The Business School Research Highlights 2020

We take a look back at some of the top research from our academics in 2020

Sustainability strategies more successful when managers believe in them

Research from Professor Paula Jarzabkowski found that organisational strategies aimed at sustainability were more successfully implemented when strategic goals, product features and organisational values all aligned to eradicate tensions between profits social conscience, and were adopted substantially rather than symbolically.

Professor Jarzabkowski and her co-authors studied the implementation of a new sustainability strategy at global manufacturer TechPro, and found that problems could be alleviated by adjusting mainstream strategies, prioritising sustainability strategies or integrating sustainability strategies into existing procedures.

The research paper, ‘Toward a Process Theory of Making Sustainability Strategies Legitimate in Action’ is published in the Academy of Management Journal.

Research reveals how ski tourism operators can protect profits in the face of climate change

people skiing down a ski slopeResearch co-authored by Dr Laura Ballotta, Dr Ioannis Kyriakou, Dr Panos Pouliasis, Dr Nikos Papapostolou and Professor Gianluca Fusai presented a methodology for identifying how winter tourism operators can protect themselves against the risk of decreasing visitor numbers to ski destinations and lost revenues.

Based on more than 50 years’ worth of snowfall and temperature data recorded at a resort in Austria, the research designed a model to predict snowfall and revenues, by which winter tourism operators can sell risk to financial markets in the form of weather derivatives.

‘Risk Management of climate impact for tourism operators: An empirical analysis on ski resorts’ is published in Tourism Management.

Lending slowdown in 2019, with increasing lending costs and defaults expected for 2020

Dr Nicole Lux’s UK Commercial Real Estate Lending Report revealed a sharp decrease in lending as defaulted loans increased, with further damage likely due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Lux released a subsequent Mid-Year report in the autumn which confirmed a year-on-year decline of 34 per cent of new loan origination from the same period in 2019 and higher lending costs.

NHS contact tracing app can be a success if linked to testing

Phone appProfessor Caroline Wiertz, Dr Oguz Acar and Dr Aneesh Banerjee released research suggesting a COVID tracing app could be successful and achieve widespread adoption if run by the NHS rather than the government.

The study found that adoption rates increased further when the app was linked to priority testing for COVID for those who get infection alerts. They also found that the public wanted an ‘expiry date’ by which any data collected by the app will be destroyed.

‘Predicted Adoption Rates of Contact Tracing App Configurations - Insights from a Choice-Based Conjoint Study with a Representative Sample of the UK population’ was published in SSRN.

Downsizing is crucial to tackling the UK’s skewed housing market

Jigsaw puzzle with cartoon elderly couple carrying one of the piecesResearch from Professor Les Mayhew suggested increasing incentives for ‘last-time buyers’ to downsize, including the supply of more age-friendly homes to reduce the number of ‘surplus’ bedrooms.

Professor Mayhew’s analysis showed that if the situation does not improve, the overall bedroom surplus – where there is more than one bedroom per person – is projected to exceed 20 million in 2040, with nearly 13 million people above the age of 65 living in largely unsuitable households.

Read the full Too Little, Too Late? Housing for an ageing population report.

Insurtech in a Pandemic: Creating opportunities from threats

Research from Sarah Ruberry and Dr Cormac Bryce suggested that the pandemic would act as a catalyst for the industry-wide adoption of new digital initiatives in the insurance industry.

They also found that the uncertainty created has uncovered extra value to organisations of having a Chief Risk Officer (CRO) to navigate strategy and identify opportunities.

Read the full study Risk, Strategy and Digi-Change and the Role of the CRO.

Lockdown home workers used to the lack of face-to-face contact now

Dr Annelore Huyghe carried out research with IESE Business School for HR specialist SD Worx, which found that 91 per cent of European workers who have been required to work from home during the pandemic were adjusting to not seeing their colleagues face-to-face and are broadly accepting of the changes needed.

The study was taken from data among 2,500 white-collar workers in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Spain to find out how they were coping with the new form of working one and a half months after the lockdown.

Read more about Dr Huyghe's research.

Winning the digital transformation race: Three emerging approaches for leading the transition

Professor Feng Li outlined three new approaches that digital innovators can take to reduce the risk of failure and seize competitive advantage in the industry.

Professor Li interviewed Professor Li interviewed senior leaders at eight global digital champions including Amazon, VMWare, Slack, Alibaba and Baidu to find out what their strategies were for innovation.

The approaches revealed were innovation by experimentation, radical transformation through incremental approaches and dynamic sustainable advantage through portfolios of temporary advantages.

The full paper ‘Leading Digital Transformation: Three Emerging Approaches for Managing the Transition’ is published in the International Journal of Operations and Production Management (IJOPM).

Centre for Banking Research launches Conduct Costs Project

pile of coins with a graph in the backgroundThe Centre for Banking Research launched the CBR Conduct Costs Project, examining the causes, extent and costs of misconduct for 20 of the world’s leading banks.

The Project provided valuable insight into banks’ culture, conduct, competence, and regulatory risks, drawing on data collected the world’s largest banks between January 2008 and December 2018.

Key findings from the latest report found that banks had paid in excess of £377 billion paid due to misconduct during the data collection period, including £202.billion from US banks and £89.09 billion from UK banks alone.

Request a copy of the full Conduct Costs report, authored by Professor Barbara Casu and Professor Rym Ayadi, and read more about the project.

Higher frequency of financial reporting hinders corporate innovation

Dr Arthur Kraft’s research suggested that company reporting frequency should be relaxed to allow for greater innovation and longer-term thinking.

Dr Kraft and his co-authors studied the number, value and citations of patent applications of US firms throughout changes to financial regulatory requirements in the twentieth century. As statutory reporting requirements increased, average patents per year decreased by 1.87, non-self citations of patents decreased by 19.58 and patent value fell by $1.76 million.

The report concludes that managers are forced to focus on maximising incremental gains at the expense of  long-term strategy when imposed with more regular filing of financial accounts.

The full study ‘Financial Reporting Frequency and Corporate Innovation’ is published in the Journal of Law and Economics.

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