organisation in the Knowledge Economy KB (2004); Performance measurement and its application to incentive regulation and public services DS (2005); AIM Capacity-Building Workshop on ‘Researching Organizations as Pluralistic Contexts’ PJ (2006); UK Efficiency and Performance Measurement Network Workshop VS (2006); Measurement Error Econometrics and Practice JB (2007). 

 

Prestigious Fellowships: HI Nitobe Fellowship for Japanese Social Scientists; PJ Advanced Institute of Management Ghoshal Fellowship; SR Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. 

 

Visiting Appointments: KB Monash University (2007); PJ University of Auckland (2004); JL Copenhagen Business School (2005).

 

Leadership of Consortia: PJ co-host of the strategy as practice web site – a virtual community of 1288 members. Site is funded by Society for Advancement of Management (which owns Journal of Management Studies); VS co-ordinator of UK Efficiency and Productivity Measurement Network.

 

Prize winning publications: KB Paul M Hersey Award Academy of Management, (2001); KB  Business & Economics Society International Conference (2004); PJ Academy of Management Conference (2004); SR/DSS Small Business Service Award 29th Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference (2006).

 

 

2.2 Finance, Accounting and Law (FAL)

Professorial Leadership: Bainbridge (DB), Brignall (SB), Chelley-Steeley (PC), Joseph (NJ), Lowe (AL), Poole (JP) and Steeley (JS). Group members: Abd-Elsalam (OA), Agyei-Ampomah (SA), Basioudis (IB), Belal (AB, early career), Cooper (SC), Davis (PD), Goddard (RG early career), Howell (CH), Kelly (JK), Lambertides (NL, early career), Manochin (MM, early career), Meisel (FM), Pearce (GP), Sadler (GS).  

 

Objectives:

The Group’s work influences policy and practice in the financial, government and corporate sectors.  By examining and developing empirical models, the work on capital markets advances understanding about the efficiency and functioning of financial markets. The Group aims to develop methods and applications that enable changes to performance measurement systems to be monitored and measured within organisations to better understand these processes. The research on commercial law and governance issues significantly advances understanding within the business sector. 

 

Main Activities:

Research focuses primarily upon the following three themes:

 

The Performance Measurement and Management team applies management accounting practices, widely used in manufacturing, to non-manufacturing private and public sectors whilst at the same time, extending the scope of management control systems to include non-financial information. The team’s work reveals  systematic differences in costing and performance measurement across three service delivery process archetypes and has highlighted the effects of change (including information systems advances) on the roles of management accountants. The emphasis on public sector performance measurement is complemented by AL’s work on public sector reform in New Zealand. This encourages the implementation of case mix accounting systems in the New Zealand health sector. Working with colleagues from other groups, with funding from HEFCE, management accounting and mathematical and statistical modelling methods have been combined to go beyond traditional accounting methods. The work shows how organisational performance is measured and reported and the impact this has on organisation stakeholders. 

 

The Empirical Finance team develops models or uses data from financial markets and the experimental laboratory to understand better the efficiency and functioning of markets and corporate decision making.  The research undertaken has been directed at equity, fixed income, foreign exchange and derivatives markets. The team also examines the relationship between momentum and market predictability, which has shown that the Black-Scholes option pricing model out-performs the more complex Heston stochastic volatility model, particularly for low frequency data. The team has also modelled the changing conditional correlation between the UK equity and bond markets. A series of studies examining the microstructure of stock markets has shown that the financial trading system can exert a strong impact on the behaviour of stock returns and their volatility. This work indicates that market architecture is an important factor governing competition between stock exchanges. 

 

The Governance and the regulatory framework  team focuses on (i) analysing the appropriateness and effectiveness of governance structures and accountability in the public sector and international corporate context and (ii) evaluating the operation and effectiveness of the regulatory framework with a view to promoting solutions to twenty-first century scenarios and ensuring that any response meets both the global sustainability agenda and the operational needs of transactors. The team has been able to obtain synergies from the overlapping nature of research interests - for example, financial analysis of directors’ remuneration is complemented by research on the legal duties of directors. The team has benefited from the advice and support of Sir Adrian Cadbury, an external member of the team and author of the Cadbury report on Corporate Governance. Other research, funded through the ESRC’s Devolution and Constitutional Change Programme, examined government claims that decentralised decision-making in the context of reforms to English regional government can improve the effectiveness of public policy.  The work on intellectual property, data protection and freedom of information in the context of emerging ICT systems, has demonstrated that opportunities for commercial innovation are being accompanied by challenges to established policy rationales as well as new risks and ethical dilemmas for law makers.  The research has also shown how technological advances are constantly challenging the law and practice associated with the auction trading environment.

 

Main Achievements: 

Performance measurement and management: SB’s research has shown that inefficient strategic management decisions in HEIs lead to substantial cost inefficiencies for university central administration. Findings have informed HEIs of their potential for cost savings and have opened a debate in the sector about controlling administrative expenditure, prompting a widely cited article in the Times Higher Education Supplement. SB’s research has been used by NHS trusts to improve performance metrics and informed the Bristol Infirmary Inquiry. In the private sector, using the New Zealand Fisheries Industry as a case study, AL highlights the difficulties associated with the initial design of a performance measurement system. SC’s work on the future of OFR disclosures, funded by the Association of Corporate and Chartered Accountants was presented at a gathering of FTSE 350 senior executives. 

 

Empirical Finance: PC has provided advice to Virgin-Direct on the sources of volatility associated with tracker funds and this has been featured in the financial and national press (such as The Sunday Telegraph and Investors Chronicle). A model created by PC that measures the speed with which stock prices adjust to new information is being used by the water industry to measure persistence in water quality.  JS’s work on yield curve estimation has been used by the Treasury and the Bank of England to underpin their interest rate models and is being used by JS in his capacity as advisor to both the Debt Management Office and the Bank of England. JS uses his Gilt Auctions research to advise H.M. Treasury’s Debt Management Office on the efficiency of UK Gilt auctions. The Group hosts the Aston Centre for Research in Experimental Finance (the experimental laboratory) set up in 2004 and a comprehensive range of trading experiments have been undertaken since its inception.  Current research is examining the relationship between trading activity and return volatility in a risky asset market and aims to establish whether information clustering influences trading activity, whether bid-ask spreads are sensitive to the information flow and whether transaction prices converge to end of period asset values. 

 

Governance and the regulatory framework: GP’s work revealed a complex and fragmented set of institutional structures, inconsistent strategies and blurred accountabilities in which policy implementation is an outstanding concern. His research has informed the work of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government, Constitutional Affairs, Transport and Deputy Prime Minister’s Committees, the Countryside Agency, the National RDA Secretariat and the West Midlands Regional Assembly.   In the controversial area of software patents DB has shown the importance of international agreements, drawing attention to how the UK courts have diverged from EU law and practice. RG and CH’s work in the contentious field of corporate governance has informed the agenda for company law reform (Company Law Review Steering Group). JP’s work, demonstrating the deficiencies in the current remedial responses to breach of contract and formation failures for business and other contractors on the global stage, has produced innovative reform proposals, which have been extensively cited (English High Court in Halpern v Halpern and High Court of Singapore in Chwee King Keong v Digilandmall.com Pte Ltd) and are to inform the examination of this subject by the Law Commission. 

 

Future Research Directions

Management accounting will remain a major strength for the Group. Moreover, it is the Group’s objective to sharpen the focus on the application of management accounting techniques in the public sector. Building on current strengths in empirical finance, the Group will extend activities in experimental finance and microstructure (PC and JS) as this represents a new and rapidly developing component of the finance discipline. In addition to these core areas, further cross-collaborative work in corporate governance (SB, IB, AB, SC, RG, CH, JP, and GS), examining aspects of financial reporting, audit, social and environmental reporting aspects, business ethics and governance structures and accountability, will continue to be developed.  

 

Esteem

Awards: RG (early career) (2003) article in Modern Law Review received the most downloads for that year.

OA (2003) article in Journal of International Accounting Auditing and Taxation ranked 5th hottest article in that journal in 2004 and in top 25 hottest articles in 2005 and 2006.  

 

Recognition from academic/user community: JP participated in SLS Seminar Series on European Contract Law (2004) and Oxford/Norton Rose Contract Law Symposium (2006); GP (2003) was asked to provide evidence for the House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry; and (2006) House of Commons ODPM Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee Inquiry.  

 

Consultancy/Policy Advice: JP is an advisor to The College of Law on Contract and Commercial Law issues; IB (2006) was invited by FRC (the UK financial reporting regulator) to comment on their consultation proposal for choice in the UK audit market; GP invited by the Rowntree Foundation to undertake research on devolved approaches to local governance; invited by West Midlands Regional Assembly to prepare a briefing paper on devolved approaches to regional governance in the West Midlands.  This was published and presented at seminars attended by 400 politicians and regional economic and social partners.

 

Participation: IB Chairman of Auditing Special Interest Group (2006 to date); SB member of: Research Board Chartered Institute of Management Accountants; advisory Board of the Performance Measurement Association; JP Chair of Society of Legal Scholars Academic Purposes Fund (2007); JP Review Editor for Legal Studies.

 

Editors: JP Journal of Business Law, Companies Section.

 

Guest Editor: JS (2005) Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money

 

Editorial Boards: IB International Journal of Auditing; NJ Finance Letter; AL Management Accounting Research; JS Journal of Bond Trading and Management.

 

Conference Organisation: Management Accounting Research Group Conference SB (2001-2004, 2007); International Bond Market Integration JS (2004); National Auditing Conference IB (2005); European Intellectual Property Teachers Network Workshop CH  (2004, 2007).

 

Prestigious Fellowships:  PC Leverhulme (2004); JS Leverhulme (2002).  

 

Visiting Appointments: SB Copenhagen Business School (2004-09); IB RMIT, Australia (2006); PC and JS University Meditteranea, Aix-en-Provence (2002 to date); JS Kent State University (2004). 

 

Leadership of Consortia: GP (2001) led a consortia of West Midland academics in preparing an Action Research Prospectus: Towards a Democratic Region.

 

Prize-winning publications: IB Global Conference on Business and Management (2002); SB Performance Measurement Association Conference (2002); NJ Asian Finance Association Conference (2007).

 

2.3 Marketing (MKTG)

Professorial Leadership: Atuahene-Gima (KA), Greenley (GG), Hooley (GH), Saunders (JS), Wong (VW). Group Members: Ackfeldt (AA, early career), Argyriou (EA, early career), Broderick (AB), De Luca (LD early career), Gilliland (DG), Jesson (JJ), Jouan de Kervenoael (RJ), Lee (NL), Malhotra (NM early career), Palmer (MP), Qu (RQ), Rudd (JR early career), Theoharakis (VT), Woo (KW)

 

Objectives: The mission of the Marketing Group is to advance significantly the theory and practice of marketing strategy, innovation, and brand management. Specific objectives to achieve this are: (1) to carry out theoretically grounded, rigorously executed, evidence-based research; (2) to influence both further research and marketing practice through dissemination of the findings amongst academic and practitioner communities; and (3) to stimulate and execute research at the discipline’s boundaries to more fully understand how marketing contributes to the effectiveness and wellbeing of organisations, their members and society.

 

Main Activities:

The Group conducts research that is international and interdisciplinary, drawing insights and theories from international business, strategic management, economics and econometrics, psychology and innovation. The research covers two main themes:

 

Product Innovation and Brand Management: The team is led by KA, VW and JS, and examines the factors that influence market innovation, brand success and product development performance. Research also focuses on how firms can improve new product development and innovation performance by more effectively managing internal resources, in particular marketing assets and capabilities. The team also address marketing innovation challenges relating to new product commercialisation and the prediction of brand success, including metrics which can be used to evaluate technology evolution and screening metrics for guiding managerial decisions at various stages of brand development. VT has extended the work on metrics to investigate the standing of academic journals. The team examine the contribution of new marketing tools - websites, affinity marketing - in building brand equity. In the cross-university Organisational Cognitive Neuroscience Centre (OCNC - co-directed by NL with collaborators in the ABS WOP Group and the Psychology Group in the School of Life and Health Sciences) a neuromarketing project uses psychophysiological methods, such as eye tracking and electrical skin conductance, to explore consumer information processing and emotions.

 

Marketing Strategy and Implementation: Led by GH, GG, VT and NL, this team focuses on the identification and exploitation, both externally and internally, of marketing resources and capabilities. A central issue is how managers can most effectively organise and use their marketing resources to leverage increased organisational performance and effectiveness. Aston founded and continues to lead the Marketing in the 21st Century (MC21) project, which now has research partners in 16 countries, and an international data set of 6,500 organisations from across the globe, and is still expanding. The impact of market orientation (as a cultural resource) and innovation (as a critical capability) on performance are important features of MC21. Internal and external relationships are also key marketing resources, and in its Marketing Science Institute-funded research, the team investigates control and enforcement within marketing channels, and particularly the influence of different types of commitment on marketing channel enforcement mechanisms. Nordic, US, and IMP perspectives are combined to explore the quality of relationships between professional service providers and their customers. The team also investigates the internal delivery of value within the firm, focusing on the effect of employee control mechanisms and psychological variables on external and offshore service quality and citizenship behaviours. Leadership and governance as critical aspects of strategy are overarching themes in ABS generally and, within the Marketing Group. The team explore: interaction between a firm’s corporate governance and the strategy-making process; the role of governments and private firms in developing market strategies in transitional and developing economies; and plays an active role in the international Future of Marketing project, funded by the US Marketing Science Institute examining marketing’s place in corporate governance and strategy formulation.

 

Main Achievements:

Product Innovation & Brand Management: In ranking KA fourth among the world’s management innovation scholars, the Journal of Product Innovation Management recognised his outstanding contribution to developing customer-centric R and D management, building innovation as an organisational competency and managing new product development processes.  His work has been used by numerous leading multinationals, including Beyer, Ernst & Young, Atlas Copco, UBS and GM. VT and VW have shown how trends in the evolution of market information, paralleling the emergence of new technologies, can be tracked to inform sales revenue and market share prediction. This method has been used by top technology companies (e.g., IBM, 3-COM) to assess global technology competition and to determine appropriate marketing strategies for survival. VW’s framework for platform-based product development is used by Hyundai for planning product line extensions.  Key dimensions for screening the development of new brands identified by JS and VW are used by international companies including Diageo in the UK and Australia. Their branding work has informed the implementation of branding campaigns by organisations such as the Regional Probation Office (Midlands) and the Christian Education Movement. Using KW’s work, affinity programme managers are able to judge the likely value of affinity marketing partnerships to their organisation. 

 

Marketing Strategy and Implementation: MC21 has played a major role in advancing resource-based theory in marketing, establishing linkages between marketing resources, competitive positions and firm performance across companies, industries and countries. Results from MC21 have been taken up by companies across each of the 16 participating countries following user dissemination workshops and symposia, and has been used in defining the agenda for the European Foundation for Quality Management Forum (2007). A 2007 Masterclass by GH for the British Council in Kuala Lumpur on MC21 attracted 180 applicants from leading international businesses (such as IBM, Shell, BAT, Ford, BMW and Bristol-Meyers Squibb) and the public sector. Using JS’s survey response models, researchers are able to optimise survey design and increase response rates by an average of 20 percent. DG’s findings were the first to show that reseller commitment can be considered to consist of calculative and loyalty components. As a result DG’s work has received multiple scholarly awards and been featured at international reseller symposia. MP’s description of how managers interact with securities analysts to jointly develop strategic directions for retail internationalisation is used by the New Economics Foundation’s ‘think and do’ tank, as well as being used by the British Shops and Stores Association to advise managers. AA’s Stena Line-funded work is now guiding the service management and strategy in the Ahlens Group, while NM has attracted ESRC funding to explore the differences in motivational practices across Eastern and Western cultures in international call centres. JJ’s work has informed the development of community pharmaceutical services, in particular the NHS/DoH repeat dispensing service. The marketing strategy and implementation team’s research was the subject of a one day Marketing Practitioners’ Forum organised by VT at ABS in 2006. Run in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Forum attracted over 100 participants from businesses and the public sector including Google, McCann Erikson and the Advertising Standards Authority.  

 

Future Research Directions:

The recent appointment of KA links the two research themes in marketing and provides leadership and capacity for development. KA will spend 4 months per year at Aston working closely with LD (joint publication) and others. GH and KA are joint track chairs for the 2008 Global Marketing Conference in Shanghai. The Group recognises the value of cross-fertilisation for new ideas to our ongoing development, and for these reasons it will continue to encourage research at the boundaries of the subject. This orientation is already bearing fruit in the formation of OCNC, which gives access to the latest in neuroscientific research from the School of Life and Health Science, and ESRC-funded joint projects with the School’s WOP Group. 

 

Esteem

Awards: MP Advanced Institute of  Management  Scholar.

 

Recognition from the academic or user community: KA 6th Most Productive Marketing Academic in Asia-Pacific (2003); NL and AB’s work on neuromarketing 7th most-downloaded article in the International Journal of Psychophysiology for Q1 (2007). 

 

Consultancy/policy advice: Marketing Group brand screening project has developed a set of metrics for use in brand development; 

 

Participation: GH UK’s Research Policy Working Group looking at alternative methods of research assessment post RAE2008; Birmingham-China Business Forum Executive Committee; HE representative Regional Skills Partnership; Chair West Midlands Graduate Retention Project Board. MP reviewer for ESRC grant application; JS leads Association of Business School’s Development Programme for Marketeers (2006-7); member of Working Group and Steering Committee for BAM/ESRC Business and Management Capacity Building Initiative (2007); Research Evaluation Panel Netherlands (2001); RAE panel member (2001 and 2008); international advisor RAE New Zealand (2003); initial Accreditation Committee of AACSB (2004-5).  VT co-founder and chairman of the Marketing Directors Forum; member of Board European Business Plan of the Year Competition and past President (2004); VW 4 year long involvement in the ESRC Research College involved in shaping ESRC initiatives and reviewing many grant applications and research centre bids. 

 

Plenary/Keynote Address: KA European Academy of Marketing (2005); Academy of Management Conference (2004); DG Global Technology Distribution Council Summit (2005); GH Market Orientation in the Modern Economy (2002); 2nd Annual Symposium of the Greek Academy of Marketing 2003. NL EMAC/ANZMAC Joint Symposium (2005); MP British Academy Institute of Advanced Studies Seminar (2006); JS HEFCE Annual Conference (2005); Eighth Annual Summit of an Emerging China (2006).

 

Editor: GG and NL Incoming Editors European Journal of Marketing.

 

Guest Editor: GH (2002) European Journal of Marketing; GG, GH, VW (2003) Journal of Marketing Management; JR (early career) (2003) Journal of Strategic Marketing;  VW (2003) International Marketing Review; JS, NL (2005) European Journal of Marketing; AB, NL (2007) Qualitative Market Research.

 

Editorial Boards: KA Journal of International Marketing; Journal of Marketing; Journal of Product Innovation Management. GH International Journal of Research in Marketing; DG Academy of Marketing Science Review; Journal of International Business Studies; Journal of International Marketing. GG, GH European Journal of Marketing; GH Journal of Business Research; NM (early career) International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing;  VW Journal of Marketing Management.

 

Conference Organisation: ANZMAC/EMAC Symposium GH (2002); EFMD Deans and Directors Meeting JS (2002); Academy of Marketing Annual Conference plus Doctoral Colloquium and the joint AM- AMA Symposium Marketing Group (2003); EMAC/ESOMAR Symposium VW (2004); Product Development and Management Association Research Conference KA (2006); Marketing Professionals Forum: Redefining Marketing Practice VT (2006); Future Directions in Sales Research Symposium NL (2007).

 

Prestigious Fellowships: AA (early career) and JR (early career) Foundation for Management Education: GG, GH and JS British Academy of Management; GG, GH, JS and VW Chartered Institute of Marketing; GH and JS European Marketing Academy; VW Academician Academy of Learned Societies for Social Sciences.

 

Visiting Appointments: There are numerous exchanges of academic staff between Aston’s partner institutions (leading business schools with EQUIS or AACSB accreditation).  GH Universities of Otago, Auckland and Innsbruck; JS Grande Ėcole of Nantes and EM Lyon; Universities of Otago and Tilburg. 

 

Learned Society Involvement: GG, GH, JS and VW  have been members CIM Academic Senate; GH Vice President European Marketing Academy (2001-2004); President of European Marketing Academy (2004-2006); BAM Council until 2002 and Vice Dean of the College of Fellows BAM (2005 to date); JS Past President of European Marketing Academy; Steering Committee of the European Foundation for Management Development (2001-6); VW Vice President for Conferences of European Marketing Academy (2003-2006).

 

Leadership of Consortia: GG, GH, VT lead the Marketing in 21st Century Research Network. 

 

Prize-winning Publications: KA Academy of Management (2003); GH and GG: Academy of Marketing Annual Conference (2001); ANZMAC Conference (2004).  NL European Marketing Academy Conference (2002); NL and JS Emerald Outstanding Special Issue Award for EJM (2005); NM (early career) Academy of Marketing Annual Conference (2003); RQ  Academy of Marketing Annual Conference (2003).

 

 

2.4       Operations and Information Management (OIM)

Professorial Leadership: Bennett (DB), Edwards (JE), Thanassoulis (ET). Group members: Albores (PA early career), Battisti (GB), Brookes (NB), Burcher (PB), Clegg (BC early career), Dey (PD), Emrouznejad (AE), Gholami (RG early career), Greasley (AG), Hall (MH early career), Ho (WH early career), Love (DL), Samiotis (KS early career), Shaw (DS), Troger (AT early career). 

 

Objectives:

Using research and strong private and public sector links, the Group creates new knowledge to support the practice of operations and information management. The development of theory from designed encounters with organisations ensures the relevance of the Group’s work as well as its impact on international and local business and government.

 

Main Activities:

OIM members research across three complementary themes:

 

Technology and Operations Management: Work on technology transfer covers all phases from manufacturing technology choice to transfer to valuation to implementation, particularly with a focus on those between Europe and Asia. In modelling and simulation, skills lie in systems modelling and the application of discrete event simulation to the design of business processes and supply chains.  The scope of supply chain management research includes virtual enterprises, e-business enabled processes, performance metrics, the design of advanced planning systems and global sourcing strategies. Skills in project management, especially risk and organisational structure, permeate the research of the team. 

 

Performance Measurement:  The team focuses on research application and dissemination of methods for measuring and managing performance in organisations playing a leading role in developing Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), as a method for efficiency and productivity measurement. In innovation gaps, the national impact of new technology, spillover effects across firm and country borders and the diffusion of innovations are analysed. The team collaborates through the Centre for Performance Measurement and Management (est. 2001).

 

Knowledge Management: This team takes a systemic approach to examining the implementation of knowledge management covering the role of meetings (in particular problem structuring methods), processes, knowledge representation and information technologies in the improvement of decision making. Much knowledge management research concentrates on “early adopters”; by contrast the team works together to examine ‘typical organisations pursuing knowledge management’ meaning that research findings are more transferable. In knowledge management systems, work focuses on the integration of knowledge based systems, decision support systems and conventional information systems. 

 

Main Achievements:

Technology and Operations Management: This team was awarded the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT) Award for Research Excellence 2005. On technology transfer, in 2006 DB was presented with the IAMOT award for ‘Distinguished Achievement’ (the first time to a European).  DB was invited by the United Nations to develop a framework for sustainable technology transfer for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and he presented an invited address at an internal EU forum alongside top industrialists and policy makers e.g., from Siemens, Alcatel, Nokia. Within this research area, the East Midlands Development Agency asked NB to analyse the capabilities of higher education institutions (HEIs), influencing policies for key industry clusters and leading to a similar project for the West Midlands.  The team’s research shapes policy at the highest levels using simulation modelling. The then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister asked DS and PA (early career) to use simulation modelling to support senior policy advisors in their allocation of £190m funding to major catastrophic incidents and Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department intend to apply the models in at least two states. DS advises HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on using simulation to regulate the closing of nuclear sites, while AG advises a range of public and private bodies on using simulation for process improvement (e.g. Derbyshire Constabulary, Golden Wonder). BC (early career) has used systems modelling to influence global operational strategies for car manufacturers (e.g. Audi, VW), aerospace companies (e.g. Rolls-Royce, BAESystems) and defence contractors (GEC-Marconi). On project management, PD widely applies his project risk management framework and has been consulted by the U.S. Project Management Institute.  He developed an inspection and maintenance model used for oil pipelines by UNOCAL (part of Chevron) and Indian Oil Corp; a project feasibility model used for oil pipelines in India and cement manufacturing in Barbados; and a quality improvement model applied in hospitals in Barbados and Trinidad. NB has various CASE and EPSRC studentship funding to investigate operational networks in project management, collaborating with various multinationals (e.g., GKN Aerospace, Goodrich, Arup). 

 

Performance Measurement: On applying DEA, ET assessed Higher Education Institutions for administration efficiency (for HEFCE) and cost efficiency (for the then  Department for Education and Skills (DfES)) and performance improvement (for ESRC PhD case with OFWAT), in all cases discovering large potential savings. ET advised the Greek government on evaluating post graduate degree programmes and with AE developed a new framework and DEA software (for DfES) to assess pupil-level performance. On innovation gaps, GB was AIM-ESRC scholar to the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) advising on how UK firms can create value; an invited expert to the European Commission Joint Research Council Institute for Prospective Technological Studies; principal investigator on an EPSRC project on the UK/USA productivity gap, an EPSRC project on how UK firms can move up the value chain and a DTI project on the state of innovation in UK firms. 

 

Knowledge Management: On implementing knowledge management, JE and DS worked for 3 years with 16 organisations discovering the impact of KM on management accounting and the changing role of the accountant (sponsored by Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). One notable example was their work with the Mortgage Code Compliance Board (with MH (early career)) which was widely recognised as crucial in maintaining its operational effectiveness and managing a successful transition to statutory regulation. DS advised the Scottish Executive on user requirements engineering (using his report to commission the building of a national network) and has collaborated with top management teams in around 40 firms on strategic planning (e.g. AstraZeneca in USA and Europe). On knowledge management systems, JE linked knowledge management to simulation, fitting rule induction models to manufacturing decisions (funded by EPSRC, Ford, Lanner Group (with Warwick Business School)). For the last 3 years DS has worked very closely with the Health and Safety Executive to develop management processes and a decision support system (DSS) for prioritising a £2bn annual budget for UK nuclear operations, leading to theory on regulation through management by objectives with multi-criteria decision making. 

 

Commercialisation: The Group encourages the commercialisation of research. Through a spin-off company DL has taken to market his system that searches for engineering drawings from a sketch, while AE and ET did likewise for their DEA software.  NB’s EPSRC-funded work on project management was commercially exploited through Arup. 

 

Future Research Directions

OIM aims go beyond the delivery of traditional theoretical research outputs: we want our research to continue to have substantive impact on businesses and governments, around the world and at home. On theoretical rigour, we will strengthen our research leadership through appointing additional professors, with other appointments in knowledge management (recently AT). On practice relevance, we will continue to interface with practitioners (e.g. through our new ESRC-funded centre on project management). We will also focus more on strategic issues of national/global importance (e.g. regulatory impact assessment of supply networks; diffusion of innovations in the EU; developing HSE guidance for nuclear waste minimisation) and we will aim to broaden to a global practitioner focus (e.g. green operations in USA and German car manufacturing; modelling terrorism response in the world’s cities).

 

Esteem

Awards: GB Advanced Institute of  Management  Scholar. 

 

Consultancy/Policy Advice: GB was advisor to the Italian government on national innovation programmes and to the Department of Trade and Industry on the Community Innovation Survey Review; DS and PA (early career) have had two projects to support emergency preparedness in UK evidence based policy decisions; DS designed a national network for people on the autistic spectrum, their families, and those who serve them.  DS has wide involvement with regulation of the nuclear industry; developing HSE guidance for waste analysis; reviewing the simulation component of Sellafield’s Integrated Waste Strategy.

 

Participation: DB British Council organised Business and Management mission to India, (2007); assessor for: Swedish Government Agency for Innovation Systems (2006); EPSRC Peer Review College (2000-2003); Australian Research Council (2004 to date); Foundation for Research Grants Council (2004 to date); Centre for Excellence Programme, Academy of Finland, (2004-2005); NB EPSRC College of Peers (to 2010).

 

Plenary/keynote Addresses: NB International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (2007); JE Knowledge and Systems Sciences (2004); AG National Centre for e-Social Science (2007); ET and GB Eurostat (2007); ET European Workshop on Efficiency and Productivity (2007).

 

Editors: DB Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management; JE Knowledge Management Research and Practice; ET Journal of Productivity Analysis.

 

Guest Editors: JE (2001) European Journal of Information Systems; JE (2003) AE (2004 and 2005) and DS (2006 and  2007) Journal of the Operational Research Society; ET (2004) European Journal of Operational Research.

 

Editorial Boards: DB Business Process Management Journal; International Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management; International Journal of Operations & Production Management. JE European Journal of Information Systems; WH (early career) International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology; ET European Journal of Operational Research. 

 

Conference Organisation: Conference Advisory and Scientific Committees: Symposium on Logistics; IAMOT; EUROMOT and others DB; Knowledge Management Conference (KMAC) KM team (2003/6); Data Envelopment Analysis and Performance Management 4th International Symposium of DEA ET (2004); Workshop on Performance Measurement and its Application to Incentive Regulation and Public Services ET (2005); European Conference on Management of Technology (EUROMOT) Technology and Operations Management Team (2006); Royal Statistical Society Conference GB (2006); International Conference on Data Mining AE (2006); International Symposium of Data Envelopment Analysis AE (2007); Operational Research Society DS (2007).

 

Prestigious Fellowships: GB Royal Statistical Society; PB Institute of Operations Management; JE Operational Research Society; ET Honorary Fellowship Athens University of Economics and Business.

 

Visiting Appointments: DB University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2004 and 2006); City University of Hong Kong (2005). GB Williams College, Massachusetts (2007); Politecnico di Milano (2004-2006). AE City University of Hong Kong (2004-2006); DS University of Otago, New Zealand (2006).

 

Learned Society Involvement: DB Board Chairman and Association President European Operations Management Association (2001-2004); Executive Council IAMOT (2002); JE on ORS Events Committee and Publications Committee and the Electronic Services Committee during the RAE period; DS Council ORS (from 2008) and its Publicity and Membership Committee (since 2002).

 

Patent Applications: DL  System and method for coding and retrieval of a CAD drawing from a database US Patent Office; DL System and method for coding and retrieval of a CAD drawing from a database EU Patent Office.

 

Prize-winning Publications: MH (early career) British Academy of Management Conference (2005).

 

 

2.5       Work and Organisational Psychology (WOP)

Professorial Leadership: Aryee (SA), Brodbeck (FB), Budhwar (PB), Clegg (SC), Harris (MH), Martin (RM), van Dick (RV), and West (MW). Group Members: Butler (MB), Davis (AD), Fay (DF) Epitropaki (OE early career), Grojean (MG early career) Parkes (CP), Riketta, (MR early career) Scully, (JS) Shipton (HS), and Woods (SW); one Research Council UK (RCUK) Research Fellow: Dawson (JD). 

 

Objectives: The Group advances understanding of social processes, people management, human well being, organisational effectiveness, and innovation and learning in the workplace; to influence organisational practices; and thereby to contribute to the development of psychological and organisational theory, methods and tools. The core disciplines of the Group are work psychology, organisational behaviour, organisation studies and human resource management (HRM).  

 

Main Activities:

The research conducted in the Group is unique in scale (e.g., annual NHS surveys with more than 200,000 respondents) and in the choice of hard outcomes such as patient mortality or company productivity. At the same time, it has a strong theoretical base with interdisciplinary work between psychologists in the Group and (for example) SC who is strengthening the contribution to organisational theory. The research activity of the Group is taken forward by three themes:

 

People Management and Organisational Performance. The team focuses on how people management influences organisational performance. Topics include: selection, recruitment and careers; learning and training; conflict management; downsizing; organisational structures, multinationals and cross-cultural research.  The perspective is broadened by the international collaboration of our team with researchers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East to develop people management (HRM) systems in cross national settings that impact positively on individual and organisational outcomes.  This research highlights the main factors and variables which significantly determine the nature of HRM systems across nations with specific reference to India. The team collaborates also with third sector organisations (NGOs, charities, etc) to improve their effectiveness and their responsiveness to public policy on community cohesion. The team host the Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research (ACVAR) which has undertaken a large body of research, demonstrating how improved management and organisation can assist the third sector’s role in social and economic renewal.  

 

Power and Leadership: FB, a key coordinator of the international Global Leadership and Organisational Behaviour Effectiveness (GLOBE) project (involving 170 researchers and 1,000 organisations across 62 countries), examining relationships between societal, organisational and leadership culture and organisational effectiveness. Other topics explored by the team include leadership from a business ethics perspective and links between leadership and patient outcomes across 570 healthcare organisations.  The team also hosts the Institute for Health Services Effectiveness (IHSE). Established in 1999 (MW, JS & JD), the Institute has attracted more than £3 million of research funding during the RAE period and runs the Healthcare Commission NHS national staff survey annually (from 2003 until 2010). This achieves response rates of between 57% and 60% annually and has a major influence on the UK government’s NHS policy. It also provides an extraordinary data set when linked to nationally collected performance data for health care organisations. This has led directly to international collaboration with scholars and policy makers concerned with understanding and improving the effectiveness of health care organisations in many different countries. The Institute has also undertaken nation-wide research for the Department of Health into employee involvement and trust performance; the links between people management and organisational performance (the results of which have had a major impact on national HR policy); and team work in breast cancer care.

 

Diversity, Identity, and Team Effectiveness: This team examines team processes (including leadership, knowledge transfer, decision making), team effectiveness and team innovation and creativity.  Topics include: high quality group decision making;  team based working, employee involvement and hospital performance; inter-organisational collaboration and alliances, particularly significant in the context of globalisation;how majority and minority opinions in a group can affect the types of processing strategies people employ to understand their arguments and how this affects attitudes and persuasion; and the influence of family-friendly policies and practices on employee and organisational well-being in cross-cultural contexts. A defining feature of the team’s research on the effectiveness of teamwork is the simultaneous use of multiple research paradigms such as experimental and field research.

 

Main Achievements: 

People Management and Organisational Performance: The team’s health service research reveals associations between people management, staff attitudes, patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes, including patient mortality. This has had a direct influence on the UK government’s NHS staff management policies nationally.  ACVAR’s research findings have been used in the establishment of a Regional Faith Forum by the West Midlands Regional Assembly; in several successful merger negotiations between national charities; in the development of national guidelines on quality management by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations; in strategic planning by Breast Cancer Care and by the Home Office in developing policies for supporting small community organisations. MH and ACVAR have advised the Third Sector Unit of the Cabinet Office and the Commission on the Future of Volunteering. 

 

Power and Leadership: SC is acknowledged as the world’s leading researcher on power in organisation studies and his work has been used by the Sunday Times to develop their annual ‘Power List’.  FB’s  research shows which leadership orientations are most aligned with national cultures and how this can be used for facilitating leadership transitions across cultures (e.g. in collaborations with the Centre for Creative Leadership and various multinational companies).  Adopting a social marketplace view of organisations, SA found that political skill moderates the influence of politics perceptions on procedural justice, which in turn, relates to employee performance.  In response to calls to integrate the dominant leadership perspective, SA’s finding that leader-member exchange moderates the influence of transformational leadership on employee empowerment and subsequent performance underscores a relational view of empowerment.  RM has examined Implicit Leadership Theories (ILT) and found they are consistent across demographic and organisational factors and the difference between an employees’ ILT and their judgement of their manager, predicts a range of psychological outcomes (including job satisfaction and well-being).

 

Diversity, Identity and Team Effectiveness: FB and colleagues have developed a theory of knowledge management under conditions of distributed knowledge which directly relates to how practices of group decision making can be facilitated. They discovered the multi-level nature of factors that foster and hinder effective learning and decision making in diverse teams (relevant for collaborative decision making in expert groups and for group learning settings).  The team’s work demonstrates the high value of diversity for group processes and outcomes and the importance of diversity beliefs to the harvesting of that value.  It shows the conditions in which team-based working predicts errors, work place injury and patient mortality in health care organisations and it was presented this work to a trilateral conference of the most senior health services policy makers from the UK, USA and Canada in 2006 and at the NHS Human Resources Capacity Board. A particular strength of the team is that members apply their research as interventions in organisations (e.g., Astra Zeneca, Sunderland City Council, National Patient Safety Agency and throughout the NHS).

 

Future Research Directions:

The research of the Group will continue to be unique in its scale (e.g., annual NHS surveys of more than 200,000 health service staff for the Healthcare Commission) in its choice to concentrate upon the investigation of hard outcomes such as patient mortality, inter-group effectiveness and productivity; in the breadth of methods used (e.g. experiments, field studies, longitudinal studies, multi-level analysis, cross-cultural studies); and in the systematic alignment of co-developing theory (rigour) and applications (relevance). The Group aims to be an internationally recognised centre for excellence in work psychology and strategic human resource management. In pursuit of this objective, the group completed a CIPD commissioned book on Strategic Human Resource Management (2007).  

 

Esteem

Awards:  HS Advanced Institute of Management Scholar. 

 

Consultancy/Policy Advice: FB and MG (early career) presented at Workshop hosted by NATO Security through Science Committee; MG (early career) authored a White Paper for the Ministry of Defence through the Defence Leadership and Management Centre; worked with the Defence Leadership and Management Centre to develop a scientific model of leader development for the UK Ministry of Defence and the US, Canadian, Australian and Singaporean Defence forces. MH has worked with the Home Office ‘Change Up’ programme for Voluntary and Community Sector organisations. MW together with Aston Organisation Development, an ABS spinout, has helped organisations develop team based work structures throughout the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; advisor to the Department of Health on the organisation of health services and the management of NHS staff, to NHS Employers, NHS Trusts, National Clinical Governance Assessment Authority, National Patient Safety Agency, NHS Leadership Centre, Modernisation Agency and the Healthcare Commission;   advised Health Boards in Ireland on people management and the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly on staff attitude surveys and was country presenter to  the Tri-lateral (UK, USA, Canada) Conference on Health Policy.

Participation: MH member of the Academic Advisory Group for the UJIA Project on Contemporary Jewish Identity in the UK – Project of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (2003 – 2005); member of Commission on the Future of Volunteering (convened by Baroness Neuberger and funded by Home Office) (2006-7); MW member of the NHS Service Delivery and Organization Commissioning Group (to 2003); on RAE Panels for Hong Kong (Business and Management) and, Netherlands (Psychology) and Research Council, Germany (Social and Economic Sciences); review team for Canadian Health Services Research Foundation.

 

Plenary/keynote Addresses: SC British Academy Workshop (2007); Global Business Symposium (2007); ICF European Coaching Conference (2006); IPSA World Congress (2006); 66th APSA (2006); 30th ANPAD (2003); 10th APROS (2003); FB NATO Conference (2004); MH Research Conference of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (2005); RM BPS Social Psychology (2007); MW  European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (2007); 26th International Congress of Applied Psychology (2006); CIPD Annual Conference (2005); HR in NHS Conference (2003); The NHS Confederation Annual Conference (2003); 7th International Conference on Human Resource Management (2002); First International Human Resource Conference  (2001).

 

Editors: RV  British Journal of Management.

 

Guest Editor; SC (2003) Asia Pacific Journal; MW (2003) Journal of Organizational Behavior; DF (2004) European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology; RV (2006) Journal of Organizational Behavior; PB (2006) International Journal of Human Resource Management: (2007)  Employee Relations; MB (2007) Annals of the New York Academy of Science. 

 

Editorial Boards: SA, RV, MW Journal of Organizational Behavior; SC Advances in Organization Studies; International Journal of Management Reviews; Journal of Organizational Change Management; Organization Studies MH Non Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly; RM Group Processes and Intergroup Relations; MW Applied Psychology: An International Review; Journal of Health Services Research and Policy.

 

Prestigious Fellowships: SC Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management; Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia; JD: RCUK Research Fellow; Royal Statistical Society; CP Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; MW: British Academy of Management; American Psychological Association; British Psychological Association; Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology; Chartered Fellow, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; International Association of Applied Psychology. 

 

Visiting Appointments: SC Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam (2004 -2007);  Maastricht University (2004 – 2006); EM Lyon (2002-2007); University of Innsbruck (2007); Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines University (2007); University Paris Dauphine (2007); MH National Cheng Chi University and National Chi Nan University, Taiwan (2006); School of Management Ben Gurion University, Israel (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007); RM University of Queensland, Australia; MW University of Eindhoven (2003).

 

Learned Society Involvement: SC British Academy of the Social Sciences; Australian Academy of the Social Sciences; MW Chair, Journals Committee British Psychological Society.

 

Major Collaborative Projects: FB  Management across cultures –GLOBE Project 170 researchers from 62 nations  including data from 800 organisations and 17,000 participants; PB Global HRM Network.

 

Prize-winning Publication: SA Academy of Management Conference (2004); SC Academy of Management Conference (2003); JD Academy of Management Conference (2003); MW Academy of Management Conference (2004).

 

3.         RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT

3.1       Staffing Policies

Since the last RAE we have reduced staff/student ratios from 22.21 in 2000/01 to 17.17 in 2006/07 in order to release time for research. We have therefore increased both the number of staff and the level of their research skills.  The number of professors has risen from 15 to 27 and the number of staff overall from 65 to 99. The School deliberately encourages the appointment of outstanding early career researchers to ensure the long term development of research capacity. Such researchers represent 27 per cent of the staff in this submission.  A number of our PhD students have been nurtured through to lectureships and senior lectureships during the RAE period (for example Albores, Goddard, Lee and Rudd). This development is facilitated by the supportive research culture to which we, as an organisation, are committed. 

  

3.2       Research Degrees Programme 

The ESRC accredited Research Degrees Programme (RDP) is considered as one of the two main elements of our research (Academic Groups being the other). Integrating the work of research students into the research effort of the School is central to our research strategy.  The policy of the School is to focus on developing the next generation of outstanding business and management researchers by ensuring careful recruitment and selection procedures, an innovative programme of team supervision (involving at least three supervisors) and the close engagement of research students with their respective Academic Groups. Students are expected to have a minimum of two papers accepted for publication in internationally recognised journals before submitting their theses for examination. Sixteen percent of the research active staff contribute to the programme’s research methods course. The School holds 12 ESRC/EPSRC studentships and provides 16 School bursaries with the provision to every student of an annual support fund of £400 (£200 part-time) to facilitate attendance at relevant academic conferences and support fieldwork etc.  All students are full members of relevant Academic Groups, taking part in seminars, workshops and other activities. The RDP has three streams: Masters by Research, PhD and Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA). At the current time, there are 148 students registered on the programme.

 

Since the last RAE, ABS has developed a highly successful AMBA accredited DBA programme which currently has 23 students, all of whom are senior members of public and private sector organisations including chief executive officers, main board directors, directors of major public services and national finance directors. They represent organisations such as Price Waterhouse Coopers, British Telecom, Pallex, the National Health Service, the US legal service, the Port of Beirut and Fujitsu-Siemens.  All students study via distance learning and are supported by a thriving virtual learning environment, two annual on site course modules and an annual DBA research symposium. 

 

First year PhD students are accommodated in the Aston Academy for Research into Management (AARM) area. They occupy 554m2 of dedicated doctoral space which includes student office facilities, research seminar room, kitchen, lounge and dedicated PC laboratory with access to on-line library facilities, internet access and administrative support.  In their second year the students move to accommodation near their supervisors to enable them to become fully integrated into the activities of their Group.

 

3.3       Mechanisms for Promoting Research

Research at ABS is structured within the overall Aston Academy for Research into Management (AARM). The core themes of ABS research are identified by determining the research interests of Groups and Centres and relating these to the key research questions identified by Research Councils UK and the EU.  Research is overseen by a Research Committee (largely consisting of Research Convenors and Centre Directors) that reports both to the School Board and the University Research Strategy Forum (the latter in turn reports to the University Council).  The Research Committee is both strategic and highly active, meeting six times each year.  Research leaders in the School hold an annual one day retreat to discuss the School’s research strategy and to identify key research questions. This enables regular review of the School’s core research themes, processes and research performance.  A similar retreat is held with junior research staff to ensure their input. Complementary reviews of research are undertaken by the School’s Advisory Board (largely business leaders) and the Strategy Forum (the School’s professoriat).  

 

The research effort has been supported during the RAE period by four research administrators, an Innovation Fellow and two ‘journalists-in-residence’. The staff are all charged with promoting and sustaining an active research culture. AARM staff collect data on research activity within ABS and these data inform the School’s Load Model, which is used to calculate the inputs of each member of staff, to ensure that teaching, administration and research loads are relatively equally distributed and that sufficient time is available for all staff to carry out research. To facilitate applications for research funding, a member of the administrative staff works closely with the School’s Innovation Fellow (located in the University Business Support Unit) to identify funding opportunities and draw them to the attention of specific members of staff. The University’s Research & Commercialisation Office (RCO) comprises two sections – the Research Support Unit (RSU) and the Business Partnership Unit (BPU).  The two units work closely together to help deliver the University’s Research Strategy and to commercialise the output of research.   Staff in AARM staff provide comprehensive support to School staff in organising conferences. 

 

The School allocates approximately £1,000 per research active member to support research, conference attendance and paper preparation. All Academic Groups also use their devolved budgets to support staff attending conferences and promote new research. Each Group has an active seminar programme resulting in around 65 seminars and about 60 invited external speakers presenting in ABS each year.

 

Research is also supported by the Aston Multi-Media Interactive Research Suite (AMIRS). Funded by a Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) grant of £700,000, AMIRS is a high technology research and training facility that is used partly as a venue for third stream research with the region’s businesses and health economy. It attracts revenue in excess of £100,000 per year.   Research with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in AMIRS informed the development of an innovative bid to encourage user involvement in university research. Funded by Advantage West Midlands, ESRC and EPSRC for £347,000 the ‘INDEX’ (INnovation DElivers EXpansion) regional pilot study implements a demand-led model of university-to-business knowledge and technology transfer with 80 high-growth SMEs in the West Midlands.  These companies apply for and use innovation vouchers to buy academic expertise.  The objective of the scheme is to harness appropriate research to match the needs of high-growth SMEs and thus enhance the innovation capability of the businesses. AMIRS hosts the NHS National Staff Survey Advice Centre and has developed a Leonardo funded Hospital HR Managers Training Tool in conjunction with Birmingham Children’s Hospital and in partnership with research teams in Barcelona, Portugal and Poland. 

 

ABS encourages international collaboration in research and this is best evidenced by the fact that 22 per cent of journal publications in the RAE period involve international co-authors from 10 countries. ABS provides funding of over £25k each year for Groups to invite visiting international scholars and this money is used to cover travel and accommodation costs. The scheme successfully supports long-term, productive international research collaborations. Scholars are expected to visit on several occasions to give seminars, commit to co-authoring publications to be submitted to the leading journals in their fields and to have extensive contact with research students. Visitors have included: Professor Robert Putnam (Professor of Public Policy at Harvard) author of ‘Bowling Alone’ and adviser to the Blair and Clinton administrations on social capital; Graham Mitchell (Lehigh University) who was for 5 years the US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy; and Don Taylor (Virginia Tech), National Republican Congressional Committee's Businessman of the Year 2003 and Honorary Chairman of their Business Advisory Council.

 

3.4       Arrangements for Staff New to Research

All new staff attend induction programmes operated by the University and by ABS. There is a ‘start-up’ fund of £3,000 for new staff designed to enable them to carry out research from the time of their arrival.  Staff who are new to research are given lower than average teaching loads than all other staff in the School to ensure they can develop their research. All new staff have a mentor from within their Groups and the success of this scheme is monitored annually by an advisor external to the School. AARM organises and funds a week-long ‘Writers’ Retreat’ in excellent hotel facilities which staff new to research attend. The time is dedicated entirely to writing papers and receiving feedback from ‘Writers in Residence’. The latter are four or five senior staff with excellent publication records. The Performance Related Pay (PRP) system requires publications in journals as a qualifying criterion but this requirement is waived for two years for staff new to research. Thereafter, the annual PRP system generously rewards good research performance by staff (i.e., publication in internationally recognised journals). 

 

 3.5      Effects of Departure of Staff in Categories B and D

There have been no major deleterious effects of staff departure. Some 38 per cent  of staff in post at the time of the last RAE have left or retired while staff numbers have also increased dramatically, consistent with the development of the strategy of the School.  The effect of the departure of staff has been to enable ABS to internationalise its staff profile - currently 36 per cent of staff come from countries other than the UK. 

 

 



[1] The former DTI is now the "Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform".