Category Archives: Business Economics and Informatics

Meet the Editor Series Welcomes Professor Ben Martin

The Editor of Research Policy shared advice on how to pitch to leading journals in this virtual event hosted by our Department of Management.

Professor Ben Martin outdoors, looking into the camera.Having been an Editor of Research Policy (RP) for fifteen years, Professor Ben Martin (SPRU and University of Sussex Business School) is well versed in the pitfalls that hopeful contributors should avoid and, more importantly, the steps they can take to give papers the best chance of being published.

In our fourth Meet the Editor session, Professor Geoff Walters, Executive Dean of Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics welcomed Professor Ben Martin and the international audience comprising more than 45 scholars from around the world. Chaired by Dr Muthu De Silva, Professor Martin shared insight into Research Policy and best practice in paper development with colleagues in our Department of Management.

What is the positioning of Research Policy?

Professor Martin began the presentation by giving an overview of RP, its scope and structure. RP is widely regarded as the leading journal in innovation studies and its focus is on innovation, technology, knowledge, learning and entrepreneurship. The journal is unique in that authors choose which of the twelve editors to pitch their paper to based on their area of expertise.

RP is oriented towards policy and practice and is less theory driven than many other leading journals. It is also interdisciplinary in scope, drawing on economics, management, organisational studies, sociology and political science. Among the most highly cited papers from RP are those which involve conceptual exploratory analysis, as opposed to purely empirical analysis.

In terms of coverage, RP is a global journal, with an even number of contributions from North America and Western Europe and a growing number of papers from Asia.

Advice for academics thinking of submitting to Research Policy

Professor Martin shared insight into how to provide a good submission, stressing that much of the advice could apply to submissions to other journals as well:

  • Read similar papers in the journal to get a flavour of the content, style and theoretical or conceptual approach.
  • Check the website for the scope of the journal and instructions to authors.
  • Seek advice from experienced authors.
  • Present the preliminary version of your paper at conferences and seminars, get feedback and improve the quality before submitting.

Aside from ensuring authors have ‘done their homework’, RP editors ask three key questions when examining papers:

  • Is the topic within the scope of our journal?

An author might demonstrate this by referring to literature that is familiar to RP readers, ensuring the topic has broad appeal for RP readership and arriving at a conclusion of interest to RP readers. This can be further justified in the covering letter if required.

  • Is the paper high quality?

Quality is understood both in terms of topic, which should be embedded in relevant literature and offer an original contribution, and in structure, which must feature systematic analysis, logical argument and a clear, interesting conclusion with specific policy or management implications. Papers should also be written in good English.

  • Who to referee?

Professor Martin highlighted that reliable, conscientious referees have been particularly hard to find during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authors should consider who the editor might ask to referee and may influence the editor’s choice of reviewer through the references they cite.

Revise and Resubmit

Professor Martin offered advice for academics who are invited to revise and resubmit their work to RP:

  • Read referees’ comments very carefully.
  • Decide which points you can respond to.
  • Revise your paper and prepare a detailed accompanying note explaining to each referee how and where you have responded to the points that they made.
  • Be prepared to revise and resubmit more than once.

What to do if your Paper is Rejected

The sheer volume of submissions that RP receives means that inevitably some papers will be rejected. Professor Martin advises authors in this situation to learn from critical comments and to revise and improve their paper for submission in another journal.

We would like to thank Professor Martin for the opportunity to learn from this thought-provoking presentation and for taking the time to answer our audience questions.

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Knowledge Intensive Business Services: Post-Pandemic New Normal

In our third collaborative event between Birkbeck’s Department of Management and Essex Business School, we explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Knowledge Intensive Business Services. 

The COVID-19 crisis has forced many organisations to transition to remote working. How has this impacted Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS), which rely on in-person interaction and team working to deliver their services? 

In a joint event hosted by Birkbeck’s Department of Management and Essex Business School, University of Essex, Professors Ian Miles (Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester) and David Doloreux (HEC Montréal) outlined their view of the post-pandemic new normal for KIBS. 

As Chair, Dr Muthu De Silva, Director of Research in Birkbeck’s Department of Management, introduced the session, which began with discussion from Professor David Doloreux on KIBS and their key characteristics. KIBS are services which involve economic activities which are intended to result in the creation, accumulation or dissemination of knowledge. The KIBS sector includes establishments whose primary activities depend on human capital, knowledge and skills. This inevitably involves close interaction between KIBS and their clients in order to create and disseminate knowledge. 

Scholars have identified three broad classifications of KIBS: 

  1. Social and professional services (P-KIBS) 
  2. Science and technology (T-KIBS) 
  3. Cultural and creative services (C-KIBS) 

Having conducted a literature review into the key research streams relating to KIBS, Doloreux noted that very few studies prior to the pandemic have dealt with digital services and their capacity for innovation, so webinars like this address an important and under-researched area of the field. 

Regarding how the pandemic has affected the macro- and micro-pictures for KIBS innovation, Professor Doloreux made the following observations: 

  • There will be an evolution of demand on KIBS innovation, with greater opportunities related to big data, analytics and AI. 
  • COVID-19 may result in a widening gap between different types of KIBS: P-KIBS may be able to offer more innovative services that satisfy demands, whereas C-KIBS have suffered from drastically reduced demand due to COVID-19. 
  • We will need to rethink the location of activity of KIBS and where innovation occurs. 

As a geographer, Professor Doloreux also raised the following key questions: 

  • How can we geolocalise innovation in KIBS? 
  • How do KIBS innovate without face-to-face and frequent interactions with clients? 
  • What are the dynamics and implications of hybrid models and more digital service production on KIBS innovation? 
  • What is the geography of this connection? 

Regarding the long-term impact of the pandemic on KIBS, there are three possible scenarios that need to be empirically analysed: 

  1. The Revolution: COVID-19 has radically modified innovation and business models in KIBS. 
  2. Booster: COVID-19 has accelerated processes and practices that were already in place, e.g the hybrid model. 
  3. Weak game changer: changes prompted by COVID-19 have a weak impact on KIBS practice and products. 

The second half of this webinar invited Professor Ian Miles to respond to these observations. Having conducted research into KIBS throughout the pandemic, Professor Miles observed how the pandemic impacted KIBS in real time. He highlighted three elements of the crisis that were shaping business conditions: epidemiology, policy responses and socioeconomic impacts. 

In terms of patterns of demands for KIBS, the picture is very mixed. There was a sudden drop in demand for KIBS in 2019/20, three times that seen in the 2008 recession, in line with the drop in demand across the economy. Conversely, some KIBS sectors have been in increased demand and we have seen new demands related to new business problems. Among these ‘winners’ are some portions of research and development services (including the clinical trials industry) which have had to work under new constraints associated with the pandemic, of Information Technology and computer services (which were often quite capable of shifting to remote working),  and of professional services like accountancy and legal services (where new client problems are arising, but whose ways of working have been challenged). 

Professor Miles also discussed how KIBS have confronted challenges during the pandemic, including in particular restrictions on face-to-face interaction. This impacts on the establishment and maintenance of trust, and on the exchange of tacit knowledge, both in relations with clients, and in internal collaboration and team-building. Much effort is underway to improve videoconferencing systems and practices. 

For Professor Miles, there would likely be a shift between the immediate impact of the pandemic, which has seen the acceleration of digitisation activities and the stalling of long-term digital reengineering projects such as AI and data analytics, and the long-term response, which may see these efforts reinstated as organisations push the limitations of virtual communications. Professor Miles concluded by anticipating an upsurge of innovation in the future, as organisations moved on from the ‘forced rapid innovation’ of the immediate crisis. 

The presentations were followed by discussion from the audience, which featured a diverse mix of policy makers, academics and early career researchers, and a vote of thanks from Professor Suma Athreye, Essex Business School. 

A recording of this event is available to watch on YouTube. We look forward to future collaborations as we continue to explore the impact of the pandemic on innovation, knowledge creation and dissemination.

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BEI Prizewinners 2021: Advice and Best Moments

Students receiving an award today from the School of Business, Economics and Informatics share the highlights from their time at Birkbeck and their top tips for success.

Today, postgraduate students in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics will attend their virtual graduation ceremonies alongside the friends, staff and supporters who have been cheering them on throughout their studies.

Today is all about celebrating their success, and from cutting-edge research projects to outstanding module results, our Class of 2021 are an inspiring bunch. We caught up with some of our Spring graduation prizewinners to reminisce over their time at Birkbeck and gain some words of wisdom for our next cohort.

Jay Lee – Best Module Result (Computer Science and Information Systems)

What is your favourite memory of your time at Birkbeck? 

One memorable moment is definitely meeting new friends from different countries along the way and hanging out with them throughout the year! An unforgettable experience.

What advice would you give to current students?

My advice would be remember not to leave things to the last minute, relax and enjoy your time here!

Katherine Stedman – Best CIPD Accredited Programme Student (Organizational Psychology)

What is your favourite memory of your time at Birkbeck?

In the early days of my MSc we had to randomly form groups for one of our first group projects. I didn’t know many people on my course at the time but I’m happy to say that I met some of my greatest course friends through that first project. I wouldn’t have been able to do my MSc without them and I’m looking forward to celebrating with them today!

Thomas Obitz – Best Dissertation (Economics, Mathematics and Statistics)

What is your favourite memory of your time at Birkbeck? 

I was startled when I walked through the department for the first time and saw Hélyette Geman’s name on the door. I knew her books from my daily work, and I could not believe that the most admired name in commodities pricing and trading was teaching at the department where I was going to study. Her derivatives pricing and her commodities lectures were the most insightful I ever attended – she was one of the people who developed the theory, so she could explain the thinking behind it like nobody else. And she is an incredibly nice, open and helpful person.

Lucy Martin – Best Dissertation (Organizational Psychology)

What advice would you give to current students?

Do not underestimate the time it takes to complete a research project and dissertation. The earlier you can come up with a research question and start your literature review the easier it will be to complete.  At the point of write up, I set myself a daily word target to get through, this helped me keep on track in the last busy month before submission alongside my work commitments.

Richard Harrison – Honourable Mention for Best PhD Thesis (Economics, Mathematics and Statistics)

What is your favourite memory of your time at Birkbeck? 

Presenting my work at a seminar for fellow PhD students and staff. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and even challenging questions were asked in a supportive way. Midway through the seminar I had a “Eureka moment” when I was asked a question that I had never considered before. It led me to a new and productive line of enquiry for my thesis.

Anja Pries – Best Overall Student: Corporate Governance/Responsibility (Management)

What advice would you give to current students?

The process of writing a dissertation can be challenging. You might find yourself struggling to find a topic or getting stuck with your research. I would definitely recommend talking to your fellow students about this. You could set up a group chat or meet at the library to work on your dissertations. Knowing that others were in the same position as me helped me to stay motivated.

 

Ibrahim Alsaggaf – Best Overall International Student (Computer Science and Information Systems)

What advice would you give to current students?

On a Master’s level, My advice is not to study hard as this is a must, but rather about a thing that most students find insignificant, that is module’s prerequisites. In order to make the most of a module, a student needs to be well prepared by assuring that they gain the required prerequisites knowledge at the start of a module. This will boost their learning curve instead of struggling to digest a theory that is based on prior knowledge. To conclude, my advice is to select modules based on their prerequisites and which of them a student has the required knowledge of.

Ero Papadima – Best Management Consultancy and Organizational Change Student (Organizational Psychology)

What is your favourite memory of your time at Birkbeck? 

My best memories at Birkbeck are with the people I met there, usually in one of the many study groups, sharing notes, anxieties and –importantly – snacks! My favourite moment was probably when seven of us were studying around a large table in the group study area of the library; all in different laptops and each working on our own assignment, yet somehow in complete sync, jumping from complete silence to suddenly bouncing off ideas and debating arguments for our essays – all seven of them. There was a lovely sense of belonging in that moment and great comfort in simply not going it alone.

Irina Sidorenko – Best Overall Student: Marketing (Management)

What advice would you give to current students?

I would encourage future Birkbeck students to stay curious and alert during the learning process. During lectures, I used to note even the smallest details that ignited my curiosity and dedicate some extra time to doing some further research around these elements. This is how I have discovered an absolute gem: Professor Olivier Sibai once mentioned in passing that he had attended a talk at the Museum of Brands and that if we had some free time he would recommend us to visit one of the talks at the Museum. I paid attention to his words and up until the Covid pandemic began I tried to never miss a talk at the Museum of Brands, as I hugely enjoy it. So, even the smallest thing, just one small detail mentioned at the Birkbeck lecture can show you a way of upgrading your knowledge and open up new horizons in your professional development.

It is also important to stay calm and not get overwhelmed with emotional pressure when juggling studies, often a full-time job and a long commute, social life and family commitments. It helps to keep in mind that you are in it for a marathon, not a sprint. Break up big tasks into smaller ones and remember: Viam supervadet vadens! (in English: The path will be overcome by the person who walks it). If you can dream it, you can achieve it; always!

Robert Superty – Best Dissertation and Best Overall Student (Computer Science and Information Systems)

What is your favourite memory of your time at Birkbeck? 

Celebrating with the other MSc Computer Science students after the last final in the first year. It was a tough set of exams and it felt like such an accomplishment to get through. Everyone was in such a good mood and it was a great opportunity to get to know people better outside of class.

 

Kieran Jones – Best Dissertation Mark and Best Overall Student: Management/Business (Management)

What advice would you give to current students?

Embrace what you’re passionate about and identify and tackle what you’re bad at. Like a lot of students, I enjoy learning new things which in my studies caused an undisciplined, unstructured approach. To tackle that I spent a lot of time planning. I organised everything from what I was going to learn that week, how I was going to learn, when and how I was going to write my essays and so on. By tackling those things, eventually you get better at what you’re bad at and you can do the things you’re passionate about even better than before.

Congratulations to all our spring 2021 graduates. We wish you all the best in your future careers.

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How to publish in top Management journals

In the Department of Management’s second Meet the Editor session, attendees heard from four inspiring academic speakers on how to publish in prestigious journals and the key pitfalls to avoid.

Editors of the top journals are tasked with reviewing thousands of papers, so how can you ensure that yours makes it past initial review and has a higher chance of getting published?

At the second of the Department of Management’s Meet the Editor sessions – chaired by Dr Muthu De Silva, Director of Research – Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean, School of Business Economics and Informatics welcomed Dr Dermot Breslin (International Journal of Management and Essex Business School), Professor Martyna Sliwa (Management Learning and Essex Business School), Professor Savvas Papagiannidis (Technological Forecasting and Social Change and Newcastle University Business School) and Dr Mohammad Faisal Ahammad (British Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies and Leeds University Business School) to share their insight.

This session was very well attended by 75 scholars around the world.

Through this interactive session, a number of key considerations for authors were discussed:

Tailor your article to the journal and never resubmit to a different journal without revising substantially

It goes without saying that articles should be tailored for a specific journal, but all presenters were in agreement that a quick way to get your submission rejected is to make it obvious that it has been submitted elsewhere first. Speakers emphasised that even if authors are resubmitting a paper to a different journal, it is essential to ensure that the article is tailored for this resubmission, as it is obvious when this is not the case.

Understand the scope of your chosen journal

To make it less likely that you will need to resubmit your article, it is important to understand the scope of different journals. For example, does your chosen journal publish literature reviews? Does your article ‘fit’ with the type of content that the journal has published in the past? Does it offer a new perspective on these issues? Taking the time to effectively target and understand your chosen journal will lead to a more successful submission.

Address any issues raised by editors and reviewers

Dr Mohammad Faisal Ahammad shared some useful insights from his experience of having papers reviewed, accepted, revised, and rejected. He noted that taking the time to respond to reviewer comments in detail led to a much greater acceptance rate. Use this response as an opportunity to highlight the contribution made by your paper and take the time to address concerns raised by reviewers in a way that makes the process as easy as possible for them. He -using a few examples-, clearly outlined strategies to adopt to successfully address common comments made by reviewers (e.g. motivation, common method bias and endogeneity issues etc)

Support journals by becoming a reviewer

Several speakers commented on the value of becoming a reviewer as a way to support journals and gain insight into this process. Becoming a reviewer is often a stepping stone to membership of an editorial board, so it is well worth considering the commitment.

We would like to thank Dr Breslin, Professor Sliwa, Professor Papagiannidis and Dr Ahammad for their time during this highly informative session. All are welcome to join us for our upcoming Meet the Editor events:

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