Research in the Department of Management

Our research informs the teaching and research supervision conducted by the Department as well as directly benefiting the economy and society via the commitment of our faculty to engaged and impactful scholarship. 

Management is multi-layered – people, organisations, societies, markets and supply chains operating locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Research across our department reflects this and is organised into four subject groups – Business and Labour Economics (BLE); Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Innovation (ELI); Organisation, Work and Employment (OWE); Procurement and Operations Management (POM).

The variety and depth of our subject group expertise gives us an opportunity to create original synergies and insights when addressing cross-cutting themes such as global value chains and sustainable supply chains, responsible business, good work, equality, diversity and inclusivity, business analytics, and contemporary issues.

The Department of Management is renowned for producing high-quality and high-impact research. Academics within the department consistently publish in journals ranked as world-leading, participate in extensive dissemination and impact activities attracting extensive media and press coverage; and secure funding from various sources.

The Department plays a major part in the University of Birmingham’s 2030 Strategic Framework for world-class research and outstanding global education. In line with the 2030 Framework, our Department prioritises research and education influenced by the university’s history as a civic university founded on social responsibility and equality of opportunity for all, and its more recent emergence as a global university.

Our department actively contributes to the main pillars of university activity in the 2030 Framework, notably Research that Matters (research with outcomes that are important to other people, organisations, and academic fields); Education for Sustainable Futures (welcoming students from all backgrounds and nationalities to study in a comprehensive range of disciplines); Engagement and Impact (responding and shaping dramatic changes in the way people work, learn, and live); and Sustainability (play a significant role in tackling global sustainability challenges facing society and the environment, as expressed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) – notably gender equality, decent work, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, quality education.

Learn more about our Subject Groups and Research Themes

Impact and Engagement

Many department members are involved in wider impact, external engagement and knowledge exchange activities outside the university with a range of non-academic organizations and stakeholders. Examples include:

Since 2014, POM’s Prof. Chris Lonsdale and Prof. Joe Sanderson have worked closely with Rolls-Royce plc (RR) to apply their research insights to RR practice in an extensive impact project. Over 600 managers and executives from RR sites in the UK/Europe, the US and Asia have been involved in ‘research implementation events’, where research insights have been applied to ‘live’ make-buy and supply chain decisions, generating significantly enhanced strategies. Participation has also led to significantly enhanced management practice, via improvements to both managerial competence and cross-functional working. All this, in turn, has led to greatly improved business performance related to, for example, cost, contractual risk and supplier delivery. This project won the CoSS Outstanding Impact prize in 2017, a commendation at the University impact awards in 2018 and Founders Award nominations in 2016 and 2020. Rolls-Royce itself was awarded the top prize at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Management awards in 2019, with the prize in part being the result of the work with the University. The impact work with RR was one of the Business School’s impact cases in the 2021 REF. The work with RR continues, but in 2022, following the delivery of another ‘research implementation event’, Chris Lonsdale, this time with POM’s Glyn Watson, embarked on a new impact project with Molson Coors, the global brewing company. The project involves research-informed input into contract negotiations, development work with managers and wider Molson Coors decision-making related to make-buy and procurement.

Dr. Holly Birkett (with Dr. Sarah Forbes, University of York) leads the Equal Parenting Project: Sharing childcare to drive gender equality in the workplace, with the aim of improving the use of family friendly policies in the UK and encouraging equality in the workplace. This research has led to a broad variety of engagement work with Government Department, MP's, Third Sector Organisations, Public Sector organisations and private companies.

Prof. Tony Dobbins participated in an ESRC IAA Parliamentary Academic Fellowship (2021-22) in UK Parliament. He collaborated in knowledge exchange with the research team in the House of Commons library (labour market and business sections) to enhance understanding of the post-Covid future of work context. Tony published two research briefings for MPs and the public on flexible working and good work. 

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