Principle 4 - Research
The University of Strathclyde will engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.
Strathclyde Business School carries out research that is both theory-driven and relevant for policy and practice. This section highlights some of our research related to social responsibility and sustainability. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 rated us highly for Impact and how our research impacts on practise on business and we were also rated highly for Research Environment which looks at 'vitality and sustainability'.
Impactful research with global social responsibility at its heart:
- Research by Dr Andrea Coulson, Department of Accounting and Finance, on the Living Wage centred on the ‘business case’ for the adoption of a Living Wage by employers. The research was developed from broader research on accounting for social sustainability. Andrea is working closely with the UK Living Wage Foundation (LWF) and Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative to encourage accreditation of employers paying a real living rate and developments in policy and practice in this area. Empirical research, KE and commentary has been designed and developed in consultation with the LWF and relevant stakeholders to examine and support the implementation of the Living Wage and transparent disclosure of its impacts on organisations and society. This includes international consultation in collaboration with the LWF and accounting profession on debate regarding the transferability of this concept and practice at an international level (engaging local groups overseas). Research began with a review of literature on the Living Wage and empirical evidence gathering from six UK business cases on implementation of the Living Wage (Coulson and Bonner, 2015). Following on from the inclusion of KPMG in the initial case study, a detailed longitudinal empirical case study is currently underway with KPMG to examine the degree of integration of Living Wage performance information within the accounting systems of the firm.
- Dr Lucrezia Casuli from the Hunter Centre of Entrepreneurship attended the UK Chapter PRME Research conference in Glasgow in 2015.
- Professor Jonathan Levie’s research paper “Inconvenient Truth: Do UK Owner-Managers value social and environmental goals?” won best paper in the Social, Environmental and Ethical Enterprise track at the annual Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research Conference in Paris.
- A paper by Dr Matthew Hannon, Strathclyde Chancellor’s Fellow of Technology and Innovation based in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, won second prize at the World Energy Congress. Major international figureheads such as the Presidents of Russia and Turkey, and heads of companies such as BP, Shell, E.on, General Electric attended. Non-governmental organisations such as the International Energy Agency and OPEC were also in attendance. The paper “An International Assessment of Ocean Energy Innovation Performance” was chosen from hundreds of submissions and was presented at a high-profile prize ceremony with a prize of €7,500.
- Much of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship’s research focuses on the significance of socio-economic resources – including social, economic and human capital as inputs and outputs of entrepreneurship. The Hunter Centre is especially interested in highly collaborative industries, which focus on sustainable value creation for the entire sector, including creative arts, social enterprise, and craft food and drink. Work in these fields informs wider policy and practice into collaborative sustainable socio-economic growth.
- Research by Drs Alexander, Bryce and Murdy in the Department of Marketing on ancestral tourism highlights the importance of local communities in the delivery of personalised forms of heritage tourism. As part of their project the research team visited local heritage providers across the whole of Scotland and their research revealed the critical role that local attractions play in delivering meaningful ancestral experiences to a growing market. However, despite this importance research revealed a number of challenges associated with the delivery of ancestral tourism in Scotland. Chief among these was funding with cuts to grants by local authorities affecting provider’s abilities to pay for professional curatorial staff which, in turn can reduce the funding available to providers and reduce service available to visitors. The research team has presented these findings widely to organisations such as The Scottish Ancestral Tourism Group and VisitScotland.
- Dr Colin Lindsay (SCER/HRM) contributed to an Expert Roundtable on Young People and Poverty at the Scottish Government, hosted by Naomi Eisenstadt, Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality to the First Minister.
- Professor Patricia Findlay, Dr Colin Lindsay, Jo McQuarrie, Dr Rachelle Pascoe-Deslauriers (SCER/HRM) have continued to meet with Scottish Business Pledge employers and Food & Drink sector employers as part of the action research component of the Fair, Innovative and Transformative Work project.
- A new project funded by the Universities Low Carbon Power and Energy research theme is developing simulation and optimisation tools to minimise the time taken to install offshore wind farms. The project, led by Matthew Revie and Euan Barlow of Management Science, is worth £165k.
- Several of the research outputs of Dr Katerina Nicolopoulou focus on Sustainability and CSR and adopt frameworks for addressing aspects of global challenges, such as the concept of cosmopolitanism. Examples include research papers on Agri-Food, Sustainable Entrepreneurship, as well as the Anthropocene- a new geological epoch.
- In the recently launched Labour Market Strategy, Scottish Government announced continuing support for the second year of the Fair, Innovative and Transformative Work (FITwork) research project at SCER as part of their support for innovation in Scotland. As part of the new funding, the SCER team along with partners at the University of Glasgow, will work with businesses/employers, employees and unions to design and test innovative ways of working which are focused on improving productivity and performance while enhancing the quality of work. This year of FITwork will focus on two key sectors (food and drink and social care) and on working with Scottish Business Pledge companies using the FITwork diagnostic tool.
- A study into weight and employment, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was carried out by Professor Dennis Nickson of the Department of Human Resource Management in partnership with University of St Andrews academics Dr Andrew Timming and Professor David Perrett - of The Perception Lab - and the University of Toronto’s Dr Daniel Re. In the study, participants were asked to rate people for their suitability for jobs in the service sector, based on their appearance. Researchers found even marginal increases in weight had a negative impact on female candidates’ job prospects. The findings raised a number of practical implications, both ethically and from a business point of view. Ethically, the results of the study were unsettling from the viewpoint of gender inequality in the workplace and the researchers argued that employers should consciously work against such prejudice and bias by providing sensitivity training for those in recruitment. The research featured in publications as varied as The Times, BBC, Toronto Telegraph and Glamour magazine, and in countries such as Canada, India, Brazil, and the USA as well as extensively in the UK.
- Dr Mozammel Huq, an Honorary Staff Member in the Department of Economics, received the Judges’ Award at the Inspiring City Awards in Glasgow in recognition of his work as chairman of Charity Education International, an organisation which aims to promote educational opportunities and medical help to poor and underprivileged people in northern Bangladesh. Originally from Bangladesh, Dr Huq has lived in Glasgow for more than 50 years and his research focuses on economic development and industrialisation. He founded Charity Education International to support communities in his native Kakina region of Bangladesh, where its current projects include work with Uttar Bangla College, Kakina Rural Health Centre and an adult literacy and poverty alleviation programme. The Environmental Award was presented to waste rejuvenation company Revive Eco, founded by Strathclyde Business School alumni Scott Kennedy, Fergus Moore and Rebecca Richardson. Revive Eco is an ecoprise company which collects and recycles coffee waste to create high value and natural oils, fertiliser and biomass pellets.
- A Research Associate at Scotland’s leading economic research institute, the Business School’s Fraser of Allander Institute, was appointed as an Adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee in 2016. David Eiser was tasked to provide expert technical advice to the Committee, which scrutinises the Scottish Government’s spending and tax plans. David is one of two Advisers to the Committee, working alongside the Committee clerks and the Parliament’s Financial Scrutiny Unit.
- A team of postgraduate students won the Researcher category of the Strathclyde Enterprise Pathway competition in 2016 for their business idea OutLoud. Mohammad Salman, a Human Resource Management PhD student, and Prasuk Jain, a Masters student in Banking & Finance, teamed up with two postgraduate students from the Faculty of Engineering - PhD student Jonathan Jamieson and MRes student Calum McKinnon – and together came up with an idea for a mobile app which helps people with hearing impairment, allowing those who use sign language to communicate by converting the sign language to audible speech, helping deaf people who may feel excluded from society due to communication difficulties.