Academic Research informing Business Engagement facilitating Knowledge Exchange
I am a Reader in Transformational Change, Director of the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) Programme, Director of the Centre for Innovation, Change and Renewal (CICR), and Founder and Director of The TRANSFORMATION Project. I’m a multi-disciplinary researcher, who has continuously worked in top-ranked UK business and management schools. My research interests focus on change management, specifically, adapting promising management practices to enhance performance across varied organisational contexts, contributing to ideas about receptivity for change, knowledge exchange and project-based organisations.
The research is recognised by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), producing one of the Top Five Management Articles of 2012. The initiative recognises relevant, accessible academic writing and takes it to a wider audience of practising managers. It is a collaboration with the British Academy of Management, the Advanced Institute of Management Research, the Association of Business Schools, the British Library and is sponsored by John Wiley and Sons Ltd, one of the world’s leading business publishers. Following the success of the article, I was invited to contribute to the CMI’s Practitioner Member Panel and am a founding member of the CMI Faculty.
The TRANSFORMATION Project has been identified by the ESRC as a Good Practice Case Study in 2013.
From my international research (post PhD), I have developed the Butler Receptivity for Change Model. The five factor model reveals what makes organisations high performing. An early adopter of the Model was the OECD which analysed six EU governments to explore the management of change produced by the introduction of major reform initiatives intended to transform the administrative culture of the public service to make it more efficient and effective (translated into Chinese). I have carried on this stream of work by researching Roma social exclusion in Romania (the Economist recently called this the EU’s greatest social problem).
The TRANSFORMATION Project – ESRC Good Practice Case Study
Follow-on research has won funding from national competitions e.g. the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for The TRANSFORMATION Project, which involves translating existing academic theory into practitioner management tools by working with Catalyst Education (Birmingham Local Education Partnership), Echo Managed Services, NHS Warwickshire, Playgroup (a London advertising agency), Warwickshire Police, Associated British Foods plc, DHL Supply Chain and the Association for Project Management.
Two case studies are accepted into the British Academy of Management (BAM)/Chartered Management Initiative/Wiley Top Management Article series showcasing university/business knowledge exchange eg.
The TRANSFORMATION Project is being extended into the British Sugar Group and non-government organisations (NGOs). Specifically, in addition to our work with the Roma, we are using receptivity to explore innovation and growth of organisations in the sustainable energy sector in India. Part of this work is funded by an ESRC CASE Award.
Because of the success of The TRANSFORMATION Project, I have taken over the Directorship of the Institute of Health Services Effectiveness (IHSE) and redesigned it to become the Centre for Innovation, Change and Renewal (CICR). I have two direct reports (two senior research fellows, SRFs) and affiliated faculty colleagues and research students. This enables me to apply the learning from the Project to build capacity within CICR and deliver world leading research with impact for practice by improving current thinking and models of organisational change.
I am supporting Dr Matthew Carter to produce one of Aston Business School’s Impact Case Studies for the REF 2014 submission based on work from IHSE (REF is explained below).
Research Leadership Performance
From having no research income, CICR have now won research grants to the value of £172, 880 and have bid for more research grants to the value of £969,276.
Drs. John Blewitt and Michael Butler are involved in a major event on 19 June – “Who cares wins: corporate social responsibility in the West Midlands”. It is co-run with the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) and the Institute of Directors (IoD). For more information visit: http://www1.aston.ac.uk/aston-business-school/events/csr-in-the-west-midlands/.
The TRANSFORMATION Project continues to:
- develop evidence (research)-based management tools for performance improvement
- understand the theory underpinning innovation, change and renewal for change and project management practice
- co-produce with our project partners returns on investment using action research as a specific research method
- partner with Cranfield School of Management to understand how winners of the Best Factory Awards sustain continuous improvement
- begin working with SMEs through ‘Transformation for Growth’
Organisational Cognitive Neuroscience
Underpinning change are strategic decision-making processes influenced by our human nature. These deep processes reveal the biological underpinnings of organisational behaviour, investigated through Organisational Cognitive Neuroscience (OCN) (co-founder of the idea). A positioning article has been published in Organisation Science, followed by an empirical piece in Personality and Individual Differences. The team has co-edited a Leadership Quarterly special issue and contributed to an emerging debate in the Journal of Management on OCN. All four are leading business and management journals, developing earlier published work in psychology journals with high impact factors and an edited book with the New York Academy of Sciences. CICR:
- develops the field of OCN
- applies OCN to CICR and The TRANSFORMATION Project eg by contributing to the UK government’s ‘nudge’ agenda and behaviour change in organisations
Directing CICR facilitates this agenda and I am currently writing grant submissions.
Academic Research informing Learning and Teaching
Research findings and insights are used in all my learning and teaching. Students at all levels are encouraged to participate in research to embed independent learning, critical thinking and employability skills. This has led to institutional and national-level awards.
Research Management Performance
Since becoming DBA Director:
- student acceptances of well qualified candidates have nearly doubled
- despite programme growth, it is managed within existing budgets
- through the AMBA DBA Consortium for International DBA Directors, I am leading the identification of outstanding international practice and showcasing examples of how business schools achieved that practice to share innovation
Future PhD Students and Researchers
I am continuously looking to recruit excellently qualified, highly motivated and globally–oriented PhD students and researchers with, preferably, some practice experience, perhaps at managerial level, who can contribute to my research agenda in innovation, change and renewal, especially The TRANSFORMATION Project and OCN.