My PhD experience: Tahiru Liedong

Cranfield PhD Researcher, Tahiru Liedong talks about his research into business-government relationships and their impact on firm performance. Tahiru shares the reasons he came to Cranfield and his experience so far.

Cranfield PhD in Management

You might also be interested in: Government Affairs Research Club

The power of many at Liverpool Victoria

Daniel Connolly explains how Liverpool Victoria has been using peer to peer recommendations in the B2B space by integrating a review system across their product web pages. LV’s research has shown that harnessing the power of many in this way is driving sales and influencing brand perception.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

Developing Sustainable Diabetes Care Networks

World Diabetes Day

Project delivered in partnership with Diabetes UK
Supervisor:
Dr Colin Pilbeam

Networks of individuals and organizations are used increasingly to provide health and social care in the UK. They provide opportunities to focus resources on particularly significant and major health conditions, for example diabetes, cancer and stroke patients, combining relevant skills to deliver care more effectively.

However, networks vary considerably in their structural form and mode of governance and it remains unclear how contextual variation influences these two key characteristics of networks. Moreover, while we know that inter-personal trust, role complementarity, shared values and leadership all significantly contribute to the initiation and establishment of a network, we know little about how these influences change as the network develops or indeed whether they stimulate network change. Uncertainty also lies in the real benefit derived from networks; individual organizational not collective performance is measured. Greater effectiveness is assumed.

A number of research questions naturally arise from this:
1. How do differences in environmental context affect the choice of governance and the structural form of a network?
2. How do any of the internal factors (trust, leadership or shared values) affect the development and evolution of a network?
3. How is network performance measured? And how does performance change with time?
4. How do networks impact the local healthcare system?

In partnership with Diabetes UK, Cranfield School of Management is seeking a PhD student on either a full-time or part-time basis to investigate any of these potential research questions. The successful candidate will draw on existing research literature on networks generally and on health-care networks specifically to establish an appropriate conceptual framework before accessing with the support of Diabetes UK appropriate diabetes care networks to gather empirical data. The project has both academic and practical impact. In addition to a doctoral thesis and a number of academic publications, the project will help Diabetes UK develop appropriate tools and guides for developing sustainable networks to deliver care to a greater number of patients.

Please contact Dr Colin Pilbeam in the first instance.

Admission requirements:

  • a strong first degree (UK level 2.1 minimum)
  • please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Deadlines:

  • applications for scholarships – mid-April
  • self-funded applications – 15 July.

See website for full details
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Transformational Journey: Dr Alice Maynard CBE & Dr John Towriss

Dr Emma Parry, Director, International Executive Doctorate (DBA) and Reader in Human Resource Management welcomes a valuable contribution to this DBA webinar series by Dr Alice Maynard, DBA Alumna from our 2003 cohort. Alice’s research focused on the economic appraisal of transport projects and her supervision panel members were Dr John Towriss, Dr Richard Kwiatkowski and Dr Val Singh. Having graduated in 2008, Alice talks us through her research and DBA experience, sharing how it has contributed to her career so far. Dr John Towriss contributes from a faculty support perspective.

About Dr Alice Maynard:
Dr Alice Maynard’s work with the rail industry laid the foundations for the Department for Transport’s ‘Railways for All’, making rail travel much easier for disabled people. Her doctoral thesis at Cranfield uniquely demonstrated the economic value of inclusive station design. As a consultant she works with national transport bodies increasing inclusion through better governance practices.

Alice led the Board of Scope, the disability charity, in developing an ambitious strategy to deliver its vision of equal opportunity for disabled people and their families. The strategy capitalises on Scope’s strong reputation and the improvements she oversaw in its financial and management capability after she became Chair in 2008. Her experience at Scope led Alice to establish with colleagues in the third sector the Association of Chairs. It aims to enhance chairing in nonprofits, given the key role Chairs have in ensuring Board and organisation performance.

In 2014 Alice was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York, and won the Sunday Times / Peel Hunt Not-for-profit / Public Service Organisation Non-Executive Director of the Year. She was on the Cranfield 100 Women to Watch list in 2013 and 2014 and was in the inaugural ‘Power List’ of the 100 most influential disabled people. In January 2015 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for her services to disabled people and their families.

Key motivator: Particularly interested in the balance between economic benefit, resource management and the ethical drivers in critical social support systems such as transport and social care.

Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA)

Next Doctoral Open Day at Cranfield School of Management – 4 Nov 2015

PhD Project: Target Gaming, Organizational Deviance and the Unintended Consequences of Performance Measurement

You were the chosen one!

Supervisors: Dr Andrey Pavlov, Professor Cliff Bowman and Professor Mike Bourne

Over the past two decades, the field of performance measurement has seen great changes. The questions of designing performance measurement frameworks and developing individual indicators gave way to the focus on the use of performance measurement as an instrument of strategy execution. The concepts of “alignment”, “cascading”, and “strategic performance management” have come to occupy the central place in more recent research in performance measurement (cf. Kaplan and Norton, 2006, 2008; Micheli and Manzoni, 2010). These concepts have also been eagerly adopted by organizations in both the private and the public sectors, where performance measurement has become the standard approach to implementing strategies and ensuring consistent behaviours throughout the organization.

However, the dismal success rate of performance measurement initiatives and the additional problems they cause call to question the ability of performance measures to “align behaviours”, “cascade objectives”, and “implement strategies”. Recent revelations of data manipulation by the NHS and the Police in the UK as well as in the Education sector in the USA suggest that measures can – and do! – drive behaviours that were not intended by those who put the measures in place. When measures are used for control purposes, they encourage people to respond in new, unpredictable, and sometimes bizarre ways. Sometimes such responses are detrimental to the performance of the organization – this is often called “gaming” (Hood, 2006; Fisher and Downes, 2008; Gray et al., 2014). However, sometimes the seemingly dysfunctional behaviour springs up precisely in order to ensure that the necessary action can take place – a form of “productive disobedience” (Rennstam, 2012). These phenomena suggest that performance measurement may in fact be a crude way of interfering in organizational behaviour rather than a powerful and sophisticated instrument for implementing strategies. Moreover, its widespread adoption may be explained by its ability to mask managerial incompetence and serve the desire for control rather than by its benefits for managing organizations.

So what drives dysfunctional consequences of measurement? Can we identify distinct types of gaming? What is the mechanism of the impact of performance measures on people’s behaviour? Does it differ between gaming and “functional deviance”? How does performance measurement affect collaboration, cooperation, and trust? Questions such as these will drive this doctoral project. You will be working on understanding the full effect of using performance measurement in organizations and will challenge the prevailing view of performance measurement as an effective instrument for leading change and managing strategy execution. Your work can take any form, from surveys to interviews, observations, participatory methods (action research) and diaries.

Please contact Dr Andrey Pavlov in the first instance.

Admission requirements:

  • a strong first degree (UK level 2.1 minimum)
  • please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Deadlines:

  • applications for scholarships – mid-April
  • self-funded applications – 15 July.

See website for full details

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PhD Project: Hierarchy and Formal Power Structures in Modern Organizations

Bureaucracy / burokratie II

Supervisors: Professor Cliff Bowman and Dr Andrey Pavlov

Management hierarchy is a core feature in the absolute majority of organizations existing today. It is especially prominent in large and complex corporations. Although hierarchical management structures carry a substantial economic and psychological cost to the organization, their value is not readily obvious.

Hierarchy is sometimes seen as an outgrowth of co-ordination through direct supervision (Mintzberg, 1979). However, in many of today’s organizations, the effectiveness of the co-ordination function of hierarchy is questionable, as the people at the apex of the hierarchy do not have sufficient knowledge to co-ordinate the behaviour of their subordinates appropriately. In many firm structures, top managers can be disconnected from the rest of the organization. Although they may have a good grasp of the industry, their structural position within the organization prevents them from having an intimate understanding of their own processes and their client’s needs. This means that top managers may be unaware of the ongoing evolution of these processes, and the risk is that their collective understanding of what is happening will be out of line with the unfolding reality. This risk may in turn make top managers’ knowledge inadequate for initiating interventions aimed at improving the value creation process (Rennstam, 2012). In fact, strategic conversations are often owned by middle managers (Westley, 1990), originating at the operational level (Burgelman and Grove, 1996) and developing at the periphery of the organization (Régner, 2003).

Hierarchy may also reflect the structure of formal power in an organization, where power is conferred on an individual in accordance with the position he or she occupies. However, the source and nature of this power have been debated for decades (Barnard, 1938), and recent changes in organizations have highlighted the ongoing relevance of this issue and opened it up for further questioning.

Your research in this area will focus on the nature of formal hierarchies in modern organizations and may evaluate the value of traditional hierarchies, analyse their mechanisms, propose alternatives, study the sources and functions of power in organizations, etc. As such, you will be questioning the very nature of management and managerial work. This work may be carried out through a number of different methods, including in-depth qualitative methods, observations, as well as action research and experimental methods.

Please contact Professor Cliff Bowman in the first instance.

Admission requirements:

  • a strong first degree (UK level 2.1 minimum)
  • please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Deadlines:

  • applications for scholarships – mid-April
  • self-funded applications – 15 July.

See website for full details

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PhD Project: Organizational Stewardship and Strategic Change: An Evolutionary Perspective

lava lamp 2

Supervisors: Dr Andrey Pavlov and Professor Cliff Bowman

Much of the work on strategic change falls under the broad category of strategy implementation and is concerned with how executives can re-position their organizations in accordance with their plans. This work includes initiating changes in organizational routines and processes, introducing various management systems, and overcoming resistance to change. Most importantly, however, this work rests on the assumption that the strategist has a superior understanding of the organization and its environment and can predict and control the effect of his or her actions.

This assumption, however, is problematic on several levels. First, organizations are complex systems, and although structures and processes can be redesigned on paper, people’s actual behavior will not necessarily reflect this (cf. Pentland and Feldman, 2008). Second, it is questionable to what extent executives at the top of the hierarchy actually possess the knowledge to craft effective initiatives. Although they may have a good grasp of the industry, their structural position within the organization prevents them from having an intimate understanding of their own processes and their clients’ needs. This means that top managers may be unaware of the ongoing evolution of these processes, and the risk is that their collective understanding of what is happening will be out of line with the unfolding reality. In fact, strategic conversations between the firm and its customers are often owned by middle managers (Westley, 1990), originating at the operational level (Burgelman and Grove, 1996) and leading to the creation of strategy at the periphery of the organization (Régner, 2003).

In such a context, therefore, it might be more useful to “enable” rather than “lead” strategic change. The potential for improving value creation processes is created continuously through the actions of multiple people throughout the organization, and the job of the executive is to assist this process as it unfolds rather than to impose his or her abstractly conceived future-oriented scenario onto the organization. The role of the executive then becomes that of a steward rather than a hero. The evolutionary perspective on strategy (Barnett and Burgelmann, 1996) provides an analytical lens for theorizing this alternative approach to enabling strategic change. It views the organization as continuously evolving through creating “Variations” in ideas and actions, “Selecting” the useful ones, and “Retaining” them for future use. The job of the executive is then to enable these VSR processes so as to assist the organization in continuing to evolve and adapt.

Your work in this area may examine the VSR processes in order to understand their effects and relationships. Alternatively, you may want to focus on understanding the existing strategic practices that enable or hinder the VSR mechanism. Mapping the evolution of a strategy or strategic decision over time is yet another possible option. This is a relatively new area in strategic management, and the possibilities are boundless.

Please contact Dr Andrey Pavlov in the first instance.

Admission requirements:

  • a strong first degree (UK level 2.1 minimum)
  • please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Deadlines:

  • applications for scholarships – mid-April
  • self-funded applications – 15 July.

See website for full details

DOWNLOAD PDF POSTER

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