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Manga and management research – SUMS workshop launched in Kobe

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

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In the first research event connected to their recent partnership, Sheffield University Management School and the Graduate School of Business Administration at Kobe University are discussing Japanese popular culture and management practice.

They launch with the aim to explore one of Japan’s most recent, influential and creative exports, manga. Invited expert Prof Martin Parker from the University of Leicester, a leading authority in critical management studies, is joined by Sheffield’s Dr Jerzy Kociatkiewicz – they will lead up-to 20 participants from Kobe on a discussion around manga.

Dr Naoko Komori, project organiser and lecturer in accounting at Sheffield, said: “This international workshop is an exciting way to kick-off our research partnership with Kobe. We want to create a dialogue between scholars from Japan and the West which will start to translate Japanese management knowledge and practice for a global context and audience.”

Following their discussion, participants will present their thoughts on such areas as the production process of manga; how manga illustrates corporate organisations, culture, and people; and the Western perception of manga.

Dr Komori concluded: “The workshop will start to explore the language used to describe Japanese management practice – I hope that it will start to create an alternative perspective so that the world can start to understand this unexplored area of research, from a critical perspective.”

The workshop will be held at Kobe University on 6 April 2017, 1-5pm. Please email Dr Komori for more information: n.komori@sheffield.ac.uk

British Academy/Leverhulme grant success for SUMS

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

From extinction accounting, to credit unions and developing welfare – the Management School’s successful British Academy/Leverhulme small research grant wins demonstrate the breadth of our expertise.

These two-year grants, awarded to researcher for stand-out projects in the humanities and social sciences, shape the British Academy’s most popular scheme. SUMS’s 2017 successes are as follows:

Prof Jill Atkins: Engaging business on the state of nature

Jill, a chair in financial accounting, has been awarded a substantial grant to explore the possibility of an extinction accounting framework. Implementation of this would mean that businesses could report on responsible investments – a transformational change that will prevent the extinction of critically endangered species identified on the IUCN Red List.

She said: “Extinction isn’t only an issue for naturalists, scientists and ecologists – businesses, investors and accountants also have a vital role to play. Biodiversity can’t be preserved without the cooperation of global companies, the responsible investment community, and corporate integrated reporting.”

Jill will be conducting the research with Warren Maroun from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Prof Bill Lee: Understanding English credit unions through an international comparison

Credit unions (CUs) are financial co-operatives owned by their members. By encouraging members to save regularly before borrowing, CUs promote thrift and self-help and recycle funds within a population that shares a common bond, helping to promote the financial health of that community.

Legal and regulation changes mean that CUs have been subject to a great deal of change – Bill’s research uses case studies to investigate whether English CUs are abandoning policies that build trust from their membership while implementing risk management policies, and the potential consequences of doing so.

Bill wants to explore whether a comparative study with CUs in New Zealand, which are at a similar stage of development, will unveil alternative strategies which may be pursued.

Dr Anna Topakas, Dr Kamal Birdi and Dr Sam Farley: Understanding how to build bridges for delivering welfare in the community

Public sector organisations, such as the police, councils and housing services, are under pressure to improve service delivery. However, highly publicised cases of poor standard of service are often attributed to failure to coordinate, share information and collaborate effectively between agencies and services.

They are recognising the need to build collaborative spaces, partnerships and networks which can provide a range of benefits. Anna, Kamal and Sam aim to explore the role of work-related factors and individual staff attitudes connected with these inter-organisational initiatives, evaluating them on employee and organisational outcomes.

The project will build a richer understanding of employee factors in this context, make recommendations to enhance collaboration, and provide a proposal for better-informed interagency collaborative platforms.

Collaboration for Inclusion: Social Inclusion Works

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

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Social inequalities affect us all. From a social and economic perspective, collaboration between organisations and researchers is beneficial to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate discrimination, enable inclusive growth, give voice, and change societal norms and infrastructure to catalyse inclusive communities, workplaces, and societies.

Dr Andreana Drencheva, lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Management School, is making the first steps towards doing so in partnership with University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). She’s behind Social Inclusion Works, an innovative duo of events in Sheffield (4 April and 6 June, 2017) designed to bring together social entrepreneurs, academic researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations.

By running a creative space for individuals and organisations to learn with and from each other, the first event of the series on 4 April will result in mapping the common challenges organisations working toward social inclusion face in Sheffield. In the time that passes between the two events, participants will work together to collate and co-create evidence and insights to address these challenges. On 6 June, in the second part of the event series, participants will share actionable insights that social entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support organisations, and researchers can take forward.

Andreana said: “The aim is to find better ways to catalyse social inclusion based on best practice and evidence. Together, we can share best practice, build capacity, and collaborate on new research or training projects that can make meaningful contributions to our communities. We are excited to host these events at Sheffield, where there’s lots of positive energy already in this area.

“The fact that the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), USE and the RSA are working together is a testament to the collaborative approach of these events. Collaboration is the key here – we would like to engage with a diverse range of sectors and disciplines relevant to social inclusion such as education, housing, social and health care, political studies, technology, urban planning, and finance, to name just a few examples.”

Social Inclusion Works has a co-creative focus. The approach of the events recognises that social entrepreneurs, researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations bring different knowledge and skills. Focusing on the current challenges of social entrepreneurs, the events will not just enable a safe space to share what works, but also to co-create new initiatives related to research, training and public engagement to improve current practice. Because of this collaborative approach, it is essential that individuals and organisations register only if they can attend both dates (4 April and 6 June, 2017).

Join the events to make social inclusion work. Click here to book your place.

Entrepreneurship conference showcases regional business expertise

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

EFMD

A conference hosted by Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) is taking full advantage of the city region’s vibrant business community.

Organised in collaboration with EFMD, a European management development network based in Brussels, the conference (8-10 March) explores the theme of entrepreneurship within organisations and launches in the Management School’s Middleton lecture theatre with a panel event featuring guests from organisations including Plusnet, Tech North and KPMG.

Attracting academics from all over Europe and the US, its influence, which draws on Sheffield’s business strengths, will have global impact. Chair of the conference, Professor Tim Vorley, said: “Researchers and practitioners in the field of entrepreneurship continue to push the boundaries about what we understand about entrepreneurs and how they operate. This has important implications for entrepreneurship education, both in terms of what leading businesses and management schools teach and how they teach it.

“Entrepreneurship inside organisations is an area of management education that is growing in interest. We’re delighted to be pairing with EFMD on leading this renowned annual event – welcoming input from the region’s business community is essential to its success.”

Guests on the panel include Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet whose career at BT saw him take leadership roles in WiFi and gaming; business leader Douglas Dawson from the Liberty Industries Group who brings his exceptional global knowledge; Laura Bennett from Tech North, whose experience in entrepreneurship and organisational development sees her lead their Founders Network; KPMG’s Head of South Yorkshire region Philippa Sanderson; and Palie Smart from Cranfield School of Management whose interests encapsulate innovation and technology management.

EFMD runs and awards the EQUIS accreditation, one of SUMS’ triple crown accreditors which positions it in the top one per cent of business and management schools worldwide.

Click here to view the programme for the conference.

Reducing the environmental impact of a loaf of bread: SUMS leads interdisciplinary project

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

With an estimated 12 million loaves sold in the UK every day, bread remains a staple of the British diet. In a groundbreaking study researchers from the University of Sheffield have now calculated the environmental impact of a loaf of bread and which part of its production contributes the most greenhouse gas.

The group of interdisciplinary researchers from the University’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, including three experts from Sheffield University Management School (SUMS), analysed the complete process from growing and harvesting the wheat; milling the grain; producing the flour; baking the bread and the production of the final product, ready to be sold by retailers.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Plants, show ammonium nitrate fertiliser used in wheat cultivation contributes almost half (43 per cent) of the greenhouse gas emissions – dwarfing all other processes in the supply chain.

Dr Liam Goucher, N8 Agrifood Research Fellow from the University of Sheffield who carried out the study and is based at SUMS, said: “Consumers are usually unaware of the environmental impacts embodied in the products they purchase – particularly in the case of food, where the main concerns are usually over health or animal welfare. There is perhaps awareness of pollution caused by plastic packaging, but many people will be surprised at the wider environmental impacts revealed in this study.

“We found in every loaf there is embodied global warming resulting from the fertiliser applied to farmers’ fields to increase their wheat harvest. This arises from the large amount of energy needed to make the fertilizer and from nitrous oxide gas released when it is degraded in the soil.”

How to produce sufficient healthy and affordable food for the world’s growing and more demanding population, whilst protecting the environment is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. It is estimated that up to 60 per cent of agricultural crops are now grown with the use of fertilisers. Although they can dramatically boast the growth of plants and vegetables – assisting the growing demand of food yields – fertilisers consist of substances and chemicals such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and nitrogen. The emissions from these substances in synthetic fertilisers contribute to greenhouse gases.

Professor Peter Horton FRS, Chief Research Advisor to the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield and corresponding author of the paper, said: “Our findings bring into focus a key part of the food security challenge – resolving the major conflicts embedded in the agri-food system, whose primary purpose is to make money not to provide sustainable global food security.

“High agricultural productivity – necessary for profit for farmers, agri-businesses and food retailers, whilst also keeping prices low for consumers – currently requires high levels of application of relatively cheap fertilisers.”

He added: “With over 100 million tonnes of fertiliser used globally each year to support agricultural production this is a massive problem, but environmental impact is not costed within the system and so there are currently no real incentives to reduce our reliance on fertiliser.

“How to achieve sustainable global food security is not only a technical question but a political economic one, and requires interdisciplinary research of the kind we do here at Sheffield.”

The study was made possible by a pioneering collaboration with the agricultural and food manufacturing sector developed by Richard Bruce, a co-author of the paper and Business Engagement Lead for the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield.

The data analysed in the study was processed using an advanced life-cycle assessment tool – SCEnAT – developed by Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre at the University’s Management School and co-author of the paper.

“This tool handles large and complex data sets and yielding data on the environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions of all the stages in the supply chain,” said Professor Koh. “The tool identifies the processes that yield the most impact – the hotspots. The findings raise a very important issue – whose responsibility is it to bring about the implementation of these interventions: the fertiliser manufacturer, the farmer, the retailer or the consumer?

“There is a growing recognition for a range of industrial processes of the notion of extended producer responsibility – the producer being responsible for downstream impact, expanded to the idea of shared producer and consumer responsibility. The consumer is key, whether being persuaded to pay more for a greener product or by applying pressure for a change in practice.”

The paper also highlights the solutions available which could potentially reduce these impacts in the future.

Co-author Professor Duncan Cameron, Co-director of the P3 Centre for Translational Plant and Soil Science explains: “The fertiliser problem is solvable – through improved agronomic practices”.

“These harness the best of organic farming combined with new technologies to better monitor the nutritional status of soils and plants and to recycle waste and with the promise of new wheat varieties able to utilise soil nitrogen more efficiently”.

Click here to read the paper in full.

Shadows: CRISP is tackling Undeclared Work in the European Union

Monday, February 27th, 2017

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The Cluster for Research on the Informal Sector and Policy (CRISP), based in the Management School, has reinforced its standing as the world’s largest group of researchers studying the informal sector with a major Marie Curie grant.

The €200,000 project will see a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Dr Ioana A Horodnic from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi in Romania, spend two years with CRISP under the supervision of Prof Colin C Williams (pictured above).

Prof Williams said: “Paid transactions that are not declared to the state for tax, social security and/or labour law purposes when they should be declared, equal some 33 per cent of official GDP globally. As such, tackling undeclared economy has become a core issue on the policy agendas of supra-national agencies and governments. CRISP is pioneering research in this area.”

There are two policy approaches to tackling undeclared work: a ‘rational economic actor’ approach that ensures that payoff from undeclared work is not outweighed by the costs; and a ‘social actor’ approach grounded in a view that undeclared work arises when tax morale is low.

Prof Williams continued: “This Marie Curie Fellowship aims to advance knowledge, by evaluating not only the effectiveness of using each approach to reduce undeclared work across the European Union, but also by developing a fresh re-theorization of tackling undeclared work and, for the first time, analysing the interaction effects between these two approaches. The outcome will be to greatly increase understanding of the undeclared economy and provide policy relevant results.”

This project will further advance the world-leading reputation of CRISP which, in collaboration with North American private sector consultancy, ICF International, has recently secured a €5.6million, four-year contract from the European Commission to provide the expert services to the European Platform for Tackling Undeclared Work.

Find out more about CRISP here: www.sheffield.ac.uk/woerrc/crisp

Prof Latreille amongst high profile speakers at workplace mediation conference

Friday, February 10th, 2017

A packed Civil Mediation Council (CMC) workplace mediation conference held in the Old Library of Lloyd’s of London on 1 February enjoyed an interactive session from Chair in Management at SUMS, Prof Paul Latreille.

His focus on workplace conflict gathered on-the-spot data from the audience via polling technology, revealing that nearly three-quarters (71%) of the senior-level delegates were from the private sector, suggesting a growing interest in mediation there. The demand for practical help was equally clear – 78% had been aware of or experienced workplace conflict over the previous year, and the top three costs of workplace conflict identified by the poll were: the damaging impact on management time; reduced engagement and performance among parties in conflict; and the costs of absenteeism.

Some of Paul’s written reports produced for Acas, including a recent study of a conflict resolution system in an NHS Trust (see below), were also referenced by their chairman Sir Brendan Barber.

The conference brought together practitioners from a range of organisations including speakers from the BBC, Sony, the NHS and Tesco, and explored an array of areas in workplace mediation and conflict. Caroline Sheridan, Chair of the CMC Workplace and Employment Group, said: “Mediation is enjoying considerable momentum as a core business process for employee engagement and conflict resolution. We have focused on the arguments and strategies to fuel the momentum and to develop confidence in anticipating and addressing the most likely challenges.”

Paul continued: “It was a great privilege to address delegates at this event. By incorporating live data, my session benefited from current information and a highly engaged audience – we were able to identify and explore some of the greatest challenges we face in the workplace conflict arena, on the spot.”

Paul has since been invited to speak at a series of similar CMC regional events later in the year, with the provisional schedule including Bristol in June, Birmingham in October and the North East.

Read Paul’s reports on workplace conflict and mediation by clicking on the links below:

Tackling cold homes – taking action on fuel poverty

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

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‘The interactions between people, home and energy’ – the Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN), co-founded by Dr Robert Marchand at Sheffield University Management School (pictured above), is an ever-expanding group of international researchers aiming to bring domestic energy issues into the spotlight.

Wellbeing is affected significantly by living in a cold home, and many people can’t afford to heat them thoroughly – in fact the annual social cost of cold homes on mental health in a city like Sheffield alone is almost £20million. Robert and his colleagues aim for closer collaboration between their academic community and policy makers, so that government initiatives and funding are appropriate, informed and ultimately effective.

FPRN is now preparing for their third major event, a meeting and parliamentary reception in Edinburgh from 28-30 March 2017. Co-organisers, Energy Action Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University, have planned an engaging agenda including a reception at the Scottish Parliament with Andy Wightman MSP. Click here for more information and to book your place.

Robert said: “We hope to create positive change through the network – having an impact on the people affected by fuel poverty drives our efforts. Whether it’s the pensioner who can’t afford to heat their home, the GP with a crowded waiting room of unwell people contributed to by energy costs, or the landlord who can’t yet see the value of insulating their property portfolio, we hope to reach all of them.

“The Edinburgh event is testament to the FPRN’s approach to collaboration. With contributions from a member of Scottish parliament, the only national body dedicated solely to eliminating fuel poverty, and relevant academic researchers, it’s an event where we’re can together identify key interventions.”

Find out more about the Fuel Poverty Research Network on their website (fuelpovertyresearch.net) and follow them on Twitter @FuelPovertyRN.

Dr Diane Burns to pilot innovative home care approaches

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Dr Diane Burns

Dr Diane Burns is leading a research project, working with Sheffield City Council to roll out a new pilot study aimed at improving innovation in the provision of home care in the city.

Policy makers recognise that home care is a better and more cost effective way of supporting people to live independently for longer in their own homes.

However, the home care sector is faced with a number of problems including financial cuts, care quality, workforce recruitment and retention, and the growing need to avoid preventable hospital admissions and delayed discharges.

The ‘Doing Care Differently’ study aims to encourage experiments in the design and implementation of new models of funding and providing care in the city. The project has secured £50,000 in funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Diane said: “This project brings together a team of interdisciplinary researchers who co-wrote two public interest reports (see below), which set out our distinct and critical perspectives on social care.

“With the Doing Care Differently study we want to carry out action research to support the design and implementation of new models of funding and operating at the local level.”

The pilot will create a network of care recipients, academics, council officers, commissioners and care providers to share knowledge, investigate health outcomes and the implications alternative care models may have for Sheffield.

It will also include a forum for stakeholders in the city to discuss choices, develop plans and identify what support is required to successfully develop new models of care. Researchers will visit cities in Holland, Spain and Norway to look at successful models of care that are currently in place.

If the pilot is successful, researchers hope to apply for further funding to extend the pilot across the UK.

The reports:

Where does the money go? Financialised chains and the crisis in residential care report

Why we need social innovation in home care for older people report

#12daysofthinking – the Management School’s contribution

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

In December 2016, the University of Sheffield ran a campaign sharing academic reflections on the most pressing issues facing our society, via Twitter and shef.ac.uk.

Here we share the Management School’s contributions. You can see all of the activity by searching the #12daysofthinking hashtag.

Prof Jim Haslam on The State of our Planet:

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Dr Christine Sprigg, Prof Pauline Dibben, Dr Chris Stride and Prof Jason Heyes on The World of Work:

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Dr Geoff Nichols on Our Health:

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