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

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PhD Project: Alternatives to Strategy in Complex and Dynamic Contexts

Solo nella nebbia

Supervisors: Dr Andrey Pavlov and Professor Cliff Bowman

Much of the work in the field of strategy emphasizes the notion of foresight and calls for substantial analytical work to support it. This perspective conjures up an image of a team of strategists poring over sophisticated strategic management frameworks to determine where an organization needs to be in a few years’ time. Both research and practice in the field of strategic management have traditionally focused on creating and improving such frameworks as well as on generating prescriptions for how executives should set about sustaining competitive advantage and, more generally, determining a strategy for their organizations.

Recent work, however, suggests that the assumptions underlying traditional approaches to strategy might be fundamentally flawed. These approaches have long assumed that the world is knowable and predictable, that strategists have the knowledge necessary for designing a winning strategy, that the effects of their actions are controllable, and that strategic planning is the pinnacle of managerial work. The world, however, is complex, uncertain, and unpredictable; full knowledge is unattainable; and the ultimate outcome of any initiative is outside anyone’s control. Whether the traditional notion of “strategy” is relevant in such a world is a big question.

Some of the recent contributions suggested various ways of addressing this issue – for example, McGrath (2013) suggests that firms should maintain a diverse portfolio of short-lived advantages instead of banking on a single one; Eisenhardt and Sull (2001) propose using a few simple rules to make decisions instead of devising a sophisticated strategy; and Mirabeau and Maguire (2014) show how strategy “emerges” from the everyday work of middle managers. These, however, are just a few disparate examples, and there is a lot of work to be done in understanding how managers should act in the world that is complex, dynamic, and uncertain.

Your work will tackle some of these questions and can take any shape – from simulations and quantitative studies to in-depth qualitative work and action research. You will be expected to join these debates and make an original contribution that will both advance our knowledge of strategic management and be meaningful and useful for practicing managers.

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: Management Control Practices in Organizations

British Grand Prix 2012 - Silverstone

Supervisors: Dr Andrey Pavlov and Professor Cliff Bowman

The era of top-down hierarchical performance management and management control frameworks is over, and the research evaluating their impact does not provide any conclusive evidence of such. There are just as many studies documenting the positive effect of performance management systems on performance as there are those that show that such an effect is absent or even negative. It is clear that we need new approaches both to designing performance management and management control systems and to evaluating their effectiveness.

The practice perspective with its focus on the actual practices in which people engage provides an alternative – and perhaps a more fruitful – way of examining the functions and mechanisms of management control in organizations. Control then becomes something that people in organizations do rather than something that organizations have or implement (cf. Jarzabkowski et al., 2007). This perspective allows us to ask such questions as: What is the real source of control in organizations? How does performance management and management control get interpreted and enacted by people in organizations? What underpins success and failure of performance management initiatives? What are the limits of management control?

Research in this area would focus on understanding how management control emerges and functions, aiming to extend the current knowledge of the antecedents, nature, and consequences of control in organizations.

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: Team Behaviour

British Grand Prix 2012 - Silverstone

Applications are invited from potential PhD students with a background in psychology, management or sociology who have an interest in exploring group processes.

Cranfield has a unique data base of records of team interactions using the ‘QOIT’ process (Kwiatkowski et al. 2002). Interaction patterns, communications, effectiveness data, self and other perceptions on a meeting by meeting basis, as well as detailed narrative accounts and psychometric data for some hundreds of people is available. This is a rich and unique data source. Applications are invited from people interested in undertaking research to answer questions relevant to the managerial psychology domain, for example, examining the nuances of group formation and performance, or the time related impact of individual differences on group functioning, or the application of psychological models, or the role of self-awareness and insight, or difference in narrative accounts and perceptions across individuals, teams and cultures. An interest in quantitative as well as qualitative research would be a distinct advantage.

A minimum of a 2.1 (or equivalent) standard at first degree is preferred.
Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Funding may be available if applications are made before the end of April 2015.

In the first instance please contact Richard Kwiatkowski on richard.kwiatkowski@cranfield.ac.uk or by phone on 01234 751122 x3223.

Thurs 19th March: Cranfield School of Management Doctoral Open Day

PhD Project: Professional Ethics

British Grand Prix 2012 - Silverstone

Applications are invited from people with a background in psychology, philosophy, sociology or management who have an interest in ethics.

An opportunity exists to examine ethics and, in particular, in utilising the principles underpinning professional codes and thinking in the much more contested managerial domain. The supervisor, Dr Richard Kwiatkowski, has a long standing interest in Ethics, having chaired the British Psychological Society’s and the School of Management’s Ethics Committees. He is currently leading an innovative redesign of the University Ethics system. He has contributed to a number of professional codes and sets of guidelines and presented papers at a variety of conferences in this area.

A minimum of a 2.1 (or equivalent) standard at first degree is preferred.
Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Scholarships may be available if applications are made before the end of April 2015.

In the first instance please contact Richard Kwiatkowski on richard.kwiatkowski@cranfield.ac.uk or by phone on 01234 751122 x3223.

Thurs 19th March: Cranfield School of Management Doctoral Open Day

PhD Project: Political Psychology

British Grand Prix 2012 - Silverstone

Applications are invited from potential PhD students with a background in psychology, management, sociology or political science who have an interest in politics.

Politics is presently a relatively neglected part of mainstream organizational thinking and especially industrial psychology. An opportunity exists to undertake research at doctoral level in the political arena, and especially in applying psychological and management thinking. A variety of theoretical approaches could legitimately be applied to extend thinking in this area, (for example) the supervisor, Dr Richard Kwiatkowski, is particularly interested in understanding political actors within organizations; and, in the case of this study, those overtly identified as politicians (e.g. members of the UK Parliament). A significant set of confidential longitudinal interviews exist with a panel of UK MPs exploring issues related to the job, the party, the culture and organizational change in the House of Commons.

A minimum of a 2.1 (or equivalent) standard at first degree is preferred.
Please see Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Scholarships may be available if applications are made before the end of April 2015.

In the first instance please contact Richard Kwiatkowski on richard.kwiatkowski@cranfield.ac.uk or by phone on 01234 751122 x3223.

Thurs 19th March: Cranfield School of Management Doctoral Open Day

PhD Project: Islamic Entrepreneurship – The Concept, Definition and Practical Implications

British Grand Prix 2012 - Silverstone

Over the past few years, scholars have started looking into the impact of religion on different aspects of modern business practices such as:

  • Work and ethics (Gundolf and Filser, 2013)
  • Marketing best practices (Temporal, 2011; Rinallo et al., 2013)
  • Entrepreneurial performance (Neubert, 2013).

In his recent work around Islam and Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford, Guemuesay (2014) coined the term ‘Entrepreneurship from an Islamic Perspective (EIP)’. The concept is “based on three interconnected pillars: entrepreneurial, socio-economic/ethical and religio-spiritual” (Guemuesay, 2014: 1). The research highlights the work of other authors (Adas, 2006; Basu and Altinay, 2002; Kayed and Hassan, 2010; Roomi and Harrison, 2010; Roomi, 2013) looking at how Islam shapes entrepreneurship at different levels of the economy whilst encouraging and enabling entrepreneurial activities.

The authors in the field have investigated the Islamic ethical approach of doing business from two perspectives: first, the institutional approach – emphasising upon the need for Islamic financial and banking institutions; and second, the individual approach – for entrepreneurs to “adhere to Islamic, ethical values while conducting everyday business activities” (Kayed and Hassan, 2010: 403). However, no study has been conducted so far, to map out different aspects of entrepreneurship (characteristics, skills and practices) with Islamic teachings (Quran and Sunnah) or to determine the relationship between entrepreneurial success and practising of Islamic principles. This project aims to fill this gap.

Supervisors: Dr Muhammad Azam Roomi and Dr Stephanie Hussels

Application Details: The PhD candidate should hold a minimum 2.1 class undergraduate degree in business and management, sociology, psychology, social psychology, anthropology or related discipline and have passed, or expect to have passed by autumn 2015, a Master’s degree or equivalent research experience in a work setting. See Admission Requirements for English language requirements.

Funding Details: Funding may be available on a competitive basis through the Cranfield School of Management studentship scheme.

Deadline: Expressions of interest alongside a CV are invited via email to: muhammad.roomi@cranfield.ac.uk and stephanie.hussels@cranfield.ac.uk mid-April 2015 for bursary applications or end of July 2015 for self-funded applications.

References:
Adas, E.B. (2006). The Making of Entrepreneurial Islam and the Islamic Spirit of Capitalism. Journal for Cultural Research, 10 (2): 113-137.
Basu, A. and Altinay, E. (2002). The interaction between culture and entrepreneurship in London’s immigrant businesses. International Small Business Journal, 20(4): 371-393.
Guemuesay, A.A. (2012). Boundaries and knowledge in a Sufi Dhikr Circle, Journal of Management Development, 31(10): 1079-1089.
Guemuesay, A.A. (2014). Entrepreneurship from an Islamic Perspective, Journal of Business Ethics (Forthcoming). Available at http://linl.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-014-2223-7.
Gundolf, K. and Filser, M. (2013). Management Research and Religion: A Citation Analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 112(1): 177-185.
Kayed, R. N. and Hassan, K. (2010). Islamic entrepreneurship. London: Routledge.
Neubert, M. J. (2013). Entrepreneurs Feel Closer to God Than the Rest of Us Do. Harvard Business Review, 91 (10): 32-33.
Rinallo, D., Scott, L. and MacLaran, P. (2013). Consumption and Spirituality. New York: Routledge.
Roomi M.A. (2013). Entrepreneurial Capital, Social Values and Islamic Traditions: Exploring the Growth of Women-owned Enterprises in Pakistan. International Small Business Journal, 31 (2) 175-191.
Roomi, M. A. and Harrison, P. (2010). Behind the veil: women-only entrepreneurship training in Pakistan. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 2(2): 150 – 172.
Temporal, P. (2011). Islamic Branding and Marketing. Asia: Wiley.

Thurs 19th March: Cranfield School of Management Doctoral Open Day

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