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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

SUMS Professor flies high with Boeing and LCA research

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Lenny Koh AREC

Professor Lenny Koh, chair in operations management at Sheffield University Management School, has played a significant part in a study showing that lighter planes are the future.

The interdisciplinary study, involving academics from the engineering and management fields, showed that a global fleet of composite planes could reduce carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent, but the lighter planes alone will not enable the aviation industry to meet its emissions targets, according to new research.

The study, by the Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge and UCL (University College London), is the first to carry out a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of a composite plane, such as the Boeing Dreamliner 787 or Airbus 350, and extrapolate the results to the global fleet.

Professor Koh’s contribution to the study was built around the LCA methodology, covering manufacture, use and disposal, using publicly available information on the Boeing Dreamliner 787 fuselage and from the supply chain – such as the energy usage of the robots that construct the planes. She said: “This research has demonstrated the significant value of LCA methodology for Boeing. It has evidenced the robustness of this approach to assess the environmental impact of new materials such as composite in a very complex product supply chains (in this context for the Boeing Dreamliner 787).

“Sheffield has world leading expertise in this domain and this project is an example of how we work with world leading industry to provide LCA empirical analysis. It has proven to be extremely valuable and impactful for the aviation industry and their supply chain.”

Research found that emissions during the manufacture of composite planes are over double those of aluminium planes, but because the lighter aircraft use significantly less fuel these are offset after a few international flights. Over its lifetime, a composite plane creates up to 20 per cent fewer CO2 emissions. The study – published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment – estimated that by 2050, composite planes could reduce emissions from the global fleet by 14-15 per cent relative to a fleet that maintains its existing aluminium-based configuration.  In light of a projected four-fold increase in global air traffic through 2050, this material change could avoid 500million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2050 alone, a value that roughly corresponds to current emission levels.

Professor Koh is director of the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability and the Logistics and Supply Chain Management research centre, both within the Management School. She is also leading the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), which has been formed as a facility to promote collaboration between industry and academics who can help introduce resource efficiency and sustainability across supply chains. It also offers a platform for access to policy makers and focuses on four main industries: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; Energy and Nuclear; Water; and Agritech/Food.

Significant Indian honour for SUMS academic

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

MS100

Dr Niraj Kumar, Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management and Programme Director for our BA International Business Management (pictured above), has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious ‘Hind Rattan Award 2015’ for his valuable contribution to academia and the society at large.

Hind Rattan (which translates to the ‘Jewel of India’) is one of the highest Indian diasporic honours, awarded annually to non-resident Indians (NRIs) by the NRI Welfare Society of India under the umbrella of the Government of India. Dr Kumar has been selected for this prestigious award for his research and initiatives that have raised the profile of India in international academic circles. Dr Kumar said: “It is a great honour to receive recognition for my efforts. I will endeavour to reciprocate the faith by keeping up the good work.”

Dr Kumar’s research interests broadly relate to sustainable supply chain management, supply networks and food supply chains. He has worked on a number of research projects with companies in the UK and Indian aerospace, retail, construction, food and automobile sectors. Currently he is involved in a research project called ‘Green Design to Green Disposal’, with the objective to design the green supply chain for the next generation. The project is funded by the UK-India Education and Research Initiative.

Apart from his academic contribution, Dr Kumar is actively involved in various educational outreach activities with schools in Jharkhand, with the objective to inform and encourage young students to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives. He has received various awards in UK and India for his contribution to community services and social cause. He is also the Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in UK.

Dr Kumar is attending the award ceremony, which takes place on 25 January 2015 on the eve of the Republic Day in New Delhi.

What happened to savings for the future? By Prof Josephine Maltby

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Josephine Maltby, Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at Sheffield University Management School, comments on the savings culture.

What happened to savings for the future?

This year has seen a series of reports about likely pensions shortfalls and the urgent need to increase savings.

As recently highlighted by Katie Evans and Emran Mian in Savings in the Balance 2014, apart from a brief recovery in the mid 2000s the UK savings as a percentage of household income have fallen between 1997 and 2014. In a survey which reveals savings as a percentage of GDP, the UK came next to the bottom with 10 per cent of GDP going into savings – only Greece doing worse.

This is treated by commentators as a 21st century crisis. But these worries are nothing new and it seems the anxieties about tightening the purse strings have been prevalent since the 19th century.

Political restlessness

In the early 1800s anxiety about political restlessness among the lower classes underlay the foundation of savings banks in towns, cities and villages all over the UK.

They were created and run by elites – the local squire, clergyman or industrialist presiding over a board of trustees. It was argued by contemporary politicians that the local banks would be good for the savers, turning then away from feckless habits. That in turn would cut down the local rates bill which went to provide poor relief. And savings would ‘bind the humbler to the more influential and wealthy classes’ making them grateful for the financial advice and assurance their betters were offering them.

Savings were all invested in Government bonds, giving the lower classes ‘a greater interest in the stability of the government.’

The savings banks spread rapidly. By the 1860s there were almost 650 of them, with 1.5 million savers. The smaller and rural banks were superseded by the chain of Post Office Savings Banks, but the urban banks survived and grew into what have become the Trustee Savings Banks.

It was important to the banks to demonstrate their success in drawing in working-class savers. As part of their annual reports, many of them published detailed breakdowns of their savers by occupation. And they kept detailed records of savers-as well as account data, they recorded a set of personal details for every depositor.

These bank records are a rich source of data that has not previously been explored in much detail.

Collaborative researchers from the universities of Sheffield, York and the Open University are now analysing these records to gain an understanding of savers and savings in the 19th century.

Women were better savers than men

Looking at the records of 4500 people in four banks – Limehouse, East London, Bury in Lancashire and Newcastle and North Shields (Northumberland) gives new insights into the way people managed their finances. Research so far shows a variety of savers. The banks’ promoters aimed them at the working man, but:

  • Women were a significant proportion of savers, including married women even before 1870 when they were granted property rights. The evidence from account records shows them apparently managing their own money with no intrusion by husbands. And it raises questions about current estimates of women’s employment; do the bank records indicate that they were saving wages in a period when married women’s employment levels are believed to below?
  • Children were important as savers, with teenagers apparently saving from their earnings
  • There were a variety of joint accounts, sometimes for married couples, but also for groups of people, maybe workmates
  • Accounts were transferred between family members, for instance from an elderly person to a child or grandchild.

And although the mission of the banks was to promote thrifty saving for old age, work so far shows that long-term saving was only for the minority. 19th century savers mainly used the banks to provide current accounts, saving for the short term to meet regular expenses like rent, or to tide them over wage cuts and unemployment.

Patterns of saving and account management vary, apparently in response to local economic factors. Limehouse savers included sailors who gave wives access to their accounts whilst they were away at sea: among Bury savers were the women working in the growing Lancashire textile industry. In the 1860s, the loss of cotton supplies caused by the American Civil War meant that textile workers were unemployed and ran down their account balances.

Read about Professor Josephine Maltby, and see a full list of publications, here: www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/josephine_maltby

REF2014: SUMS soars up the rankings

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
  • 81 per cent of our research is considered world leading or internationally excellent
  • Top five in the Russell Group for research impact
  • Top ten in the UK for research impact
  • Top 15 in the UK overall

Sheffield University Management School is rounding up 2014 on a high.

Hot on the heels of EQUIS reaccreditation, which keeps us in the top one per cent of business/management schools globally, the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014) has released excellent results for the School.

For the first time, we are in the top 15 business/management schools in the UK – a huge 81 per cent of our research is considered world leading or internationally excellent. Up two places from the previous assessment (RAE2008, =16th), this significant elevation is a reflection of our fantastic research environment, output and impact.

The School performed exceptionally well in its research impact, which is the demonstrable contribution that research makes to society and the economy. Sixty per cent of our research impact is considered ‘outstanding’ (4*), and the remainder ‘very considerable’ (3*). Impact is assessed on its reach and significance, so we are pleased to have seen such outstanding achievements in this category – with our core research themes of sustainability and socially responsible work practices and processes, it is evident that our academics are making a significant contribution to the world.

Associate Dean for Research, Professor Pauline Dibben, said: “We are delighted with our REF2014 results. They have cemented our strong end to the year, following news of our EQUIS reaccreditation, and truly reflect what the Management School does well.

“We have a clear focus on social responsibility, strong ethics and integrity – qualities also noted by EQUIS. It is what we do, and who we are. These attributes also contributed to the score for our research environment, that was ranked 3 and 4*.

“We provide an internationally excellent environment in which our academics are supported to produce world leading research.”

The Management School has achieved a great deal in the years leading up to 2014, and this month the hard work and determination has come to fruition. Dean of the Management School, Professor David Oglethorpe, said: “To achieve such great success in both the REF and through our EQUIS reaccreditation in one week marks us out as one of the most outstanding and improving Schools in the UK, with a truly global reach and significance.  I am delighted with these results which are a testament to the dedication, commitment and quality of everyone who works in the School.”

A global player: Sheffield University Management School maintains place in world’s top 1%

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The University of Sheffield’s Management School has kept its place in the global elite thanks to once again gaining the stamp of approval from prestigious international accreditors, EFMD.

Accreditations from EFMD’s European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), the Association of MBAs (AMBA), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) are collectively known as Triple Crown accreditation, an honour upheld by Sheffield University Management School since 2012 and bestowed on fewer than 60 business and management schools worldwide.

Dean of Sheffield University Management School, Professor David Oglethorpe, said: “I am proud to lead such an inspiring school. EQUIS accreditation is a highly prestigious mark of quality and another feather in our cap – although we are already in the top one per cent of schools worldwide, we are highly ambitious for the future and want to further enhance our reputation and that of the University on a global scale.

“EQUIS has critically examined our global presence and progress alongside programme provision, world-class learning environments, research and outreach. As an EQUIS accredited school, we must demonstrate a high degree of internationalisation. Across the globe, businesses recruit our students, and we welcome many overseas students every year. Also, we must create strong alliances across continents with institutions like ours. There is no reason why all of us shouldn’t aim to be international – not just as a school, but as students, researchers and professional staff too.”

Accrediting bodies look for qualities in a school that are unique – Sheffield University Management School’s research focus sets it apart from similar organisations. Professor Oglethorpe continued: “Our researchers are conducting world-leading studies, with an overarching focus on sustainability and socially responsible work practices. From analysing labour standards in Brazil and South Africa, to developing flood risk strategies in the face of climate change, and securing food supply chains, they are working to solve huge global problems.”

Associate Dean for External Business Advancement, Professor Andrew Simpson, said: “Continuous improvement is embedded in our staff’s and students’ approach to work and study, and we are committed to this as a strategy for the future.

“To achieve EQUIS we don’t simply have to maintain standards – the School must have advanced significantly in line with its strategy since the panel’s previous visit.”

Professor Simpson is spearheading the Management School’s international profile. He recently returned from a trip to Japan with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, where he met with other universities, organisations and alumni.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Gill Valentine, said: “I was delighted to hear of the Management School’s reaccreditation. The panel could not fail to be impressed by their excellent facilities, focused mission and vision, and world-leading staff – EQUIS cements their global reputation, and feeds into that of the Faculty and University.”

Sheffield University Management School is living and breathing the University and Students’ Union-formed #weareinternational campaign.

Employees behaving badly – IWP leads the charge

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

On Tuesday 25 November Dr Christine A. Sprigg gave a talk to the Humber Branch of CIPD on ‘Employees Behaving Badly: Is it too costly to ignore?’.

Approximately 50 members of this local branch CIPD battled the fog to attend the talk on Christine’s own previous research on bullying and cyberbullying (the latter with Sam Farley et al), and updated them on recent academic research on why bullying occurs at work and what are the consequences of it for employees and organisations.

Christine was then joined by Lee Whiting, Partner at Bridge McFarland Solicitors, who gave a linked talk on the legal aspects surrounding bullying and harassment at work.

Christine commented: “This was a wonderful opportunity to talk directly to HR professionals from a diverse range of public and private sector organisations about both my own research, and recently published research from others. I enjoy getting out and about, and hearing about the difficult real-world bullying and harassment scenarios that employers and employees have to commonly deal with.”

Culture of cruelty – IWP discuss bullying in HE

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Two members of the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP), PhD student Sam Farley and Dr Christine Sprigg, have added comment to the recent discussion on the culture of bullying in higher education.

Published on The Guardian online’s Higher Education Network, their article has been widely shared and discussed in academic circles.

Approaching a number of key areas, including ‘what causes bullying’, ‘undermining behaviour’, and ‘how can employees beat bullying?’, the piece not only discusses recent research into the topic, but offers advice to those who may be affected.

Read the article in full here.

Management School at the 2014 ESRC festival: Find out more

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Next week, Sheffield academics take to the floor and open their research up to the general public, thanks for the 2014 ESRC Festival of Social Sciences.

The Management School is hosting a number of seminars as part of the event, which runs from 1-8 November – all of which support the School’s Mission to promote socially responsible work practices and have a positive impact on organisations and society throughout the world.

On Monday 3 November, Professor Lenny Koh brings her substantial expertise in supply chain management and resource efficiency to the Management School’s Hitchcock Boardroom. In a session from 9-10:30am, Prof Koh will discuss the University’s new Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) which combines the our expertise in supply chain management, advanced materials, agritech and energy to produce a unique, world-class research facility.

As the leader of AREC, Prof Koh is an renowned expert in this field so the event could be of great benefit to businesses interested in ‘Improving Supply Chain Efficiency and Competitiveness under Resource Scarcity’. Her second session on Monday could also be extremely useful: ‘Promoting Sustainable Supply Chain Growth by Research and Innovation Exploitation’. Here organisations could learn how working with AREC, or the CEES and LSCM research centres could benefit them, with particular focus on the SCEnAT tool.

Book onto Prof Koh’s sessions here:

http://management.sheffield.ac.uk/events/improving-supply-chain-efficiency-competitiveness-resource-scarcity/

http://management.sheffield.ac.uk/events/promoting-sustainable-supply-chain-growth-research-innovation-exploitation/

On Tuesday 4 November, Dr Tina McGuinness discusses her expertise in business risk for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), with a particular focus on flooding.

Dr McGuiness will explore the issues SMEs are faced with around flood hazard and how best to prepare your business for this. Sheffield suffered a major flooding event in 2007 which impacted upon a significant number of SMEs, particularly located around the Lower Don Valley. This event will give relevant stakeholders from business and policy the opportunity to hear about the latest research into flood impacts upon SMEs.  It will help you gain insights into the factors that facilitate and enhance resilience to flooding as well as those issues which can exacerbate business vulnerability to the impacts of a major disruption such as flooding

Book on to the events, titled ‘Business as (un)usual: flood risk and SMEs’, here:

http://management.sheffield.ac.uk/events/business-unusual-flood-risk-smes-breakfast-event/

Finally, on Wednesday 5 November, Dr Geoff Nichols touches on a very current subject – the transfer of public lecture facilities, such as libraries, to volunteers.

The event will share Dr Nichols’ research findings on the transfer of delivery of local leisure services from local government to volunteers.

The event provides him with an opportunity to disseminate the results of research into the process of transfer of public leisure facilities; including sports centres, libraries and museums; towards delivery by volunteers.  This transfer is happening rapidly – mainly in response to funding cuts – and it will continue.

There are a number of relevant speakers attending the event. You can see the full list of speakers, and book your place, here:

http://management.sheffield.ac.uk/events/transfer-public-leisure-facilities-volunteer-delivery-exploring-good-practice/

 

Organisations benefit from the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC)

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Lenny Koh AREC

 

The launch of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC), led by Professor Lenny Koh from Sheffield University Management School, has captured the attention of organisations looking to improve their sustainable credentials, both locally and on a national scale.

AREC has been formed as a facility to promote collaboration between industry and academics who can help introduce resource efficiency and sustainability across supply chains. It also offers a platform for access to policy makers and focuses on four main industries: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing; Energy and Nuclear; Water; and Agritech/Food.

Professor Koh together with her exceptional team across Faculties and disciplines, taken from leading industry and academia, have identified a number of issues affecting the development of resource sustainable supply chains in large organisations including getting support from the board for sustainability improvements, unless there is a legal requirement or financial benefit. AREC also recognises that Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) need to overcome supply chain challenges so gives them the opportunity to collaborate with larger industrial partners to benefit from their cutting edge academic research and skills – this endeavour fits directly with current Government and EU policies.

Industry partners include the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Tata Steel, Unilever and DLA Piper – in collaborations overseen by Professor Koh’s team, organisations of every size can benefit from their expertise and resources.

It is AREC’s view that long-term success lies in achieving a fair and sustainable balance between rewarding all stakeholders in a business, not just the shareholders. With this approach, customers, suppliers, employees and the community in which the business operates should benefit.

‘Green’ and sustainable organisational elements are becoming increasingly important to reputation, and investors are developing a longer-term view on their partners – if firms are seen to be neglecting these vital criteria, customers may choose to go to a competitor that is doing them well.

AREC will support businesses in considering development in these areas, and will provide resources and partnerships with which to do so. Professor Koh said: “I am delighted to be leading this Centre. The calibre of our industrial and academic partnerships speaks millions about the attention and investment the University is putting into our initiative.

“Sustainability and socially-responsible work practices are built into Sheffield University Management School’s mission statement, so my involvement and that of my Management colleagues is very relevant. This initiative sits well strategically with the specific research priority of the Faculty of Social Sciences on climate change and sustainable growth. The translational and cross disciplinary nature of the AREC work in partnership with industry, departments and Research Centres from the Faculties of Social Science, Science and Engineering, as well as the University’s AMRC and Nuclear ARMC, is connecting lower TRL and higher TRL activities together for greater societal impact.”

To find out more about the AREC, visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/arec, or email s.c.l.koh@sheffield.ac.uk.

www.sheffield.ac.uk/arec
www.sheffield.ac.uk/management

Teaching champions recognised internationally

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Andrea Ward, Director of Teaching Quality and Enhancement (Postgraduate) at Sheffield University Management School, has been awarded a prestigious US fellowship.

The Jane N Ryland Fellowship is offered by EDUCAUSE, an American organisation which helps those who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic IT decisions at every level within higher education.

The grant Andrea receives through receiving the fellowship allows her to attend the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting in February. Held in Anaheim, California, this event will enhance work that Andrea is doing on introducing technology-based learning and teaching in the Management School.

Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, Professor Paul Latreille, said: “This is an exceptional professional development opportunity for Andrea, and I’m delighted that one of our key learning and teaching staff has been acknowledged with this honour.

“The Jane N Ryland Fellowship is highly competitive, and Andrea becomes one of a very small number of non-US recipients, and to my knowledge only the third from the UK. She has been recognised as a trailblazer in our sector, with the EDUCAUSE Fellowship Advisory Committee giving special mention to the well-focused, practical commitment reflected in Andrea’s application.”

Another ambassador for learning and teaching at the Management School, teaching champion for the Accounting and Financial Management Division, Jonathan Jeffery, has also been recognised in the form of an entry in a forthcoming Higher Education Academy (HEA) compendium.

Jonathan’s contribution showcases an excellent and innovative pedagogical approach in relation to independent learning, centred around an innovative tutorial format involving a mixture of whole group and tailored individual activities contributing to the creation of an overall understanding. Among its novel features the module includes formative in-class support, the use of Google Drive, Google Hangouts and Skype, and of peer review software.

Head of the Accounting and Financial Management Division, Professor Bill Lee, said: “The division, and wider Management School community, passes on its congratulations to Jonathan. His inclusion in this compendium demonstrates the importance of the high quality learning and teaching offered at Sheffield alongside our world-class research.”