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Comment: Reflecting on a workshop on Post-Brexit Industrial and Regional Policy. By Professor Sumon Bhaumik

Friday, June 9th, 2017

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In March, Professors from the University of Sheffield (Sumon Bhaumik (pictured above), Heather Campbell and Philip McCann) sat around the table with peers from Aston (David Bailey) and Warwick (Nigel Driffield) Business School to discuss post-Brexit industrial and regional policy. They were joined by representatives from regional bodies, trade bodies, and the private sector including representatives of Oxford Economics, Performance Engineered Solutions Ltd, Sheffield City Region, South and East Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses, South Yorkshire International Trade Centre, The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The view about the likely impact of Brexit on trade, investment and corporate performance was mixed. The private sector view emphasized the positive economic news in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, and the ability of the private sector companies to strategize better for Brexit, which is expected at this stage, than for the financial crisis of 2008, which was unexpected. There was general consensus that the significant depreciation of the pound sterling could spur exports and firm performance, at least in the short term. The impact of Brexit on onshoring was also viewed as a potential opportunity, especially for SMEs. There was some optimism about UK’s ability to strike trade deals relatively quickly with countries from the Middle East and Latin America.

This optimism was tempered by the uncertainty about the new trade deal between the UK and the EU. In particular, there was concern among some workshop participants about the impact of the loss of single market access to the organisation of supply chains, and the implications of imposition of tariffs on industries such as automobiles whose components crossed UK’s international borders a number of times before they are used in the final product. The discussion, however, suggested that divergence between EU and UK regulations, especially about rules of origin and product standards, could pose a greater challenge to businesses than tariff barriers. The difficulties of contract enforcement in an environment of diverging regulations was also highlighted, and there was some concern about the general impact of Brexit on bureaucracy about all matters related to cross-border transactions. It was also felt that while any dip in the UK’s ability to attract FDI in the short run would recover, it might not recover to the pre-Brexit trend.

There was general consensus around the table that if the Brexit deal restricts free movement of labour, skill shortage – indeed labour shortage for some sectors such as agriculture and hospitality – might prove to be the biggest challenge facing UK businesses, in particular, those in the Midlands and Northern England. It was argued that, to begin with, there should be closer cooperation between the universities and the private sector to ensure that the labour force of the future not only has high levels of skills but can also adapt quickly to the rapid changes in technology that are manifested through increased use of AI and robotics. The panel was also mindful of the need to shape labour market policies in a way that facilitates inclusive growth in the future, such that post-Brexit policies and private sector performance have the necessary democratic legitimacy. Further, some on the panel felt that policies regarding skill development should be devolved to the regions that have greater understanding of the skill requirements of the local companies.

Many on the panel felt devolution of the power to the regions would enable policies better suited to local economies in post-Brexit UK. In particular, it was felt that, given the heterogeneity in the industrial composition of the regions that make up the UK, it is imperative to seek their views before any new trade deal or industrial strategy is finalised. Some on the panel voiced concerns about lack of engagement with central government to date to discuss the regions’ trade and industrial policy needs. Some felt that elected mayors might be able to better negotiate with the central government, and that they would also be helped by access to greater financial resources. However, it was also felt that regions would have to cooperate – for example, within the framework for the Northern Powerhouse – rather than compete for resources within a zero-sum bidding framework.

Paucity of time left some issues undiscussed. In particular, future discussions would have to reflect on whether effective devolution of economic power to the regions requires that they be given the power to borrow to invest in physical and human capital. This, in turn, would require a discussion about the financial infrastructure, such as a “muni” bond market, to facilitate such borrowing. Issues such as these, as well as discussion of policies formulated by the individual regions, are expected to be part of ongoing discussions involving the stakeholders represented at the workshop.

 

This workshop has been supported through The University of Sheffield’s ESRC Impact Accelerator Account

Highly commended: How SUMS impressed AACSB

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

 

L-R: Bob Reid, Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer from AACSB, with Yvonne Beach, Prof David Oglethorpe and Prof Andrew Simpson from the Management School

Pictured above (L-R): Bob Reid, Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer from AACSB, with Yvonne Beach, Prof David Oglethorpe and Prof Andrew Simpson from the Management School

From an intensive focus on careers, to impact on organisations and commitment to the mission and vision, Sheffield University Management School has received standout feedback from accrediting body, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

In April, the School announced that it has been awarded another five years of accreditation from AACSB, further to a visit from their peer review team comprising Deans from thee other international business schools. Amongst the formal feedback from AACSB are a number of strengths, innovations, features and practices which they have chosen to commend.

The panel praises the School’s research, employability initiatives and its work with organisations, highlighting how these activities link back to a recognised mission and vision used by the Dean, Prof David Oglethorpe, to embed socially responsible and sustainable practices throughout.

A research-driven environment which impacts on learning and teaching is core to the School, and the University as a whole. AACSB’s panel credited this approach, also noting that toolkits deriving from academic research projects had contributed positively to a variety of organisations, including the International Labour Organisation.

This link with business was also recognised as excellent in the context of Futures First, the School’s student employability initiative which draws on expertise and knowledge from its advisory board members, whose high profile day jobs inform some of the content.

Professor Oglethorpe said: “I’m so incredibly proud of the School, which has once again been granted the full five-year accreditation from AACSB. This is a wonderful result and testament to everything we have all worked very hard towards.

A further five years of AACSB accreditation cements Sheffield’s position as having a top one per cent global business school.

Click here to read our Mission and Vision.

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AACSB were impressed that the School’s mission and vision were embedded throughout the School

Celebrated authors: Best paper awards for SUMS researchers

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

A number of papers from academics at the Management School have been acknowledged as outstanding across revered journals.

In the annual Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, two papers from SUMS were deemed the best of the year. The International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research named a paper by Dr Ranis Cheng and Dr Mike Simpson from Sheffield University Management School, alongside lead author Dr Sheilagh Resnick (Nottingham Trent University) and Dr Fernando Lourenco (Institute for Tourism Studies, Macau) ‘Marketing in SMEs: a “4P” self-branding model’, as outstanding.

Meanwhile, the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal crowned a paper by Dr Panayiota (Julie) Alevizou and Dr Caroline Oates with Dr Claudia Henninger (University of Manchester), called ‘What is sustainable fashion?’.

Both articles are freely available to all for one year and will be promoted as the journal sample article.

From the Institute of Work Psychology, Dr Carolyn Axtell’s paper alongside the University of Manchester’s David Holman, ‘Can job redesign interventions influence a broad range of employee outcomes by changing multiple job characteristics? A quasi-experimental study’ has been awarded Best Paper by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

Finally, a paper by Sheffield’s Prof Tim Vorley and Dr Nick Williams (University of Leeds) won the prize for Best Paper from the International Small Business Journal. Entitled ‘Between petty corruption and criminal extortion: How entrepreneurs in Bulgaria and Romania operate within a devil’s circle’, you can click here to read the paper.

Translating Japanese Popular Culture: Successful kick-off event in Kobe

Friday, May 5th, 2017

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Translating Japanese Manga research team, pictured above (front row): Dr Jerzy Kociatkiewicz (left), Prof Ryuta Suzuki, Prof Parker (second from right) and Dr Komori (right) with colleagues from Kobe

In their first joint event, Sheffield University Management School and the Graduate School of Business Administration in Kobe, Japan, held a workshop to discuss Japanese popular culture and management research, with a particular focus on manga.

Dr Naoko Komori and Dr Jerzy Kociatkiewicz from Sheffield hosted the event with Prof Martin Parker from the University of Leicester. He entertained attendees with his talk on critical management studies, which then led to four groups discussing this in the context of Japanese manga – they then presented on their ideas and received feedback.

This international workshop was an excellent start to our research partnership with Kobe University, who also documented the event here and on their Facebook page.

Click here for more information on the workshop.

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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

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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