IMPACT magazine - Issue 7

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Issue 7 January 2020

Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Should entrepreneurs invest in the latest technologies? Dr Saadat Saeed


Looking to multiply your team’s innovative potential?


From Canada to Mexico via Durham Kevin Spreitz

Professor Susanne Braun and Dr Karolina Nieberle Issue 7 • January 2020

Turn our talent to your advantage tackle your business challenges head-on with a Strategic Business Project Does your business have a challenging issue but not the time or resources to address it?

Find out more at:

Then consider a Strategic Business Project with Durham University Business School. Taking place between June and September, our MBA students work across all sectors and functions, applying their skills and knowledge to deliver ideas and recommendations to take your business forward. Just submit your project idea online.

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 03


Welcome to IMPACT, Issue 7: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Welcome to the first 2020 issue of IMPACT magazine, which showcases the distinctive features of our research and education programmes – particularly highlighting the close engagement of our work with practice and our connection to a wide variety of organisations from commercial, non-profit and policy sectors. To reflect the centrality of entrepreneurship and innovation in today’s global economic environments, our purpose is to develop and enthuse leaders and entrepreneurs who create, share and use knowledge to deliver equitable and sustainable futures around the world. Central to that purpose, alongside our education programmes is our research. For example, in this issue, Dr Saadat Saeed reports in his article on research into the impact technology has on new venture creation. Peter Allen, Associate Dean for External Engagement, gives an overview of the School’s new tailored programme for Boeing and how it supports the company’s executives to ensure it stays ahead in their competitive global market. Professor Susanne Braun and Dr Karolina Nieberle continue the innovation theme with their examination of how leadership can impact teams’ creative potential. It is often reported that entrepreneurship is something that can’t be taught; either people have the skills and aptitude or they don’t. There is a large body of academic research which shows the contrary; that skills, tools and attitudes can indeed be taught, supported and improved to start and grow successful businesses. Our programmes aim to do just that; working collaboratively with a hugely talented student body, academics develop the skills, tools, insights and mindset needed to be successful with their creative ideas and new businesses. The Durham MBA, for example, focuses on entrepreneurship through its specific pathway, which you can find out more about in an article focusing on a masterclass held by Dr Joanna Berry, MBA entrepreneurship pathway leader. Our MBA students put their new innovative skills to practical use in a number of ways, including Strategic Business Projects, such as the one with Digital Catapult which deals with open innovation. You can also read about a project undertaken by students on the Consultancy Pathway assisting a local charity, the Auckland Youth and Community Centre, with its financial planning.

Professor Susan Hart

Professor Kiran Fernandes, Associate Dean for Internationalisation, looks at how the School meets these global challenges head-on in his article. It was pleasing to see our Durham MBA (Full-time) ranked 7th in the world in the Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking 2019, a jump of 20 places from the previous year. This is a great acknowledgement of the School’s sustainability focus as the ranking evaluates business schools globally, looking at the extent to which MBA programmes integrate sustainability knowledge and skills into business education. As usual, IMPACT reports many examples of where our research and impact excels. For example, Professor Julie Hodges uses her research to advise how organisations can best engage their staff over changes brought about through increased business volatility, and Professor Bernd Brandl considers the impact of Brexit on UK wages based on the changes in trading focus and new market competitors. Throughout the magazine, you can see examples of our international impact, including a piece on our two most recent, excellent Global Debates on the important issue of Cyber Security. These were hosted with Dartmouth College in Washington DC and New York City in December 2019 and drew together senior personnel from a wide range of sectors including banking, defence and government agencies. Our ability to instil entrepreneurial and innovation skills into our students is also shown by the number of graduates who have set up their own businesses; in the last FT ranking for Top MBA programmes for Entrepreneurship (2018) the School was ranked 13th globally and we have a number of excellent stories from alumni in this issue that illustrate our graduates entrepreneurial spirit. Durham MBA (Full-time) alumnus, Kevin Spreitz, tells us about the role his time at Durham played in his success and setting up his own business in Mexico, and Kiran Ramakrishna updates us on his business while passing on some tips for future entrepreneurs. You can also read about Masters alumni, including Nour Mouake’s journey from refugee to start-up founder, as well as Khdeija Sidi Boubacar’s business match-making service in Mauritania.

Ethics, responsibility and sustainability remains an essential theme threaded through our research and education. In addition to these examples bringing to life our strategic intent, in these areas, Professor Geoff Moore considers climate change, consumer

As always, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this issue of IMPACT magazine. The support from all of those featured, from staff and students to alumni and business connections, has been exceptional. This demonstrates our excellent and collective commitment to creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation to flourish and contribute positively to global society and the business world.

desire and the importance of enterprises becoming part of the solution. Ethics is integral to all of our programmes and, like climate change, it can impact society on a global scale; we need to deliver a response that acknowledges this.

Professor Susan Hart Executive Dean of Durham University Business School

Issue 7 • January 2020

04 • IMPACT • Issue 7, January 2020 Contents

Credits The Impact Team Liz Lawrence Marketing Communications Manager Martin Thomas Senior Marketing Communications Officer Lindsay Duke Senior Marketing Relations Officer Natalie Taylor Communications Officer

Charlotte Wareing Marketing Officer Paula Lane Marketing Officer Stephen Close Web and Digital Officer



















Deanne Dutton Conversion Relations Coordinator Laura Kovic Marketing Administrator

Contribute Want to find out more or contribute to the next issue? Just send us an email:

Thank you Thank you to all who have worked on this issue, including academics, staff, students, alumni and business connections.

Key contributors Vassilis Agouridas

Sebastian P. Marland

Peter Allen

Professor Geoff Moore

Dr Sebastian Aparicio

Professor Kevin Morrell

Dr Joanna Berry

Nour Mouakke

Professor Bernd Brandl

Jonathan Mudry

Khdeija Sidi Boubacar

Satomi Murata

Professor Susanne Braun

Dr Karolina Nieberle

Jannies Burlingame

Andreas Pfleger

Adam Copeland

Kiran Ramakrishna

Professor Kiran Fernandes

Dr Saadat Saeed

Professor Jackie Ford Professor Roger Gill Dr Sara Gracey Dr Les Graham Dr Mariann Hardey

Daryl See Nicola Short Kevin Spreitz Aarron Toal Mahek Vara

Naomi Hutchinson

Nicolaus Von-Schultzendorff

Professor Susan Hart

Dr Mai Chi Vu

Professor Julie Hodges Dr Gretchen Larsen

Dr Christopher Williams

Larry Lee

John Wiseman

Social media @dubusschool Durham University Business School @DUBusSchool Durham University Business School Durham University Business School


Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 05

Contents Preview Articles

Student Engagement

06 Should entrepreneurs invest in the latest technologies? How environment can dictate spend

41 The Durham-emlyon Global DBA One year on

08 Open innovation A Strategic Business Project

42 MBA students supporting Auckland Youth and Community Centre

10 From Canada to Mexico via Durham Kevin Spreitz: My Durham MBA Journey

44 Enthusing leaders and entreprenuers How the Durham MBA is driving the School’s mission

Research and Impact 14 Are female entrepreneurs underperforming? Measuring success through economic growth 16 Lift off for Boeing’s tailored management programme Supporting innovation and transformation 18 Looking to multiply your team’s innovative potential? Share the lead! 20 Can innovative entrepreneurs within firms help overcome the valley of death?

46 Scholarships Rewarding academic excellence in the pursuit of longer term career goals 48 Exploring barriers to innovation Satomi Murata 49 Undergraduate student selected to be Forbes Under 30 Summit scholar 50 The Durham MBA Entrepreneurship Pathway Masterclass 51 MBA Technology Pathway visits London 52 Triple five-year re-accreditation and ranking success

22 Could Brexit impact UK wages? 24 The Great British Brand Hunt 26 The problem with the label ‘women in tech’ Should women be the ones to raise their voices?


28 Management Consultancy for Innovation

54 Think big, act small Achieving your dream is possible

30 Corporate mindfulness Tackle the sources of stress, not just a ‘quick fix’

55 From Syrian refugee to start-up founder Nour Mouakke

32 Are you sitting comfortably?

56 Going the distance with Durham Dr Larry Lee’s MBA & DBA Journey

34 Encouraging teams to invest in organisational change

57 Text Mercato Kiran Ramakrishna Sustainability and Ethics 37 Climate change, consumer desire and the implications for enterprise 38 Socially responsible Business School Compliance or commitment? 40 Great North Run

58 Return to China events and Dunelm Days follow up 59

Meeting with alumni across Asia

Events 60 Durham and Toni&Guy A cutting-edge collaboration 62 Global Debate Series The Dartmouth-Durham Global Debate Cyber Security in today’s digital society 64 Could your idea change the world? just IMAGINE if... 66

Academy of Management 79th Annual Conference 2019

67 Going global Connecting with potential business students

Durham University Business School Durham University and Durham University logo are registered Trade Marks of the University of Durham. Unless otherwise stated, all material in this publication is copyright of the University of Durham. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained here is accurate. This publication is intended as a general guide to University of Durham’s facilities and form no part of any contract between you and the University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of the University. Please note that the University’s website is the most up to date source of information and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.

Issue 7 • January 2020

06 • IMPACT • Should entrepreneurs invest in the latest technologies? Preview Articles

Should entrepreneurs invest in the latest technologies? Dr Saadat Saeed

How environment can dictate spend

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 07

Industry 4.0 can be defined as a digital transformation which will have a massive impact on every single industry, including our economy and education sector. It’s the merging of the physical and cyber worlds, and is changing the way we store data.

However, my research also shows that if the regulations are in favour of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs are more likely to invest because they are more willing to take risks. An environment like this helps new startups to achieve continuing profitability through assistance programmes which offer money, information and services. In fact, in this situation, entrepreneurs should consider investing as it increases the likelihood that small startups will become high-growth firms.

Nowadays, businesses seem to be obsessed with having the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain. This is because technology makes it easier for a business to communicate with their customers, and in today’s environment, time is everything. A business will want their employees to interact with clients and customers as quickly and as easily as possible, as better communication often leads to a better public image.

Furthermore, my findings suggest an environment where it is socially acceptable to be an entrepreneur, such as the USA (where in fact you could argue they’re obsessed with the idea of entrepreneurship), means the latest technologies will have more of an impact on innovation. This is because having an environment where people and media see entrepreneurship as desirable has a positive effect on the entrepreneur and how they act, increasing the likelihood of them investing.

That being said, it is hard for businesses to keep up with the ever-changing industry. What was once the latest and best technology can very quickly become out of date, which leaves businesses struggling to catch up. For this reason, I wanted to see if technology really has that much of an impact on the success of an organisation.

In contrast, if entrepreneurship is not seen as desirable, then investing in the latest technologies is unlikely to facilitate innovation because there are strict roles and behaviours that should be adhered to. That being said, even though the use of the latest technologies won’t work in this environment, innovative entrepreneurs are often those who challenge existing norms, values and business processes to create unfamiliar products and services. So, it is still possible for a business to be innovative in this environment, but it won’t be through using the latest technologies.

Over the last decade, there has been a rapid advancement in technology, which has led to many people believing we are in a fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as ‘Industry 4.0’.

In the pursuit of competitive advantage, I found that new ventures which invest in the latest technologies are 65% more likely to be innovative. My research, based on data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey and interviews with more than 57,000 individuals in 67 countries over a 6 year period, found that technology plays an integral role in enhancing new ventures’ operations and performance. This is because small startups are often at a disadvantage in their ability to compete with large companies and by using the latest technology, this allows them to level the playing field and outclass competitors. It’s important to note that I’m not saying every new start-up should invest in the latest technologies, as the effectiveness of using them to improve new venture innovation depends on external pressures, such as uncertain environments and regulations. My study shows the environment has to have the right conditions for a business to thrive. An entrepreneur should focus on the economic, political and social aspects of the environment. Is the economy growing? Is the government stable? And is entrepreneurship seen as acceptable? Being in the right environment will strengthen the impact of using the latest technologies, because it creates a context that is rich in knowledge and ideas which make entrepreneurs more likely to invest. Previous studies have shown that heavily regulated environments may impose significant barriers and deter entrepreneurs from investing in resources because of increasing costs. My research shows if firms are located in an environment like this, then they should consider settling for lower levels of investment in technology, even though there will be a negative impact on innovation.

Previous research has also stressed the importance of an environment which focuses on the impact education can have on entrepreneurial activity. It suggests that, especially for business, education can improve a person’s ability to solve problems, which in the long run improves their confidence and their ability to create a new venture. Before I conducted my research, I thought that because education improves entrepreneurs’ sense-making and self-efficacy, investing in new technology is more likely to lead to innovation. However, I found no evidence to show education plays a key role in the relationship between the use of the latest technology and innovation. An entrepreneur’s education and possession of the knowledge and skills necessary to operate a business appears to have no influence on their use of technology in new ventures. My study has an in-depth analysis of 4 environments that new startups can be located in, which provides valuable insights into how and when the latest technologies can lead to innovation. The ideal environment for a new startup to be innovative is one that sees entrepreneurship in a positive way, which results in businessfriendly regulations to support them. To sum up, entrepreneurs who use the latest technologies are more likely to offer innovative products and services than those who don’t. But only if their startup is in the right environment.

For more information on Dr Saeed’s research visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

08 • IMPACT • Open Innovation. A Strategic Business Project Preview Articles

Open innovation A Strategic Business Project

Daryl See

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 09

Amidst increased pressure for businesses to innovate to stay competitive, more and more organisations are looking to conduct innovation activities. This isn’t just confined to their internal research and development (R&D) departments but also involves external parties. However, it is crucial that open innovation is not done for the sake of keeping up with the “trends”. As the innovation intermediary for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the technology sector of the North East of England, Digital Catapult NETV (North East Tees Valley) noticed whilst many firms are able to kick start open innovation activities, not many are capable of scaling these collaborations beyond the initial phases due to a variety of reasons, ranging from lack of appropriate skills within SMEs to the lack of commitment by the corporate companies they’re collaborating with. This roadblock meant missed opportunities for corporates to benefit from disruptive innovations, and frustrations for SMEs that fail to win contracts with corporates after having invested so much resource into the initial open innovation engagements. Digital Catapult NETV decided to seek the help of a Durham MBA Strategic Business Project to enable them to gain valuable research and insight which they could use to further support their SME network. Durham MBA (Full-time) graduate Daryl See worked closely with Digital Catapult NETV’s Head of Innovation, Naomi Hutchinson, to help develop a recommended framework for the company to follow. Read on to learn more about Daryl’s research: Innovation especially open innovation takes more than just an R&D department. Those in other functions are also crucial in making open innovation collaborations work and ultimately drive new products/services to the market in a sustainable manner to enable the company to stay competitive. Thus, this project has demonstrated the importance and implications for various stakeholders – ranging from those working in SMEs and corporates to those working in the public sector, such as policy making that impacts innovation and economic competitiveness at a national level. The objective of this strategic business project was to assess the factors that will facilitate long-term open innovation collaborations between SMEs and corporates. To do this, the project adopted a dual-perspective approach by considering views of both SMEs and corporates to explore the factors that affect open innovation collaborations, specifically collaborations between SMEs and large companies in the long haul where there are mutual commitments between the seeking company (corporates that require innovative solutions to a problem/business need) and the providing organisation (SMEs providing the solutions).

For this study, an exploratory approach was conducted where semi-structured interviews were undertaken with technology SMEs residing in the North East of England and corporates across various industries ranging from those in traditionally non-technical sectors such as consumer goods to the technology sectors. The research found that there were various push and pull factors that affect the ability to scale SME-corporate open innovation collaborations. The study demonstrated a need to consider six key factors: culture, corporate functions, communication, leadership, organisational capabilities and relationship. Based on the findings, the recommendation was for Digital Catapult NETV to adopt a framework that focused on the six factors mentioned above when working with SMEs and corporates to help foster long-term open innovation collaborations between them. The leadership factor comprises of the organisation’s management, an open innovation champion and a centralised innovation team. An integrative culture is also critical and plays a key role that affects other factors such as leadership and corporate functions. Organisational capabilities that manifest in the form of human talent and the organisation’s strategy – allow companies to demonstrate value, which is key to long-term interfirm innovation engagements. Corporate functions that include organisational functions such as legal, finance and procurement affect the company’s supply chain, which has a major influence in interfirm open innovation partnerships. There is also a need for clear and strategic communication to forge trusting and lasting interfirm collaborations. Furthermore, considerations over the relationship factor that delve into dimensions such as power play between stakeholders within the companies, networking forged amongst companies and trust, helps to either cement or break these asymmetric interfirm collaborations. Daryl says “Overall, the project has given me great insights into the various push and pull factors of open innovation collaborations between SMEs and large organisations… This is useful for all industries since increasingly companies no longer see innovation as the sole responsibility of their innovation department but one that involves various internal stakeholders across functions. SMEs make up a large proportion of the total economic landscape, a key pillar for the survival of companies in any industry.” Naomi Hutchinson (pictured above), Head of Innovation at Digital Catapult NETV said: “The research that Daryl conducted for us was invaluable and provided great insight into how to address some of the issues businesses face with open innovation, it will definitely help us shape how we address these issues moving forward.” To find out more about MBA Strategic Business Projects visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

10 • IMPACT • From Canada to Mexico via Durham Preview Articles

Kevin Spreitz

From Canada to Mexico via Durham Kevin Spreitz: My Durham MBA Journey

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 11

When I sit in my photography gallery in Huatulco, Mexico, surrounded by my art, memories of the past sometimes flash before me. This comes to me in the way many of us experience, when we wonder: ‘How did I get here from there?’ I mean this in the best way, not with regret but with a feeling of being very lucky. Looking back, there I am in my mid-twenties, on the bow of a Canadian naval ship, protecting my country, sailing through the narrows as we approach St. John’s, Newfoundland. That was a great day. A few years later, the first day of my Durham MBA, camera in hand, so unsure of the future, but so sure I belonged, and was in the right place at the right time. That was an intense day. The day I graduated in a 1,000 year old cathedral, with a Durham academic record and dissertation I could be very proud of. More than my eyes and heart could take. Weeks later, the day I sat in a boardroom, giving counsel to five people with a combined CEO history of 50+ years. Surreal. Years later, the day I moved to Huatulco, Mexico, an area I had almost no knowledge of, just because I wanted to live by the ocean.

And the day my gallery opened. A dream realised. All of those memories popping like flashbulbs, but with the benefit of hindsight, knowing they happened that way, because I am here now and it feels right. I was never a strong undergraduate student. To be blunt, I didn’t apply myself, but I am an inherent problem-solver. When I graduated and was working in a casino, I knew I needed to make a change. I felt I deserved more, but knew I was not applying myself… again. Well, I thought: ‘The military will cure me of that.’ I chose naval operations, as it was difficult, and I thought if I’m going to fail, then fail at something challenging. When I left the navy a few years later, I was looking into MBAs in Canada. My family on my Mum’s side in Newcastle, suggested Durham because of its sterling reputation. A family member had already gained a Durham MBA and was having a superlative career. After investigating, I agreed, it would be a challenge but it was everything I wanted.

What did I want? Well, MBA students in North America tend to be young and start their MBAs almost immediately after their undergraduate degree, with little experience. The ones billed as truly ‘international MBAs’ tend to be mostly national students with a handful of international students. Durham seemed to be a magical alchemy of a truly international cohort of all ages from a wide variety of countries, with mixed management and innovation experience; integrated with a collegiate life that seemed just as important as the academic side. In my cohort (2002/3), I’d say about 25% were from the UK, with the remainder coming from five continents and well over thirty countries. I remember the depth and breadth of management experience was expansive and high quality. One of my most vivid memories was hearing many of the professors express a similar thought – MBA learning is as much from the cohort as it is from them! I doubt one would hear this often in a North American business school. There were many highlights of this magical year, but two stand out for me. After class office visits to professors, with a single question I wanted to ask, and only leaving after a fulfilling conversation, sure that they had tricked my brain into expanding. And the stimulating in-class discussions when a learning point of the professor would thread through the class, with many students adding to the discussion with their own perspective and experience. I’m sure both were by design. Clever professors!

Another highlight – the collegiate life. Oh, the collegiate life! Sometimes it was a quiet drink at the Howlands Farm bar with just a few of us. Sometimes it was more – imagine at the end of class one of us suggesting a visit to another college’s bar, and that turns into 60 or so of us walking in together. We met so many interesting people from all walks of life studying varied subjects. And my treasured memory of rowing on the River Wear at 6am with my college team, the Castle and the Cathedral rising out of the misty dawn, in the powerful silence except for the blades slicing the water and the occasional word from our coach. Yes, my unborn grandchildren will definitely learn all about Durham.

Issue 7 • January 2020

12 • IMPACT • From Canada to Mexico via Durham Preview Articles

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There was a time I was sure I was failing, but I pushed through. Whilst I can look back now through a romantic gauze at the solitary days of writing my dissertation, at the time it was extremely tough. However, there was a profound satisfaction in thinking later, ‘Look at me! I’ve only gone and done it!’ There still is, really. After graduating, I stayed in the UK for a few years. The work was good, the travel was wonderful. Coming from Canada, I was not used to weekend trips to Paris, Amsterdam and Rome for a few pounds. I thought my management consultancy career would be it for me – I would want nothing more, but in my soul, I’ve always been a photographer and an artist. Little did I know that two things were happening; I was building my portfolio with every photograph I took, every trip I made. The universe was planning to get me to take the long road towards what I was supposed to do, what I was born for. In my professional circles, it was known I was a keen photographer. People would ask to see my photographs. Eventually, someone asked to buy one (mind blown!), then two, then ten.

When a business client commissioned me to make a series of nautical photographs for their coastal weekend home, that was the first time I thought I could make a living from my art. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was the business world which first taught me how to be the right kind of artist. Serious collectors that taught me about editions, longevity, materials, investment. They were the first inflection point that not only set me upon being an artist, but the kind of artist I wanted to be. Eventually, I returned to Canada, where I took some time to think about my path forward. Was I capable of handling a monumental change? I kept hearing that voice in my ear, against all sane advice, that I have to be what I am. Soon I was exhibited, then internationally, then some press followed, and freelance contracts with The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, and after a lot of hard graft, here I am. In Mexico. By the Pacific Ocean. With a successful gallery just off the town plaza. When I was a management consultant, I was using my Durham MBA every minute of every day, even in ways not obvious. Sure, there was the applied knowledge – operations, finance, etc. – but because Durham seems to touch so many lives in the UK, it was invaluable in cultivating close relationships within the business world. Everyone knew someone with a connection to

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 13

Durham. It was always one degree of separation between them and a Durham graduate. It was, and still is, a great door-opener.

When I became an artist, I discovered that I was still using my MBA, just more personally. I felt like, as a consultant, it was ‘for hire’. But working for myself, to take myself from unknown to established artist, my MBA became a greater investment in myself. Now the stakes were higher. But unsurprisingly, it fit so well in my new chapter. I think that is one of the hidden secrets of the Durham MBA. Its structure creates a versatile, highly adaptive set of skills where we can be dropped into anything. When I left the business world to pursue my art and passion, I didn’t have to adjust my MBA to the situation. My Durham MBA adjusted me. It has been invaluable in organising and executing complex plans; giving me the gravitas to talk to corporations, banks and clients about my art and business; and managing my inventory and financials. I can definitely say that as an artist with an MBA, like a two-headed hydra, sometimes the passionate heart and business head war with each other. The passionate heart may win most of the time, but the business head wins when needed. Five years ago, having established myself as an emerging artist, I moved to Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Of course the universe knew better than I that bigger things were in store for me. Several weeks after arriving I was invited into a prestigious local art show. Around the same time, I walked into a stationery store – a papeleria – to buy a pair of scissors, and Marisol was working that day. Ten months later we were engaged, now married. Each year since has been a greater success.

In university, I could not have imagined I would soon be adventuring all over Canada as a naval officer. In the navy, I could not have imagined the Durham MBA was right around the corner. In the UK business world, I could not have imagined I would eventually become an artist. And in a million years I could not have imagined all of that would lead me to Mexico and my own gallery. But from there to here, it now seems… well, obvious.

An important part of my path to becoming an artist was, and is, the uncompromising vision to be the kind of artist I need to be, for me. This means I create photography I want to create, and have the confidence to say no when needed, and I credit Durham in part for giving me this confidence. As I result, I enjoy greatly every aspect of my art and business. My photography documents the beauty of the natural world and the spectrum of humanity, and is informed by ethnography and visual geometry. My photographs have been exhibited internationally and sold in ten countries. They are printed to museum specifications by myself or professional labs, and limited to 50 or less, to ensure investment. I work with each client to determine the best piece and size for their space. They can be viewed and purchased in my Huatulco gallery, on my website (, or Instagram (@kevinspreitz). In addition, I am occasionally commissioned for special projects, including edition-of-one collector photographs, fine art portraits for corporations and individuals, and corporate documentary and storytelling assignments. And in this paradise of Huatulco nestled between the Oaxacan mountains and the Pacific, I also lead photo workshops, tours and walks all across Oaxaca – including for artists who wish to strengthen their business and entrepreneurial skills. Thank you, Durham MBA. I couldn’t have done it without you!

In late 2018, I reached a personal milestone in opening my own gallery, after years of dealing with other galleries, some wonderful, some not. Let me tell you a little about Oaxaca, because you should know this. Oaxaca is a world unto itself! Everyone should visit at least once. The fashion, culture, food, dance, art is of course Mexican, but so much more Oaxacan! Truly, you haven’t lived until you have tried Oaxacan coffee, mezcal and Tlayudas, or visited during Dia de Muertos!

To find out more about Kevin’s work (examples of which are throughout this article), please visit or follow on Instagram @kevinspreitz

Issue 7 • January 2020

14 • IMPACT • Are female entrepreneurs underperforming? Research and Impact

Are female entrepreneurs underperforming? Measuring success through economic growth

Professor Jackie Ford

Dr Gretchen Larsen

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 15

In our combined experiences of researching, analysing, and also encountering gendered inequalities in the workplace across many different situations, it’s rewarding to witness a recent and renewed focus on feminist activism and collective organisation.

This follows a number of endeavours and global movements (including the better known Everyday Sexism Project, #MeToo, and 1 Million Women projects) and has also recently been represented in scholarly work with greater recognition of the need to engage with feminist theorising when studying organisations, social relations and the workplace. Our study on gendered differences in entrepreneurial research emerged from our supervision some years ago when Dr Hannah Dean undertook her PhD; her research involved collecting views from different fields of entrepreneurial study, as well as gathering and evaluating information from a number of perspectives, which led to new ideas, applications and questions. This allowed us to challenge contemporary social and policy perspectives, notably those that link entrepreneurial success to economic growth that dominates female entrepreneurship studies and policy by investigating the mechanisms by which it both operates and is maintained.

What is startling is the extent to which academic articles, policy and media coverage strengthen society’s view and expectation that, compared with their male counterparts, women entrepreneurs underperform on economic growth variables, including sales, turnover, staff employed and profitability. Our systematic review of the literature contested the assumption that economic growth is the only true representation of entrepreneurial success. A critical interrogation of economic studies revealed how deeply rooted the view had become via the dominance of neo-classical economic theory. Neo-classical economic theory views economic growth as a key route to economic and social prosperity. Far from being a true reflection of the entrepreneurial experience, the focus on economic growth has led to a silencing of the innovator entrepreneur in economic theory and replaced them with an economic rational (male) manager. Within such a gendered discourse on entrepreneurship, the voice of the female entrepreneur has largely been silenced, and her experience has been overshadowed by a dominant masculine hegemony that has prevented consideration of alternative ways of perceiving entrepreneurial success. A key insight emerged in connection with the legitimacy of the ‘female underperformance hypothesis’. The typical image of the female entrepreneur is crafted mainly through comparative studies of a number of characteristics of both female and male entrepreneurs. These assume that there are

‘feminine’ characteristics which are different from the dominant masculine standards, and that these serve to explain the claimed underperformance of female entrepreneurs. Therefore, despite the widespread understanding of social identities (such as gender, class, ethnicity and age) as complex, multi-layered and diverse, in entrepreneurship literature the dominant portrayal of economic growth as a success factor reinforces an overly simplified, universal set of assumptions about the nature of the ‘female’ entrepreneur and her widespread situation.

What we actually found was that rather than identifying major distinctions between male and female entrepreneurs, there were many more similarities than differences in their traits (including the desire to achieve, have autonomy and independence and be able to take risks) and motivations (including a complex range of social and financial success factors that were considerably wider than reported accounts of flexibility in work patterns). There remains a tendency to overlook the similarities between men and women and to over-prioritise the idea that women and men are different. There is a pressing need to further question the view of economic growth in connection with entrepreneurialism and the associated perception of women’s underperformance through further research on the diversity and dynamic nature of experience in all entrepreneurs’ working lives.

Through conducting more local, contextual and qualitative studies of entrepreneurs in their work environment, we can better illuminate the complex and dynamic nature of entrepreneurial experiences that go far beyond the uniform and masculinising tendencies of much of the research. This will encourage richer insight into the diversity of entrepreneurial practice and enable us to capture the social and economic changes in entrepreneurial experiences.

This article is based on a recently published article: Dean, H., Larsen, G., Ford, J. and Akram, M. (2019) ‘Female entrepreneurship and the metanarrative of economic growth: A critical review of underlying assumptions’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 21, 24-49.

For more information on Professor Ford’s research visit and for more information on Dr Larsen’s research visit gretchen-larsen Issue 7 • January 2020

16 • IMPACT • Lift off for Boeing’s tailored management programme Research and Impact

Lift off for Boeing’s tailored management programme Peter Allen Associate Dean

Supporting innovation and transformation

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 17

Through its range of collaborations with multinational companies, as well as governments and multinational agencies, the Business School attracts the best candidates, keeps current and programme development relevant and its academic expertise makes an impact in the wider business world. Since 2013, the University, led by the Business School’s Associate Dean for Engagement and Impact, Peter Allen, has been working with Boeing to support its transformation from the world’s leading supplier of aviation navigation charts into becoming a leading player in digital aviation software and analytics. Throughout the following years, the partnership has changed in line with the company’s needs and the global business environment. It has included a number of Boeing executives studying on the School’s EMBA and DBA programmes, student business projects, facilitation of regular innovation workshops and IDEAtor events, along with other strategic projects. Boeing executives have also contributed to the MBA and other programmes across the University. The latest development has been the joint creation and expansion of a tailored management development programme Boeing-wide across Europe, with the aim to develop participants’ business and innovation management competences to support the ongoing transformation across Boeing. The programme was prototyped over late 2018 and the first half of 2019, with all 20 participants successfully completing their studies. Commenting on the partnership, Dr Jens Schiefele, Managing Director and Director of Research and Rapid Development, Boeing Global Services, said: “The Business School and Boeing started their relationship by Boeing sending employees through the Durham-EBS EMBA programme. Over the years the relationship has expanded to strategy consulting, as well as, the development of this joint programme.

“For Boeing, the training programme is a key enabler to transform engineers into entrepreneurs. Durham University Business School is a key partner in our transformation.” On Wednesday, 20 November, the new Durham University Business School and Boeing Tailored Management Development Programme launched in Frankfurt, Germany. The induction day included a tour of the Boeing 777 ecoDemonstrator at Frankfurt Airport. Some of the experiments on board include projects led by Boeing’s Digital Aviation and Analytics Lab, with one of these experiments drawing on research undertaken by two Durham students from the Data Intensive Sciences Centre for Doctoral Training. Consisting of six modules, the programme will be delivered through three or four day workshops at selected locations across Europe, involving both Durham academics and senior Boeing executives. On successful completion of the programme, candidates will receive a Postgraduate Certificate in Management and will also be eligible to progress to the School’s EMBA or Online MBA Programmes, with Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) granted for selected modules.

Commenting on the partnership and the new programme, Peter Allen said: “Whilst the academic structure is based on modules drawn from the School’s Online and EMBA programmes, the detailed content is a result of the close partnership between Durham’s academics and Boeing’s executives built up over the last few years. We think this collaborative approach couples academic rigour and assessment with direct and immediate business relevance.” The first module, Entrepreneurship, was delivered by the School’s Dr Joanna Berry, Associate Professor Entrepreneurship, alongside Boeing Director, Marc Launer, at Boeing’s Digital Solutions and Analytics Lab in Frankfurt. This module explored driving entrepreneurial management and putting corporate entrepreneurship into practice.

One of the programme participants, Spyros Sakkis said: “The Entrepreneurship module was delivered in a very clear and structured manner, with a wealth of content directly related to our day-to-day activities. Dr Joanna Berry is a compelling trainer and presenter. I’m looking forward to the rest of the programme.” The next module, Strategic Management, will also take place in Frankfurt, led by Peter Allen. Then the programme will move on to Gothenburg (Sweden) for Technology and Innovation, Madrid (Spain) for Operations and Technology, Gdansk (Poland) for Leading Change and then Crawley (UK) for Marketing. The final activity is a Strategic Innovation Simulation ‘Shark Tank’ event in Durham, which is where participants, in small groups, will present their strategic projects to a panel of senior Boeing executives and Business School academics. The panel will consider offers and listen to pitches from the groups as they seek backing for their sustainable business, product or service developments. To celebrate the completion of their programme, there will be a dinner at Stephenson College, one of 16 colleges and societies of Durham University. All participants will be a Business School alumnus and will also be members of the College for life, both will continue to support their careers through networking and further educational activities.

To find out more visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

18 • IMPACT • Looking to multiply your team’s innovative potential? Research and Impact

Professor Susanne Braun

Looking to multiply your team’s innovative potential? Share the lead!

Dr Karolina Nieberle

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 19

Leadership is one of the key influences on a team’s creative potential. In modern work environments and especially in the entrepreneurial team context, generating the best and most useful ideas rarely depends on the influence of a single individual. Leading in the collective, or shared leadership, represents a promising new route towards innovation. Creating and implementing new ideas is at the heart of what startups and entrepreneurial teams are striving for in today’s fast and competitive business world. They are challenged to handle complex tasks and emerging problems quickly. More often than not, the issues at hand will stretch the knowledge, skills and decision-making capacities of single leaders to their limits. Rather, multiple individuals are needed who share the lead. Recent research has diverted our attention from traditional ideas of leadership resting within a single individual towards leadership in the collective. Specifically, sharing leadership describes a dynamic and interactive influence process among team members, who lead one another towards the achievement of shared goals or even visions. Across different points in time and dependent on different tasks at hand, team members take over both leadership and followership. Several studies now support the idea that when team members share the lead, they reach better outcomes – especially when tasks are complex and solutions require creativity and innovation. But how do entrepreneurial teams get to share the lead? And how can we help them to multiply their innovative potential through shared leadership? In an ongoing international research collaboration with Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, researchers from the School’s Centre for Leadership and Followership are currently exploring this question. We interviewed several entrepreneurial and startup teams in Germany and spoke to their members about how they share the lead. To begin with, most teams combined shared leadership with more traditional forms of leadership. For example, managers kept an overview of ongoing processes in the team, made sure the right person was assigned to the right issue, and stimulated idea generation through questions and critical feedback. At the same time, they left space for shared leadership to emerge. For example, they did not pull rank in critical decisions, but spent time on team discussions and supported the team with their strategic knowledge. Managers therefore, played a motivating and enabling role for their team’s sharing of leadership. Interestingly, not all team members were comfortable in labelling themselves as ‘leaders’, yet most of them described some behaviours through which they shared the lead in their teams. This reveals that although team members are able to be both (a leader and a follower at different points in time), how they define themselves in terms of self-identity may still reside within their formal follower role.

These results show that there’s development work to be done. Clearly, shared leadership won’t fall into your lap. Hence, we identified some of the most important factors to support teams in their quest towards sharing leadership:

1. Claiming and granting Teams in which individual team members’ ‘claims’ for leadership were reciprocated by ‘grants’ for leadership from the other team members. To share the lead, individual team members need to signal that they want to take over responsibility and leadership. At the same time, team members need to know each other’s expertise and be willing to grant each other leadership in relevant areas. Being both a leader and a follower at different points in time is challenging for individual team members and requires them to be very sensitive to situational needs and interpersonal cues. 2. Open discussions and critical feedback Teams that jointly discuss their ideas and gain feedback from each other. On the road to shared leadership, teams are recommended to incorporate brief, but frequent feedback sessions within their day-to-day work in order to stimulate discussion and critical feedback. 3. Creating cohesion Teams that shared values and standards while at the same time realised each other’s complementary expertise. Knowing what one has in common (i.e. a shared vision and shared standards of the team’s pursuits), as well as, engaging in activities that foster knowledge about each other’s strengths and weaknesses created the right environment to share the lead.

Sharing the lead is an exciting prospect and a challenge for entrepreneurial teams. To multiply your team’s innovative potential, think about how to best support each team member individually to be able to do both – leading and following – and how to strengthen critical discussion and the collective vision within the team. Are you part of an entrepreneurial or startup team and looking to reflect and work on your leadership structures? We are looking for collaborators in this exciting research project. Get in touch with Karolina Nieberle, Postdoctoral Research Associate:

For more information on Professor Braun’s research visit and for more information on Dr Nieberle’s research please visit Issue 7 • January 2020

20 • IMPACT • Can innovative entrepreneurs within firms help overcome the valley of death? Research and Impact

Dr Sebastian Aparicio

Can innovative entrepreneurs within firms help overcome the valley of death?

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 21

It’s well known that one of the main purposes of any firm is to make a profit. To this end, businesses define many strategies involving workers, machines and other infrastructures. Within these strategies there may also be a purpose for designing, creating and implementing new products or services, internal processes, new suppliers, etc., which include large amounts of investment. Nevertheless, in many cases it’s common for this money to go to waste as the results don’t meet planned expectations. Once the investment is made, another issue is the ability to transfer innovations to the marketplace. Sometimes investments in new products or services can be quickly translated into higher profits, but there are other times where there may be an endless wait. In negative scenarios, firms can lose massive amounts of money, which then leads to inefficiency problems, fewer profits, and, therefore, a reduction in growth. Even though a firm’s investment could come from their own source, there might be alternative sources which involves public budget aimed at improving the company’s growth. In this case, the valley of death might affect not only private decisions, but also public initiatives. Both firm and public investments in technology and knowledge transfer are high risk and often end in a loss of money. Motivated by this, different scholars have commented and provided evidence on possible factors affecting research and development (R&D) investments and also the consequences of R&D investments. Yet the understanding of this phenomenon might remain separated and isolated, that is why a debate on both antecedents and consequences is needed, not only for academia but also for practitioners and policy makers. They may be interested in understanding whether those antecedents of R&D are translated into outcomes such as higher profits, new jobs, etc. In essence, this discussion may help to further recognise possible variables that lead to R&D activities, which in turn, create higher profits for a company. Alongside David Urbano and Andreu Turro from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, we have immersed ourselves into discussions about the antecedents and consequences of innovation through R&D in European firms. This enabled us to debate some implications useful for leaders, managers and policy makers.

Drawing on the significance of working with the right people and having the correct mind-set, we have realised the importance of human resource and labour regulations as key factors in the motivating of employees to undertake innovative projects within companies. We have also found that strict labour rules discourage people from leading initiatives involving R&D activities. Quite contrary, the existence of workers from overseas and external training are factors which motivate entrepreneurial activity and innovation within companies, which are ultimately related to firm growth.

Contrasting our evidence with current discussions, we have noticed that workers who come from abroad play an important role in providing and exchanging business and cultural knowledge, creating relevant complementarities between them and the intrapreneurs in charge of R&D projects. An intrapreneur is an entrepreneur within a large firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills. For example, Ricardo Hausmann, a well-known economist from Harvard University, has suggested that a way to solve the economic growth puzzle consists of absorbing knowledge from all over the world. From the firm-level perspective, we have come across a similar idea, though complemented it by highlighting that (overseas) knowledge itself does not lead to growth. Instead, intrapreneurs and innovators are needed to lead and translate this new knowledge into new products and services that create higher profits and more jobs. Policy makers may encounter a reduction in certain work permit requirements which are useful to let new knowledge flow into and within the economy, which could serve to enable the recognition of new entrepreneurial opportunities that firms, through entrepreneurs and innovators, may turn into the development of new products and services that could solve, initially, market problems, and ultimately, social issues. This idea is in line with the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship (KSTE). Internal knowledge spillover occurs if there is a positive impact of knowledge between individuals within an organisation that produces goods and/or services. Knowledge and skills are then identified as key elements to motivate intrapreneurship leading to successful innovative activity; in this sense, (external) training programmes are initiatives that managers and owners can use to improve innovation and firm growth. Based on our evidence, we have realised skilled workers bring more benefits not only to the company, but also to themselves. This could imply entrepreneurship education may equip people with certain abilities to face problems in an entrepreneurial way.

It’s possible undergraduate and postgraduate students (or even workers from particular companies) attending these entrepreneurship courses or modules have no interest in pursuing an entrepreneurial career, yet by doing so they will gain enough knowledge and skills to behave as entrepreneurs in the companies they are working for and help them to overcome the valley of death.

For more information on Dr Aparicio’s research visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

22 • IMPACT • Could Brexit impact UK wages? Research and Impact

Could Brexit impact UK wages? Professor Bernd Brandl

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 23

Previous research has shown that the setting of wages and working conditions is highly influenced by others, e.g. by reference points or peers. What is perceived by individuals or by organisations such as companies or trade unions as a fair wage does not only depend upon the absolute wage level, but also upon the relative difference in comparison with others. Especially with others who are considered to be similar with respect to the characteristics of the job and occupation. For example, a hairdresser in Durham compares her/his wage with that of other hairdressers while a footballer at Newcastle United compares his wage with other footballers. Usually, such comparisons also have a regional dimension. While hairdressers usually are making comparisons regionally or nationally, footballers have a wider range for their comparisons which goes beyond national borders. More specifically, for example, in the determination of the wage, i.e. in negotiations for the wages of a new University Professor, the Professor as well as Vice Chancellor are certainly looking at wages of other Professors within the University as well as at other universities. It is very common that they will compare wages and working conditions with other university professors in the field. In an international environment this comparison and the reference point selection also has an international dimension as (top) universities in the UK act globally, the workforce is usually international and therefore wages and working conditions at other universities in other countries matter. In my European Commission-funded research project, working alongside Barbara Bechter and Aarron Toal and in partnership with various other institutions, we aim to identify the determinants in wage setting including the importance of comparisons, e.g. the orientation, of and by others. More specifically, by concentrating on actors in wage setting such as (human resource) managers, trade unions and employers’ organisations in all member states of the EU, we try to find out how wage setting in companies, sectors and countries is influenced by one another. In other words, we try to find out if there are any national and transnational interdependencies and ‘comparison’ networks among wage setting actors in the EU. Against previous research showing that in companies that are highly integrated in international markets and that are exposed to international competition, transnational influences in wage setting are important, we also try to investigate whether there are “leaders” and “followers” in wage determination and what the implications for the development and the governability of wages are. In other words, the research project aims to identify relevant reference points, peers and benchmarking networks for wage setting throughout and beyond the EU.

Reference point selection and Brexit As mentioned before, previous research has shown that wages and working conditions in companies and sectors that are highly integrated in European and international trade are influenced by international factors and the international context. More specifically, in an international economy the terms and conditions of work and employment, including wages, are influenced by the terms and conditions of the main trading partners and there is the need to orient oneself to foreign peers, such as on wages and wage setting in foreign companies. Against the background that many companies in the UK are highly integrated in the global economy and international trade plays an important role in the structure and functioning of the British economy, we expect wage setting in the UK to be influenced by the transnational context and British wage setters have to orientate themselves to foreign developments. Especially towards wages and working conditions of the main trading partners.

For the UK, the main current trading partners are in the EU, and therefore the orientation has been focused towards Europe. Now the crucial question is whether Brexit will bring a change regarding the main trading partners. It is reasonable to expect that if the British economy orientates itself more intensively towards trading partners with higher wages and working conditions, a similar tendency regarding wages in British companies can be expected. While going in the other direction can be expected if trade intensifies with countries with lower wages and standards of working conditions. Thus, will the relevant peers not be in mainland Europe anymore, but rather in China, India, Japan or Australia? Within the European Single Market, trade, wages and working conditions are all protected from competition from low-wage countries; the UK leaving the European Single Market might bring some risks for British employees. However, at the moment it is not clear what the implications and consequences of Brexit are, but on the basis of the research project we will be able to investigate how wages and working conditions change in the UK after Brexit and what the role of the global environment is for British companies and employees. More specifically we will be able to investigate how the relevant peers and benchmarks for setting wage and working conditions change and how it will affect British companies and employees.

For more information on Professor Brandl’s research, please visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

24 • IMPACT • The Great British Brand Hunt Research and Impact

The Great British Brand Hunt Aarron Toal PhD candidate

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 25

‘Made in Britain’, Union Jack labels and TV advertisements showing a product’s heritage - why do brands incorporate origin information either subtly or obviously into product information or packaging? One answer is found in the country-of-origin effect, although the behavioural and emotional responses that are evoked by brands capitalising on this heuristic are not unanimous across consumers. As more consumer goods companies pledge their allegiance to Brand Britain in the wake of a changing societal movement, the scope of this marketing activity and the consequences on consumers draws some interesting results. Putting a spell on you, in aisle two The country-of-origin effect, or nationality bias, is a strong psychological evaluation that explains how consumers’ attitudes, perceptions and purchasing decisions are influenced by a products’ country-of-origin labelling. This informational cue often evokes strong stereotyping of a country, its people or product attributes. Individuals with preferences of products from a particular country is known as consumer affinity, whereas avoidance is consumer animosity. Consumers may prefer products from their home country too, which can be seen as supporting domestic jobs and the economy; in this regard, the purchase of foreign goods can be viewed as immoral and even unpatriotic. Cognitively, the country-of-origin is a cue for product quality. For lesser-known brands, the ‘made-in’ label transforms into the brand itself, often taken advantage of by piggybacking on the success of other products manufactured in that country (think of Swedish craftsmanship or Belgian beer). The effect becomes strongest with high-involvement purchase decisions (e.g. luxury products), however in more low-involvement decisions like FMCGs, the country-of-origin is shown to have more influence than brand knowledge. Affectively, biases can be formed by emotional associations through direct experiences including travel or indirect experiences like movies or education. Consumers link certain products and brands with feelings of social status or lifestyle, with the country-of-origin acting as a self-expression attribute (think of Italian leather goods or Swiss-made watches). Consumer animosity and affinity are also important affective constructs as consumers may avoid purchasing a product manufactured in a country where they have a deep feeling of animosity (think of trade wars, actual wars or other political controversies). Biscuit means biscuit With Brexit dominating and dividing the nation, and organisations switching their marketing campaigns to promote Brand Britain, The Great British Brand Hunt, an ambitious data collection activity, was undertaken in 2019 to identify the scope of British associations being used to market products and the impact this may have on consumers. Participants were invited to take photos on their smartphone of any product, brand or advertisement featuring associations of Britain within their design, packaging or marketing.

A total of 615 photos were received across a multitude of product categories stretching as far as the imagination, from mushy peas to multi-surface spray, biscuits to beer, financial services to home furniture, dustpans to dog poop bags; all incorporating Britain somewhere. By removing those products displaying their origin out of a requirement by law (such as meat, wine, fruit and vegetables – although there were significant variations on how origin information was displayed within these categories too) classifications could be made into the type of brands, language and the significance of country information. A main finding was that entrepreneurial or rural brands tended to incorporate more visual and descriptive origin information into their product’s package design, such as the Union Jack or its colour scheme. Products identified included gin (the UK is famous internationally for its quality gin), chutneys and conserves (typical British produce) and baked goods (think afternoon tea). Furthermore, a variety of independent traders also used the region of manufacture within their design too. For example, tea from Yorkshire, chutneys from Cambridgeshire or baked goods from the Lake District, transcending into the micro ‘region-oforigin’ effect. Terminology was also catalogued. The standard ‘Made in…’ variations were used aplenty, but smaller traders expanded upon these terms to reinforce and embellish their origin, with descriptions like “Established in the fields of Great Britain” or “A real taste of the countryside” or more emotive language such as “Lovingly British” or “Proudly made in…” Consequences of Union Jackery So, you’re a new start-up selling lovingly crafted, good British products and want to capitalise on the country-of-origin to appeal to British consumers, but there are cautions. Remember that Brexit brought to the forefront extremely divisive attitudes and opinions within Britain. Brands’ association with provenance post-Brexit is divided. Experts caution that brands with overtly British values or low-key nuances may also become associated with particular ideologies, with warnings made of incorporating the red, white and blue colour scheme or symbols like the Union Jack, as found in the Great British Brand Hunt, given how often these are hijacked by Leave or nationalistic campaigns. Participants of the Hunt, whilst positive of how these imageries can evoke feelings of pride or a sense of supporting British workers and the economy, also signalled their concerns of overtly using political or nationalistic imagery and the connotations this engenders in the current environment. Overall, the country-of-origin is a powerful cue that can incite certain psychological assessments and behavioural biases. However, with the Brexit debate tainting the once previous reliance of using national symbols and colours to advertise home produce, how brands choose to communicate their provenance needs to be carefully considered and balanced. With society more divided than ever into what it means to be British, so too are the beliefs of what it means to be branded British. For more information please visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

26 • IMPACT • The problem with the label ‘women in tech’ Research and Impact

The problem with the label ‘women in tech’ Dr Mariann Hardey

Should women be the ones to raise their voices?

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 27

Recent attention to the status of women’s work and career progression has raised questions about how women working in male-dominated industries can raise awareness about misogyny and sexism. My question is to ask why these women should be the ones to raise their voices when entire sectors and the whole ethos of the tech industry in particular (and others) needs to change. It is with uncomfortable disquiet I have observed the global popularity and celebration of the ‘women in tech’ (WiT) label. Uncomfortable, as while the label signals ways to conveniently bring some of the problems into the public domain, it also continues to confirm the collective identity of women in the sector as being somehow ‘other’, which is (surely) wrong? In over a decade of researching the effect of the label in tech communities, this had the effect of reinforcing the pigeonholing of women into areas seen as requiring what are deemed ‘soft skills’ (e.g. communication, administration and marketing), which are seen as distinct from the ‘hard’ technical skills expected of men (e.g. programming, director, managers, CEOs). The danger of labels is that it creates ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups and the WiT classification intensifies the division between women and men in tech, when fundamentally what is needed and desired is equitable status and greater diversity through the tech career pathway. Social identity theory suggests that a basic need for positive self-esteem will encourage favouritism of in-groups in most comparisons with out-groups: in this case, the favouritism of men in tech over women in tech. This dichotomy is a useful way to begin to unpack where the WiT label can go wrong, but the reality of the situation is far more complex. For example, selfcategories and advocates from within WiT communities report a very favourable set of affiliations with the WiT label. However, this is limited to the valuation of the immediate in-group endorsed by other women, and to outsiders, the perception is to continue to find out-group degradation. This explains why many of the women tech CEOs I interviewed shared their preference for hiring other women. Because they were in a position of power to imply in-group status on other women, they felt a responsibility to favour women over men. And, yet, this continues to widen the gulf between women and men tech workers.

In my study, now a book titled: The Culture of Women in Tech, the WiT label had been popularised in three main ways: 1. B y women’s tech groups, to advocate for and advance the status of women in the industry. These groups became more visible around the mid-2000s. 2. B y the popular media, using it in news and press articles to describe the state of the tech industry and critique the lack of diversity. Following speculation about the influence of computers and other home technology, access to education to overcome the digital divide, and the first generation ‘born digital’, popular press articles using the label ‘women in tech’ were common from late 2000s. 3. In government and industry reports pointing out ‘the problem’. In the UK, The Equality Strategy – Building a Fairer Britain report detailed the gender pay gap between ‘women and men in science, engineering and technology’ from 2010 (Revenue & Customs); and the United Nations Gender, Science and Technology report was launched in September 2010, setting out the role of the (then new) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for 2010-2014 and commitments on womens’ and girls’ access to, and participation in, science and technology. It is well documented that labels quickly acquire the ability to evoke positive or negative affective responses (i.e. associations that are conveyed as ‘good’ or ‘bad’), moreover, they can then act as hierarchal order conditioning status themselves. Integrating labels into existing tech communities will eventually condition a positive or negative response. Increasingly within tech, there is growing conscious awareness and a conditioned positive response for the WiT label when it is frequently accompanied by in-group designators (e.g. endorsed by Google or Microsoft and other well-known tech commercial operators). Equally there is the risk of conditioned negative responses when paired with out-group designators (e.g. associated with women’s rights, feminism or the #MeToo movement). Evidenced by my study, the WiT label invites a ‘them’ that gets the tech sector further away from an inclusive ‘us’, and thereby harnesses influences such as label priming and classical in and out-group conditioning. Indeed, what is evident from the popularity of the WiT label is that the problem of the lack of diversity and equality in tech has a name, and her name is ‘woman’.

The Culture of Women in Tech: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by Dr Mariann Hardey, published by Emerald Publishing Limited, is out now: The-Culture-of-Women-in-Tech/?K=9781789734263 Issue 7 • January 2020

28 • IMPACT • Management Consultancy for Innovation Research and Impact

Dr Christopher Williams

Management Consultancy for Innovation

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 29

The management consultancy industry is large, diverse and complex, and it continues to grow globally, with growth especially strong in emerging markets. It is also an industry that has become fragmented and blurred around the edges. There are many different types of players claiming to offer clients the advice they need to deal with the strategic and operational challenges they continuously face. Clients themselves have become savvier. More managers than ever have MBAs and DBAs; they are often more than qualified to push back on consultants and keep them on their toes. Against this backdrop, consultancy firms have been under pressure to innovate like never before: ignoring external threats would be fatal in an industry where thought leadership is the central response; new practice areas within the large established players, such as practices for digital transformation and artificial intelligence; new entrepreneurial ventures with independent consultants springing up with fresh approaches for executing client projects using peer networks rather than an internal asset base; new mid-size players evolving out of internal consultancy units of large industrial firms and developing new capabilities for seizing new opportunities; new ways of working, including more virtually organised projects, harnessing the power of the Internet to offer value to clients.

When I looked at how the academic literature has treated this phenomenon, I was surprised to see a lack of a coherent approach for understanding how management consultancy firms innovate, both for themselves and their clients. There are many narrowly focused academic studies each with their own merits, but compared to a vast literature on innovation in manufacturing sectors, scholarly attention to the case of management consultancy has been somewhat meagre. This is surprising because of the size and growth of the industry but is perhaps understandable given the relative ease with which researchers can capture data on innovation in manufacturing. My approach was to adopt a ‘capital’ perspective. I look at five forms of capital, which I refer to as ‘Poles’, for innovating in management consultancy. Each Pole has the potential to add value to both consultant and client, including, importantly, innovative potential. Collectively the five Poles are positioned as an ‘innovation radar’. The Poles are human capital, social capital, and three forms of organisational capital: consultant virtualisation, disrupting live-cycles and reflective ability.

While human and social capital logics will be familiar to many (consultants must have knowledge, training and skills, and they must be able to relate to their clients and others throughout the consultancy life-cycle), the organisational capital one may not have been recognised as explicitly as it should have. The organisational capital Poles relate to how we work and organise, how we deliver value and how we learn. For each of the Poles we do see a substantial literature at a general level (of which I summarise the main arguments in the book). We also see evidence of researchers examining each form of capital within the empirical setting of innovation. And we see at least some works linking to the question of innovation specifically in professional services and management consultancy. I devote a chapter to each of these Poles and bring in case examples and practice insights to explore the relevance of each Pole to how management consultants innovate. While this is all well and good, the reality is that strategic leaders of consultancy firms deal with all forms of capital, all the time. I use four contrasting cases of strategic innovation in management consultancy from around the world to examine the more complex question of ‘connecting the Poles’. The cases are based on stories of innovation consultancies in Canada, China, Germany and USA. What I find is a qualitatively significant relationship between the strategic stance taken across the Poles and the nature of the innovation being pursued by the consultancy firm. I examine this further through a re-assessment of literature, alongside implications for ethics and careers in consultancy. In essence, the various forms of capital do matter, but they matter in relation to each other, not in isolation. Leaders of consultancy firms need to understand this! More work needs to be done on the question of innovation in management consultancy. Academics have been somewhat slow to latch on to the question of how novelty is created and sustained in organisations delivering consultancy services, that are managed, and sometimes even owned, by the management consultants! The innovation radar approach in the book encourages the analyst of innovation in consultancy to think in broad terms across the various sources of value creation, and to adapt an integrative and connective mentality when positioning a consultancy firm as a source of innovation in an ever-intensifying world of advice-givers.

Management Consultancy for Innovation (2019) by Dr Christopher Williams is available at Routledge: -1st-Edition/Williams/p/book/9781138312791 Dr Williams can also be seen discussing the approach in his book at

Issue 7 • January 2020

30 • IMPACT • Corporate mindfulness Research and Impact

Corporate mindfulness Tackle the sources of stress, not just a ‘quick fix’

Dr Mai Chi Vu, PhD Alumna

Professor Roger Gill

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 31

Over the past few decades we have seen significant changes in both organisational and management theory. There has been a substantial shift from traditional to more modern and spiritual approaches in the study of organisations. We have witnessed a switch in the focus of many corporations, from aims such as profit maximisation and shareholder value, to one of wellbeing, spirituality and corporate social responsibility. Alongside this, companies and organisations alike are becoming more complex with their leaders and employees facing ever more diverse and challenging dilemmas. Because of this, more contemporary approaches and practices, such as the use of mindfulness techniques, have become widely employed.

Inspired by Buddhist teachings, mindfulness is an individual practice people use to cultivate wisdom in order to help them resolve problems causing suffering and to enhance personal development. However, in the secular context, corporate or organisational mindfulness is largely recognised as a company’s effort to bring a heightened awareness of its employees to each moment and to help them to discern and respond to threats quickly. This view and practice of mindfulness exists in stark contrast to the individual level of practice of mindfulness that originated in Buddhism. Instead, this ‘corporate mindfulness’ approach acts as an overtly generalised quick-fix approach to workplace stress, which is often caused in the first place by the companies themselves through compliance with uncomfortable or unrealistic profit targets, sales targets and other such objectives (e.g. ‘do or die’). This approach has little relationship to its Buddhist origins of ‘right mindfulness’ in the Noble Eightfold Path. This involves learning higher moral disciplines, wisdom and consciousness to facilitate intellectual understanding of your own surroundings and moderate your own desires, thus transforming yourself and reducing the suffering that results from attachment to your desires. Ignoring most of these fundamental components of right mindfulness, secular interpretations and practices of corporate mindfulness are little more than a universalised stress-release technique, open to misuse and exploitation by organisations in the pursuit of greater productivity, profitability and shareholder value rather than human wellbeing. Consequently, in a study of mindfulness we interviewed 24 leading Buddhist executives from across a number of sectors in Vietnam, a nation that has both a long Buddhist history and a diverse cultural landscape. This was to ascertain how, and at what point, mindfulness techniques could (and should) be introduced in organisations in a way that does not jeopardise the true nature and practice of mindfulness. We adopted a semi-structured interview approach with the respondents to capture the complex and contextual nature of mindfulness practices. The questions were designed to encourage in-depth descriptions, explanation and reasoning by them.

We found that the practice of mindfulness is more effective as an individual, personal practice in which the Buddhist principles are adhered to; this is something corporate mindfulness falls foul of. The respondents indicated that they often use various techniques and practices to attain mindfulness rather than employing a common formula, stressing the importance of factors such as context, personal choice, personal adaptability and capability, and conditions. Furthermore, some respondents gave examples of both the advantages and the shortcomings of applying Buddhist mindfulness techniques in the workplace, which reinforced the notion that they should be used on a contextual and individual basis. Many respondents noted that a generalised approach – as seen in many secular, organisational approaches – directly contravenes the traditional Buddhist understanding of right mindfulness. Corporate mindfulness, owing to the tendency to ignore Buddhist fundamental principles in practising the mindfulness underlying it, does not look to eliminate the suffering caused by greed, hatred and ignorance, but instead actually reflects selfishness, greed and inflexibility. Our research findings suggest that no proper attention has been paid to exactly how the practice of mindfulness should be effectively and ethically designed and transferred into organisations from forms of individual practice. Corporate mindfulness practices are generalised and universalised as a ‘band-aid’ and are often seen as a blanket solution for all types of contemporary problems and suffering.

There are many approaches and techniques that have become the ‘flavour of the month’ in organisations, have been misapplied, and now litter the history of management practice failures. Corporate mindfulness is the latest one at risk. If there is any hope of remedying these issues, corporate mindfulness must be applied only on a contextual, compassionate and wisdom-focused basis, with employees’ wellbeing in mind. More importantly, instead of simply adopting company-wide initiatives to tackle workplace stress, it would be more beneficial to employees if organisations were to tackle the sources of the stress. This could be achieved through simple changes, such as looking to improve employees’ work-life balance. Methods such as these could prove more effective in improving morale and productivity than simply applying company-wide generic stress reduction techniques to tackle stress that, often, they cause.

For more information on the research this article was taken from please visit and search ‘corporate mindfulness’. Issue 7 • January 2020

32 • IMPACT • Are you sitting comfortably? Research and Impact

Professor Kevin Morrell

Are you sitting comfortably?

In a five-year study of NHS reform, I have been working with a cross-disciplinary team of experts in healthcare and strategy. The team interviewed directors responsible for large-scale changes in service provision - such as relocations and new builds. One of the problems these very senior executives faced was trying to follow a grand, strategic plan through to reality. What might seem a good idea studying neat charts in the boardroom can translate into something very different when it comes to the messiness of a big move - or a restructure that involves thousands of staff.

In an academic article that is forthcoming in the peerreviewed journal Public Management Review, my main insights into how these directors understand and implement large-scale change were inspired by the work of a historian called Hayden White. One of White’s most influential ideas was that any objective account of history is impossible because we can never capture the complexity of the past. For example, even if all we did was to list British kings and queens and the dates of their reigns, we would not be presenting a value-free, ‘objective’ history. The barest chronicle of events is selective and partial, and because of this it is always going to be a kind of history, in this case one emphasising ‘great’ figures. More generally, any version of the past is not just ‘history’, it’s a kind of story. There is no neutral or ‘God’s eye view’ because people are always implicated in the stories they tell about events. White coined a term to describe this inescapable dilemma: ‘emplotment’. Whenever we set out a version of events, we always somehow place ourselves (i.e. emplot ourselves) in the middle of that version of events. It is something we are usually not even aware of doing.

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Applying this to NHS reform, the idea of emplotment shows how any account of change is always going to be a story related from a certain perspective. I found this to be a really compelling way to analyse these directors’ accounts of change. There are many different facets to emplotment; one aspect, familiar to all of us, is the beginning, middle and end structure of a story, or ‘narrative arc’. Narrative arcs are a very familiar, pre-existing format that help us to package up events. They make for a neater and more easily conveyed account of change. A second, more surprising finding, and one that extends White’s contribution, is that I found these directors were not just packaging events into a story, they were also considering the stories that would then be told by others. In other words, emplotment had two layers: there was (i) a storying of events and there was also (ii) a storying of other people’s stories - or what I have called ‘meta-emplotment’. This sounds complicated, but it’s something we do very naturally. Below is a rich example from the forthcoming article. It’s taken from an interview with a finance director prior to their overseeing a new build: You always have this lull where until the building’s there, and until they can physically see that they’re actually moving in, etc., you’ll get a lot of, you know, apathy, etc.: It’s not going to happen, not yet, it’s miles away, etc., then the panic sets in saying, “Oh my God, we’re moving in and we haven’t even, we’ve got loads to sort out, you know” and things like that … then there’s the excitement of moving in and then you do get a sense of, you know, people saying, “Yeah, actually it’s really nice in here, you know, you’ve got a nice shiny building, you’ve got a lovely place to work, you know, you’ve got clean lines, paint on the walls, etc.”

They were describing how the new build – which also involved relocating many different NHS services - would unfold and as you can see they gave a very neat, imagined history. It has a clear beginning stage (“it’s miles away”), a middle (“panic sets in”), and a tidy, definitive ending (“a lovely place… clean lines, paint on the walls”). Their narrative arc also charts a neat sequence of emotions: apathy, panic/excitement, acceptance. There is no question for them about what will happen, the change is typical: “You always have this lull.”

The most interesting thing in this extract, and it’s where “metaemplotment” comes in, is just how often this director describes acts of storying by other people (the staff they had responsibility for). You can see it’s richly woven through their predictions: at the beginning, you’ll get a lot of, “It’s not going to happen”; in the middle, saying, “Oh my God, we’re moving in”; at the end, people saying, “Yeah, actually it’s really nice.” Again it’s a very neat and tidy story, layered over the same beginning, middle, end format. These directors often understood change in terms of a storying of stories. These processes help to resolve complexity and ambiguity, but the flipside (as in the extract above) is it leads to over-simplification and perhaps false confidence. Beginnings and endings are never as sharp as we imagine, they don’t even always go in sequence. Emotions are experienced differently in different parts of the organisation and changes between these overlap rather than being in neat phases. People also tell very different and complex stories about change which those at the top of an organisation might never even hear. Also, every large-scale change has unique surprises.

As our paper shows, this director later discovered some of these complexities. This is because of a rare design benefit in our study: the team revisited projects twice more after they had gone past blueprint stage – once part-way through and once after implementation. One thing we found was that very few of the directors were in post for each wave in this five-year study. This finance director who had stayed put later described a much more complex reality during the change: We have an interim chief exec, and the permanent chief exec won’t probably be in ‘til something like June, July… [I ask] what do we need to do to ensure that we have a viable organisation… knowing that other changes [are] coming through when the new chief exec comes in… we are in a bit of a transitional stage all round. The messiness of overseeing this process part-way through was very unlike the story they had imagined when trying to implement the change. They use a lovely, perhaps very British, understated phrase here, “We are in a bit of a transitional stage all round.” So, if you’re managing large-scale change it may help to first ask yourself, “Am I sitting comfortably?” This is for two reasons. First, because it’s likely that you shouldn’t be. Second, this storytelling phrase may also remind you that how well you cope – and how well those whom you manage cope - will be limited by how sophisticated your stories are.

For more information on Professor Morrell’s research please visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

34 • IMPACT • Encouraging teams to invest in organisational change Research and Impact

Encouraging teams to invest in organisational change Professor Julie Hodges

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Increasing volatility means businesses that are agile and proactive in terms of organisational change, are those that will be successful. Julie Hodges shares insight on how to engage teams across businesses with a culture of change. The success of organisational change (OC) in a world of increasing volatility is highly dependent on the engagement of employees. Only by engaging employees does change have a chance to be successful. When individuals are engaged with OC, they tend to feel optimistic about it and are more receptive to the need for change. They are also more focused and will invest a lot of their energy in participating in the change. When employees are engaged in change, they can observe the influence of their contributions so everyone is invested in its success. Conversely, when change is imposed and employees feel unable to influence change within the organisation, this may lead to them withdrawing which can then result in a decrease in their engagement with OC.

When people are disengaged, they have little or no emotional attachment to change, do not care about the rationale for the change or its goals, and rarely participate actively in the change process. Disengaged individuals are more likely to feel apathetic, cynical or detached and to perform tasks in a robotic manner without putting in any effort, and they will tend to be negative about the change. A key differentiator between an engaged and a non-engaged employee is the degree of personal investment they have in OC. So what drives individuals to engage with OC? Leadership and management play important roles in creating a culture for effective OC engagement. To do this effectively requires traditional leadership styles (such as top-down leadership) to be dismantled in favour of distributed and collaborative styles. By distributing power and decision-making about OC more widely, and particularly among those who have the most to gain, organisations can respond to the complexity and uncertainty of change through collaborative leadership. Enacting this style of leadership can be deeply uncomfortable for some people and can even produce feelings of vulnerability,

particularly for leaders who are used to knowing the answers and being in control. Creating the momentum for this requires investment and a shift in the practice of leadership so that it is collaborative and incorporates a stakeholder perspective of OC engagement based on mutual reciprocity. Engagement with change also requires positive support from management. It is managers, given the nature of their role, who are in the best position to directly affect engagement on a daily basis both at an individual and a team level. This requires the reversal of traditional command and control approaches to management. It means that line managers have to create the motivation and energy a team needs for engagement and must make space for employees to effectively engage. It also involves translating the rationale and purpose for OC into what it means for front-line staff, identifying the implications of the change and developing the capability of the individuals and teams to deal with changes. As it is mainly, though not exclusively, through managers that employees have a relationship with the organisation, managers need to focus on building mutuality and social support.

How line managers manage people, and the relations they build with them, impacts on levels of OC engagement. Line managers play a key role as facilitators of OC engagement in making it possible for other people to do what they must do and what they want to do and in boosting engagement levels of the people who work for them. So while effective leadership of OC engagement is about enabling it to happen, management involves making it happen in a mutually beneficial way. Both play a vital part in fostering OC engagement which can be done in a number of ways including the following: Reviewing and redefining the role of the leadership of OC engagement Leaders need to show the way in engaging with OC in what they say and how they behave. This requires leaders to address the following questions: How, and to what extent, do you ‘show the way’ in a change initiative? How do you help others to pursue it? What do you understand about engaging others to pursue the change? How do you do this? How effective is it? How can you do all this better?

Issue 7 • January 2020

36 • IMPACT • Encouraging teams to invest in organisational change Research and Impact

Creating meaningful change This requires connecting the rationale for OC to the activities and meaning of it for all employees. The rationale and purpose of change can contribute to OC success if they are orientated towards the embodiment of concrete activities that employees can use to choose their own actions and construct meaning. Leaders and managers need to consider how they can improve this. Understanding and practising effective management of the OC engagement process This comprises understanding that OC engagement is a long-term and on-going process that requires continued interactions over time in order to generate obligations and a state of reciprocal interdependence. It also comprises finding out what resources and support are most desired by employees and most likely to create a sense of obligation that is returned with greater levels of OC engagement. Leaders and managers need to consider: How well do you do this? What do you need to improve? How can you achieve this? What do you need to do to resolve any areas of doubt? Identifying whether and how employees are engaged in OC This requires reviewing whether and how people are involved in the change effort by influencing, motivating and inspiring them to want to do what needs to be done, and to devote discretionary effort to it willingly and eagerly. This involves leaders and managers considering the following:

To what extent do you know what motivates and inspires each of your team members, both collectively and individually, in their everyday work and in times of change? How do you use your position and personal power to effectively engage employees in change? How can you do all this better? Be clear on negotiables and non-negotiables There is a need to be very clear with employees about what is within their power to shape with OC, what is not up for negotiation, and why. This will help with managing expectations and help people understand and accept the decisions which need to be made without their input. This requires leaders and managers reviewing how they engage stakeholders and what they can do differently.

Employees should be given the space and support they need to be able to speak up and share their views, ideas and concerns. Leaders and managers need to review how they engage people through various forms of communication (not just emails), such as via staff meetings and drop-in sessions, and give people the space to ask questions and get answers.

This also means taking time to listen and to feed back to employees about what they said and responses to it. For example: “You said... We did...” If it is not possible to take action based on views and ideas, then reasons need to be given. Identify relevant behaviours Managers need to identify behaviour that indicates a lack of engagement or opposition to the change, discuss these behaviours with the individual/s concerned and address the issues which may be concerning individuals, such as job security, financial impact, work relationships, levels of responsibility and learning and development needs. It is vital to identify the root causes of opposition to change. Review personal concerns and reactions of people to the change Employees at different levels of an organisation have different experiences of the organisation. Managers should not just assume that employees will view the need for change in the same way they do. Because of the knowledge front-line staff hold, and because of their experience, they may have very different perspectives and ideas about what needs to change. They need the opportunity to share these views in OC conversations. Managers should consider ways they can stimulate conversations about change both in formal and informal settings. The above are some suggestions that can help to foster OC engagement so that it is not thought of as something else that has to be done, but instead, it is seen as crucial to how change in organisations is agreed, implemented and sustained. This article was originally published in AMBITION, the magazine of the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

For more information on Professor Julie Hodges and her work please visit

Climate change, consumer desire and the implications for enterprise

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 37

Sustainability and Ethics

Climate change, consumer desire and the implications for enterprise

Friday 20 September 2019 marked a significant day in relation to the ‘climate emergency’ that is becoming an accepted way of acknowledging the urgency of addressing climate change. It was a day on which school children around the world walked out of their classes to demonstrate against the inaction they see from political leaders and others. Durham was no exception, and a significant demonstration took place in the Market Place. However, the day was also one of the University’s Open Days for prospective students and their parents, and so the University took the opportunity to hold a Tackling Climate Change event. This presented a large number of research projects, many of them science-based, that are going on in the University, and

was complemented by four talks by speakers from Earth Sciences, Geography, Philosophy and the Business School. My talk was based on an academic paper in which I assumed the scientific basis for climate change and followed the argument that the ‘anthropocene’, as the new geological epoch which we have entered as a result of human-induced changes to the ‘earth system’, represents a genuine paradigm shift in the joint human-earth story. I then explored the origins of climate change in consumer desire. Desire is a basic feature of the human condition, but our desires metamorphose over the course of our lives and, so it has been argued, our most important desires are those we have learned from others – we are imitative creatures. So we have learned our consumer desires from each other, and this, through globalisation, has led to a ratcheting-up of demand to the extent that we are consuming the very planet on which we depend.

Professor Geoff Moore

So what to do and what role for enterprise? While business organisations (enterprise) are usually seen to be part of the problem – encouraging us to consume more, so stoking demand – it is at least possible that enterprise could be part of the solution by re-educating and redirecting our desires. We might learn to desire less from the very organisations which have encouraged us to desire more; our desires might (indeed might have to) metamorphose into those which are ecologically sustainable. And enterprise has a role to play here. Utopian? Perhaps. But if we are already engaged in a genuine paradigm shift in the joint human-earth story, then perhaps what is needed, as one part of the solution, is a genuine paradigm shift on the part of enterprise.

For more information on Professor Geoff Moore’s research please visit Issue 7 • January 2020

38 • IMPACT • Socially responsible Business School Sustainability and Ethics

Socially responsible Business School Compliance or commitment?

Professor Kiran Fernandes

Durham University Business School develops and enthuses leaders and entrepreneurs who create, share and use knowledge to deliver equitable and sustainable futures around the world. This idea of publicly committing to share and use our knowledge to create global sustainable communities is a shift from being a corporate social Business School to a Business School with social responsibility. This new model ensures Durham University Business School delivers social, economic and environmental changes with regional, national and global partners.

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 39

Powerful technology disruption is changing how we live and work. The rapid spread of digital technologies is creating new forms of economics and helping developing economies achieve powerful and sustained long-term growth. Despite this fourth digital industrial revolution, there are significant global challenges that need urgent attention. The UN ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ or SDGs, highlights the global challenges we face including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. At Durham, we have created several strategies to address some of the key tensions of today’s society, where challenges are between individual–collective, national–global, privacy–open systems access, where businesses and governments are placing a much greater premium on resource use and sustainability. This fourth industrial revolution will put immense pressure on the world’s resources, which will lead to major configurational changes in operations, processes and supply networks, as well as firms themselves. As a socially responsible Business School, we have directly responded to these challenges as follows: 1. Research Centres as world-class global interdisciplinary hubs: The re-organised research centre structure within the School bring world-class faculty, Professors of Practice (industry experts) and senior policymakers together to address key global challenges. The El Shaarani Centre for Ethical Finance, Accountability and Governance conducts observational research on Ethics, Finance, Governance and Accountability by promoting intelligent debate and understanding of ethical finance, socially responsible investment, governance and accountability. For example, Professor Adams has supported the development of an integrated reporting system to ensure social and environmental accounting along with sustainability reporting can help organisations address sustainable development.

2. Global Debates on future challenges: School has launched a series of debates called the Durham Global Debates. These debates are hosted with local partners in some of the world’s most influential urban centres (e.g. Shanghai, Paris, New York, and Washington DC). They celebrate and showcase some of our key research projects via ‘TED-style’ talks and discussions on some of the leading global challenges. For example, in June, Durham and emlyon business schools hosted a Global Debate on the Role of Cities in the Smart Mobility Economy. This debate brought together experts from companies and organisations including Airbus, City of Amsterdam, Durham County Council, ENGIE, Maas Alliance and PwC to discuss the role of cities in the urban mobility challenge. The event was supported by French electric utility company ENGIE, and ERTICO – ITS (Intelligent Transport and Systems) Europe, a European Commission and industry supported partnership. Another Global Debate with Dartmouth College in Washington DC and New York happened in December which addressed issues of how businesses and governments can prepare to protect digital assets from the threat of cybercrime, without having to compromise on innovation and creativity and do so at a reasonable price. These debates were built around cutting-edge research from both Durham and Dartmouth on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). They also highlighted the importance of cyber security in today’s digital society with a focus on the creation of robust systems for reducing the risk of cyberattacks. 3. Delocalisation of the education process: The School is focused on improving global education, including access to world-class education to under-represented groups and to equip students to transition successfully to the next stage of their lives, as alumni and citizens.

On the technology front, the Centre for Innovation and Technology Management focuses on the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on organisational systems. For example, Dr Mogre has developed a decision support system to mitigate the supply chain risks in the offshore-wind industry by choosing appropriate governance structures.

As part of this agenda, the Business School has several flexible programmes, and in some cases free, to deliver immediate results for the individual and organisations. An example is the use of a state-of-the-art virtual learning environment, students can have 24/7 access to all learning materials including videos, industry insights and articles. The School has also partnered with FutureLearn to deliver free online courses; subjects include Change Management and Innovation. As part of our social involvement, the School provides free access to several regional and national businesses via the Institute of Director’s Business Hub in Durham. There are also several scholarships from the University for business students and special tuition fee discounts for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition to distance and online education, the School has developed a Global Citizenship Programme that fosters the importance of sustainability and responsible consumption in society.

These global world-class research hubs not only aim to address some of the global challenges, but the outcomes of this high-quality research translates into the global business environment and the everyday world.

As a socially responsible world-leading Business School, Durham is committed to both the value-creating opportunities and the intensely competitive and societal challenges we all face in this era of technological change.

The Centre on Organisations and Society studies organisational and societal challenges by combining business ethics, employee relations and marketing and consumption as a collaborative and inter-disciplinary research challenge. For example, Dr Hardey has analysed the impact of the development of smartphone apps to protect users from domestic violence and abuse.

For further information on the School’s commitment to Ethics Responsibility and Sustainability please view our PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) Report Issue 7 • January 2020

40 • IMPACT • Great North Run Sustainability and Ethics

Great North Run Below: Colleagues who have taken part in this year’s Great North Run.

The Great North Run (GNR) is one of the North East’s biggest, brightest and best events. As one of the world’s largest races, the Great North Run is a prominent date in the sporting calendar for professional runners and keen runners alike. Dayna Willis, a Durham University Business School Alumna, and Project Manager at The Great Run Company (GRC) said “The Great North Run is such a prestigious and prominent part of the region. It brings people from all over the world together to achieve something great and it celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is so amazing to be a small part of something that is so important to the region and something I have seen being staged since I was a little girl. It is our flagship event, and we are very proud of it. It takes an awful lot of work to stage something so large that impacts so many things across a large area of the North East, and to ensure that it is done safely and with pride. Not only does it involve every single member of The Great Run Company staff but hundreds of brilliant volunteers and suppliers that go the extra mile to ensure that the event is the huge success it continues to be. 2020 sees the GRC stage the 40th GNR which will be a huge celebration, not only for us as organisers but for all the runners and spectators that have always been at the heart of our event!” Many of our colleagues completed the Great North Run this year joining over 57,000 runners who took part in the famous 13.1-mile run.

For more information please visit

Those who took part included: • Neil Armstrong – Career Consultant • Tracey Baker – Alumni Relations Coordinator • Katherine Kirby – Engagement Manager • Ashleigh Lawson – Departmental Coordinator • Alex McNinch – Faculty Placement Manager • Richard Slack - Head of Accounting • Ian Stone – Professor Emeritus • Christos Tsinopoulos - Head of Department of Management and Marketing Neil Armstrong (pictured right) raised money for the Together Forever Trust. Neil wanted to raise awareness for such a good cause and so decided to participate in his first ever Great North Run. He enjoyed it that much that he has signed up for next year’s run already where he will be once again be raising money for the Together Forever Trust.

Both Tracey Baker and Katherine Kirby raised money for Breast Cancer Care. Alexandra McNinch and Ashleigh Lawson together raised money for Fighting All Cancers together. Richard Slack (pictured left) is part of a local athletics team called Claremont Road Runners, and this was the sixth Great North Run Richard has participated in. Ian Stone caught the ‘Great North Run bug’ many years ago in 1986. This year’s run was his 33rd Great North Run, which, according to his mental arithmetic, adds up to 761,392.5 yards. He was 12,990th out of the 57,000 runners, in a time of two hours three minutes. Ian regularly runs on behalf of the MS Society, contributing £1,200 over the past three years. Congratulations to all our colleagues on this fantastic achievement and for raising money for various charities!

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 41

The Durham-emlyon Global DBA

Student Engagement

The Durham-emlyon Global DBA One year on It is nearly a year since Durham University Business School partnered with leading French business school emlyon to launch the joint Global Doctorate in Business Administration programme. This new joint DBA offers senior managers and advanced practitioners the opportunity to become thought leaders and challenge business practice. The programme attracted an initial cohort of thirteen individuals ready to take up the challenge, to push themselves and break new ground in business and management knowledge. The inaugural cohort for the programme met (appropriately in the cathedral city of Durham) for the first time in the week after Easter. The induction and first module – Leadership and Followership – was taught jointly by faculty from both schools. Although from a diverse range of backgrounds, with sectors including aerospace, communications, education, consultancy and health; and from countries including Australia, Austria, Bahrain, China, UAE, France, UK and USA, the group quickly bonded. At the induction we took the opportunity to find out why they had chosen the Durham-emlyon Global DBA (GDBA). Jannies Burlingame (pictured above right), Chief Audit Executive SS&B Global said; “I chose Durham–emlyon because of the reputation and because it is the first of its kind. In this increasingly global environment business world, I feel the Global DBA will be the best tool that I can add to my toolbox.” Andreas Pfleger (pictured above left), Deputy Head of Advantage Austria (SA) and Commercial Attaché – Austrian Embassy said; “For me continuing education and lifelong learning is a passion. I feel a programme like the GDBA gives me an opportunity to expand my horizons. It gives me the opportunity to combine education, research and professional life at the same time”.

The group met again in the final quarter of 2019 for the second module – Global Corporate Strategy – at emlyon business school’s Paris Campus. This gave us the opportunity to find out how the candidates thought the programme was progressing. Vassilis Agouridas (pictured right), Head of EU Public Co-Creation & Regulatory Ecosystem OutreachAirbus said; “The learning experience so far has been more than rewarding as I have had the opportunity to meet with, and learn from, not only other professionals sharing the same passion for research but also with distinguished professors who excel in their scholarship domains.” During the Paris module the GDBA candidates had the opportunity to network together and with the academic staff at a meal held at the end of the session. Professor Tyrone Pitsis, Durham University Business School’s Global DBA programme director also took the opportunity to confirm with the candidates that the next

module – Innovation and Technology Management – would be held in Tokyo. Tyrone commented; “The aim of the Global DBA has always been to be exactly that – global. The module will be taught by my colleague Professor Kiran Fernandez and the codirector of the Global DBA, Professor Dimitris Assimakopoulos. Where better to learn about innovation and technology than in the capital of a country synonymous with driving innovation and developing new technology. The module will be taught at Tokyo Institute of Technology (TokyoTech), a world leading institution of innovation and enterprise. We will have an exciting programme for the candidates before seeing them back in Durham next year.”

To find out more about the Global DBA: Durham-emlyon visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

42 • IMPACT • MBA students supporting AYCC Student Engagement

MBA students supporting Auckland Youth and Community Centre

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 43

In 2019, students on the School’s Durham MBA (Full-time) Consultancy Pathway completed a project with Auckland Youth and Community Centre. The Centre, based in the market town of Bishop Auckland, located 12 miles south west of Durham City and with a population of around 25,000, is a welcoming community hub. Situated in a large multi-functional building with a very spacious sports hall the Centre is an accessible and familiar space with friendly staff and volunteers helping local people to achieve their true potential with a diverse range of sessions and activities throughout the week. Beneficiaries include children, young people and their families. The Centre also works with a wide range of partners to improve people’s health and wellbeing, with additional schemes to help combat social isolation or to help people become more financially resilient. Underlying all of this is the opportunity for people to benefit from a range of volunteering opportunities at the Centre, helping people to engage in their local community whilst developing skills, experience and confidence. Volunteers receive structured support, from induction through to personal development and mentoring, and are helped with progression pathways to new opportunities. Welcoming many student volunteers, the Centre’s relationship with Durham University is particularly strong. John Wiseman, Auckland Youth and Community Centre’s Business Development Manager explains all about the project which the School’s students completed: “A team of enthusiastic postgraduate students from Durham University Business School’s MBA (Full-time) Consultancy Pathway completed a major finance project with us in 2019 to help with our planning for the future. The team of six students, all on the 2018/19 cohort, worked throughout the summer in small teams, each looking at a different area of our Centre’s financial planning strategy. The idea stemmed from a successful project in 2018 when students from the previous cohort were invited to review our marketing strategy.

This was delivered by three of the students, supported by Dr Chris Williams, the Business School’s Consultancy Pathway Leader and Durham MBA (Online) Programme Director. As part of our ongoing business development plans, we are currently working with many organisations - including Cranfield Trust, Durham Sparks and Durham University - on a number of projects involving pro-bono support from volunteer consultants who can help us to move forward in a number of ways. We want Auckland Youth and Community Centre to continue to grow from strength to strength, so we have selected projects which look in some detail at key aspects of our business development plan. Immediately following the students’ excellent presentation, we started to put together an action plan to help us to make the best possible use of their intelligent work. This will help us to achieve a number of short term goals whilst also putting longer-term plans in place, helping us plan for the next five to ten years. We value the students’ work and we appreciate the time they have given us for free. We have also really enjoyed working alongside them in 2019, with a great finish in their excellent and thought-provoking presentation here at the Centre. We believe the experience they have gained will provide them with real-world experience of working with grass-roots community organisations like ours. We hope this has proved to be a useful developmental experience for them. We thank them for their dedicated hard work and their professional approach, and we wish them every future success.” Bill Niblo, Chairperson of Auckland Youth and Community Centre, said: “This valuable piece of work, carried out on the Centre’s behalf, is the latest step in our internal programme to support both our business operations and staff development. It will result in the updating of our plans to ensure the Centre’s longer-term sustainability. The students presented themselves very well throughout the project and they engaged positively and professionally with our staff and volunteers. Our leadership team was very impressed with the final presentation. We thank the students for their hard work, dedication and support and we wish them every success in their future careers.” Dr Chris Williams said: “We are extremely grateful to Auckland

The students’ findings from the 2019 finance project will help us to keep our income generation strategy fit for purpose and consistent with our business plan, vision and values. The findings will also help us to refine our strategies for assessing future risk and to prepare a new financial plan. The six Durham MBA students used their academic and financial skills and knowledge to work with our staff and trustees and to share their ideas with them. The students came from a diverse range of nationalities, all of whom brought unique skills and experience to the project. Our management team was really pleased with the outcome of the project and everyone listened with great interest to the final presentation at our Centre.

Youth and Community Centre for hosting our MBA students for another challenging and highly rewarding project. All the students gained a tremendous amount of insight by working on this and we are pleased that the final analysis and recommendations resonated with the leadership team at the Centre.”

For more information on AYCC, please visit For more information on the Durham MBA, please visit Issue 7 • January 2020

44 • IMPACT • Enthusing leaders and entrepreneurs Student Engagement

Enthusing leaders and entrepreneurs How the Durham MBA is driving the School’s mission

Our mission is to develop and enthuse leaders and entrepreneurs who create, share and use knowledge to deliver equitable and sustainable futures around the world. Over the last few years the School has secured five-year triple re-accreditation success from AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. This ‘triple-crown’ of accreditations is held by only 1% of business schools globally, placing the School’s business education programmes amongst the best and most reputable in the world. Its programmes and the School itself have also been rising in a number of key rankings.

A key element of driving this success in delivering the School’s mission, is the constant development of its education and student engagement. The School’s MBA programmes have seen major enhancements and will continue to develop, to ensure our graduates excel in a fast-moving, global business environment. The Durham MBA provides students with agile analytical skills, global awareness and strong communication skills; with close connections to many leading organisations, they are both informed by and immersed in the dynamic commercial landscape. The programme provides access to leading academic research and teaching, inspirational guest speakers, business visits and the ability to learn a new language. Following the Durham MBA our graduates go onto work in a wide variety of organisations across different sectors and apply their skills and innovative thinking.

Durham MBA (Full-time) Programme Director Dr Amir Michael’s teaching philosophy reflects his interests in collaboration authorship, preferring learning by both students and teachers rather than traditional models, saying: “We offer a leading programme that is challenging, inspiring and stimulating. Students are encouraged to confront new ideas, explore cutting-edge management theories and apply their learning to the world of practice.” Three students and graduates from our MBA programmes explain how the MBA has benefited their careers and enabled them to be more innovative. Nicolaus Von-Schultzendorff (pictured above) M&A Manager, Mercer Durham MBA (Full-time) graduate The Durham MBA gave me the opportunity to get out of my current working environment and my comfort zone. It enabled me to re-evaluate my job situation and what’s important to me, and as a result I changed my job.

During my MBA, so many of the modules I studied focused on deal management skills. This has given me a huge advantage recently when I was involved in a new deal. I had the knowledge and skills to be able to identify risks, solutions and opportunities for a potential deal. The majority of merger and acquisition deals that we support in my role involve several parties and countries. All meetings and calls involve clients from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. The MBA has given me the ability to confidently communicate on a global level. This is especially beneficial when two companies from different countries merge, as it needs a certain level of thoughtfulness to understand and communicate with all stakeholders involved.

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 45

Nicola Short (pictured below) Managing Director, Redu Group Durham MBA (Online) The Durham MBA provided me with time to reflect on my own skills and to address knowledge gaps to help improve my professional capacity. The learning side was so energising for me and provided an inner confidence in myself. It provided structure that you could apply to a working environment, along with arming you with tools, models and frameworks that would become part of your everyday narrative, helping to simplify things for those you lead.

Our cohort on the MBA was very unique. We were so collaborative with each other, the peerto-peer support was very powerful and I now have some very close friends all over the world. I wanted to feel more connected internationally and Durham has certainly provided that. Interestingly I was asked by a colleague from Greggs, who is a non-executive with me for Tyne and Wear Museum and Archives Enterprise Board, to inspire her team of category managers at a recent away day. I decided to focus on what we mean by strategy, looking at good and bad examples along with a few tools to help build and develop strategies and to allow for more innovative thinking. I could never have facilitated this had I not done the MBA.

Jonathan Mudry (pictured above) Senior Consultant, Albert Medical Association Durham-EBS EMBA student The Durham-EBS EMBA programme enhanced my understanding and appreciation for the cultural, economic and political complexities of international business issues.

The EMBA has provided me with a critical lens and global view of organisational performance. I am confident that my new knowledge and skills will allow me to continue to take on greater responsibility and leadership roles in the future. I’m currently working on a project to spread and scale the rate of innovation and improvement among members of regional health networks. The information gained on organisational change and innovation through the MBA programme has helped me to engage with stakeholders to develop effective strategies for implementing and measuring the impact of my project.

To learn more about the Durham MBA, please visit our website:

Issue 7 • January 2020

46 • IMPACT • Scholarships Student Engagement


Rewarding academic excellence in the pursuit of longer term career goals

The decision to study at postgraduate level is never something to be taken lightly. With finance being one of several major considerations, the Durham University Business School scholarship scheme offers financial aid to students demonstrating significant academic and extra-curricular achievements. Current students Sebastian Marland and Adam Copeland talk about their journey so far and their plans for the future.

Sebastian P. Marland MSc Finance (Finance and Investment) 2019/2020 Born in London, but having lived in France for the last two decades, I have had the tremendous opportunity to experience life at the intersection of two cultures. When I was younger, I never really knew what I wanted to do in the future or where my real interests lay. However, after much deliberation, uncertainty and choices, I ended up studying a subject that I had never considered before – International business, law and ethics. During my undergraduate studies in Angers, France, I fell in love with French, European and UK corporate law and philosophy, whilst also gaining an appreciation for the intricacies of the world of finance. It was then I realised my academic journey was only just beginning, and that I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of finance in the form of a Masters degree. My second year accounting professor had personal ties with Durham alumni, from which he had only heard positive comments. So, including Durham, I applied to several universities around the UK and Ireland in the pursuit of securing

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 47

my place on a Masters programme. I received an offer from Durham University in early 2019 and immediately accepted. I then visited Durham in May 2019, where I had the chance to talk to the Programme Director in addition to staff from several areas across the Business School, including the Marketing and Careers teams.

I fell in love with both Durham University and Durham City from the moment I arrived, and my experience so far has been fantastic. Everything, ranging from college formals and social events, to the large number of societies, and of course the exceptional teaching at the Business School, has made my time in Durham inspiring, eyeopening and unforgettable. I realise I am now, once again, at a crossroads in my life, asking myself what I want to do next. This time, however, I have a clearer insight. My plan is to work in the Netherlands, Switzerland or Luxembourg in finance for roughly two to three years, and then to pursue a second Masters degree or PhD centred around financial regulation, with the long-term goal of joining the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. Being awarded the Dean’s Scholarship came as a surprise, but it showed me the importance of working hard to achieve my goals – that no matter what, it is always worthwhile to give your best, whether it be your efforts in academia, as a member of a society, or in your day-to-day interactions with others. Adam Copeland Durham MBA (Full-time) 2019/2020 Before joining the Durham MBA, I had been working for my family’s construction company for around fifteen years, ten of which were as Director. We mainly worked with large country estates and commercial clients and specialised in the refurbishment of historic buildings. Innovation played a big part as we were developing new products and processes all the time. I really enjoy the challenge of incorporating new ideas into projects. I had previously graduated with a BA Hons in Accounting and Financial Analysis from Newcastle University and also a BSc Hons in Construction Management from Leeds Beckett University but having been out of education for so long, I was very surprised to win the Dean’s Scholarship. It gave me a boost of confidence before starting the programme and it’s something I am very proud to have been awarded. A big selling point of the Durham MBA, for me personally, were the optional pathways. Being able to choose a focus between Entrepreneurship, Consultancy and Technology was a standout feature that really appealed to me, having done quite a lot of

research into various programmes. I also strongly valued the focus on careers post-MBA, as I hope to use this experience to facilitate a career change.

A particular highlight of the programme so far was the visit of Craig Fenton, Director of Strategy and Operations, UKI, Google – I enjoyed his talk a lot. I have been very impressed by the quality and variety of guest speakers; it has been interesting to hear the experiences of such a wide range of business people. It helps to remind us why we are working hard and putting in the long hours. I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to learn Spanish. It’s something I have wanted to do for a number of years but have never found the time. Our teacher makes the lessons fun and engaging, and I seem to be making good progress. It’s definitely something I want to continue after the MBA. Innovation is a quality weaved throughout the Durham MBA. I think it’s an important quality that is vital in all companies as they drive change and growth – whether established or a startup. The programme helps foster this value and encourages us to think differently so that we can be more innovative in our future careers. I feel that being awarded the Dean’s Scholarship will embellish my CV alongside the MBA itself, and will help facilitate my plan to pursue a management consulting role upon completion. Working with the careers team here at the School has already given me inspiration to explore potential areas to work on, and I look forward to developing these ideas further in the coming months.

To learn more about the Durham MBA, please visit our website:

Issue 7 • January 2020

48 • IMPACT • Exploring barriers to innovation Student Engagement

Exploring barriers to innovation Satomi Murata Taking place from June to September, the Strategic Business Project forms the concluding part of the Durham MBA (Full-time). Students work with businesses to analyse and evaluate a strategic issue. This provides an excellent opportunity to gain experience relevant to their career aspirations and enhance their professional network. Durham MBA (Full-time) graduate Satomi Murata from Japan worked with Digital Catapult NETV (North East Tees Valley) on her Strategic Business Project. The project researched the barriers that exist within the North East preventing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) from investing in Research & Development (R&D). As R&D and innovation can lead to the creation of new products and processes which can improve productivity and competitiveness, Digital Catapult NETV were keen to understand how they can support their network of over 500 SMEs in using R&D in their businesses. Read on to learn how Satomi’s Strategic Business Project enabled her to not only conduct insightful research for Digital Catapult NETV but also to use the knowledge and skills she had acquired to add value to her current role as a Consultant at Mercer. What was the project about? As part of the UK Government’s productivity review, it has committed to boosting spending on R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. However, there is little discussion around the opportunities for SMEs to start spending on R&D and innovation. Therefore, the aim of the project was to explore barriers which prevent SMEs from investment in innovation activities.

What were the project outcomes? I interviewed local businesses in Northern England, which helped me to understand how challenging it can be for SMEs to be innovative. I analysed the results of the interviews, taking existing innovation theories into consideration, and it was clear that resource constraints (including human, information and financial resources) are one of the major barriers for SMEs. Despite resource constraints, SMEs prefer to operate their businesses on a small scale because it is better for flexibility and productivity. Hence, they tend to seek opportunities to collaborate with external parties to mitigate the problem, but there are also barriers which deter external cooperation such as difficulty in identifying partners. Did you find it beneficial to undertake the project, and if so how? This project was very beneficial. It enabled me to develop my understanding about innovation, which is essential to any business looking to maintain a competitive advantage.

The knowledge that I have gained through my research has meant that I can provide recommendations on how to promote innovative activities to both my organisation and clients. How has the Durham MBA helped you in your career? I am currently working for an international HR consulting firm and as a consultant I am often required to communicate with senior management and discuss difficult topics. Through completing my MBA I have not only learned academic theories but also had fruitful discussions with my classmates. Now I’m confident that I can provide advice from a broader perspective, adding more value to my clients’ businesses.

Find out more about how we work with business here business/corporate-partnerships

Undergraduate student selected to be Forbes Under 30 Summit scholar

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 49

Student Engagement

Undergraduate student selected to be Forbes Under 30 Summit scholar

Mahek Vara, a BSc Computer Science student taking modules at the Business School, was selected and invited as one of only three scholars from the UK to take part in the Forbes Under 30 Summit in October 2019. Mahek is the Founder of Code Camp, an organisation which aims to equip 9-16 year olds with important digital skills via first-class, step-by-step projects. The Forbes Under 30 Summit held in Detroit, USA was attended by over 9000 people from nearly 60 countries.

There were over 220 speakers including tennis champion Serena Williams and Co-founder of AOL, Steve Case.

Mahek commented: “Being selected and invited as one of three scholars (alongside Joel Alexander and Omer M. Manhaimer) from the UK for the Forbes Under 30 Summit was an unparalleled opportunity to view the passion and motivations of young people with roots from around the world and interests in a variety of industries. The Summit provided a great occasion to connect and network with other like-minded individuals but also learn more from the intelligent talks given by fabulous role models within the industry. It was great to be in conversation with some inspiring speakers such as Laura Chau (Principal, Canaan Partners), Ryan Chan (Co-founder and CFO, Neuro) and Stephanie Kaplan Lewis (Co-founder and CEO, Her Campus Media). I would like to extend my gratitude to Forbes for inviting me as a Scholar and to Durham University and Durham University Business School for their support and sponsorship for such a fantastic opportunity!”

On regular trips to India with her family, Mahek questioned why high school leavers there may not have the full set of skills they need to express their creativity and ideas. She realised that for children to realise their potential and considerable talents, they must, at a young age, be exposed to technology. This was the inspiration for setting up Code Camp. She explained:

“As a young person myself, I felt as though I was in a good position to understand how the next generation would want to learn and implement new skills. So I started ‘The Code Camp Education Foundation’ as a charitable organisation to inspire India’s next generation.”

Find out more at or follow Code Camp on Instagram (@code_camp) or Twitter (@CodeCamp3). Issue 7 • January 2020

50 • IMPACT • The Durham MBA Entrepreneurship Pathway Masterclass Student Engagement

Dr Joanna Berry

The Durham MBA Entrepreneurship Pathway Masterclass

In October 2019, a Durham MBA (Full-time) panel discussion was held on corporate entrepreneurship in its many and different forms. We first heard from two ‘typical’ small business/start-up entrepreneurs in Gillian McLeod and Laura Perry. Gillian is an alumnus of the Business School and founder of Kytol. She is the inventor of a patented new device for moving heavy objects easily in various industries including white goods, furniture and medical equipment. She invented the product whilst an undergraduate and Masters student here at the University. Laura Perry is the owner of The Christmas Decorating Company and a serial entrepreneur.

Gillian says of her time as a guest speaker at Durham, “It is always a privilege and a pleasure to be a guest speaker to MBA and Masters students at the Business School. Interesting conversations about business, entrepreneurship, the highs and lows and everything around it. There are always great questions and I look forward to coming back for future events!” Then it was time for the big corporates, both public and private sector, spin outs and established organisations. They needed to prove that not only do they need to be entrepreneurial, so have a

strategy and culture supporting the corporate entrepreneurial intent, but they also need to encourage internal entrepreneurial activities across their departments, teams and individual employees. There was a varied panel to bring this to life including: Ian Dormer, Managing Director of Rosh Engineering; Damien Murphy, Chief Operation Officer at Plastech Innovation; Stephen Lynn, Business Manager at Academic Health Science Network for the North East and Cumbria; Dr Jo North, Technology and Transformation Director at Port of Tyne and Alistair McLeod, (then) Director at Waterstons. The students had many questions, comments and ideas on entrepreneurial corporate environments and cultures, intrapreneurship, and all things internal, innovative and inventive in the world of the corporate entrepreneur. Ian Dormer reinforced the message that even in corporate environments, innovation, creativity and independent thinking are hugely valued and that he would rather recruit for attitude and character and train for ability. Ian commented: “Being innovative and entrepreneurial is a state of mind: being open to a new idea, new ways of working or new approaches to old problems. ‘Just because it was always done that way, does not mean it always will be’ is the guiding mantra in Rosh Engineering.”

Dr Jo North, who spends a lot of time with the Port of Tyne Innovation Hub, highlighted the importance of clear entrepreneurial thinking, even in a corporate environment. Students asked about employment and how, at interview, they should evidence entrepreneurial thinking without putting off more traditional employers. They were given superb advice from all panellists and the conversation provided deep insights into the challenges of public sector entrepreneurship. Damien Murphy, MBA alumnus, was keen to emphasise the importance of organisation and focus in an entrepreneurial environment. He explained how important energy, enthusiasm and passion are, but also how they must be tempered by careful and strategic planning.

MBA student Swabir Abdulrehman said: “I think for me, having joined the Durham MBA to try and develop my business idea centred around social impact, I was keen to hear how different types of entrepreneurs tackle business problems. During the session some valuable insights where gained from each of the guest speakers, with particular regard to taking a big idea and breaking it up into smaller and more manageable goals. Interesting discussions about scanning the horizon, finding the next big trends and how to target training needs within an organisation sparked healthy debate.”

Above left, Gillian McLeod meeting MSc students on her previous visit to the School.

For more information on the MBA pathways visit business/MBA-pathways

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 51

MBA Technology Pathway visits London

Student Engagement

MBA Technology Pathway visits London

This summer our Durham MBA Technology Pathway students visited London for an experience unique to their chosen Pathway. Led by former Pathway Leader Dr Riccardo Mogre, the group visited a variety of businesses for fascinating insights into technology and also attended London Tech Week 2019. The itinerary included visits to: • Condé Nast at Vogue House – Navin Rizwi (Head of Product) gave a presentation on digital products. Helen Placito (Director of Operations), discussed the future of press in the era of digital.

• IBM at Southbank – Kevin Gill (Distinguished Engineer) gave a presentation on Blockchain and Becky Aitken (Consultant) gave a presentation on process automation. As well as the company visits, the group also visited London Tech Week at ExCeL London. Sessions included the AI summit and the Internet of Things World Europe. Neha Rajpal, Durham MBA (Full-time) student, said: “My experience of the Durham MBA Technology Pathway visit to London Tech Week was both enriching and fun! Since we were a relatively small group, we had the chance to interact one-on-one with Condé Nast’s digital head and operations head, who were both very responsive to the smallest of our queries and equally open to longer discussions. It was fascinating to

learn about the digital publishing industry and its growth trajectory. The team at IBM had excellent presentations that were specifically tailored to students, and we received guidance from IBM on what would it take to pursue a career in digital technology, which was very helpful. We were able to see a plethora of innovative products and meet representatives from tech giants under one roof which was exciting.” Dr Çağrı Haksoz has been appointed as the new Technology Pathway Leader. Earlier in 2019, Durham MBA (Fulltime) students on the Entrepreneurship Pathway visited Dublin and students on the Consultancy Pathway visited Amsterdam, both of which were covered in IMPACT issue 6.

For more information on the Durham MBA pathways visit business/MBA-pathways Issue 7 • January 2020

52 • IMPACT • Triple five-year re-accreditation and ranking success Student Engagement

Triple five-year re-accreditation and ranking success The Durham MBA (Full-time) The Economist Which MBA?

4th in the UK 13th in Europe 58th in the world – Overall

The Business School Financial Times European Business School Ranking 2019

10th in the UK 43rd in Europe

In August 2019, our business education programmes were awarded a five-year re-accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This great news followed two further five-year extensions to the School’s accreditations awarded by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), secured in 2018 and 2017 respectively. This ‘triplecrown’ of accreditations is held by only 1% of business schools globally, placing our business education programmes amongst the best and most reputable in the world. Professor Susan Hart, Executive Dean, said: “This five-year AACSB re-accreditation, when added to our existing AMBA and EQUIS five-year re-accreditations, is testimony to our position as a leading international business school. These awards demonstrate the School’s excellence across our key strategic areas of research, education and student experience, and our commitment to continuous improvement. Holding such accreditations assures applicants worldwide that we offer them a truly valuable and diverse educational experience.”

1st in the UK 6th in Europe – Salary Increase

1st in the UK 2nd in Europe 4th in the world –D iversity of Industry Sectors

In December 2019 the Financial Times European Business School Ranking was published and the School had an excellent result moving into the UK Top 10. The result was based on the combined performance of programme-specific FT rankings including the MBA and MSc Management. The School ranked 10th in the UK and 43rd overall in Europe – an improved positioning from 47th in last year’s ranking. The Durham MBA Following our first Financial Times World Top 50 MBA ranking in January 2019, we have seen further ranking success. In October, The Economist Which MBA? Ranking placed the Durham MBA (Full-time) in the UK Top 4, up two places from the previous year. The 2019 rankings also placed the programme 13th in Europe (up from 17th last year) and 58th globally (up from 65th last year). In this prestigious ranking we were also placed 1st in the UK and 6th in Europe for the salary increase for alumni, demonstrating the percentage salary change from pre-MBA to post-MBA. In addition, we were ranked 1st in the UK, 2nd in Europe and 4th globally for the diversity of industry sectors our graduates entered into, a testament to the programmes delivery of business leaders for a variety of industries.

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 53

The Durham MBA (Full-time) Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking 2019

7th in the world – Sustainability

3rd in Europe – Overall

MSc Management

MSc Management In September, our Masters in Management programme ranked 46th globally in the QS World University Rankings, up six places from last year’s position. These rankings reviewed 129 global business masters and consider their employability, alumni outcomes, value for money, thought leadership and diversity. This year the programme’s staff and student diversity scored particularly highly, supported by a good standing in the employability criteria. Then in October, the Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking placed the programme 50th globally. This was a huge gain as we climbed 17 places from 67th in 2018. The School’s programme is also ranked in the UK top five.

QS World University Rankings 2019

46th in the world – Overall Financial Times Masters in Management Rankings

50th in the world – Overall

16th in the world – Career Progression

Then the Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking 2019 brought more good news in November, as the Durham MBA (Fulltime) was placed a fantastic 7th in the world for sustainability. This ranking evaluates the extent to which MBA programmes integrate sustainability knowledge and skills into business education.  The MBA was also ranked 3rd in Europe overall and scored highly on the gender balance and diversity of its faculty. This demonstrates that the Durham MBA (Full-time) is one of the top 10 in the world at instilling a holistic purpose of business in future leaders, ensuring they are equipped with the skills, tools and values to build a more inclusive and prosperous society in sync with our natural world.  Professor Julie Hodges, Associate Dean for MBA and DBA Programmes, said: “Our 2019 ranking results shows the quality and relevance of the Durham MBA (Full-time) in today’s global marketplace, as it continues to meet student expectations and equip them to lead in the accelerating global business environment. Our stimulating, challenging and transformative learning environment builds the capabilities of our MBA graduates, and the significant increase in the programme’s position in key rankings establishes our strong focuses of internationalisation and social responsibility and ethics, which run throughout the programme.”

This annual Financial Times ranking assesses a range of measures, including post-graduation salary, salary increase, faculty quality, diversity and international course experience. Looking at career progression the programme was placed 16th in the world, emphasising how employers of our graduates recognise the skills and knowledge our students have. Professor Nick Ellis, Director of Masters in Management Programmes, commented: “We are delighted to see the continuing recognition of our MSc Management programme. The fact our programme has improved its position in two significant global rankings in the last few months is testament to the professionalism of both our academic staff and our support services in ensuring that our Masters students have a great experience at Durham.” Professor Susan Hart, Executive Dean, said: “These strong ranking results further enhance the School’s position as one of the top business schools globally. They also demonstrate our dedication to providing progressive, challenging and transformative approaches to business education and research.” “I’m extremely pleased with the recognition for diversity and employability, as we are an international business school with students and staff from across the globe. Our close work with businesses and employers ensures our students are attractive to potential employers. Ethics and sustainability are embedded in our ethos and form an important part of everything we do. This ranges from our programmes and curricula to the research of our world-class faculty. We are creating the globally-focused, ethically-minded and forward-thinking business leaders of the future, and this is reflected in our ranking results.”

For more information on all of the School’s rankings visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

54 • IMPACT • Think big, act small Alumni

Think big, act small Achieving your dream is possible Masters in Management (Entrepreneurship) graduate Khdeija Sidi Boubacar had always dreamt of coming to the UK to study since she was a young girl. She believed that this dream was not something she could ever achieve, until her friend spoke with her about the Chevening scholarship – a UK government scholarship for foreign students with great potential to study in the UK. Khdeija applied and was accepted onto the scholarship, making her decision to study in Durham, she explains: “Durham University Business School was my first and only choice for many reasons, including the rankings and the collegiate system, but the biggest reason was that I immediately fell in love with the city itself.” Khdeija is originally from Mauritania, a little known North African country, just south of Morocco and Algeria. Before heading to Durham she was working as a customer relations manager at a bank in her home country. Khdeija was unfulfilled in this role; she felt she was stagnating and really wanted a career change. Her aspiration was to become an entrepreneur.

Applying for the Masters in Management (Entrepreneurship) programme was the best decision she had ever made – not only did she have the best year of her life in Durham, but she also learned many skills applicable to her ensuing career.

Khdeija said: “I gained valuable practical knowledge on entrepreneurship and how to become successful. I was academically challenged to excel and reach new critical and analytical capacities I didn’t know I possessed.”

Amongst many highlights, her biggest was a study trip to the UN in Geneva, where Khdeija and her peers presented on Trump’s trade policies to a chief official at the World Trade Organisation headquarters. Since graduating, Khdeija has gone on to build her own company, Raiona, a business match-making service. She describes it as ‘arranged marriages for business’, where companies come to her with an issue and she connects them with another company who can collaborate with them to solve it. Her company, which operates from Mauritania, is working with businesses spread across 144 different countries. She has also recently joined the Mauritanian Young Chamber of Commerce as Project Manager of the 3rd edition of “Marathon of Entrepreneurship”, financed by the World Bank – her Masters has been incredibly useful in this, with the learnt skills being directly applicable from the start.

Khdeija also completed the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship program, a philanthropic initiative for African entrepreneurs, in addition to the Mandela Washington fellowship, a US program to help empower young African leaders.

She leaves with one piece of advice: “Think big, act small. When planning to start a business or doing a project, never think small, or settle for little. Why limit yourself and waste your efforts on starting a small coffee shop when you can have the next big international coffee chain? It’s not easy but it’s possible. The secret is to plan ahead and to break down your to-do list into smaller steps.” Khdeija Sidi Boubacar is Founder/CEO of Raiona for business matchmaking and alumna of the Masters in Management (Entrepreneurship) programme 2016/2017.

For more information on our Masters in Management programmes visit:

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 55

From Syrian refugee to start-up founder


From Syrian refugee to start-up founder: Nour Mouakke How one Durham University Business School alumnus made his way from war-torn Syria to start-up founder and entrepreneur.

I was born and raised in one of the oldest cities in the world - Aleppo, Syria. I lost my mum to cancer in 2007, leaving my four younger siblings, my dad and me to look after each other. I moved to the UK in 2009/2010 to study my Masters in Marketing at Durham University Business School. I absolutely loved every minute of my time at Durham University. There is a very special vibe at Durham; it gives you a sense of ‘home’. I met some of the most wonderful people and built lifelong relationships with people from all over the world. It’s fair to say that what inspired me to be an entrepreneur and to solve problems was Durham University. I was inspired by the academic staff, the educational materials and the engaging seminars we had - Dr Graham Dietz was such an incredible person to learn from; he is such a loss to all of us and will always be remembered. Since finishing my studies, I haven’t been able to go back to see my family or friends, and it has now been over nine years. In short, I had to start my life all over again, on my own, but this is not a sob story, far from it. My passion for the hospitality industry, and serving clients to the highest standards, started back in 2002 at a boutique hotel in Aleppo. With 15 years of my life spent operating in the sector, it is safe to say I became known for being a ‘whizz’ at it. Deeply immersed in the day-to-day tasks, it enabled me to identify where the labour intensive procedures

were and how, with the rise of technology, I could build something that would make a difference.

I had the idea for my business ‘Wizme’ in 2011, but started it in May 2015, financing it without any external funding, spending every penny I had. In March 2017, I was homeless with no money, team or product, drowning in debts and completely on my own. People advised me to find a job and let my idea go, but my determination, resilience and persistence kept me going. I was invited to present Wizme in front of 100+ agency owners, building a prototype within two months. The rest, as they say, is history.

and smart technologies. I secured some investment from industry in September 2017 and established an advisory board. Fast forward, we launched our fully functioning booking wizard in London in Q4 2019. I also believe strongly in knowledge transformation and wanted to find engineering talent back home in Syria Wizme could give them the opportunity to learn and develop while rebuilding their lives. I succeeded in this, managing to attract some of the sharpest engineering and data science brains in Syria and Egypt. Looking to the future, my plans are to see my family again in the medium term (nine years is a long time), to build a successful business, to make money for myself and my investors, and to help others do the same. Nour Mouakke is Founder/CEO of Wizme and alumnus of the Masters in Marketing programme.

My dream for Wizme is to automate the management of meetings and events for corporates and venues and drive down costs through superior ease of use For more information on our Masters in Marketing programme visit: masters-marketing Issue 7 • January 2020

56 • IMPACT • Going the distance with Durham Alumni

Going the distance with Durham Dr Larry Lee’s MBA & DBA Journey Larry Lee is a two time graduate of Durham University Business School, which is not unusual until you know that he holds both an MBA and a DBA. Living and working in Hong Kong, Larry is CEO of his out of home advertising company, Avanti Media Ltd. His company manages outdoor sites for owners of high-profile prime location buildings and matches them with equally high-profile brands seeking show-stopping exposure. As an entrepreneur and an innovator, we catch up with Larry to find out more about his story.

What was your experience of the DBA? The critical experience was to learn from failure, as any failure might just be the beginning of the next journey. Indeed, I failed my first assignment. Because of this, I got a powerful jump start from Dr. Sarah Xiao; she gave me the best

Do you have any advice for any budding entrepreneurs currently studying with the School? Use the knowledge humbly, flexibly and interactively with the different situations you encounter. In reality, nothing is identical and each context requires individual treatment; knowledge should be used for comprehension instead of authority. Actual integrated implementation skills should be practical, interactive, respective, efficient and effective. No single solution would apply for all situations without adjustment.

What made you start your business? Working for a big corporation with countless rules and regulations is not my cup of tea. Therefore, starting up my business venture fitted perfectly with my personality. I like the flexibility and discipline of running my own business. How has your Durham MBA helped you? I gained many technical skills which helped me in setting up and understanding the infrastructure of a business corporation. Being a distance learning student, I enjoyed the best part of learning, applying theory to the actual practice of the commercial world simultaneously. What made you decide to do your Doctorate? My DBA was actually an accidental engagement as I didn’t plan to go onto a Doctorate. When the opportunity arose, my family fully supported me so that I could afford to take on this academic challenge. As Professor Mark Learmonth stated in the article ‘PhD vs DBA’ featured in issue 6 of IMPACT, the reason I chose to do the DBA was for personal satisfaction and achievement.

Has this new knowledge helped you with your plans for your business? My thesis was to study the integration between mobile technologies for luxury brands, however, Avanti is currently not a technological driven company. We are transforming our sites from traditional formats to a fully digitised approach and I have some innovative and challenging plans for the future. I plan to keep the operation slim – we have only three full-time executives to serve the global marketing teams of most luxury brands – and pick the best options to pursue and on which to focus my efforts.

support and guidance to see things through an academic lens. She adjusted and widened my vision to think and read through different perspectives, rather than just business. I also had two outstanding supervisors, Professor Michael Blakemore and Professor Mike Nicholson, who patiently educated, nurtured and steered me through the academic jungle of knowledge. I learnt from them and eventually, developed my own knowledge/theory.

For more information on the Durham MBA (Online) visit mba. Dr Lee studied the Durham DBA at Fudan, for more information on this and the other DBAs offer by the School visit

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 57

Text Mercato


Text Mercato Kiran Ramakrishna Entrepreneur and Durham MBA (Full-time) alumnus Kiran Ramakrishna graduated in 2012, and after working in the content industry in Bangalore, Paris and London for over ten years, decided to put that experience to work in his own content technology company, Text Mercato, in 2015.

What did you enjoy most about your MBA? The Durham MBA (Full-time) pushes you to think in different ways, making you think quantitatively but also qualitatively. I found the varied ways of learning to be really beneficial, we learned through activities such as the boardroom exercise,

What do you like most about what you do? Learning each day, meeting lots of new people and making connections, building products and solving problems at scale. What are your plans for your business? To become the number one cataloguing company across India, US and Southeast Asian regions.

Read on to learn how the Durham MBA (Full-time) helped Kiran develop the necessary skills to start his own company:

What are your top five tips for any budding entrepreneurs currently studying an MBA? • Choose a good partner/partners with complementary skills. If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together.

What does your company do? We help large and medium sized brands automate their product listing (cataloguing). Using technology such as image recognition, classification and auto writing (NLP), the system is able to generate text so that products can be listed easily on popular websites such as Amazon, Walmart, Zilingo and many more. What made you start your business? The global content market is under-served and technologically challenged. The goal is to make Text Mercato ‘the Uber of content production’. Our aim is to consolidate by making content creation faster, better in quality, scalable and competitive in costing. This can be achieved by leveraging technology and sound processes. Having experience in the content industry has helped as well as knowing that there was a large underserved market and that technology use was limited.

This is also a key skill for running your own business.

• At the beginning you will be the janitor, analyst, manager, CFO and CEO; this is simply because you cannot afford to employ people for these roles at the very start. • Choose the right people. You’re as strong as the weakest link in your team. • Be ready. You will have many bosses as an entrepreneur – the government, society, investors, clients and your employees (it’s a myth to think that you’re your own boss).

group presentations and videos. This really helped me get to know my fellow students and learn from them. The diversity of my cohort provided me with great insight into different cultures and helped me to develop key skills in communicating effectively. A key skill that I gained through my MBA was how to grasp new concepts quickly. There were multiple modules, assignments and exercises packed into a span of 12 months, so it was very important to be able to pick up new concepts quickly and revisit areas that needed more thought.

• You don’t have to know everything, but you do need to have the right attitude to learn quickly.

For more information about Kiran’s company, visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

58 • IMPACT • Return to China events and Dunelm Days follow up Alumni

Return to China events and Dunelm Days follow up

Durham University Business School students continue to have a competitive edge in establishing their careers in China through the tailored support provided by the School. In September 2019, days after handing in their dissertations, students had the opportunity to attend a series of Durham only careers events and build their networks at alumni events hosted by Executive Dean, Professor Susan Hart. Recruiters from 53 companies participated in the ‘Return to China’ careers events in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen including HSBC, Dell and Decathlon. As well as an opportunity to consider a range of firms looking to recruit the graduates, nearly all of the students were interviewed on the day. “Our students were so engaged and professional,” reflected international, engagement and careers coordinator Charlotte Howell, “They put into practice all the skills that they have learnt over the year through the careers programme with these high-profile international companies.” The events were also well received by recruiters as a convenient way to tap into Durham talent with 95% of them

describing the event as good or excellent and almost nine out of ten saying they were likely to hire a candidate they met at the careers fair, having arranged over 80 further interviews to follow up the initial meetings at the fairs. As well as the formal careers fairs, the informal links and opportunities offered by the alumni network have a valuable role to play in job hunting. Over 350 alumni participated in some of the University’s largest alumni gatherings organised to coincide with the careers events. Professor Hart updated the graduates on recent developments at the University and exciting plans for the new Business School building as well as encouraging them to use their success to support the new alumni. The events included an afternoon tea on a rooftop terrace in Shanghai, an evening reception in the Beijing central business district and a reception in Shenzhen featuring a sensational prize draw organised by alumnus Andy Chan, where the star prize was a television. Alumni relations manager Penny Hawley commented, “These Business School events have grown each year. It’s particularly lovely to see the support that our earlier graduates give to current students and recent graduates: our International Chapter Leaders and their volunteers ensure there is a Durham University presence all year round in China.”

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 59


Meeting with alumni across Asia

On 17 September 2019, just before the Singapore Grand Prix, Professor Susan Hart hosted a joint Durham and McLaren Applied Technologies event with MBA graduate and International Chapter Leader, Michael Shearer OBE. Almost sixty alumni gathered at the exclusive Singapore Cricket Club overlooking the track to hear Michael speak about studying for the MBA and how it had helped him to progress his career from diplomatic circles, through consultancy, to his current role as Managing Director Asia Pacific for McLaren Applied Technologies. Michael provided a real insight into how he applied his business experience to the competitive world of Formula 1 in new markets and sectors. The feedback from alumni at the event and afterwards showed how much the alumni appreciated the opportunity to hear this unique story and to network with like-minded Durham graduates, all coming from different years, colleges and courses. A clear example of this were the Dunelm Days in November, where alumni get together in over sixty events around the world which have been enthusiastically embraced by the International Chapters under the guidance of International Advisory Board members Ocean Wang and William Chan. The Southwest China Chapter gathered at Longquan Mountain on 23 November for hiking and jogging. Alumni in Guangzhou had their first get together in Zhujiang Park on 24 November to “Run for Durham”. Meanwhile the alumni in Shenzhen met for a picnic brunch at the sunrise theatre and Shanghai graduates helped tidy up in Century Park with their “Run for Trash” plogging event on 30 November. The last event was organised in Beijing on 1 December to support the career development of alumni, with six graduates sharing their job secrets PechaKucha style. Left, clockwise from left: Carers event. The Schenzen alumni chapter’s Dunelm Day. Beijing chapter’s Dunelm Day. Above, top: Schenzen picnic brunch. Below: Carers event.

For further information on alumni activity visit

In another career-focused event, almost fifty alumni met in a shared workspace in Hong Kong on 26 September 2019 to network and hear three alumni speak about how their careers have been shaped by studying at Durham. The exceptional careers of Charlotte Bilney, co-CEO Asia Pacific at Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Andrew Harrison, who has been a director at WPP, Nestle, Coca-Cola and P&G and Larry Lee, CEO at Avanti Media, embody the new Durham strapline, “Inspiring the Extraordinary” with their very different life stories. Although this was a new format for a Durham University alumni event it was well received by the alumni for its networking possibilities as well as the chance to catch up on the developments at the University from host, Professor Susan Hart. Learn more about Larry Lee’s experiences on page 56. Top: Alumnus Michael Shearer OBE and Professor Susan Hart with colleagues and attendees at the alumni event in Singapore.

Durham University has more than 70 Alumni Chapters around the world. To find out about alumni events near you, visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

60 • IMPACT • Durham and Toni&Guy. A cutting-edge collaboration Events

Dr Sara Gracey

Dr Les Graham

Durham and Toni&Guy A cutting-edge collaboration

State-of-the-art styling irons, boar bristle brushes and London Fashion Week aren’t things you would usually associate with a business school. Yet, if you wander into any Toni&Guy salon you will see that strong leadership skills, an in-depth knowledge of human resource practices and a keen eye for numbers are fundamental to the innovation and growth of such a striking brand image. That’s why, since 2014, Durham University Business School has been collaborating with the multi-award winning hairdressing brand Toni&Guy. Since its launch in 1963 with a single salon in Clapham, London, Toni&Guy has grown to be one of the most iconic hairdressing conglomerates in the world, with 640 salons in 47 countries. The development of new cut, colour and styling techniques

across the decades has guaranteed an enduring relationship between hair and fashion, leaving an indelible mark on the hairdressing industry. Testament to this continued growth and creativity over more than 50 years, the group currently has an annual turnover in excess of £175 million. When spending time with Toni&Guy, one of the most frequent phrases you hear is ‘Education, education, education’, a core value stated by Toni Mascolo for many years and an enduring philosophy of the company to date. Toni&Guy is more than a hairdressing brand, it is a world-leader in session, editorial and avant garde hairdressing, a creative space for hairdressers to learn and perfect their skills, and a centre of excellence for superior client care and haircare knowledge. This combination of education and creativity continue to give the business a competitive edge, highlighting two key areas of interest for the partnership between Durham University and Toni&Guy.

Firstly, the partnership acts as a research collaboration. This began as a research project between the hairdressing industry favourite and Dr Les Graham, into understanding excellence in service delivery in a salon environment, key moments in a client’s journey to generate delight with service quality, and the importance of how employee-client interactions impact upon the client’s perception of their Toni&Guy experience. From these early studies, many instances of changes to policy and practice can be seen within Toni&Guy. Examples of this can be seen in training initiatives on front-of-house service interactions and product recommendations to clients, alongside the re-design of the hairwashing process, now referred to as HAIRSPA, a jewel in the crown of service excellence at every Toni&Guy salon. After initial studies in service excellence, the research collaboration has continued to develop. Using data from franchise partners, salon managers, employees and clients, Dr Les Graham and colleagues at the School have conducted dynamic

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 61

research into a variety of concepts such as leadership styles that prioritise service excellence and the development of up-and-coming talent, and the role of employee wellbeing for the provision of high-quality service delivery behaviours. This research has also investigated the importance of supporting business functions, such as high performance work systems, to maintaining a business edge in a highly competitive industry. The most recent development within the on-going partnership is the Toni&Guy Leadership Programme, a two-year programme of knowledge-sharing workshops between Toni&Guy and members from the team at the School, which was designed, developed and delivered specifically for the unique organisational context. The programme involved four different leadership knowledge-sharing workshops on topics such as supportive leadership, the role of skills and high-performance work systems in a salon environment, and the importance of passion and wellbeing in the workplace. As a form of researchbased education, each of the workshops used findings and results from the five-year collaborative research project to achieve increasing levels of service delivery excellence and client delight.

In September 2019, there was an evening of celebration at Durham Castle, which saw the first cohort being recognised for their achievement in completing the programme. The Durham team were delighted to welcome more than 100 guests to this event, which was hosted in the Great Hall. An evening of dinner, drinks and a celebration of achievement for programme participants began with inspirational speeches from Dr Les Graham, TONI&GUY CEO Nigel Darwin, and Global Franchise Director Christian Mascolo. Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, Global Creative Director at Toni&Guy said: “Working in collaboration with Durham University Business School, who are leaders in developing management talent, we scheduled a series of knowledge-sharing workshops to be delivered over 18 months. Having commenced in April 2018, this programme will become an ongoing and integral part of all future managers’ development education.”

The event at Durham Castle was a fantastic way to celebrate the completion of the first cohort’s training programme, according to Toni&Guy CEO, Nigel Darwin, who said: “The ceremony was a great way to mark the successful completion of this course delivered by Durham University Business School. Our Partners are at the heart of the Toni&Guy business, and it is their leadership of their teams and of the Toni&Guy brand that enables us to delight our clients every day and to write the next chapter in the Toni&Guy story.” ‘Education, education, education’ and a commitment to opportunities for self-development of those that make Toni&Guy such a vibrant brand are an enduring value of the organisation. This value guarantees the future of the collaboration with Durham University Business School, which sees a second cohort in the UK embark on their leadership and management journey in January 2020. Excitingly, 2020 sees the expansion of the successful UK leadership programme to a global audience, starting in Thailand with delegates from Australia and the Far East. A second set of workshops will be delivered to the European partners in Milan.

To read more about the International Centre for Leadership and Followership, please visit their webpage:

Issue 7 • January 2020

62 • IMPACT • Global Debate Series Events

Global Debate Series The Dartmouth-Durham Global Debate: Cyber security in today’s digital society

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 63

As part of the School’s internationalisation strategy, colleagues, led by Professor Kiran Fernandes, Associate Dean for Internationalisation, have been working with other global, high-profile academic institutions to deliver a series of debates that are highly relevant to the international academic community, global business and wider society. So far, the Debates have covered blockchain technologies (Fudan University, Shanghai) and the role of cities in the smart mobility economy (emlyon business school, Paris). The latest in the series saw the Business School and Dartmouth College working together to deliver two significant debates on the subject of cyber security in December 2019. The first event took place on 11 December at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington DC and the second on 13 December at the Academy of Sciences, New York.

The events showcased the future cyber landscape and discussed how organisations and governments can implement best processes and structures to ensure a coordinated cyber resilience strategy. In today’s digital world, organisations and government face cyberattacks. Ransomware, hacking of personal information and cyberattacks on government agencies is dominating global news. As a result, academic researchers, governments and other organisations have been attempting to develop robust systems to ensure that all forms of digital assets can be protected from cyber-attacks. The two debates in the USA allowed researchers from Dartmouth and Durham to share their research into the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning on processing potential threats in a cost-effective manner; and highlight the importance of cyber security in today’s digital society. There was a focus on developing robust systems for reducing the risk of cyberattacks and faculty staff from both institutions were joined by representatives from governments, cybersecurity firms and businesses who are developing and using these systems. Former FBI Chief Technology Officer Wayne Chung delivered a powerful presentation at the Washington DC debate and was joined by Alex Kott, Chief Scientist at the US Army Research Lab, Ranjeev Mittu, Branch Head, Information Management and Decision Architectures with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Professor David Pym, Professor of Information, Logic, and

Security at University College London, Head of Programming Principles, Logic, and Verification (PPLV) for the Alan Turing Institute. The Washington event was brought to a close by Dartmouth College President Phillip Hanlon before all attendees were invited to join the speakers at a networking reception. At the debate in New York, Andrew Tannenbaum, Global Head of Cyber, Data, and Intellectual Property Legal at Barclays presented a thought-provoking keynote address and was followed by equally informative sessions delivered by Charles Blauner, Global Head of Information Security at Citi (Ret.), Deb Snyder, Cyber Strategist and former Chief Information Security Officer at New York State and Adjunct Professor, Jay Leek, Managing Director with ClearSky Security, Prithviraj Dasgupta, Computer Engineer with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Ankur Jindal, Global Head Corporate Venturing and Innovation at Tata Telecommunications. Professor Fernandes (pictured bottom left) and Professor Julian Williams (pictured top left) Head of Quantitative Research in the Quantitative Research in Financial Economics research centre, represented the Business School at both debates. Professor Fernandes said: “These debates have shown us how Durham’s research in the area of audit and investment in risk mitigation coupled with Dartmouth’s research in the detection of bots on social media platforms can collaboratively help businesses and governments be prepared to protect digital assets from the threat of cybercrime. It is worth noting that this can be done without having to compromise on innovation and creativity and do so at a reasonable price.” When asked about the issue of cybersecurity and which tools we need in the battle against hackers, Professor V.S. Subrahmanian (top right), Dartmouth College Distinguished Professor in Cybersecurity, Technology, and Society said: “I think the main tool to use is common sense. Attackers leverage the fact that victims make mistakes. That means that every time we do something, we need to think about it. I think that technology is not going to fully avoid the problem, but it can be used to implement systems that automatically provide warnings to users.” The Dartmouth-Durham Global Debates proved successful with over 100 delegates attending over two days and representing banking, computing, communications, consultancy, defence, education, energy, legal and government sectors. Planning for further debates is underway and they will be announced in due course.

For further information on future events, please visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

64 • IMPACT • Could your idea change the world? Events

Could your idea change the world? just IMAGINE if... just IMAGINE if... 2020 was launched at Durham University Business School on 25 November 2019 with an afternoon of presentations from Durham, Paul and two of the competition’s counsellors, former Head of Sustainability at Marks and Spencer, Mike Barry, and Will Butler-Adams, Managing Director of Brompton Bicycle Limited.

Once upon a time, someone imagined that we could prevent infectious diseases and even eradicate them; someone imagined we could power a car using light from the sun. It has been over 40 years since smallpox was eradicated. In 2019, the first solar powered car went on sale. Both of these events are proof that seemingly impossible ideas can become reality and change the world. Small ideas can lead to big changes. That’s why Durham University has teamed up with award-winning British entrepreneur Paul Lindley OBE to host and support an international innovation competition in March 2020, called just IMAGINE if…. The competition, founded by Paul, is open to anyone across the globe who has a business idea that could help address at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 goals promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They seek to tackle global issues, such as poverty, climate change, education and hunger. The 2020 winner will receive bespoke research support from Durham University researchers who are already working on a number of projects to

tackle these challenges, as well as significant Business School support. Paul is passionate about the power business has to make a difference to societal, environmental and economic challenges. In 2006, he founded Ella’s Kitchen, a baby and toddler organic food company which now has a 30% share of the UK baby food sector. Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Global) at Durham University, said:

“just IMAGINE if… is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to some of the world’s biggest challenges. “We are delighted to support and host the competition and look forward to the winner and our expert researchers working together to make a real difference to the world.”

“The purpose of Ella’s Kitchen was not about selling baby food, but to improve the lives of children by developing healthier relationships with food. My experience of successfully building a company, with the purpose of making

change in the world and investing in innovation and new thinking made me realise that any idea has the potential to change the world. “just IMAGINE if… is my way to try and super-boost more great innovative, world-improving ideas to become reality and the 2020 competition will harness the power of Durham University’s research and an impressive business supporters’ network to develop extraordinary ideas to address a global challenge. If you have a business idea, however small or simple, I would really encourage you to apply for the competition and see if your idea could change the world.” Ten shortlisted finalists will have the opportunity to present their business idea in front of an audience, including a panel of expert business leaders, at the March 2020 final in Durham. Each finalist will receive expert mentoring from a leading business person and professional pitch training ahead of their presentation at the final. Finalists will also benefit from free workshops and opportunities for professional support after the final.

The competition is now open for entries and closes at midnight on 2 February 2020. To apply, visit

...your idea to tackle a global challenge became a reality. Do you have a business idea that could change the way we live? Enter just IMAGINE if‌2020 for a chance to receive bespoke research and business support from Durham University.

Hosted and supported by


For more details and to enter our international innovation competition, visit:

Issue 7 • January 2020

66 • IMPACT • Academy of Management Events

Academy of Management 79th Annual Conference 2019 In August 2019, the Business School had a very successful and significant presence at the Academy of Management (AOM) annual meeting in Boston. AOM is the pre-eminent professional association for management and organisation scholars with worldwide appeal and membership. Given its size (approximately 19,000 members) and prestige (approximately 50% paper acceptance rate), it has become a key forum for networking and promoting a business school’s activities. To capitalise on the opportunities presented by this international conference, 24 people represented the School. The attendees were made up from members of staff and PhD students from the Management and Marketing department and also included the editorial team from the Journal of Management Studies which is based in the School. Staff and students presented 22 papers over the five day event. The Business School also sponsored one impact award reception, and a number of awards associated with two AOM divisions. The reception was held by the Practice Theme Committee (PTC), a strategic pillar of the Academy of Management, where Professors, Sir Cary Cooper (Manchester Business School) received the Chris Argyris Lifetime Achievement Award, Marc Meyer (Northeastern University) received the Scholarly Impact Award, and Jeroen Veldman, Hugh Willmott and Filip Gregor (Cass Business School) were recognised for their impactful work. In the Critical Management Studies division, the School sponsored the Best Critical Paper Award and the Best Doctoral Dissertation Award. Best paper was won by Daniel Nyberg (University of Newcastle) and Christopher Wright (University of Sydney). Best Doctoral Dissertation was awarded

to Paulina Segarra, EGADE Business School, Mexico (pictured centre). The second set of awards were for the Managerial and Organisational Cognition division where the Business School sponsored the Best Paper and Best Student-led Paper. These were awarded to Pedro Aceves, Bocconi University (pictured bottom) and Isabelle Yi Ren of Boston College. In addition to the awards and networking activity, Professors Susanne Braun and Tyrone Pitsis (pictured top) also received recognition for their work. Susanne’s paper on vulnerable narcissists in leadership was included in the Best Paper proceedings and Tyrone’s paper on organisational creativity, published in the FT50 journal, Human Relations, received the Paper of the Year award. The award is given to the paper that the journal’s editorial team considers best encapsulates broad readership appeal, sound methods, and whose theory advances our understanding of human relations at work. The paper focuses on ideas as a creative relational practice.

The School were also delighted to confirm our continued relationship with the Journal of Management Studies (JMS), the globally respected multidisciplinary journal with a long-established history of excellence in management research. JMS has been based within Durham University Business School since 2002. JMS awards prizes each year to recognise noteworthy contributions to the journal and these were both announced and presented at a reception at the annual Academy of Management conference. For more information on the Academy of Management visit For more information on the Journal of Management Studies visit

Durham University Business School • IMPACT • 67

Going global. Connecting with prospective business students


Going global Connecting with potential business students

One of the many elements which makes Durham University Business School a great global business school experience is the diversity our staff and students. Consequently all our students from around the world enjoy a truly international experience while studying here in Durham, helping to prepare our students to operate in the ever-changing international business world after graduation. To support this diversity and ensure prospective students know all about our excellence in business education, we attend a number of student recruitment fairs across the world each year. By providing ‘Durham near you’ opportunities, it allows us to meet with prospective students and representatives to tell them about the fantastic suite of programmes we offer. The visit also allows us to meet with and update our agent and alumni networks on the latest developments at the University and the School. In the last year, academic staff and members of the Marketing and Communications team (sometimes

India (Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore) Indonesia (Jakarta) Italy (Naples, Rome, Florence, Torino, Milan) Japan (Tokyo) Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Mexico (Mexico City) Norway (Oslo) Peru (Lima) Portugal (Lisbon) South Korea (Seoul) Spain (Barcelona) Thailand (Bangkok) UK (London) Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi) supported by University agents and School alumni) attended 57 events in the following 18 countries: Brazil (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro) Colombia (Cali, Bogota, Medellin) Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf) Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki)

For anyone who would like to know more but are unable to meet us in person, we also offer webinar information sessions throughout the year. For these, a panel of staff are on-hand to answer questions about the programmes, admissions processes, student life in Durham and careers support.

For more information about upcoming international recruitment events or online information sessions, please visit

Issue 7 • January 2020

Business School

The Durham Online MBA Realise your potential

At a glance • 2 year part-time programme • Personalise your programme to support your career goals • Flexibility — study fully online or complete some learning at Durham

Find out more at

Ranked 7th in the world and 2nd in the UK Financial Times Online MBA Ranking 2019