Research at Aston Business School stretches beyond the five focused research centres and addresses a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary themes.

Accounting Education and Pedagogy

Accounting Education and Pedagogy research explores learning policies and practices which aim to help aspiring professionals realise their full potential. A number of projects investigate various aspects in this domain, including flexible pedagogies, the development of competencies, the use of social media, student engagement, employability, dialogic and flexible learning, assessment practices, the use of spreadsheets, and comparative studies between the UK and Vietnam. 

Members: Dr Ilias Basioudis, Prof Ivo de Loo, Simon Finley, Lara Gee, Dr Angela Lorenz, Dr Melina Manochin.   

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Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA)

ARCHA takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and promoting successful ageing by asking how biological, technological, strategic, therapeutic and psychosocial strategies can be employed to understand and therefore improve age-related decline. Our mission is to facilitate research that helps understand, predict and prevent age-related degeneration, using knowledge and expertise from researchers across the university to make older age better for everyone.

For further information, please visit the ARCHA webpage

Members: Dr James Brown, Dr Donato Masi, Professor Prasanta Dey, Dr Edina Harbinja, Dr Wlad Rivkin

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Behavioural Insights

We pursue an understanding of the interaction between brain systems and cognitive mechanisms in mediating human behaviours in response to organizational manifestations or institutions.  Our research goes beyond a praxis-dominated focus and is not just concerned with the application of neuroscience methodologies to organizational research questions. Our work is genuinely multidisciplinary in terms of both theory and method. 

Members: Dr Carl Senior, Dr Jonathan Crawshaw, Richard Tunney, Adrian Burgess, Nathan Ridout, Jason Thomas, Rob Nash, Claire Farrow, Dr Charlotte Hartwright, Jo Taylor, Cristina Romani, Dan Shaw, Dr Ian Combe, Dr Michael Butler, Dr Luke Fletcher, Dr Judy Scully, Dr Wladislaw Rivkin, Professor Ben Clegg, Dr Claudia Sacramento, Professor Ali Emrouznejad, Dr Nishat Babu.

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Business Analytics

Business Analytics is the use of analytical methods for better decision making. The Business Analytics Team teaches and researches in the field of quantitative analysis for better decision making.  One of the key areas for which the team has a world-wide reputation is that of efficiency through Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA).  The team is also well known for its work in data mining, big data and forecasting. The Business Analytics Team teaches subjects which prepare students for the demand in the workplace for anaytics in such areas as manufacturing, retailing, regulation of utilities, managing the efficient delivery of health, education and other services. 

Members: Professor Ali EmrouznejadDr Leonidas AnastasakisDr Ozren DespicDr Dimitris GiraleasDr Gary SimpsonProfessor Emmanuel Thanassoulis.

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Contract and Property Rights

Contract and Property Rights research theme deals with the rights and obligations of private citizens and companies in their commercial interactions with one another. Members investigate the concepts used in this branch of law and analyse whether the rules are systematic and coherent and meet standards of functionality and fairness. These issues are studied in relation to contract law, property law, trusts law, restitution law, and estoppel law. Research in these areas has produced articles in the most prestigious law journals. 

Members: Dr James Brown, Professor Simon Cooper, Dr David Salmons, Adam Shaw-Mellors, Dr Kristie Thomas.

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Corporate Law

This theme brings together research in all aspects of national, international and comparative law relating to corporate structures and finance. Staff projects in this field have included corporate governance, insolvency, financial markets, banking, credit ratings agencies, taxation, and offshore structures. On top of high calibre journal publications, members run two blogs devoted to aspects of corporate law and have also secured funding for external engagement activities. 

Members: Dr Daniel Cash, Professor Simon Cooper, Robert Goddard,  Dr Chris Umfreville, Stuart Weinstein.

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Cybersecurity Capabilities

The Cybersecurity capacity at Aston Business School involves working with industry and government stakeholders. Innovation projects in cyber security carried out by Aston academics improve cyber security posture of organisations from large enterprises to SMEs, involve regular communication and active engagement with the policy making processes in the areas of AI, National Cyber security Strategy, National Infrastructure security, Virtual Financial Assets (VFAs), age verification for the digital economy, cyber security insurance and cyber risk management instruments. Aston research programs ensure the protection of the global economies critical infrastructure, security of the connected supply chain and develop new cyber security solutions that make UK the ‘safest place for digital business’. 

Members: Professor Vladlena Benson, Dr Soumyadeb Chowdhury, Dr Sian Joel-Edgar, Dr Paul Devadoss, Dr Ou Liu. 

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Decision Making and Strategy Process

Our research encompasses a range of interests, and includes work both at the firm and managerial levels of analysis. Historically, the group has investigated firm level phenomena such as strategic orientations, slack resources, strategic planning and strategic flexibility influencing firm performance. More recently work has also focused on managerial level issues such as strategic thinking, sensemaking and other facets of management cognition, strategic options and the strategy tools used in decision making. The group also focuses on strategic marketing issues such as strategic brand management. Research projects have focused on decision making in top management teams and middle managers responsible for strategy implementation.

Members: Dr Ian Combe, Dr David Carrington, Mahrokh Roknifard, Dr Neil Shepherd, Dr Efstathios Tapinos.

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Economics of Industrial Organisation

Analysis of strategic interactions between firms in markets. In particular, how theories and the insights on collusion, vertically related markets, advertising and competition provided can improve the role competition policy plays in regulating markets. Analysis of applied industrial economics of productive performance, ownership, industrial structure in the emerging market contexts. 

Members: Dr Maria Alipranti, Professor Jun Du, Dr Maria Kozlovskaya, Professor Tomasz Mickiewicz, and Dr Matt Olczak.

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Emerging Economies

Analysis of the driving forces and impediments of economic growth and development in the emerging economies, in multi-level dimensions of individuals, firms, industries, regions, governments, and their interplays, from the perspectives of political economy, industrial organization, institutional economies, and economics of entrepreneurship.

Members: Professor Tomasz Mickiewicz, Professor Jun Du, and Dr Susan Schwarz.

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Entrepreneurial Team Coaching

Entrepreneurial Team Coaching (ETC) is a new emerging addition to the team learning and development toolkit of leaders and entrepreneurs. ETC combines entrepreneurship learning and the dynamic of team coaching to create high performing teams. However, in particular the diversity in entrepreneurial teams is a double-edged sword. Research has demonstrated both beneficial and detrimental effects of entrepreneurial team diversity on organizational innovation. This research theme examines entrepreneurial team coaching as a means to facilitate product-, service-, and process innovation in organisations with diverse entrepreneurial teams. We integrate research from the fields of organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, and team coaching. Our Entrepreneurial Team Coaching members are addressing those aspects with evidence-based research about certain features, mechanism, techniques and interventions for team leaders and members of teams in order to innovate or renew teams in an entrepreneurial or demanding environment to maintain or enhance effectiveness, productivity and/or well being.

Members: Dr Uwe Napiersky (main contact person), Professor Nicholas Theodorakopoulos, Dr Wladislaw Rivkin and Dr Claudia Sacramento.

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Finance

Carries out research in a variety of finance areas, such as banking regulation, volatility forecasting, tail risk modelling, and dividend policy, as well as corporate governance, hedge funds, and real options investment analysis. We have been successful in raising external funding from the European Union for a project on funding models for students in Higher Education. The faculty also benefits from extensive connections with central banks and financial institutions, such as the Deutsche Bundesbank and Lloyds Bank. 

Members: Professor Christos Ioannidis, Professor Nathan Joseph, Dr Alcino Azevedo, Dr Konstantinos Tolikas and Dr Hugh Colaco.

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Global ICT Management

Through cross-disciplinary research we study how people interact with technology in-organizational context; and how knowledge-intensive work is organised and managed in technology-enabled environments. The global side of our research is reflected in global settings, such as globally distributed teams, and wide range of countries where we conduct our empirical studies. In the world-wide IS academic community we are known for our research on knowledge management, IT value (economic, environmental and social), IT adoption and diffusion, ICT in Healthcare, outsourcing, offshoring and global teams. We are also expanding our research influence to areas such as IT for environmental sustainability and digital work practices. We help industry to manage and use ICT better through utilization of global knowledge resources, to become more competitive and innovative. We engage in research, consultancy and student mentoring with a wide range of local and global companies across industries, in private and public sectors. Our work on knowledge management, ICT in healthcare, IT adoption and diffusion, business value of IT, outsourcing and offshoring is widely known to UK practitioners. 

Members: Professor John EdwardsDr Andreas Schroeder, and Paul Bocij.

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International Business

Analysis of location choice of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in developed and emerging market economies. We have a strong focus on the profit shifting activities of MNEs in to and out of tax havens, the Role of the Big 4 accountancy firms in this process and the effects on productivity. 

Members: Professor Chris Jones, Dr Yama Temouri, Dr Karim Kirollos, Dr Johan Rewilak and Professor Jun Du.

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Law and Technology

Law and Technology research theme is concerned with rights and regulation in connection with technological developments, automated processes, artificial intelligence, and the digital world. The research is undertaken in a wide variety of contexts. They include the criminal and regulatory sphere, such as internet regulation, cybercrime, cybersecurity; they cover commercial aspects, such as e-commerce, electronic contracts and fintech; and they also extend to private rights, such as intellectual property and privacy. The research is put to use in liaising with external bodies, for example on legal risk management and digital asset management. Staff have been invited to connect with the public sector, including advice to various national and international bodies, and giving evidence to a House of Lords Committee. ALS’s research strengths have led to external grant successes within this theme. 

Members: Professor David BainbridgeDr Martin Brenncke, Dr Edina HarbinjaClaire Howell, Pieter Koornhof, Abhilash Nair, Stuart Weinstein.

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Legal Education

This strand of research seeks ways to discover how the content and delivery of legal education could be improved and better regulated. Colleagues focus on developing teaching innovations and engaging in research which enhances understanding of the teaching and assessment of law. The key concern is to enhance the educational environments, processes and practices which support student learning and promote the objectives of university education. Staff in this research theme have gained measurable peer recognition, such as finalist for the Association of Law Teachers’ Teaching Law with Technology Award, and winner of the OUP UK Law Teacher of the Year Award. Members have won several external funding awards for teaching and learning work, and gained external appointments to develop teaching policy overseas. 

Members: Robert Goddard, Claire Howell, Odette Hutchinson, Kris Lines.

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NGOs and Sustainable Development

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are increasingly seen as an important institutional actors playing a vital role in addressing global grand challenges as well as national and local issues such as sustainable development, human rights, inequality, and insecurity. The broad objective of this research theme at Aston Business School is to examine, analyse and theorise how NGOs address these global and national challenges and to what effect? We engage with NGOs and their constituent stakeholders to develop insights drawing from diverse academic and functional disciplines. Our current research in this area include projects investigating accounting, accountability and regulation of NGOs; role of NGOs in private regulation, standard setting and global governance; formation and institutionalisation of NGO-business partnerships; role and influence of NGOs in shaping and contributing to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs); organisational challenges of NGOs - leadership, talent management, resource generation, internationalisation, strategy, finance and business models and reporting. Social housing is also an issue that is gaining importance.

Members: Professor Carolyn CorderyProfessor Stephanie DeckerDr Muhammad Al MahameedDr Thomas CuckstonDavid YatesDr Bahar Ali KazmiDr Bimal AroraDr Uwe NapierskyDr Umair RiazDr Carlene WynterProfessor Ivo De LooDr Michael Butler.

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Organisational History, Heritage and Craft Production

We focus on the role of history and heritage in contemporary organisations. On the one hand, we use historical research approaches to investigate important organisational phenomena over time and in their historical context to contribute to our knowledge about organisations and organising. On the other hand, we are interested in the way organisations make use of their history and use heritage as an opportunity for branding, international communications, building of organisational identity and dealing with legitimacy challenges. We have a particular interest in the role of craft in the production processes of Birmingham’s jewellery quarter, as well as the role of corporate archivists who are increasingly professionalising as “history managers” within corporations. We have close links with the History group within the School of Languages & Social Sciences.

Members: Dr Michael Butler, Professor Stephanie Decker, Dr Stefan Manz, Dr Illaria Scaglia, Robert Goddard, Professor Carolyn Cordery, Dr Volker Prott, Adam Nix, Julia Fernando, Dr Joseph Yannielli, Dr Ahmad Beltagui.

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Productivity Analysis

The measurement of firm productivity and productive economy, econometric analysis of the determinants of productivity growth (both micro and macro), including the role of investment, innovation, management and institutions in driving productivity and its spillovers across firms, industries, regions and across borders. Analysis of how productivity affects firm’s participation in international trade and the position in the global value chains. 

Members: Professor Jun Du, Dr Yama Temouri, and Dr Mustapha Douch.

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Responsible Business

Business creates wealth, provides employment, produces goods and services and in doing so it affects our economic, social, political, and emotional lives as well as our natural environment. It is these aspects of business activity which raise the questions about business responsibility and irresponsibility. At Aston, we engage in research that enables business organisations to unify social responsibility and the standards of professional performance and address effectively social and environmental issues. We are a member of UN-led initiative PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and our research is informed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our research is multi-disciplinary, collaborative and international. We also organise Birmingham CSR Summit annually at ABS in partnership with THRIVE which focuses on local CSR issues. Our members contribute to the Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (Aston) as well as involve in developing research with the CSR Center of Excellence, Kedge Business School, France and Centre for Responsible Business, India. Some of our current research in this area includes projects examining the bottom-up and national approaches to corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, micro-foundation of CSR, psychological approaches to CSR, human rights role(s) and responsibilities of MNCs/TNCs in transnational production networks, role of business in peace and state building, corporate political activities, MNCs in colonial and post-colonial contexts, sustainable supply chains, food security, food sustainability, food waste, supply chain risk and resilience, and social impacts of responsible business practices. 

Members: Professor Stephanie Decker, Dr Bimal Arora, Dr Nishat Babu, Dr Gary Burke, Dr Stella Despoudi, Divya Jyoti, Dr Bahar Ali Kazmi, Dr Uwe Napiersky, Dr Gayatri Patel and Dr Judy Scully

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Retailing

 The purpose of the retail research theme is to generate, transfer and apply insights on current challenges in retailing, to provide a hub for idea exchange, discussion and networking for stakeholders, and to support current and future retail leaders in their professional development. We are researching a wide range of relevant retail-related topics such as managing retail innovations, retail consumers, retail employees, retail channels, retail agglomerations, and retail data. A particular focus lies on the digital transformation of (retail) businesses and the disruption of retail businesses.

Members: Professor Christof Backhaus, Professor Markus Blut, Ms Ruolan Chen, Ms Amela Disdarevic, Dr David Dose, Professor Heiner Evanschitzky, Dr Keith Glanfield, Dr Iftakar Haji, Ms Katharina Kils

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Servitization and Industrial Service Innovation

This theme focuses on the areas of servitization, product-service systems (PSS) and advanced services in the industrial context. Increasingly, manufacturing companies are seeking to shift their priorities towards their service-business, a strategic transformation termed ‘servitization’. Servitization provides manufacturers with considerable opportunities to extend their customer-relationships and broaden their revenue streams. We have expertise in related topics, such as business model design and innovation required to become an outcome-based provider; the role of the Internet of Things (IoT) and other technological innovation in the change towards servitization; digital platforms and ecosystems in industrial service innovation; customer experience journey and service transformation, and routines and practices within servitization transformation.

Members: Prof Tim Baines, Dr Ali Z. Bigdeli, Dr Andreas Schroeder, Dr Ahmad Beltagui, Dr Dan Andrews, Dr Kawal Kapoor.

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Strategy as Practice

Strategy as Practice (SAP) research draws on sociological perspectives to study the micro-activities of strategy work. Rather than seeing strategy as something that organisations have, SAP conceptualises strategy as something that people do; through everyday activity with tools, materials and each other. SAP research drills down to study the roles of different practitioners who do strategy work, including senior managers, middle managers, consultants, professionals and external advisors.  It focusses attention on the micro-practices and routines that actors use, for example, when working with strategy tools, interacting in strategy meetings or running strategy workshops. To get close to the action, SAP typically uses qualitative methodologies, such as interviewing, ethnography, participant observation or video-ethnography, to capture the fine-grained action that unfolds when strategies are being developed, negotiated and enacted.
 
Members: Dr Gary Burke, Dr Igor Pyrko, Dr Carola Wolf, Dr Omid OmidvarDr Michael Butler.

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Systems Modelling and Simulation

Systems Modelling and Simulation includes topics such as data modelling, information flows, reasoning, agents, and soft systems methodology. The modern world is run by models. Whether your address book or the design of a new warship, whether the data of your clubcard or the structure of the railways timetable, a vast range of human activity especially in a commercial context depends on the quality of the models and the flow of data through these models in order to enable effective decision support. The Systems Modelling and Simulation team is focused on transforming the models used in the systems around into effective tools for the benefit of society and businesses. We analyse systems and business process, we build models and concurrent simulations to test those models, we develop tools to use data, exploit the models and deliver actionable options for organisations around the world. The world, our technologies, and out understanding of our natural and human environment is changing continuously, and so our simulations, models and decision support systems have to adapt.

Members: Dr Chris Owen, Dr Pavel Albores, Dr Matthew Hall, Professor Helen Higson, Dr Victoria Uren, Dr Panos Petridis, Dr Andrew Greasley

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The Economics of Innovation

The economics of innovation, concentrating on the processes, which determine effective innovation and its links to firm performance and higher productivity growth. Current research topics include the organisation of innovation at the firm level, regional innovation systems, financial innovation, innovation and export performance, the role of intellectual property and foreign ownership and product innovation. 

Members: Dr Bettina Becker, Professor Jun Du, and Dr Hiro Izushi.   

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