Tag Archives: management

Publishing for real-world impact: helping engaged scholars navigating the publication process

Dr Konstantinos Chalkias was a keynote speaker on impactful research at the Academy of Management Paper Development Workshop in August.

Dr Konstantinos Chalkias, Senior Lecturer in Birkbeck’s Department of Management was a keynote speaker at the Academy of Management Paper Development Workshop ‘Publishing for Real-World Impact: Helping Engaged Scholars Navigating the Publication Process’ on 6 August 2022.

The hybrid panel event, organised by the Impact Scholar Community, invited editor-author pairs to discuss the process of conducting and publishing research with impact.

Panellists were invited to comment on preparing a manuscript for submission with impact in mind; interacting with editors; and connecting published work with practice to maximise impact.

Reflecting on his 2019 paper ‘Exploring inter-organizational paradoxes: methodological lessons from a study of a grand challenge’, Konstantinos noted the synergies between writing papers and producing impactful work: “I believe that working on impact enables us to write better papers and working on papers enables us to have better impact.” Both Konstantinos and co-author Paula Jarzabkowski cautioned against producing work for the sake of impact, commenting instead that when research is high quality and answering important questions, it will inevitably involve generating impact in practice.

Konstantinos also commented on the value that editors bring to the paper development process. Editors can be instrumental in encouraging the authors to include more of the study’s context in the paper, bringing the grand challenge they explored to life.

The discussion was part of the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management.

Further Information

Share

How analysing co-creation during the Covid-19 pandemic offers insights on the simultaneous generation of academic, social and business value

Dr Muthu de Silva from the department of Management gives an overview of the findings of two recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports, published with her co-authors, about the role co-creation played during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how it can shape innovation going forward.  

Co-creation is a mechanism of simultaneously generating academic, business and social value. During co-creation actors of the innovation ecosystem – such as businesses, universities, governments, intermediaries and society – act as collaborators to integrate their knowledge, resources, and networks to generate mutual benefits. The idea behind co-creation is that the joint efforts towards change or impact can lead to lasting and effective innovation.  

As an institution, Birkbeck is committed to delivering theoretically rigorous research with real-terms, practical impact, and a concept like co-creation is a really great way to facilitate this. Co-creating with non-academics enables academics to integrate needs and resources of both academic and non-academic communities, enhancing the reach and usefulness of their research.   

Over the years, I’ve published about 20 journal articles on the topic of co-creation and received eight best paper awards for these publications. In 2019, I was invited by the Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop a conceptual framework on co-creation between science and industry. This meant publishing a high quality journal article and leading their 2021 – 2024 co-creation project that directly influences the strategies of innovation agencies, and ministries of 37 countries who belong to the OECD, and a wider audience that benefits from OECD publications.  

This work resulted in two reports and a journal article designed to influence innovation strategies of OECD member states. It has also resulted in leading another project regarding the importance of university and industry co-creation for a societal and economic green transition.  

Based on evidence gathered from 30 COVID-19 co-creation initiatives from 21 countries and three international cases, the two reports showed that co-creation was widely used to respond to the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. What was evident through the reports was that existing co-creation networks enabled the rapid emergence of new initiatives to address urgent needs, while digital technologies enabled establishing new – and, where necessary, socially distanced – collaborations.  

For instance, co-creation of medical innovation relied on substantially larger existing networks due to the complexity of medical discovery and manufacturing processes involved in developing these innovations. The COVID-19 Türkiye Platform, the transnational Exscalate4CoV, and the UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca initiatives are examples of this. Digital tools were also used in numerous ways. As an example, the COVID Moonshot project which aimed to develop antiviral drugs against COVID-19 by identifying new molecules that could block SARS-CoV-2, involved three scientists who organised a hackathon inviting researchers/virologists to submit molecules, donations and assays (testing) via Twitter, resulting in over 4 000 submissions.  

Aside from funding initiatives, governments engaged actively in co-creation by granting access to their networks, advising on initiative goals and offering support to improve quick delivery.  The role of civil society was important as well, and the socially impactful nature of research and innovation was a motivating factor for engagement. For example, the Austrian COVID-19 Pop-up Hub initiative; the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology co-developed the themes (Digital Health, Distancing, Economic Buffers and State Intervention) for public virtual discussion and participatory policy idea development taking place via the Hub.  

What emerged from the reports, were the following lessons for the design and implementation of future policy programmes for co-creation:   

  • Purpose is the strongest driver of co-creation; incentives to support co-creation should go beyond facilitating access to funding.  
  • Crisis-specific programmes may not be needed out of the crisis, but networks and infrastructures should be strengthened during “normal” times. 
  • There is room for building new collaborations between researchers and producers to accelerate innovation during “normal” times.  
  • Policy should support wider development and use of digital tools for co-creation.  
  • New approaches should be leveraged more to tap into the large pool of diverse and readily available capacities in the economy.  
  • Governments’ involvement in co-creation activities as network builders can help speed up solutions; enhanced agility in their operations should be encouraged.  
  • Public engagement in co-creation can help market uptake of new solutions. 

  Further information 

 

Share

From improving assessment centres to preventing match fixing: Birkbeck’s business and management research

All Birkbeck’s REF 2021 impact case studies in business and management were rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Discover our research case studies below. Full details can be found on the REF website.

Reforming governance in the UK non-profit sport sector

Following a series of scandals in the UK sports sector, research completed since 2011 by Birkbeck’s Richard Tacon and Geoff Walters has shaped significant reforms to the country’s sports governance landscape.

In particular, their work underpins the Voluntary Code for Good Governance, published by the Sports and Recreation Alliance in 2011 and revised in 2014; and through this, the Code for Sports Governance introduced at the recommendation of the UK government by Sport England and UK Sport in 2016. All sports organisations applying for UK government funding must comply with this code, which has therefore not only influenced the distribution of over £500 million between 2016 and 2022, but has also brought about significant change in individual organisations, who have reformed their governance procedures in order to comply with this essential requirement.

Numerous smaller, unfunded organisations have additionally signed up to the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Principles of Good Governance, a voluntary code which is also based on Tacon and Walters’ research. Across the sector, governing boards are now better managed and more diverse. As such, this research can be seen to have shaped the entire UK sport sector and affected the lives and playing experiences of the millions of Britons who participate in organised sport each year.

Mobilizing the power of trade unions

John Kelly’s mobilization theory, first proposed in Rethinking Industrial Relations (1998) but refined and developed over the two decades since, offers an account of the conditions under which individual employees collectivise in response to problems at work (a sense of grievance, shared with fellow workers; a target to whom blame can be attached; and a belief that there are forms of collective action that will make a difference). The theory was taken up rapidly by trade union activists and has been widely used in trade union education programmes since 2004. In the period since 2014, major unions with a combined membership of over six million workers have drawn on Kelly’s work to educate union organisers and to inform the development of major campaigns.

In particular, Kelly ran and designed the ‘Leading Change’ programme for the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which ran between 2004 and 2018 and whose participants have gone on to become MPs, union general secretaries, and in one case the General Secretary of the Labour Party. Kelly’s work also underpins training programmes for the Public and Commercial Services Union, Universities and Colleges Union, and the NEU (National Education Union).

Kelly’s influence matters because unionized workplaces provide better terms and conditions, on average, than their non-union counterparts. The aggregated figures from the unions with which Kelly and his work have been associated tell us that between 2014 and 2020, millions of employees at thousands of workplaces received higher pay, longer holidays and better fringe benefits such as sick pay. Moreover, the achievement of collective bargaining over terms and conditions of employment means that these newly unionized workers now have more say in workplace decisions than would otherwise have been the case.

Don’t Fix It! Fighting match-fixing in European football

Match-fixing is a problem for professional sports because a perception of unfairness makes them less attractive to spectators, and because of the harm done to players (typically those who are younger, vulnerable, and less well-paid) who may be groomed or blackmailed into participating. It is also a wider social issue because match-fixing is typically orchestrated by criminal groups in order to fund their other activities. After a set of 2011-12 survey results revealed a worrying prevalence of match-fixing in the Eastern European football leagues in particular, Birkbeck researchers Sean Hamil, Andy Harvey, and Haim Levi were recruited in 2013-14 by FIFPro, the global football players’ union, to conduct research into football match fixing. Their work on the Don’t Fix It! project surveyed footballers from eight European countries and formed the basis for a code of conduct adopted by every key stakeholder organisation in European football, as well as a training programme that saw national associations develop and deliver anti-match-fixing initiatives in each of the countries concerned.

Don’t Fix It! also underpinned the development of the Red Button App for anonymously reporting match-fixing. Harvey and Hamil’s research identified the lack of a clear reporting avenue as a key impediment to reducing match-fixing and it is this that the app addresses. First developed with the Finnish football players’ union, this has now been adopted worldwide, with both FIFA and UEFA agreeing to recognise the app as a valid avenue for match-fixing reports. Another European project has seen the app expanded into sports beyond football, protecting both players and the sports they play.

Developing a co-creation model for innovation in the UK and EU

Working with major policy institutions such as the Big Innovation Centre, Innovate UK, the UK Intellectual Property Office, and the European Commission, Birkbeck researchers Brigitte Andersen, Federica Rossi, and Muthu De Silva have reshaped national and international approaches to the ways in which businesses and universities can best work together. Their research on knowledge co-creation has been a catalyst for major policy reform in the UK and EU. Andersen’s work as rapporteur for a 2012 European Commission expert group on open innovation fed directly into the delivery framework for the EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme, which has supported countless researchers and research projects across the continent. De Silva’s work with the Intellectual Property Office supported changes to the Lambert Toolkit, which is used by universities to set the terms for their engagement with business. Andersen and De Silva’s collaboration with HEFCE through the Big Innovation Centre (of which Andersen is CEO) helped to ensure the introduction of impact criteria into REF 2014, reforming the impact landscape in UKHE. And the Catapult to Success report, published in 2013, underpinned the development of the UK’s Catapult Centres and the distribution of over £1 billion in government funding.

Making assessment centres work for employers

The assessment centre process, in which candidates for a role or promotion are asked to perform a series of tasks under observation and evaluated on their performance, is widely used in employee selection, development, and promotion processes around the world. Work by Birkbeck researchers Duncan Jackson and Chris Dewberry has challenged received wisdom about assessment centre design, demonstrating that traditional dimension-based assessment (which seeks to measure candidates’ performance against specific skills or competencies) does not provide an accurate prediction of performance in-role. Instead, they propose a task-based model which replaces the abstract skill testing of a dimension-based assessment centre with a focus on candidate performance in specific, job-relevant tasks. This produces more consistent results which therefore allow employers to make better choices when it comes to promotion or recruitment.

Jackson and Dewberry’s work has been taken up by a variety of recruitment and HR consultants around the world, from America to Australasia to the Middle East. These consultancies have reshaped the tools they work with based on Birkbeck research and in doing so have improved their service to dozens of large-scale, multinational companies – providing economic benefits to the consultancies and their clients as well as benefiting the diverse customer-bases of these clients by ensuring that their service providers are run by the most competent candidates. Jackson and Dewberry have also worked directly with individual employers to improve their provision (including a London-based public service organisation which accounts for over 25% of the national budget for this service) and have helped to shape practice worldwide by contributing to the national and international guidance on assessment centres provided by British and international psychological societies.

Share

Can Corporate Social Responsibility save firms from negative customer feedback?

New research by Birkbeck’s Dr Benedetta Crisafulli and co-authors Dr Paolo Antonetti and Professor Stan Maklan adds insight to the relationship between company failure, CSR and customer response.

Picture the scene: you’re at a restaurant and your order is taking longer than expected to arrive. The waiter has been steadfastly ignoring your gaze since you sat down and when you finally do manage to flag him down, he is rude and unapologetic.

How would you respond?

Anger, frustration and a desire to tell your friends never to dine in that restaurant are all common responses. At the same time, you might feel a desire for reconciliation – to receive an apology and be offered a discount on your bill.

Would your reaction be different if you knew the restaurant was committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Would the fact that the restaurant is a morally responsible business excuse them from your harshest criticism?

This is the question that researchers from Birkbeck’s Department of Management, NEOMA Business School and Cranfield University sought to answer in their latest study on the relationship between company failures, CSR and consumer response.

CSR and consumer behaviour: what we know so far

Prior research suggests that CSR acts as a reservoir of goodwill that companies can draw on following a crisis. If we believe that a company is caring and well-intentioned, we are more willing to give it the benefit of the doubt in the event of a brand failure such as poor product performance.

However, existing evidence from research is less clear on whether CSR does indeed mitigate the negative impact of failed service delivery.

How does CSR impact consumer reactions to failed service delivery?

The results from an online experiment showed that the nature of the failed service is key in determining consumer response:

  • when competence-based, CSR is an effective service recovery strategy
  • when integrity-based, CSR is unable to inoculate the negative effect of poor service performance

In the case of a competence failure, a company’s CSR generated impressions of warmth , which softened the negative impact of the failure.

In the case of an integrity failure, the service failure contradicted the impression of warmth conveyed by CSR; as a result, CSR fails to save the company from consumers’ retaliation.

Does a consumer’s relationship with a company matter?

Of course, not all consumers are alike. The researchers found that the nature of the relationship between consumer and company has an impact on consumer response to CSR.

Consumers with high communal orientation, that is those who are concerned for others’ interests and benefits and value a company that is caring are less likely to feel betrayed by the company and CSR would reinforce the positive relationship. A less positive effect would be felt for consumers with an exchange orientation, who are concerned about individual gains from the relationship.

What does this mean for managers?

For managers looking to mitigate the impact of service failures, it is essential to monitor the types of service failures in their organisation to assess the likely impact of CSR initiatives.

When it comes to communicating CSR activities, firms are advised to focus on communicating the altruistic objectives of their CSR initiatives.

In the event of a competence failure, CSR can buffer negative effects, Explanations and apologies should focus on reassuring customers that the company did not intentionally cause the failure.

It would also be helpful for companies to capture consumers’ level of communal orientation as part of their market research and to target CSR messaging to the segments aspiring to a communal relationship.

Further information:

Share