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IWP launches Research Update 2014

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The Institute of Work Psychology (IWP), part of Sheffield University Management School, is delighted to announce the release of its Research Update 2014.

Collating just a few of the IWP’s fantastic research successes and ongoing projects, the publication documents work from prominent members of staff including Professor Peter Warr, Dr Carolyn Axtell, Dr David E Rast, Professor Penny Dick, Dr Kamal Birdi, Dr Eva Selenko, Dr Malcolm Patterson and Dr Jeremy Dawson. It also covers the work by the Institute’s high-achieving group of early career researchers and PhD students.

Read it online here, or see the document below. If you’d like to hear from the IWP in the future, email

SUMS welcomes international academics to global financial crisis symposium

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

“Using Paradigms to Explore the 2008-2014 Global Financial Crisis“
14- 15 May 2014, Sheffield University Management School

Key figures: Rose Shepherd (Sheffield University Management School), Dr Craig Shepherd (Nottingham University Business School), Professor Gibson Burrell (School of Management, The University of Leicester), Professor Gareth Morgan (Schulich School of Business, York University)

This two-day symposium will bring together a select group of leading researchers from different business and management paradigms to discuss the global financial crisis. Participants will be engaging in constructive dialogue and debate on the important issues and questions to be addressed in relation to the financial crisis and the research approaches and methods they advocate moving forward.

The symposium is funded by Sheffield University Management School, Nottingham University Business School, the School of Management at the University of Leicester and Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society. Dr Craig Shepherd, Nottingham University Business School, commented on the significance of this unique event: “The symposium is the first step in what we believe will be an important programme of research and we are delighted to have such an outstanding group of researchers joining us in Sheffield. The results will be shared with various communities including academic researchers, students and practitioners. We anticipate this will stimulate further discussion on the questions that should be addressed regarding the financial crisis and associated research and methodological issues.“

Other notable academic attendees include Prof Marta Calas (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts), Prof Stan Deetz (University of Colorado at Boulder), Prof John Hassard (Manchester Business School, University of Manchester), Prof Yuval Millo (School of Management, University of Leicester), Prof Martin Parker (School of Management, University of Leicester), Prof Mike Reed (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff), Prof Linda Smircich (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts), Prof Robyn Thomas (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff) and Prof Hugh Willmott (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff).

For more information, please contact Dr Craig Shepherd:

SUMS academic co-authors study aimed at improving information for students

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Tim Vorley

Dr Tim Vorley from Sheffield University Management School (pictured above) and Professor Jennifer Roberts from the School of Economics have co-authored a major advisory study on how prospectus students for higher education (HE) institutions use information and make decisions with CFE Research.

The work, commissioned by four UK HE funding bodies, stresses the importance of behavioural influences in understanding decision making in this context.

Professor Mary Stuart, Chair of the Provision of Information Strategic Oversight Group, said: “We are fortunate to have a rigorous, evidence-based piece of work from some of the leading researchers in the field, to provide well-grounded guidance on the way people actually behave.

“Through this work, I am convinced of the need to consider decision-making behaviour more carefully when we provide information to help prospective students and their advisers.”

The report has garnered nation press attention from the Times Higher Education (read the story here). Its key findings include the authors’ conclusion that the decision making process is complex, personal and nuanced – involving different types of information, messages and influences over a long time, challenging the common perception that people primarily make objective choices following a systematic analysis of information available to them at one time.

It also concluded that greater amounts of information don’t necessarily mean that people will be better informed, or be able to make better decisions.

Heather Fry, HEFCE Director of Education, Participation and Students, said: “This report signals a way forward for HEFCE’s approach to providing information to support students as they move into HE. The principles it suggests lay down a solid foundation on which to base our future work in this area.”

Bringing the undeclared economy out of the shadows: the role of temporary work agencies

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

In early 2014, Professor Colin Williams of Sheffield University Management School (pictured above) was commissioned by Randstad, one of the leading HR service providers in the world operating in 39 countries, to provide the central feature article for their annual global report, Flexibility@work 2014.

Professor Williams, in collaboration with Piet Renooy, director of Regioplan, an Amsterdam-based consultancy company, explore a key facet of international employment trends in the flexible labour market, namely the causes of undeclared work and how to prevent businesses not declaring work for tax, social security or labour law purposes. It is now widely acknowledged that the large and growing undeclared economy lowers the quality of work and working conditions, undermines the business environment through unfair competition, and puts at risk the financial sustainability of social protection systems.

Clearly then, undeclared work practices should not simply be discouraged, but should rather be transformed into regular work. The study on undeclared work for Randstad – and conducted by the University of Sheffield and Regioplan – shows that in advanced economies the size of the undeclared economy varies widely, from under 10 per cent of GDP in countries such as the US, the UK, Japan and the Netherlands to more than 25 per cent of GDP in parts of southern and eastern Europe.

The study also reveals that countries with a smaller undeclared economy are those in which it is easier for companies to resort to temporary employment opportunities to meet labour demands and in which, at the same time, there is greater intervention (in the form of labour market policies that protect and support vulnerable groups of workers). Its finding is that by creating the right business environment for temporary employment and temporary work agencies, these relatively successful economies reduce the supply and demand of undeclared work by providing both workers and employers with better alternatives.

The report therefore advocates the use of active labour market policies, with a move away from unjustified restrictions on temporary work being lifted and relevant interventions stepped up. Governments, it concludes, need to create a mature system of social protection that not only supports workers who are ill or temporarily out of work, but also encourages an accessible, well-regulated market for temporary employment and temporary employment agencies.

In order for businesses, and indeed economies, to remain innovative and competitive in today’s environment, it shows that flexibility – and therefore flexible labour – will be imperative. The debate, therefore, should not be about whether we want to allow flexible labour and temporary work. Instead, there is a need for a debate on how best flexible labour and temporary work can be regulated to create a win-win situation for both businesses and workers.

Flexibility@work 2014: bringing the undeclared economy out of the shadows: the role of temporary work agencies (Flexibility@work2014) is released on 1 April 2014.


Randstad specialises in solutions in the provision of flexible labour and is one of the leading HR services providers in the world with top three positions in Argentina, Belgium & Luxembourg, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the United States, as well as major positions in Australia and Japan. In 2013, Randstad generated revenue of €16.6billion and had approximately 28,000 corporate employees and around 4,600 offices in 39 countries. On average, Randstad employs 567,700 candidates per day and places over 85,000 candidates in permanent positions.

Esteemed speaker Prof Rolf Van Dick visits SUMS

Monday, February 24th, 2014

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Learning more about the “I and We” in Stress

On Wednesday 19 February Rolf Van Dick, Professor of Social Psychology at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, visited the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) at Sheffield University Management School to give a talk about social identity and stress.

Drawing from years of research and hundreds of studies, he concluded that what we perceive as stressful is clearly related to the standards of the group we are part of. His talk attracted a great deal of interest and a lively discussion from a crowd of researchers – staff and students alike. IWP is looking forward to future collaborations with Professor Van Dick’s team.

He spoke as part of the School’s Distinguished Speaker Series.


IWP conference: Early bird registration open now!

From 24-26 June, the biannual IWP International Conference will take place at Sheffield University Management School and Sheffield Town Hall.

The academic conference draws world-wide interest and is preceded by a number of workshops specifically tailored for practitioners and businesses. Limited places are available – early bird registration open now! For more information see


IWP open day 2014

We welcomed a group of keen students to the school to discover more about taking our MSc in Occupational Psychology or Work Psychology.

A wonderful group of staff, including programme director Dr Carolyn Axtell, made them feel very welcome and a good (as well as informative!) time was had by all. To find our more about the programmes, visit:

PhD alumnus ‘cleans up’ in industry publication

Monday, February 24th, 2014

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Dr Anna Scott, who completed her PhD at Sheffield University Management School, has been acknowledged as one of the leaders in her field in a popular sector publication.

Dr Scott appeared as number 14 in Resource Magazine’s ‘Hot 100 List’ of the most influential people in the waste and resources industry. She was also the highest new entry, so the writers hope to do a career profile on her in future issues.

Her PhD, focusing on sustainable behaviour in households, was supervised by Sheffield University Management School’s Dr Caroline Oates and Professor Will Young at Leeds University. Dr Scott was a White Rose scholarship student.

Keep an eye on future publications for more on her fantastic achievements working for the Keep Britain Tidy campaign.

LSCM research on local airport reaches new heights

Friday, January 31st, 2014


Dr Niraj Kumar and Dr Andrea Genovese have been featured extensively in the local press, regarding their research  on Robin Hood Airport (RHA).

The academic due, from the Logistics and Supply Chain Management division of Sheffield University Management School, discussed a number of subjects related to the airport in the context of their research – primarily observing that the opportunity to add new destinations to RHA’s is there and, should they do so, the airport would be used more extensively by the local population.

Economic migration, perception of the airport, business links and its freight/distribution opportunities were also discussed in the extensive piece, which you can view by clicking on the image on this article, or following the links below.

Environmental and Energy Improvements – European funded collaborative project is thinking big for SMEs

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014


Key international stakeholders in a University of Sheffield managed team met in January 2014 and kick-started a ground-breaking new project which aims to help Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) deliver both environmental and cost improvements.The European consortium’s initial talks laid foundations for the implementation of a project, EU LLP PrESS (SCEnAT). SCEnAT (Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool) has been developed by Professor Lenny Koh, project Principal Investigator and Leader of the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) at Sheffield University Management School.

This project will further develop Professor Koh’s SCEnAT tool, which already helps SMEs understand their environmental impact, so that it can deliver carbon emission reductions and real cost reductions.

The consortium comprises four academic members, the University of Sheffield, the University of Lodz (Poland), the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy) and the South East European Research Centre (SEERC – Greece), working in partnership with four private sector trade organisations from their respective regions. The University of Sheffield’s partner is Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). The collaborative project’s objective is to help SMEs improve their environmental footprint and drive commercial benefits in this internationally competitive world.

Professor Lenny Koh, who is also Associate Dean for Alumni at Sheffield University Management School, said: “We believe that CEES has developed an excellent and simple tool [SCEnAT] which any SME can use to understand its carbon footprint. However, we recognise that most businesses will require help in not only implementing the tool, but also carrying out the beneficial projects that it will identify.

“The European funding gives us a great opportunity to work with three partner universities across Europe to assess SCEnAT’s wider applicability, and to commercialise the tool, making it a real benefit to businesses.”

Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, added: “SMEs represent the backbone of our economy. We need them to grow and be sustainable economically and environmentally if we are going to deliver a successful future.

“However, it is probably more difficult for SMEs to evaluate the options and implement improvements because they have finite resources, and environmental skills are not always a core capability. For instance, rising energy costs are putting significant strains on many businesses – but the time and skills required to optimise the unit cost do not usually reside within the organisation. SCEnAT and its forthcoming development are designed to tackle that issue.”

For more information on the project go to

This project is funded with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. This press release reflects on the author’s view and the Agency and Commission are not responsible for any use that made be made of the information it contains.

Call for Papers: Doctoral Student Conference on ‘Sustainable Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management’

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


Leaders of the conference, Dr Andrea Genovese and Dr Niraj Kumar (pictured left), aim to bring together young researchers (mainly doctoral students and early career researchers) to present their research works in a constructive environment and to facilitate and exchange research ideas, and receive constructive feedback on their work. The conference provides the ideal opportunity to network with your peers from other management and business schools in UK. The conference is sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS), and no fee will be charged for registration and attendance.The theme is ‘Sustainable Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management’, reflecting the key challenges for future in manufacturing and service sector. Papers on all topics related to the theme are invited, however preference will be given to the following topics:

  • Resource-efficient production
  • Sustainable design of production networks
  • Green and lean production and supply chains
  • Business models for sustainable operations
  • Information systems for sustainable supply chain
  • Supply chain environmental impacts measurement
  • Performance measures, metrics, and impact of sustainable businesses
  • Design of resource-efficient logistics networks
  • Socially responsible logistics and supply chains
  • Reverse logistics
  • Reference models for green production and supply chains
  • Sustainability issues in manufacturing and services sector
  • Strategies and decision making for resource efficient production and supply chains

The conference is intended as a forum for presenting innovative and transformational ideas in the field; submissions addressing contemporary and future practical challenges in the transition towards sustainable and resource-efficient operations are strongly encouraged.

Presenting at the conference is not mandatory, however it is highly encouraged, especially for students who may have little previous experience or who wish to present in a relaxed environment among peers.

Important Dates

Registration opening: 1 February 2014
Submission of extended abstract deadline: 28 February 2014
Notification of Acceptance: 14 March 2014
Submission of Full paper: 1 May 2014
Registration deadline: 10 May 2014
Conference: 5 June 2014

Instruction for contributors

  • An extended abstract (maximum 1,000 words) should be submitted by email to the organising team (contact details below) before the deadline – 28 February 2014
  • Abstracts will undergo blind review process and author(s) will be informed about the decision
  • Author(s) of the accepted abstract will be invited to submit the full paper (no more than ten pages) on their work. Full papers are accepted on the assumption that they are the original work of the authors, and previously not published
  •  Author(s) of the accepted papers (at least one person) must register, attend the conference and present the paper. For registering, authors can send an email with their details (Name, Affiliation and email address) to the organising team (contact details below)
  • The ‘Best Paper’ awards will be announced at the end of the conference

Organising team:

Dr Andrea Genovese, Lecturer in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Phone: +44 (0) 114 222 3347

Dr Niraj Kumar, Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management
Phone: +44 (0) 114 222 3360

Logistics and Supply Chain Management Research (LSCM) Centre
Sheffield University Management School, The University of Sheffield, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK


High expectations for accounting and employment relations in rising economies

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Back row (l-r): Professor Phil Johnson, Professor John Cullen and Professor Geoffrey Wood; Middle Row (l-r): Dr Juliana Meira, Dr Debby Bonnin and Prof Luiz Miranda; Front: Principal Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben

Back row (l-r): Professor Phil Johnson, Professor John Cullen and Professor Geoffrey Wood; Middle Row (l-r): Dr Juliana Meira, Dr Debby Bonnin and Professor Luiz Miranda; Front: Principal Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben

In economies experiencing rapid growth, companies need to ‘aim high’ in their management of accounting and employment practices down the supply chain.Forging relationships with value and meeting labour standards are essential for achieving competitiveness throughout the supply chain and both are the focus of a new ESRC-funded research project from Sheffield University Management School (ESRC Grant reference: ES/K006452/1).The three-year project aims to explore the current role, and future potential, of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards within the automotive and textile industries in Brazil and South Africa. Principal Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben, Associate Dean for Research at Sheffield University Management School, explained: “SCA-Emp [Supply Chain Accounting and Employment Practices] looks at the extent to which companies in the textile and automotive sectors consider employment practices in their accounting. But not just that – it’s whether they work well with their supply chain and understand and engage with them.

“This research will be fascinating, especially since the formal economy is so important in South Africa and Brazil, where many workers do not have formal employment. It will be interesting to see the extent to which organisations keep careful accounts on social issues such as the number of women working and how much they are paid, how many disabled people they employ and how they manage people from different ethnic backgrounds.”

The investigating team includes an international spread of academics from different disciplines to ensure a comprehensive degree of coverage. Professor Dibben is joined on the project by Sheffield University Management School colleagues Professor John Cullen and Professor Phil Johnson, together with Professor Geoffrey Wood from the University of Warwick, Professor Luiz Miranda and Dr Juliana Meira from the Federal University of Pernambuco Brazil, and Dr Debby Bonnin from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Two PhD students, Caroline Linhares and Gareth Crockett, complete the team.

The team draws on expertise in employment relations, supply chain accounting, supply chain management, and research methods, and is supported by a strong advisory board boasting academics and practitioners from three countries, whose knowledge and experience will be highly complementary to the international project. The advisory board includes members of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Chartered Institute for Management Accountants (CIMA).

Promoting labour standards and influencing change are key aims of SCA-Emp, as well as formulating a project of high academic value and strong research impact. Professor Dibben added: “We want to establish a formula for best-practice – much of the project is about developing a supply chain accounting and employment practices toolkit. It will benefit a number of parties, including academics, since supply chain accounting and employment aren’t brought together in research very often, and the project should therefore contribute toward the development of supply chain accounting and global commodity chain theory. It’s also exciting because we are focusing our research on South Africa and Brazil – two emerging economies. Accountants, CEOs, CFOs, HR specialists and other practitioners should be engaged in the progress and conclusions of SCA-Emp, as well as employment rights lawyers, politicians and practitioners in other emerging economies. However, the workers themselves are perhaps the most important stakeholders.”

The team is keen for the project to help organisations become more aware of what happens in their supply chain. Labour standards are a very topical issue and public awareness is growing due to news coverage of working conditions and fatal incidents in factories all over the world. Professor Dibben wants participating organisations to benefit from being involved in the project. She hopes that from the research, they will learn where they could improve practice further.


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.