Research Students in the Business School


Accounting & Management Control Research Cluster

Mahmoud Jastaniah

Adopting Integrated Reporting: Cases from Saudi Arabia

Integrated Reporting that results in or is a result of integrated thinking is a new form of corporate reporting that is projected at becoming the new paradigm shift in corporate reporting and disclosure. It is a mandatory form of reporting in South Africa but remains voluntary for the rest of the world. Nevertheless, it has gained approval and recommendation at many of the world’s financial markets. The report is significantly different from seemingly similar reports that include a variety of non-financial disclosures. While current reporting culture relies on meeting set standards using a checklist approach, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) suggests a principle-based framework. Organisations report on their strategy, values and context. Thus, they can explain how performance is measured and value is created and what is material to their shareholders, ideally reporting on how the various capitals contribute to their value generation process. Similar to all new forms of disclosure, several theories are proposed to explain the motives for voluntary adoption, resulting in several macro-level studies that attempt to identify if there is a correlation between various factors at this level (country, industry and organisational characteristics) and disclosure. Further studies have also attempted to measure report quality against a variety of macro-level factors.

Taking into account that strategic decisions are taken at the micro-level and that organisational action is carried out by individual actors, this study investigates the choice for adoption by drawing upon two cases from the Saudi Arabian context. Evidence from Saudi Arabia suggests lack of institutional isomorphisms and stakeholder/shareholder pressures within this context. Alternatively, early analysis suggests that seeking legitimacy could be regarded as a motive for voluntary disclosure in this context. Using Legitimacy Theory as a lens, this study uses open-ended interviews to understand how Integrated Reporting is constructed by these organisations in Saudi Arabia and to gain insights on the decision-making process from awareness to implementation. The study contributes to understanding how the choice to implement an IR in the voluntary setting is made within this specific context, thus further contributing to the use of LT in analysis of strategic choice within this context.

Megan Kelly

Ethics education in UK undergraduate accounting degrees: a comparative study

21st Century financial scandals and the global financial crisis of 2008, have led to increased attention on ethics education in accounting at both an academic and professional level. It is important to explore how students engage with ethics in accounting, in relation to the curriculum design and pedagogical methods used. The purpose of this research is in two parts: firstly, to understand how engagement may be achieved in ethics education through the content and delivery methods; secondly, in providing practical recommendations for practitioners to promote student engagement through the undergraduate accounting curriculum. Existing research typically focuses either on staff or student perspective, rarely mutually. Furthermore, student engagement is seldom applied in accounting education research. This is addressed by collecting data through focus groups with staff and students from two Business Schools, one a UN PRME champion school and another non-UN PRME champion school.

The perceptions of staff and students will be considered mutually. Similarities and differences in responses are expected to highlight what methods and content impact levels of engagement, and thus how ethics education may be improved. Anticipated practical recommendations include recommendations for greater student engagement across the accounting curriculum; identification of pedagogical methods to engage students in business ethics successfully; and revision of business ethics curriculum in order to achieve relevance and relatability in the subject.

Sendem Badam

Management Accounting and Control Systems in a Transitional Economy: Case of Mongolia 

The appropriateness of the management accounting and control systems is contingent upon the settings of an organisation. Prior research primarily focused on examining static sources of controls within the US and Europe. The purpose of this research, therefore, is to establish how and why the control processes facilitate the design of optimal systems of organisations operating in a transitional economy. Extending the contingency theory, it aims to focus on the dynamics of the evolutionary processes that influence the local adaptations of control systems. Its findings are expected to contribute to the further understanding of the management accounting and control systems within the management accounting research as well as to facilitate improved decision makings for the participating organisations.  

Tingting Song

A comparative study on Earnings Management in Commercial Banks in China, the UK and the US

The recent spate of corporate scandals and the global financial crisis have led to an increasing emphasis on the integrity of financial information. Earnings (profits) in financial reports attract decision-makers most among all other information. Earnings management is managerial manipulations of reported earnings through a change of business activities and/or accounting choices and judgements within Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to meet managerial purposes. The manipulations could mislead stakeholders’ view of firms’ performance or convey managerial private information about firms’ real performance and prospects.

Considering the crucial role of commercial banks in supporting a sound economic environment, this research looks at three countries, China, the UK and the US, with different accounting standards and bank regulations to explain whether and how different accounting standards and bank regulations are associated with earnings management in commercial banks. Theoretically, it contributes to enrich evidence supporting different mechanism of earnings management. Empirically, it contributes to improve accounting quality in commercial banks at the firm level and to build a sound commercial banking industry at the country level.


Business Economics & Quantitative Finance Research Cluster

Sahil Sambyal

The impact of changes in brand equity on firm performance and the moderating role of organisational efficiency: A comparative assessment of consumer and financial-based brand equity

Brand equity has been acknowledged as a valuable intangible marketing asset which provides long term financial gains, making it an epicentre of the success of many firms worldwide. There is an ample amount of evidence in the current marketing literature that brand equity not only augments firm current performance like sales and profits but have even a higher impact on future performance measured through stock returns. Existing studies however have not yet explored if the unanticipated positive changes in brand value have a similar impact on firm value as compared to the negative changes. This is a worthwhile question to pursue since the markets are generally more sensitive towards negative information, therefore a decline in brand equity is expected to have a higher detrimental effect on firm performance as compared to its rise. My research, therefore, contributes to the existing marketing-finance literature by conducting a longitudinal study exploring the directional effects of rising and declining brand equity on a firm’s long-term performance. Additionally, anchoring on resource-based theory (RBT) of sustainable competitive advantage, my study examines the moderating role of organisational factors such as “core business efficiency” and “marketing capability” in enhancing (mitigating) the effects of positive (negative) changes in brand equity on firm performance. The proposed dynamic research framework aims to unfold novel insights about how a strategically managed brand can serve not only as a source of competitive advantage but as a key contributor to sustained long-term business success.

Furthermore, current literature advocates that there is no single dimension of brand equity measurement that can divulge its overall value imparting capabilities. Following this argument, my study includes two key brand equity constructs i.e. consumer-based brand equity (CBBE) and financial-based brand equity (FBBE) and conducts a comparative assessment to uncover their unique relationship with firm value, which is still under-researched. Along with the theoretical contributions, my study has several managerial and investor-related implications some of which are encouraging; i) marketing managers and financial officers to develop strategies coherently to exploit their brand’s true potential and ii) investors to assess firm’s management capabilities along with their brand performance when making or revising their investment decisions.  


Marketing Research Cluster

Viveka Santharam

An investigation into the antecedents and consequences of multichannel retail brand experience

The primary objective of this research is to investigate the concept of multi-channel retail brand experience, with reference to the fashion industry. Studies have from time to time highlighted the importance of offering an outstanding brand experience and pointed out that it helps companies secure more loyal customers and ultimately increase profits. Looking at the extent of work done on brand experience so far, it can be understood that studies have investigated the concept of brand experience ranging from themes such as definitions, measurement scales and management aspect of the concept. Majority of the studies which analysed the concept from different perspectives agreed that brand experience is a multidimensional construct resulting from multiple interactions (direct or indirect) between the brand and the consumer and creates different types of responses (subjective and internal) from consumers. However, most studies relied on the theoretical perspective of brand experience derived from the work of Schmitt (1999) and Brakus et al. (2009) and without providing further theoretical elaboration of the concept, have mostly adopted their scale into various contexts.

This research argues that though academics acknowledged that the shopping paradigm has changed - consumers, markets and consumption contexts, the development of the concept of brand experience has only been marginal. Despite the vast amount of studies that adopted the concept into exploring brand-related concepts, the same level of enthusiasm was not seen in explaining the concept beyond the definition & dimensions provided by Brakus et al.(2009). This study takes the stand that there is an intense need for a broader view of brand experience in the contemporary marketplace. A systematic analysis of existing literature review has revealed that there is a gap in understanding the concept of holistic brand experience in the multi-channel context. Existing studies have looked at the concept mostly focusing either on online or offline perspective, but not an integrated perspective - where both online and offline environments are holistically considered. Hence this research underpins the need to investigate the consumer's perspective of brand experience in the multi-channel environment, especially when multi-channel retailing is a popular model and a key strategy used by retailers. The study will look at the key antecedents and consequences of brand experience in the multi-channel retail context and explore the interrelationship between the various factors.


Supply Chain Management Research Cluster

Gen Zhao

Examining the impact of big data analytics capability and organizational culture on hospital supply chain resilience: contingency theory and the resource-based view

The COVID-19 outbreak has created significant disruptions in hospitals. Researchers and practitioners have suggested that hospitals need to build big data analytics capability (BDAC) to develop supply chain resilience (SCRes) to survive the post-COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, hospitals continue to struggle to fully seize the potential benefits derived from their investment of BDAC. Developing organisational culture (such as data-driven culture and physiological safety) may help hospitals achieve the full benefit of BDAC. Furthermore, hospitals are currently facing challenges to improve operational performance (cost, productivity, quality, delivery, and flexibility), and the need for hospitals to manage their supply chain efficiently and effectively to address performance challenges has become more crucial, especially in response to COVID-19. From the resource-based view, my research aims to investigate how BDAC help hospitals build SCRes and improve operational performance. More specifically, drawing upon contingency theory, my research further explores the moderating role of organisational culture on the effect of BDAC on SCRes.

Hang Yang

How Blockchain-based Supply Chain Finance influences the firm’s performance: an empirical study in China’s manufacture

Under the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese economic face tremendous hit by the pandemic. Many types of business have been hugely impacted. These impacts would raise financial issues and credit crunch if enterprises have a poor strategy on cash flow management. Supply chain finance (SCF) combined with blockchain technology has the potential capability to address firms’ financial problems and provide transparency among SCF participants. Thus, this research adopts blockchain technology combined with SCF to explore whether blockchain-based SCF can address companies’ financial problems, which intend to provide new insights to supply managers and political makers.

Said Usman

Understanding the Role of ICT in the Sustainable Supply Chain Management of Nigerian SMEs: An Institutional Theory Perspective

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a massive role in global economies, and they are a vital source for employment and a source of income for most of the world population. In Nigeria, the SMEs sector is said to account for 70 per cent of employment and contributes massively to the GDP (Nuraddeen, 2019). However, their access to reliable information in their supply chains remains a considerable problem due to underdeveloped technological and communication infrastructures and inadequate business support systems. Consequently, giving their significance in the economy, SMEs need to take into account the sustainability in their operations in order to satisfy the future needs and to enable them to respond to the challenges of the sustainable development of Nigeria. Thus, this research aims to examine how ICT and institutional forces (by Formal and Informal institutions) can be used to improve sustainability in supply chains for SMEs in Nigeria. The study intends to contribute to the literature regarding the shortage of empirical evidence and theoretical reflection on sustainable supply chains in developing nations like Nigeria.

Sheikh Muhammad Zahid

Food waste mitigation in Pakistan hotel industry through implementing lean supply chain practices for sustainable development
Now a day’s businesses are eyeing to operations alteration, incorporating stakeholder, and developing partners to expand their focus in order to minimize the waste and operate in sustainable manners. As a result, worldwide sustainability investigation growth has perceived and contributed to the evolution of the SCM field in the past decades in numerous businesses. Yet, the current business world is facing health-safety threats to its sustainable development. The prime reason for this concern is the uncontrollable waste generation in businesses operations. Because waste is the foremost sustainability challenge which imposes a significant impact on the economy, human health, and ecology.
Similarly, an estimated 1/3 of food lost or wasted worldwide annually with US$310 billion in developing countries is devastating the sustainability. This food waste is a global concern and a significant component with negative influence on sustainable development. Moreover, the food industry utilizes more natural resources throughout its production and consumption stages, creating serious damage to sustainability. This concern is more profound and critically important in the context of the developing countries hotels industry who are exceedingly generating a high volume of food waste due to lack of infrastructure or framework to reduce food waste. The food waste hierarchy process along with some traditional mitigation techniques such as plate size, customer awareness enhancement through advertisement, and legal legislation is in place but still, this problem is grown with the hospitality industry.  
Therefore, it raises the question for policymaker, researcher, and stakeholder how to control the food waste? Among other various possible food waste mitigation strategies, it is proposed to examine if and how lean supply chain, can help food waste mitigation challenges in Pakistan hotel industry. The proposal of lean supply chain investigation in hotel food waste is due to its proven track record of waste elimination in automobile, manufacturing, and servicing industry towards sustainable development. The aim of this study is to respond to food waste global challenges by suggesting a unified stakeholder framework for Pakistan hotel industry to control the food waste to improve sustainability.

Qi Liu

Exploring the effects of digital supply chain platform and entrepreneurial orientation on supply chain viability and business performance: Resource orchestration theory 

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the global supply chain (SC), abruptly terminating demand and supply. During and post-COVID-19 pandemic, developing supply chain viability (SCV) has become more crucial than ever in enabling firms to tackle the disruptions and uncertainties in the global supply chains. While DSCP necessitates handling environmental uncertainty, firms may always find it difficult to mobilize resources for realizing the value of DSCP in uncertainty times. entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has been considered as such a resource that can be leveraged along with DSCP for developing SCV. Unfortunately, to date there has been no empirical study exploring how DSCP and EO interact with one another to influence SCV. To address these gaps, based on Resource Orchestration Theory (ROT), this research aims to investigate the interaction effect of DSCP and EO on SCV and firm performance.


People & Organisations Research Cluster

Girinandini Khittoo

A case of developing IT Talent in the Republic of Mauritius: Exploring the intersection of Talent Management and Age Diversity in MNEs

My research aims at examining the relationship between ‘talent’ and age diversity within the context of multinational enterprises’ (MNEs) HR practices and policies in the Republic of Mauritius. Despite significant investment in the IT sector by the Mauritian government, including policies to encourage recent graduates to enter the sector, the shortage in talent to fill high skilled jobs is concerning for a national economic policy focussed on developing a knowledge-based economy. Understanding why there remains a shortage in talent is a key question my research investigates. 

Considering the extensive research on talent management within the HRM field, it is only recently that interest in the tensions between talent management and diversity has emerged. With a focus to date on gender diversity and ethnicity, the documentation of age diversity and the extent to which organisations embrace age diversity is scarce. Therefore, it is timely to investigate the relationship between age diversity and talent management in the Mauritian context, as age diversity is a key area that is under-explored and needs further investigation. Findings will help contribute to the thinking around diversity management and talent management in the HRM literature, as well as provide key recommendations for organisations and practitioners. 

Natasha Gjorevska 

Alternative organising and sustainable food initiatives: A multimethod exploration of values and value practices 

Alternative organisations have transformative potential and are geared towards social value creation. Alternative food initiatives exemplify alternative organising focused on bringing positive social change through food. Considering the generative capacity of alternative organising and the relevance of food, this research will link and build on the interlocking body of work on alternative organisations, sustainable food systems, and values and value practices. Accounting for the contemporary context of turmoil, this research will explore the values and practices that are mobilised during the crisis, and envisioned for the post-crisis world, by giving voice to communities in alternatively organised food initiatives. The research will explore the experiences and practices of organisational members in UK-based food initiatives through multimodal and creative methods such as visuals, storytelling, and interviews. The study aims to offer insights about alternative value systems and organisational realities, in the hope to inspire positive social transformation and learning through imagination and storytelling.  

Sjoukje Gezina Ruth Hekman

What influences engagement at an individual level? The importance of context and career stages

Highly engaged employees can make your organisation, disengaged employees can break it. The employee engagement discussion is one which has been very popular over the last decade. Scholars agree about the importance of engaged employees but how does engagement manifest for an individual? What are the factors that influence the experience of engagement for this individual? Within my PhD research, I look at how individuals experience engagement. I specifically zoom in on how the career stage and the context of an individual, influence their engagement experience. This research critically evaluates the 'employee engagement' research stream to date as well as the development of the personal engagement theory founded by Kahn (1990). The research shows that the phase of someone's career, effects which factors contribute to the engagement experience. 

Tabitha Sindani

Investigating the Influence of Context and Institutions on Jua Kali women entrepreneurs in rural Kenya

Although critical entrepreneurialism has gained traction over the past decade, the majority of entrepreneurship research is still individualist and functionalist in nature. Research in the functionalist tradition emphasizes job creation and wealth accumulation as the primary goal of entrepreneurship which in turn essentialises the individualist notion that emphasises individual’s role in discovery and exploitation of entrepreneurship opportunities. This study challenges the taken-for-granted belief that only certain kinds of entrepreneurship bearing the functionalist outcomes count as ‘real’ entrepreneurship and often valorised, while a variety of contrasting ‘other’ activities that are classified as non-entrepreneurship often disparaged. Additionally, it problematises the heroic individualist notion of entrepreneurship by offering a contrasting view on how context and institutions influence entrepreneurship. Thus, drawing upon feminist standpoint theory, and informed by in-depth interviews with women entrepreneurs and policymakers this study investigates the influence of context and institutions on Jua Kali (informal sector) rural women entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Theoretically, this study contributes to the entrepreneurship, gender and economic geography literature by highlighting the diversity of entrepreneurship as a gendered and geographic process, embedded in gendered contexts and institutions. Policy implications include recommendations for policymakers to recognise the centrality of context in enterprise policy formulation, evaluation and implementation; adopt a broad-based view of enterprise policy that includes policy interventions that solve other market failures within the business environment in order to promote, encourage and support Jua Kali women’s entrepreneurship development.


Recent completions


Katja Annika Jonsas, Leading and living. Women and Academic Leadership in Finland and the United Kingdom

Christiaan Roel, Internationalisation through a network of relationships: Local perspectives from Dutch MNE subsidiaries in Indonesia


Mirjana Grkovska, Subjective well-being and unemployment in Macedonia

Sree Beg, A comparative multi-country, multi-sector of online loyalty in internet retailing


Catherine Butcher, Heterodox forms of University Ownership/Control, Governance, Financing and Organisation Structure

Gloria Appiah, The Nature and Processes of Creativity: What may be Learned from a Small UK Software Business

Paola Andrea Raffaelli, Social and Solidarity Economy in the context of the global economic crisis. A comparison across the experiences in Argentina and the United Kingdom

Christopher Russell, Resisting Resistance: ICT adoption within a Monastery on Mount Athos


Catherine Kelly,  An Exploration of Epistemic Imbalances in Group Work Decision Making Processes

Rodrigo Souza, The Construction of Risk: How 'actors' construct the concept of 'risk' in practice in the Brazilian finance sector


Claire EvansHow do the Big Four accounting firms construct and deploy notions of the 'ideal' worker as a result of their symbiotic relationship with capitalism and what effect does this have upon the gender of the senior levels of the organisation? 

Lauran TwortPeace and Recovery: Witnessing Lived Experience in Sierra Leone

Viktroija ManoThe vulnerabilities of a small open economy: The economic transition of Macedonia


Yalda Haji-Ghassemi, Flexpatriation and Internationalization: The influence of high mobility, communication technology, and networking on SME's

Malcolm JamesThe Authorisation and Glorification of Plunder – Tthe Role and Operation of Power in Tax Policy


Moataz Elmassri, Strategic Investment Decision–Making in The Uncertain Context of Post-Revolution Egypt

Interested? Find out more about potential Research Supervisors and how to apply.