PhD 2009 brochure


Published on

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

PhD 2009 brochure

  1. 1. Doctoral Programme 2009
  2. 2. Welcome to WBS Join our WBS Doctoral Programme and you will become a member of a dynamic, highly esteemed, and international research community. Consistently ranked amongst the best in the world, our PhD programme is also one of the largest in Europe with nearly 200 doctoral researchers from over 40 different countries. Our size and international dimension makes WBS a vibrant and exciting place to study. Studying for a PhD is challenging but also exciting and rewarding if you have the right qualities and motivation. You can expect the defining features of academic life to shape your experience at WBS – innovative ideas, rigorous critical enquiry, international perspectives, and relevance to policy and practice. As well as researching for your PhD you will have the opportunity to collaborate with recognised experts, produce leading research, participate in seminars and conferences, and contribute to teaching activities. The skills and networks you develop will be invaluable in your future career, whether in academia or in other fields. Our comprehensive research training programme, recognised by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will equip you for the challenges of research in the social sciences. Our PhD in Finance offers additional training in finance-related methodologies, if this is your area of interest. We offer a number of scholarships and bursaries as well as a research and conference travel allowance. Added to this, the high quality facilities we provide in beautiful campus surroundings help to strike a balance between work and leisure. IT resources and support, specialist library services, and careers advice are just some of the advantages you can expect. With all the amenities you need in one place, including excellent sporting and entertainment facilities and easy transport links to London and elsewhere, WBS is an ideal base for your research. We look forward to welcoming you to our Doctoral Programme. Professor Andrew Sturdy Associate Dean (Doctoral Programme) 2 | Warwick Business School
  3. 3. | 3
  4. 4. I came to study at WBS for a PhD in 1996. For me it was the obvious place to choose because of its reputation and position in the rankings. Of course I also had a supervisor whose research interests coincided with my own. I was impressed by the resources such as the access to so many books and journals, and having an office to share with other PhD students, but the thing that stood out most for me was the sense of being part of a PhD community. The environment plus the number and quality of the students here enables us to learn from one another. It was competitive but in a healthy sense as, in trying to outperform each other, it pushed us to achieve our best. We made the most of the opportunity to compare our work, broaden our understanding and take advantage of the diverse knowledge represented across the different years and groups. WBS also provided the basis for scholarly collaboration and a lifelong network of friends and colleagues whose career development and success we are able to feed off and support. I left WBS to take up a lectureship at the University of Aberdeen before moving to the University of Nottingham where I was later promoted to Senior Lecturer. I was attracted to return to WBS in March 2007 by the variety and scale of the work that is possible here as well as the strong links with industry. In comparison to some other institutions I also feel that I am able to contribute more directly to decision making and it is a pleasure to work with the high calibre students that WBS attracts. Dr Jimmy Huang Reader in Information Systems 4 | Warwick Business School
  5. 5. Our subject strengths Our faculty is made up of around 180 academic Enterprise Teaching Marketing & Strategic Management staff who belong to a subject group, research Focusing on enterprise and entrepreneurship, Informed by a multidisciplinary approach, our centre, or research unit, sometimes working across research interests include: research interests are concerned with marketing more than one. As a doctoral researcher at WBS and/or strategic management, and include: h SME finance you will be fully integrated into the subject group h public policy towards SMEs h decision making, positioning, processes, to which you are attached, and where you will modelling risk and performance, new have the opportunity to contribute to research h enterprise culture organisational forms, policy and corporate and, in many cases, teaching activities. This not h small businesses and fast growth SMEs. governance only connects you with others who share similar Members of the group also belong to the Centre for h consumer behaviour or related research interests, but provides the best Small & Medium Sized Enterprises. h market entry, market planning, methodological possible foundation for your professional future. and managerial issues in market segmentation, Industrial Relations Subject groups market structures, global retail, and service & Organisational Behaviour WBS is divided into subject groups, each with a marketing A critical social science perspective informs our specific focus. We also have research centres and research in the areas of: h adoption, change and diffusion of technologies. special interest groups which often span disciplines and operate on national and international h industrial relations Operations Management levels. Subject groups have their own web pages, h human resource management Research activities focus on the design, planning, where you can find out much more about their h organisational analysis control and improvement of operations in the teaching and research, including topics where PhD manufacturing, service, private, and public sectors h organisational behaviour. applications are especially welcome. including: Members of this group are active within various W h lean thinking and continuous improvement professional and practitioner organisations W h service excellence including: the Industrial Relations Research Unit; Accounting the Innovation, Knowledge & Organisational h supply chain management Research is informed by two major perspectives: Networks Research Unit; and Warwick h performance measurement a critical interpretive perspective which seeks to Organisational Theory Network. h health service excellence. understand the role of accounting in management Information Systems & Management Operational Research & Management Sciences practice, and a capital market perspective which Our information systems research focuses on the Research focuses on the practical application evaluates the relevance of accounting for valuation theoretical and application-oriented issues facing of operational research investigating how OR and decision making purposes. Research interests the adoption and diffusion of ICT in the private and methods can be used to improve real world include: public sectors. We seek to improve understanding problem situations, as well as in strengthening h financial accounting, reporting, and statement of how ICT impacts on people and organisations. its theoretical basis in model and methodology analysis Research interests include: development in: h management accounting h IS strategy, development and project h practice of OR h auditing taxation management h improving OR performance within organisations h accounting education and professionalisation. h IT governance such as the health service, electricity and finance h global software development and offshore industries Finance outsourcing h OR strategy. Research activities span the broad area of money and markets, specifically: h business transformation and complexity h applications of specific technologies Public Management & Policy h corporate finance This group brings together expertise in research h IS in small and medium enterprises. h international finance including linear and and teaching in the area of: nonlinear modelling of exchange rate The group shares an interest in knowledge h public sector management and policy movements, and work on foreign exchange management and social theory with the Innovation, market microstructure Knowledge & Organisational Networks Research h public services. h financial markets and options. Unit. The group forms the teaching unit of the Institute of Governance & Public Management (IGPM). Members of the group are involved in the Research Boards and Education Faculties of the ESRC, the Warwick Finance Research Institute, and leading professional institutes. | 5
  6. 6. Basically there are two ways of choosing your supervisor. The first is the ‘you finding the supervisor’ approach. You have a rough idea and know what you are interested in but are not exactly sure what topic you are going to do. On the web site you search through the faculty and find the area that you are interested in, and then you can contact potential supervisors and discuss possible projects you can work on together. In that way you can find out exactly what the supervisor wants. The second is the ‘supervisor finding you’ approach. If you know specifically what you are going to do, then you just go through the normal process; you write your research proposal, fill in an application form and send it in to WBS. The admissions secretary will pass on the information to the relevant group and they will read your ideas to see whether they are interested in having you as a student. Both approaches can work depending on whether you know exactly what you want to do or not. But the first is much more likely to achieve a good match. Remember, you will have to work closely with your supervisor for a number of years and they will have to work with you! Xuhui Yang current doctoral researcher, Marketing & Strategic Management group 6 | Warwick Business School
  7. 7. I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, Consultant and Finding a supervisor Academic. I have operated as Strategic Adviser to Governments and Chief Executives and held Head of Finance and Resources positions. I thought I knew it all, but the faculty inspire insight and facilitate foresight unlike any other experience, training or qualification that I have Now that you have an idea Achieving a good match undertaken. of the range of broad subject Getting a good match between you and your areas we offer, the critical supervisor is essential. Take some time to browse Laurence Ferry step in your application is our online expertise directory and explore the current doctoral researcher, identifying the member or sections relating to our faculty’s and subject Accounting group members of WBS faculty groups’ research interests and academic expertise. whose research interests This will help you decide whether the research correspond with your interests of our staff match your ideas. We strongly intended research topic. You encourage you to discuss your research ideas will need to choose at least one with one or more prospective supervisors before supervisor who is a specialist applying. in your chosen field. A second You might also find it helpful to browse details of supervisor may also be research projects currently being undertaken by involved at this stage or will be our doctoral researchers on our web site. appointed towards the end of your first year of study with us. W W The majority of our established faculty supervise Get to know their work doctoral research and all When you have identified a prospective supervisor are actively involved in for your research, we strongly advise you to research, publishing in read some of their publications to gain a better leading international journals, understanding of their research interests. This will and working with research enable you to decide whether you need to refine boards, private and public your research idea to ensure a match, or whether to sector organisations, and search for a different supervisor. professional institutions. If your chosen supervisor is unable to supervise your research, you may be advised to choose another person, or to defer your entry in order to work with them at a later date. | 7
  8. 8. The shape of our Doctoral Programme Structure Year one: research training programme Other training You will usually be attached to a specific subject Designed and delivered by staff with a high degree You may have the opportunity to follow some group or research centre. Some of our doctoral of expertise in research methodologies, and taught postgraduate modules from our Specialist researchers have an affiliation with more than one complying with the Economic and Social Research Masters Portfolio. group if their research area is cross-disciplinary. If Council’s requirements, our research training will w your specialism is finance, you should consider our enable you to develop many skills as a researcher PhD in Finance, detailed on page 11. in social sciences, not just those you will need to You will also be encouraged to take up the complete your thesis. wide range of personal and professional skills Doing a PhD is a serious undertaking. The development opportunities offered by the minimum registration period for our Doctoral You will undertake four compulsory core modules University. We work closely with other University Programme is three years full-time. You will which are delivered through a combination of departments including the Careers Service to register initially for the degree of MPhil. When you weekly lectures, seminars, and day schools. A deliver training specifically tailored to meet the successfully complete the compulsory research structured feedback process throughout the needs of our doctoral researchers. If you become training in the first year and present a satisfactory year ensures that modules can be fine-tuned if involved in teaching, an introductory training research proposal to the Upgrading Panel, your necessary and any specific needs or gaps in content course is compulsory and you will be supported by registration will be upgraded from MPhil to PhD at can be addressed. teaching staff in the relevant subject group. the end of your first year. Core modules Sharing your research The requirement for the PhD is a thesis of around Three modules are assessed through coursework. 80,000 words which you will produce under the There will be many opportunities available to you In order to upgrade from MPhil to PhD you must guidance of your supervisor. The degree of PhD is for networking and disseminating your research. pass the coursework requirements of two of awarded solely on the basis of this thesis and an In addition to events organised by our Doctoral these: Philosophy of the Social Sciences and either oral examination or viva voce, the main criterion for Programme team and WBS, research seminars Qualitative or Quantitative Research Methods. the award being that the thesis makes a significant organised by your subject group will offer you contribution to knowledge. Philosophy of the Social Sciences the nature of the chance to exchange ideas and present your social science, issues of theory construction and research. As a member of your subject group you All full-time researchers are required to submit problem formulation, and paradigms of social will have the facility to create your own web pages. their thesis within four years from the start of their enquiry and explanation. registration. Part-time PhD students must finish You will also benefit from a conference allowance within six years. Qualitative Research Methods fieldwork access, to attend conferences and make high level observation, interviewing, documentary analysis, presentations of your research to different Supervision and case studies. audiences. In designing and undertaking your research project, Quantitative Research Methods the use of you will be advised by one or two supervisors with descriptive and inferential statistics, sampling, appropriate research expertise and interests. Your multivariate analysis, and statistical packages like main supervisor will be nominated when you are I definitely benefited from the SPSS. offered a place on our Doctoral Programme; a research training. It provided me second supervisor may also be appointed at this A final core module is not assessed, but is a key part with an introduction to various stage, but certainly will be by the end of your first of your research training at WBS: philosophies, because in my year of study. particular area, organisation Research Planning and Management Skills studies, there are different It is your supervisor’s task to guide your work and covers all skills relevant to thesis preparation, standpoints and ways that you you can expect your learning relationship with conference presentations, journal submissions, can look at things. them to change over time. Early on they may help and your future career. to give shape to your thesis, direct you to certain We got an introduction to these texts, suggest that you consider other alternatives, Years two & three and to the methodologies which and steer your plans in a certain way. Later, when After year one you will be encouraged to can be used to explore things from the focus and direction of your thesis has been attend a continuing programme of training and a philosophical standpoint. I did established, your supervisions may well take the development events according to your specific receive invitations to research form of a dialogue in which you discuss particular needs including more advanced and specialised methods events outside Warwick problems or issues that concern you. As you research methods, research planning, and careers from the ESRC, who are were develop more autonomy in your work it is quite and professional skills development workshops. funding me, but our seminars here common for you to determine the pattern of your were so good that I tended not to supervisions with your supervisor monitoring your go to these others! progress. Dr Diane Skinner PhD (Warwick) 8 | Warwick Business School
  9. 9. Being a doctoral researcher at WBS is a great experience. My supervisors are top researchers in the field and are committed to helping me shape my ideas, enhance my research capabilities, and build my confidence. I also have many opportunities for intellectual exchange with great minds from all over the world. Hazel Huang current doctoral researcher, Marketing & Strategic Management group | 9
  10. 10. Three areas of the WBS Doctoral programme stand out: supervision, colleagues, and community. The supervision process is very important for a young researcher, because it forms the backbone of the way one conducts research in the future. I meet my supervisor regularly to discuss work, and our collaboration on research is ongoing. I am very content with the degree and ease of interaction with the staff in the Finance group and the fact that I feel free to knock on anyone’s door for a chat or for some help, if needed. Life at WBS is dynamic and very enjoyable, not only within the doctoral and research community, but the University community as a whole. The international community is very large, which brings a lot of diversity to the events organised. Gino Cenedese current researcher on our Doctoral Programme in Finance 10 | Warwick Business School
  11. 11. Given the specific quantitative skills needed in finance, the PhD in Finance research training provided for finance students is different to that of the rest of the Doctoral Programme. The Finance group offers training in essential topics in the finance area. Furthermore, as part of the training programme, the Finance group organises weekly seminars and workshops. PhD students and staff members Course structure Core modules attend the workshops series, so we Our PhD in Finance has a minimum registration Three modules are assessed through coursework all have the opportunity to share period of three years full-time. Initially you will and final examination: our work, learn presentation skills, register for the degree of MPhil. On successful and get the necessary feedback Theory of Finance asset pricing, corporate finance, completion of the research training programme on our work. External researchers and derivative securities. and presentation of a satisfactory research present their current work in the proposal your registration will be upgraded from Quantitative Methods in Finance financial seminar series, which provides us MPhil to PhD status. You will then complete a econometrics and quantitative techniques. with knowledge at the forefront thesis of around 80,000 words, under the guidance Frontiers of Research in Finance latest research in of research on many topics. of your supervisor. the fields of international finance, investments and All this training put together The degree of PhD is awarded solely on the basis portfolio management, asset pricing, behavioural provides a coherent and thorough of this thesis, the criterion for the award being finance, corporate finance, derivatives, and preparation for good research. that the thesis makes a significant contribution to microstructure of markets. Elvira Sojli knowledge. There are two further core modules: current doctoral researcher, As a doctoral researcher within the Finance group Finance group Methodology of Social Science designed to you will have the opportunity to participate in enable you to understand the philosophy and the group’s weekly internal and external research paradigms which underlie research in finance seminars and there is a generous conference within the wider context of the physical and social allowance available to assist you in attending sciences. Assessed by coursework. conferences and presenting your research. Planning and Managing Research focuses on Supervision issues such as research process and design, coping In designing and undertaking your research project, with conferences, getting published, and writing you will be advised by one or two supervisors with skills for researchers. Non-assessed. appropriate research expertise and interests. Your main supervisor will be provisionally nominated Elective modules when you are offered a place; a second supervisor You will also be required to complete two modules is normally chosen towards the end of the first year selected from one of the WBS finance-related of study. For further insights into the supervision Masters or the PhD in Economics programme at process see page 8. Warwick. W Year one: research training programme W The taught courses in the first year will provide structured and high level post-masters training Years two & three in theoretical and empirical research methods in You will be encouraged to undertake additional finance. These are compulsory for all researchers training in year two and beyond to broaden your registered for the degree. You must pass all the understanding of social science research as well assessed modules in order to upgrade to PhD. as research in the finance area. In particular, you The modules will be delivered mainly through will be encouraged to take the Philosophy of lectures and seminars with additional workshops Social Sciences and Qualitative Research Methods and day schools as required. modules from the main WBS Doctoral Programme, attend research seminars and benefit from a range of other courses to improve your personal and professional skills throughout your period of study. See page 8 for details. | 11
  12. 12. Research at WBS In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2001), WBS was one of only three UK business schools to achieve the highest 5* rating, only awarded for research of international excellence. Our research influences the academic, business, and policy communities and underpins all our teaching. This research-led ethos is driven by the motivation of our faculty and doctoral researchers to develop new ideas, as well as challenge existing thinking through their contributions to key debates. We do not set research agendas for individuals or groups, nor do we promote a particular methodology or approach. Rather, through our positive research culture, the range of disciplines and approaches, and strong links with collaboration across our industry, trade unions, and faculty and with other leading governments, we provide an experts around the world. environment in which all our With one of the largest and researchers can flourish. highest ranked doctoral We also lead by example. programmes in Europe, we Enthusiasm for individual are proud of our leading research is championed by our role in developing the next most senior staff, especially generation of researchers. our Dean, Howard Thomas, Join us and you will be an who continues to publish integral part of the WBS leading research on strategic research community; not management issues. a student so much as an academic colleague in Our research output can be training. In addition to the seen in the 600 to 700 works, excellent support and facilities ranging from books and we provide, we are fully research articles to conference committed to helping you proceedings, that we publish fulfil your research potential. each year. These result from individual and team research, Professor David Storey, including cross-subject Associate Dean (Research) 12 | Warwick Business School
  13. 13. The practice of corporate governance: an accounting perspective Thomas Ahrens describes the context, ‘After two to overcome distinctions between explanations that decades of corporate governance debates and focus either on agents or structures – rather than report after report on how to improve the practice ask whether the actions of people cause things of corporate governance (eg Cadbury, Greenbury, or if people are at the mercy of social and other Hampel, Turnbull, Higgs, etc) we are still facing structures, we want to explain the functioning of an unending stream of corporate scandals. Why? corporate governance as a joint outcome of choice, Because Enron and Worldcom demonstrated that action and circumstances.’ rules without principles are not effective. In the UK, Recent research into the effectiveness of audit scandals during the early 1990s such as Polly Peck, committees and communication between boards BCCI, and Barings showed that abstract principles and shareholders has shown it is possible to need the support of practical understandings. conduct such interactions in ways that generate These are complexes of know-how that do not arise new benefits for firms. Subtle communications from principles or rules, and cannot be imposed by with audit committee members can diffuse cases Professor Thomas Ahrens regulators, but emerge over time through practice of internal fraud or misuse of resources before they (pictured) and Dr Rihab because the knowledge of how to do something lead to a showdown at the Board. Communication Khalifa of the Accounting well depends on experience; it requires sustained with shareholders and investors can strengthen the group are conducting a work in a particular field. This research is concerned Board’s strategic thinking and help to implement research project on corporate with discovering how such understandings can be strategic initiatives throughout the company. Rihab governance together with recognised and understood so that they may become points out, ‘Practice theory suggests that a key Professor Chris Chapman of part of the general practice of corporate governance challenge to implementing improvements within Imperial College. Conceived and its regulation.’ corporate governance lies within companies’ failure as a pilot project at this Attempting reform in the area of corporate to realise the potential benefits. Organisational stage, it will build upon governance is not without its challenges. Individual members’ ability to use corporate governance on a well-established body incentives and economic and regulatory frameworks requirements to enhance management strategy of accounting research impose limitations and unlike audit, for example, requires what we call ‘practical understanding of the concerned with questions corporate governance has no champion or corporate governance debate.’ We are seeking to do of accountability, audit, professional group of experts. Similarly, though this by asking why practical understandings should and governance, and will it holds implications for everyone from directors become part of the corporate governance debate, determine the scale of a larger to shareholders, ultimate responsibility remains how it has been possible to have omitted them thus study to come. unclear. In addition, whilst corporate governance far, and what the benefits of articulating those reports articulate rules of good governance and understandings as part of the process of regulating generate codes of practice, corporate governance corporate governance are?’ is perceived as mandatory regulation; companies As well as publishing the research findings, know they must comply but they have not fully Rihab hopes to set up a seminar that will bring grasped its potential benefits. practitioners and academics together. She says, The significance of this research lies in its ‘Depending on the scope of the full-scale project, implications for the vast ambitions that are tied there may be other opportunities to disseminate the to corporate governance. Corporate governance findings and ensure that practical understandings reports have focused on shareholder value through are incorporated into the regulation of corporate transparency and accountability; firms should use governance.’ shareholder capital in the most efficient manner The project is also conceptually similar to the thereby leading to an optimal allocation of resources projects of a number of doctoral researchers who are in the economy. An even grander ambition, that exploring accountability relationships in various has been difficult to put into practice, is to make empirical settings and industry sectors. Rihab business responsive to a wide range of stakeholders adds, ‘Within the Accounting group my role as the from employees to the environment! Corporate Doctoral Programme Committee Chair is also to governance is set to become the cornerstone of help integrate our PhD students – there is no doubt ethical business. that this degree of shared focus on accountability The project will identify the extent to which helps to ensure that their work is fully recognised research at WBS these ambitions are practical and perhaps even within the group’s research agenda. We are looking counterproductive. Rihab explains, ‘By using forward to welcoming new doctoral researchers to practice theory – a strand of social theory that seeks the group.’ | 13
  14. 14. Alternative media: redefining news and organisation While investigating public broadcasting André A non-corporate alternative had observed the groundswell of alternative media Many commentators have noted that today’s media networks and activism on the Internet and, as is increasingly dominated by corporate behemoths emerging phenomena, they seemed subjects ripe like CNN and News Corporation. Alternative for further investigation. In 2005, together with media organisations have set up models of making colleagues Steffen Bohm of the University of Essex and distributing news that reject this corporate and Sian Sullivan from the University of East Anglia, control. By developing a space for user-generated he was awarded £45,000 from the ESRC’s ‘non content, alternative media has been able to reject government public action programme’ to further the restrictive editorial policies of corporate media. investigate the alternative media sector. This means that journalists disseminate some of The focus of the project is a variety of open source the more controversial material to audiences which web-based news site which has spread rapidly CNN or the BBC would never touch. Alternative Shared values and around the globe. The content of these sites is media organisations have also developed radical collaboration might seem often created through a system of open publishing new ways of organising the production of media the ideal ingredients for by which ‘anyone’ can upload a report (written, content. They have built online communities who organisational harmony audio, or video) directly to the site through ‘an work in a democratic, bottom-up fashion. This but in an ongoing research openly accessible web interface.’ As with other means that people are not restricted by the scripts, project into the alternative sites which depend on user-generated content, the hierarchies, and contracts that rule the world of media sector, funded by the guiding philosophy is that site users are no longer mainstream media. Economic and Social Research passive receivers of information mediated by media In many ways, the alternative media sector has been Council (ESRC), Dr André corporations but active producers of meaning, well ahead of the game. André says, ‘Alternative Spicer, Associate Professor able to express their opinions and exercise their media organisations invented things like blogs, in Industrial Relations and freedom of speech directly, and without fear of user-generated content, and online communities. Organisational Behaviour recrimination. They developed ways of harnessing the voice of (IROB), suggests that the The team are specifically looking at web-based people online and enabled them to put their own reverse may be true. alternative media throughout the world. André view across. It is only now that large corporates explains, ‘The objectives of the study are twofold. like News Corporation and Google are catching Firstly, it is an examination of a popular uprising of up. Social web sites like MySpace and YouTube people who want to contest the status quo; how is now try to copy the models initially invented by it organised? What is its structure? How does such alternative media movements such as Indymedia. an organisation sustain itself? Secondly, it implies a The problem is that the main objective of these critique of what management corporations do. Can so-called Web 2.0 initiatives is to commercialise alternative media organisation offer alternative the Internet by targeting a huge amount of online ways of organising? How does a structure shaped advertising to a lucrative group of users. Alternative by shared ideologies and identities impact on the media movements are non-commercial; they see the organisation? What kind of culture or economy Internet not as just another cash cow, but as a way emerges in an organisation which operates on to give millions of people a voice to campaign for a values based on commitment and respect? As a better, more equitable world.’ virtual organisation how does the lack of a physical In their study the researchers’ starting point was space impact on its operation?’ that alternative media plays an important political The project has been extended but the initial role as it challenges the ideological structuring of findings are already proving interesting: mainstream media, and gives political activists access to a publishing platform that they would not otherwise have. However, what André found was a variety of complexities and oddities that often make it difficult for alternative media collectives to organise effectively. 14 | Warwick Business School
  15. 15. An open closed shop; Low personnel but high personal costs More about research at WBS no entry to the uninitiated Alternative media is often driven by people who This article was first published as a feature on the André describes how the participants typically share common passions but this too can present WBS web site. You will find more articles on current take a user identity which is different to their real challenges. ‘It’s very intense and because their research in our online press centre. name. Questions of identity start to emerge from identity is bound up in what they do, it has a high W this. ‘This difference between the online and impact on their lives. People are brought together by offline presence raises lots of issues,’ says André. a sense of kinship and personal commitment and ‘Who is in? Who’s out? Are you an activist or not? devote enormous and unpaid amounts of time and Although users/members apparently share an ethos passion to what they do. This is hard to sustain over of activism there is no specific definition of what time and they often suffer from burn-out or end activism is.’ While alternative media collectives up feeling disillusioned. Since it’s informal, when are often explicitly open for everyone to join and things go wrong there are no external rules you can contribute, in reality they are sometimes rather appeal to or formal structure to keep it together – closed entities ruled by identity politics involving things start to break down.’ This is sometimes called specific dress codes and languages. Thus there is an ‘activist burn-out’, which may be seen in many ongoing challenge for alternative media to recruit radical political movements. That said, corporate newcomers to their groups and keep themselves environments are not immune to the phenomenon open to new ideas and people who might not share of burn-out as there is frequently little opportunity their political convictions. to take a step back or even leave the organisation. Agile in theory but slow in practice Calm at the eye of the storm Typical of many such organisations structured Throughout their research the team have observed around shared values and commitment to a in particular how the practice and ideology of common purpose, the alternative media collectives openness sometimes gives way as the community often explicitly reject standard organisational turns in on itself. This sometimes leads to atrophy tools. This is positive because it means they can and the result is reduced opportunities for protest. develop output quickly. There is a greater degree Contrary to expectations, the dynamism one might of spontaneity, willingness to take risks, and expect to find at the centre of such networks shifts; immediacy in their ability to respond to breaking the centre spins off clusters of people who become news. However, André points out, ‘The irony is that dissatisfied and want to set up new ventures. These there is much time spent in talking about how they are often more dynamic, more interesting, and able will plan and organise things. The need to arrive at to move very rapidly. decisions by consensus can slow things down and André concludes, ‘Alternative media organisations ultimately counteract their potential to be flexible do amazing things. They have produced some of and respond quickly.’ Nevertheless, the benefit of the most interesting and daring news coverage grassroots consensus decision making is that each available. In an increasingly concentrated media member has the opportunity to participate in the landscape they are vital in ensuring that the truth structuring of the organisation. In corporations gets out there. They have produced some alternative the discourse of empowerment has existed for a ways of organising news media based on principles long time but what one sees, however, is that there of cooperation and participation. But to continue to is often an illusion of participation; employees are make these vital contributions they must be aware given the impression of participation, openness of the dangers of turning in on themselves.’ and empowerment, while the real decisions are still made at the top. In contrast, alternative media movements try to implement radical grassroots organisational processes that involve everyone. research at WBS | 15
  16. 16. An evolutionary perspective on knowledge management in practice What interested you about knowledge I decided to approach five consultancies and look management as a subject of research? at high, medium, and low performing project Knowledge is seen as the key to improved teams in each to find out if different companies do business performance. Consequently, knowledge things differently and if so, why? I also wanted to management has become an increasingly know whether high performing teams employed fashionable topic. There is a commonly held different knowledge management practices to low perception that knowledge is a good whose value can performing teams. Essentially, I was interested in be extracted and shared with little or no marginal understanding ‘What are the explicit and emergent cost. When you consider that companies currently knowledge management practices? and, ‘Under spend around 3.5 percent of their total revenue what conditions do they, or don’t they work?’ on knowledge management programmes, it’s not hard to see the value they attach to it. However, Where does your study fit in relation to existing knowledge management has become a much theories on knowledge management? Taman Powell came to study abused term and frequently companies implement There are a number of challenges related to the for a PhD at WBS with over knowledge management initiatives with little study of knowledge and knowledge management. ten years’ experience in success or understanding of why they then failed to Over the centuries, the term knowledge itself has corporate business and has achieve the desired results. The idea that knowledge presented a challenge for theorists seeking to define been awarded the Bentley management can exert such a positive influence on and describe it empirically. I decided to look at it College/HEC Outstanding a company’s performance is very appealing and I from two perspectives; as a tacit and explicit asset Student Paper Award by the was interested in exploring this disconnect between and as an individual and social entity. This offers Academy of Management. ideals and realisation. four different types of knowledge whereas typically Taman receives support for knowledge is described as being of only one kind. his research from the ESRC. Why did you decide to focus your research Tacit knowledge is hard to articulate. For example, Now in his final year, he offers on management consultancies? many of us are able to ride a bike but remain unable an insight into knowledge Having previously worked at a senior level for to explain how we do this. Explicit knowledge, on management in practice Accenture, management consultancies presented the other hand, can be expressed and transferred in in the field of management the ‘classic’ subject for a research project of this kind. formal language. consulting. Their work is viewed as being highly knowledge intensive and consequently they are seen as being From a social perspective, whether organisations at the forefront of knowledge management practices. have knowledge, or whether this is simply the Management consultancies are also frequently application of human qualities to non-human tasked with implementing knowledge management entities, has been the subject of much debate. initiatives for their clients. However, while an organisation cannot create knowledge without individuals, as Brown and The rhetoric of knowledge management is highly Duguid point out, ‘a great deal of knowledge is both compelling as it offers companies a means of produced and held collectively.’ Many theorists controlling knowledge that can be standardised and have contributed to this social perspective arguing managed, thereby enabling everyone to have access that knowledge is distributed throughout the to the ‘best’ knowledge. Often the result is more organisation’s members as well as being embedded an information management than a knowledge in its routines and culture. Spender (1996) adds this management system. All too often companies social perspective to the explicit/tacit knowledge express frustration at employees’ apparent non- typology (Polanyi, 1958, Nonaka, 1991) to develop a compliance and when things go wrong criticisms model including four distinct types of knowledge. are aimed at the implementation. My sense was that this is connected to a deeper set of issues concerning the fundamental concept of knowledge and the underlying assumptions behind such knowledge management practices. 16 | Warwick Business School
  17. 17. Can you outline some of your key findings? Similarly, the identification of a significant Explicit conscious objectified My research so far would suggest that organisations disconnect between firm-level and project-level transition through various approaches of knowledge practices suggests that firm-level practices need to be Tacit automatic collective management. Different approaches are often realigned to take into account how work is actually dependent on size and, whilst initial approaches may performed. In doing so, we need to escape from the Individual Social be quite naïve, organisations’ formal approaches to mindset that IT is the panacea for the challenges knowledge management can be seen to evolve over posed by knowledge management Figure 1 The different types of organisational time as they practice and learn through experience. All of this points to the need for a broadening of knowledge (adapted from Spender 1996) Most organisations start with a codification knowledge management tools and techniques to approach but after a time they shift their focus to In this model conscious knowledge (individual cover a more complete perspective of knowledge. the personalisation strategy. I hypothesised that explicit) is found to be easily transferable (though The majority of formal approaches deal with the the personalisation strategy would be succeeded may be internalised differently by different exploitation of explicit knowledge and, whilst there by attempts to formalise a social network in order communities) whilst it is not possible to articulate is an evolution of practice under way, there is still a to foster effective knowledge management. automatic knowledge (individual tacit). Automatic long way to go before we have an effective model of knowledge is required for action, whilst conscious However, when I looked at project teams, it was how to manage knowledge in organisations. knowledge represents the sense-making associated apparent that an organisation’s formal approach to with that activity; for example, the difference knowledge management had next to no impact on between having a recipe and understanding the how people on the ground conducted knowledge References cooking methods it requires. Objectified knowledge management. Project team members employ Brown J S & Duguid P (1998) Organising (social explicit), while easily transferable, is emergent knowledge approaches. Their first Knowledge. California Management Review, dependent upon the rules that legitimised it, and instinct was to seek knowledge from trusted sources, 40(3), 90–111 on collective knowledge (social tacit) to interpret ie friends or colleagues, rather than from strangers Hansen M T, Nohria N & Tierney T it. Though academic in theory, this is significant or a database. When you are seeking something you (1999) What’s Your Strategy for Managing as each suggests a different approach to creation, do not know much about, it’s hard to know what Knowledge? Harvard Business Review, 77(2), transfer, learning, and use. ‘knowledge’ exists and therefore difficult to evaluate 106–16 the quality of that knowledge. Added to that, most In terms of knowledge management, Nonaka (1994) Nonaka I (1991) The Knowledge-Creating project teams already possess a significant amount proposed a model of knowledge conversion based on Company. Harvard Business Review, 69(6), of knowledge and expertise so by appealing to ‘an assumption that knowledge is created through 96–104 their ‘community of practice’ it is easily shared and conversion between tacit and explicit knowledge’. communicated. These outcomes beg the question Nonaka I (1994) A Dynamic Theory of Hansen et al (1999) argued that organisations whether organisations are wasting their resources Organisational Knowledge Creation. either follow a knowledge management strategy of focussing such a high percent of them on the Organization Science, 5(1), 14–37 codification (when knowledge is ‘carefully codified codification approach to knowledge management. and stored in databases, where it can be accessed Polanyi M (1958) Personal Knowledge. Chicago: and used easily by anyone in the company’) or The University of Chicago Press. What are the implications of this personalisation (when ‘knowledge is closely tied to for knowledge management practice? Spender J C (1996) Organizational Knowledge, the person who developed it and is shared mainly Overall I would say my research suggests that the way Learning and Memory: Three Concepts in through person-to-person contacts. The chief we are managing knowledge needs to be readjusted. Search of a Theory. Journal of Organizational purpose of computers at such companies is to help My research does not support the extant views of Change Management, 9(1), 63-79 people communicate knowledge, not to store it.’) knowledge which define it as static and endorse From these theories it is clear that organisations rely a selection of approaches based on firm-level on different types of knowledge and therefore need characteristics. There is a call for the identification to focus their knowledge management efforts on of an evolutionary perspective of knowledge either the codification or personalisation strategy. management. In terms of practice, the next stage In my research I wanted to investigate how these would be an attempt to facilitate and leverage approaches changed over time, effectively adopting the emergent knowledge management practices an evolutionary perspective, as well as how the that take place in all organisations. However, this explicit knowledge management practices impacted poses greater challenges for management as the the activities of consulting team personnel, actions required, and the outcome expected, from effectively adopting a practice perspective. facilitating these emergent practices is less clear research at WBS than with codification and personalisation. | 17
  18. 18. Small, satisfying but not all that beautiful: employee commitment and the small firm Small firms, employing fewer than 250 employees, There were three key findings, the first being that account for about 60 percent of employment in there is a genuine size effect which, other things most modern economies. The situation of workers in being equal, tends to promote employee satisfaction these firms has attracted a less than commensurate at work. Secondly, the effect works differently in interest among researchers. different sectors. Lastly, satisfaction does not mean harmony or shared interests between managers and A limited but important line of debate has been workers. characterised by three positions: h ‘Small is beautiful’ close working relationships Size and ‘morale’ and the absence of bureaucracy generate The WERS analysis addressed an index of ‘employee harmony needs’, made up of employee reports on 22 items including satisfaction with pay and views of how h Autocracy small firms often pay low wages fairly managers treated workers. Even after allowing and operate in competitive markets, leading to Professor Paul Edwards, for a wide range of factors embracing employees’ autocracy in the workplace Sukanya Sen Gupta, and individual characteristics, such as age and education, Chin-Ju Tsai of the Industrial h Contingency small firms are shaped by their and those of their workplaces, including sector and a Relations Research Unit market situations, and little if anything of their set of HR practices, the index showed a more positive (IRRU), report on how workplace relations depend on size alone. picture the smaller the size of the firm. pragmatism may have a greater Though the third is an advance on the first two, it The more detailed study of 89 firms supported this role to play than unerring leaves open the question of just what it is about the result. Though the three sectors were deliberately loyalty amongst employees of market that leads to certain workplace relationships chosen to be very different, on several key indicators small firms. rather than others. And in extreme form it denies such as employee attitudes to management and that enterprise size plays any role at all. satisfaction with job autonomy there was remarkable New research we have conducted under the ESRC/ similarity across all the firms. EPSRC Advanced Institute of Management Research Interviews with managers and some of the (AIM) programme, has moved beyond these employees in the Warwick sample, together with stereotypical positions. It is based on two sources. more in-depth investigation in six firms, suggested Firstly, our primary research has addressed a key reason for the result. Workers and managers employment relations in 89 firms, in 32 of which work alongside each other, and the level of effort data on employee attitudes were collected (with a expended by managers is visible to workers. As we total sample of 384 employees). These firms were will see, this does not mean that there is a sense chosen to offer as specific a view as possible of of harmony. However, it does mean that there is distinctive types of small firm. With one exception, awareness of a shared endeavour. the firms had fewer than 100 employees. They also came from three tightly defined sectors: ICT, media and TV production, and food manufacturing. The second source was the authoritative 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS) into the size of firm and employee attitudes – a collaborative work embracing WBS colleagues David Storey and George Saridakis from the Centre for Small & Medium-sized Enterprises, and Robert Blackburn of Kingston University. The survey has data on over 600 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 4,000 of their employees. 18 | Warwick Business School
  19. 19. Wage-effort bargains and the sectoral context Satisfaction but not harmony This generic tendency within small firms was Some images of the small firm suggest wholly shaped by two factors. The first is the overall common interests as reflected, for example, in market situation of the firm. The firms studied the sharing of rewards and of risk. Even in the two had established niches in their markets which professional sectors, these images were inaccurate. meant that rewards were felt to be reasonable. For Any kind of profit sharing was extremely rare. Most those adopting an ‘autocracy’ perspective, such firms paid basic salaries, sometimes with a bonus a position might be written off as unusual. But at the end of the year. Such bonuses were rare, the WERS evidence shows that small firms often and their size and distribution was entirely in the have considerable longevity and also that market hands of managers. Other aspects of reward were conditions as a whole are not worse than those also subject to management discretion. Generally, facing large firms. fringe benefits such as sick pay were absent, but valued employees might be allowed some paid time Indeed a minority of small firms are under intense off. Such choices were made by managers as they saw pressure. Other research conducted by Paul Edwards fit. Employees were treated not as equals but as staff and Monder Ram shows that wages here can be to be assessed. Performance in the two professional extremely low. It also examines the ways in which sectors was thus appraised in some detail, and even illegal employment is produced and reproduced some of the food firms had developed detailed among small firms. Even under such conditions, appraisal schemes. however, straight autocracy is rare, and there is, instead, a form of negotiated order based on Workers were plainly aware of these arrangements. family and often kinship ties. Shared misery and They made a clear distinction between themselves negotiation to make the best of a difficult situation and managers. They also recognised that promotion characterise such workplaces. Even under extreme opportunities were often limited, and could see conditions small firms are not characterised by the reasons for this, namely, the small size of the autocracy. Under more standard conditions, there is firms and the lack of space at the top. While they a degree of space within which a reasonable balance also valued the training that was available within of reward and effort can be struck. their current jobs, they could still see the realities of ownership and control. The second factor relating to the firms studied is the distinct balance of effort and reward. In the food In summary, workers in small firms are reasonably firms, for example, low wages were balanced by satisfied because of the benefits of informality and a largely undemanding pace of work and the fact the sectorally distinctive structure of the wage- that workers could find space to develop personal effort bargain. But they are constrained by their relationships. This was underpinned by the limited own skills in terms of the jobs that they can seek, degree of mechanisation, so that the anonymity of and satisfaction is in relation to what they can work in large and rationalised plants was absent. reasonably expect. It is not a reflection of deeper In media companies, by contrast, there was a contentment, still less a conscious choice of jobs. demanding work pace, and pay was not high for They also recognise a divide between them and professional staff; the benefits lay in the interest of their managers. Pragmatic acceptance, rather than the job and the distant prospect of media stardom. deep-seated loyalty, characterised their views of their jobs. For more information on this project, see the paper by Chin-Ju Tsai, Sukanya Sen Gupta and Paul Edwards, ‘When and Why is Small Beautiful?’ in Human Relations, December 2007. research at WBS | 19
  20. 20. At Warwick you’re part of a large community that encompasses several thousand staff and students and you do get a real sense of community here. I pursue a number of interests outside my PhD. I used to row competitively at university and I now coach the rowing team which I really enjoy. I’m also a member of the triathlon club and run exercise classes for them which is great. Warwick also gives you lots of other opportunities to network in other clubs and societies. One of the things that I love about it is the Arts Centre. I enjoy going to the theatre and there is always something interesting to go and see. I love the place! Nick Wake current doctoral researcher, Operations Management group 20 | Warwick Business School
  21. 21. Life at WBS Cosmopolitan & scenic environment Accommodation & amenities Library The University of Warwick campus is a spacious Some postgraduate halls of residence are available The University of Warwick library offers superior and attractive environment, with everything for 50 weeks of the year, some are available on facilities having recently had a £3.5 million pound you need on a single site. It is home to a vibrant, shorter lets. Most study bedrooms have en-suite refurbishment to house its collection of over international community providing you with a bathrooms, shared kitchen and lounge facilities, one million books. Extensive online resources stimulating and supportive setting for your studies. direct-line telephone points, and all have Internet including over 25,000 electronic journals and access. There are also some rooms and houses on databases, official publications, newspapers, The campus offers a vast array of entertainment campus that are suitable for students with partners inter-library loans and specialist collections for and there’s still plenty of space to relax in the quiet or families. business research make it easy for you to access the tranquillity of the Warwickshire countryside. We information you need. Specialist subject librarians offer a great balance between urban and rural life; Some students opt to become resident are available to support staff and researchers. you are close to the city whilst living in beautiful tutors providing them with campus based In addition the Modern Records Centre makes calm surroundings with lakes, meadows, and accommodation in return for taking on pastoral available primary sources of British political, social woods. London is just over an hour away by train responsibilities for the students in their residence. and economic history with particular reference to and you are 10 minutes from historic Coventry, and If you prefer to live off campus, the University labour history and industrial relations. around 20 minutes from Birmingham International can offer places in shared houses reserved for Airport, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Warwick. W postgraduates. These properties are located in W On campus there’s every conceivable service: nearby Coventry, Royal Leamington Spa, and supermarket, bars, cafes, restaurants, post office, Kenilworth. Leisure & entertainment hairdresser, launderette, banks, travel agency, and Whatever you decide, Warwick Accommodation Warwick Students’ Union is one of the biggest health centre – just some of the facilities which can help you find a place to live. in the UK and is the centre of campus social life. make it easy for you to deal with everyday life Spread over five floors, it features several bars, while concentrating on your studies. w restaurants and cafes as well as a welfare and w Study facilities advice centre, and several flexible spaces that At WBS we offer the majority of our full-time function as clubs, marketplaces, and gathering Aside from the range of cafes and restaurants doctoral researchers a dedicated desk and PC in points. available across the campus you will also have use of the WBS staff lounges and kitchen facilities a shared office with access to other office facilities w providing you with the opportunity to meet such as copiers, faxes, phones etc. With access other members of faculty and staff in relaxed to networked computer rooms, our part-time Culture surroundings. doctoral researchers are also able to make the most Another main cultural attraction of the campus is productive use of their visits to WBS. Our unique Warwick Arts Centre. With its concert hall, cinema, Sports online study environment, my.wbs, is specially two theatres, and art gallery, as well as a restaurant Superb provision is made for sports activities at designed to enable you to network and share and bar, it attracts some of the biggest names in the University. We have an Olympic standard resources with other students and staff and keep the arts including Peter Brook, Buena Vista Social floodlit athletics track and all-weather pitches up to date with all the WBS news. Our Information Club, Ray Davies, Russell Brand, Cheek by Jowl, supporting outdoor sports including football, Systems Support Unit are on hand to offer Bryn Terfel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Derren rugby, hockey, and cricket. There is also a 5km support with IT queries and a range of specialist Brown. ‘trim track’. Tennis players are well provided for programmes and applications is available through W with both outdoor and brand new indoor courts. the WBS systems network, as well as the usual The Sports Centre offers a 25m swimming pool, office software. squash courts, extensive weight training and fitness The University offers state-of-the-art language suites, regional-standard climbing centre, martial learning for over 15 languages at a range of levels. arts and table tennis facilities, a sauna, and three Computing facilities are equally excellent, with a multipurpose sports halls. There are also over 75 high speed connection to the Internet available sports clubs, from Aerobics to Zhuan Shukuan. in all study bedrooms on campus. There are Wi-Fi W hotspots provided by over 60 wireless access W points in a range of public and communal areas around the University and WBS. | 21