Business and Management update: June 2014

Richard Atfield, Discipline Lead – Business and ManagementRichard Atfield

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Remember to read the other discipline blogs in the Social Sciences blog



Welcome to the June 2014 update


Reshaping Business and Management Studies

The Chartered Management Institute, in partnership with the QAA (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) and the Association of Business Schools, have been organising events and discussions across the UK to consider the skill and knowledge requirements of future business leaders. The report from this work will be presented on Monday 9th June 2014 in the Members’ Dining Room, House of Commons. Follow the news on Twitter #21stcenturyleaders.

Perspectives On: Anonymous Marking - For or Against?

Association of Business Schools Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee, Authors: Berry O’Donovan (Oxford Brookes University Business School), Richard Atfield (Higher Education Academy), Diane Sloan (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University)

This ‘Perspectives’ paper considers anonymous marking from a business education perspective, debating the advantages and disadvantages and drawing some considerations for business school practice.

“When Student Confidence Clicks” – free September workshop

Dr Fabio R. Arico, School of Economics at the University of East Anglia is leading one of the HEA Social Sciences projects about the pedagogic value of using student response systems (‘clickers’).

He has organised a free project workshop at UEA, Norwich, on 3 September 2014. Registrations are now open. The workshop explores the role of SRS in fostering student confidence. Alternative less technology-intensive methods will also be considered.

Fabio is seeking contributions from external speakers on topics related to: student confidence, self-assessment, innovative use of SRS, and on the relationship between attainment, engagement, and confidence levels. (Please send a short proposal if you want to contribute to this event).

Recent highlights

ABS Learning and Teaching conference

Attending and contributing to this conference at Aston University in Birmingham at the end of April was a particular highlight for me, almost a homecoming, as the first then BMAF conference I attended was at the same venue in 2007. I am pleased that the ABS Learning, Teaching and Student Experience committee have taken this event on with such enthusiasm and would like to say how grateful I am for all their work in making this year’s another successful event. Reflections from a number of delegates supported by HEA bursaries will be available here shortly.

There were challenging keynotes by Chris Rust (Oxford Brookes Uiversity) about assessment and feedback  and Gwen van de Velden (University of Bath) about student involvement and engaement. Across the two days there were a wide range of well-attended papers, discussion groups and workshops to address areas of interest and relevance to business education - internationalisation, retention and success, employability, teachnology-enhanced teaching.

For the diary: The next ABS learning, teaching and student experience conference will be held on 28-29 April 2015 at the Park Inn, York.

Reflections from a delegate awarded an HEA bursary conference place:

Dawn Howard, Tutorial fellow in Organisational Behaviour, School of Business, Management and Economics, University of Sussex

I was lucky enough to gain an HEA bursary place at the recent ABS Annual Learning  and Teaching conference attended by around 140 participants from over 60 business schools.  I had plenty of opportunity to network with colleagues and made several useful connections, everyone I met was open to sharing and interested in what we are doing at Sussex. I was most impressed by the quality of the sessions and the innovation being carried out across the sector. Prof Chris Rust Dean of Oxford Brookes University delivered the first keynote, summarising current thinking on assessment and feedback. His key recommendation was to include and consult with our students in meaningful ways. The closing keynote was from Gwen Van de Velden, the Director of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at the University of Bath, on how they have used student surveys to shift reported satisfaction. Both of these sessions provided much useful information to take back and share with my colleagues.

The key themes were Employability, Flexible learning, Internationalisation, Learning spaces and Retention and Success, so there was a lot to take in and I inevitably only gained a snap shot of what was on offer. I was particularly interested in discussions around using the "flipped class room" to overcome the shared issues about poor attendance at lectures/seminars and the aim to include more active learning with students. Another pertinent session was  on the use of SCALE-UP rooms (basically round tables with technology attached for 8-9 students). Portsmouth Business School has invested in one of these rooms, has trained lecturers to use it, and the results in terms of student feedback and achievement are amazing.

Altogether a refreshingly enjoyable two day event which gave me time to reflect on my role and contribution as a new academic within the University of Sussex Business School.

University of Ulster Business School learning and teaching event

I spent a very enjoyable half-day in early May with a range of staff from the Business School, Academic Development and other areas, hearing about the many ways in which they are working together to enhance the way they work together to enhance the learning experience of their students. This included examples of internal projects  around collaboration, students societies, a peer-reviewed journal, working with charities, study skills, and a ‘Virtual academy restaurant’; also a short presentation about ‘Power teaching’ by Karla Bolak, winner of the Most Inspirational Teacher award.

Having mentioned the ‘What works’ student retention and success initiative in previous months, I was keen to hear from Roisin Curran about the approach being taken by the University of Ulster. A strategic decision by the VC has meant that there is a ‘What works’ project running in every school, and this links well to the new Learning and Teaching Strategy, built around flexible and accessible learning, transformative HE and enhanced employability.

For my contribution, I outlined some of the work of the HEA, including how HEA Fellowship and the UKPSF can support CPD and recognition at all levels (Ulster have an accredited scheme). In addition to information about what business students feel to be the attributes they will need to have impact and how what could be in place to support their learning, I shared what many school heads feel to be some of the key issues at present - working with employers including SMEs and technology-enhanced learning - and some current initiatives like the Small Business Charter. Finally I facilitated discussion around those issues and the outcomes of recent NSS data analysis in business schools to focus on core areas which influence learning gain.

I am grateful to the Dean Prof. Mary McHugh,  and to Ursula Quinn, Ulster Business School Teaching and Learning Coordinator, for their invitation and to all the staff for their welcome and active participation.

HEA Social Sciences conference 2014 – Teaching forward

This event was held at The Studio in Birmingham (an excellent very flexible venue close to New Street station if you are looking for one!).

The two keynotes provided excellent 'context-setting' for the conference theme.

Professor Mike Sharples (Professor of Educational Technology at the Institute for Educational Technology, The Open University) spoke on ‘Innovating pedagogy: futures for teaching, learning and assessment in higher education’, and Professor Keri Facer (Professor of Educational & Social Futures, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol) around ‘Universities for the future?’.

Everything we do has consequences in the future, like ripples on a pond. Utilising scenarios developed by Keri Facer, Helen Beetham and Richard Sandford at Futurelab in 2009 (for further details of the project:, we asked for conference contributions grounded in current work but which spoke to the different possibilities that might face higher education in the future.

Trust yourself - a world where society holds strongly individual values, where people take charge of their own lives and the state accepts few responsibilities. For further details of this world:

Only connect – a world where people see themselves as members of society first and individuals second.

Loyalty points - is ‘Big Data’ tracking us all? If so, is that a force for good or evil? This is a world where relationships between people, and the groups to which they belong, are carefully managed and monitored.

Apocalypse now - a world where something has happened to rock our ontological security! A wildcard world where traditional values no longer count and where society has been transformed by unforeseen circumstances.

Details of the many and various papers, discussions and workshops are available via

Further HEA-sponsored events

We have been delighted to provide sponsorship to IEEC2014 and BAM2014 this year and hope that you will take advantage of the many learning opportunities they will offer.

International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference 2014 (IEEC2014)

Education + Engagement = Impact, Newcastle University, 03 - 05 September 2014.

Confirmed keynotes announced:
Dr. Luke Pittaway is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University (Athens, OH) where he leads programs within the College of Business and across the University.
David Price OBE, specialist in creativity, human capability, the impact of digital technologies and education. David helped to establish Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, where he was Director of Learning for 7 years.
Lucy Armstrong, David Goldman Visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University. Lucy is currently the chief executive of The Alchemists - an organisation that works with ambitious, fast-growing, entrepreneurial companies.
Dr Paul Redmond, Head of Careers and Employability, University of Liverpool and President of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS)

British Academy of Management (BAM2014)

The role of the Business School in supporting economic and social development, Belfast Waterfront, 09 – 11 September 2014.

Today’s business schools continually interact with external organisations, for example through education and training for a diverse workforce, research publications, conferences, consulting, joint research and development, enterprise and new business formation. All of these, in turn, affect regional economic development. But arguably the ultimate impact will depend upon cooperation and knowledge exchange between academic researchers and the business sector. So critical questions include:

  • what are the economic, social, environmental and cultural impacts that can be generated by Business School research beyond the development of theory?
  • where and how can business school based research contribute to the future economic and social development of regions?
  • how can impacts be sustained beyond the current economic crisis?


British Library Management and Business Studies Portal

The Management and Business Studies Portal regular update in May covered a selection of new digital content added to and the British Library's collections of books, journals and other material. This included:

Business economics, Rob Dransfield, London; New York: Routledge, 2014.
Older women in the labour market, Ian Brinkley, The Work Foundation and the British Library, May 2014.
Managing 'human resources' by exploiting and exploring people's potentials, Mikael Holmqvist and André Spicer (eds.), Bingley: Emerald, 2013.
Speed of the internationalization process: the role of diversity and depth in experiential learning, José C Casillas and Ana M Moreno-Menéndez, Journal of International Business Studies, 45(1) 2014, pp. 85-101.
Women in management: tackling the talent pipeline, Chartered Management Institute, November 2013.
Studying Leadership: traditional and critical approaches, Doris Schedlitzki and Gareth Edwards, Los Angeles: Sage, 2014.
A lean approach to building management systems for reliable operations: executive summary, Corven Networks, November 2013.
Do small businesses create more jobs? New evidence for Europe, de Wit, Gerrit; de Kok, Jan, Small Business Economics, 42(2), 2014, pp. 283-95.
How does manufacturing contribute to UK resilience?, Andy Pike, Stuart Dawley and John Tomaney, Government Office for Science, 2013.

Thought for the month

The internationalising of UK universities – it’s about time we thought about the management of internationalising higher education, Philip Warwick, Durham University Business School

 In 2010 -11, I undertook a piece of research which used a managerial lens to review the internationalisation strategies of four very similar 1960s built UK universities.  When analysing my research findings, what surprised me was (despite the similarities between the institutions reputations, size and history) just how little shared understanding there was about the essential components of internationalisation.

The senior management teams at the four universities had developed four very different ways of internationalising:

  1. one had developed a series of partnerships with education providers with the aim of awarding more degrees in Asia than they did in Britain;
  2. one had focussed on recruiting international students to study in the UK, via a contract with private sector provider of foundation degrees and pre-sessional language courses;
  3. one had a dual focus on international research collaborations and international student recruitment;
  4. one had focussed on actions to internationalise the student learning experience and to enhance the experience of international students on the home campus.

For staff at three of the four universities, internationalisation meant recruiting international students, while at the fourth internationalisation to most academics it meant off-shore working – or transnational education (TNE) as it has become known. For students at all four, internationalisation meant recruiting international students. Issues like internationalising the curriculum, introducing an international perspective, promoting cross-cultural communication, or encouraging students to acquire international experiences were not on the radar of the majority of staff or students. All four universities in the survey were struggling to secure staff engagement with the internationalisation agenda.  Some departments, like Business Schools, Mathematics, Computing and Education, were at the forefront of teaching international students at home or overseas, while others, for example Arts, Humanities and pure Sciences, were largely unaffected by calls for a process of internationalisation and were reported to have hardly noticed it as an issue. In all four, a small group of enthusiasts were working to internationalise specific aspects of teaching or student support but only in one of the four were these enthusiasts getting any significant support and recognition for their efforts at university level.

University senior managers at the four universities studied were clearly committed to the idea of internationalisation but were finding it very difficult to move beyond agreeing the wording of their internationalisation strategy to actually taking action to implement the strategy. It seemed to me that there was a lack of management knowledge, skills and experience to introduce major organisational change in large not-for-profit, professional service organisations. Managing change in universities means trying to influence the activities of academic staff, who value their professional autonomy very highly and are suspicious of any management initiatives. It is generally not handled very well.

As a result of these findings, I support the development of the HEAs draft ‘Internationalising Higher Education’ framework.  In my view anything that will help support university senior management teams and departmental level managers to implement internationalisation strategies is a good and very necessary thing. While internationalisation enthusiasts are doing great work in many institutions, they are not going to be able to get very far without some top-down management support.

One further factor inhibiting progress on university internationalisation in the UK needs our attention; the lack of demand for internationalisation from UK domiciled students. As a result of the National Student Survey (NSS), undergraduate opinions have more influence than ever before in university decision making processes. Unfortunately there is little demand from UK domestic students to study cross-cultural communication, to have access to foreign language study or to go on international placements. The majority of UK students are simply not interested in the sort of international experiences driving changes in institutions elsewhere in Europe. If we want to effect change more quickly, we need to be persuading students that university internationalisation is important for their future and we need them to be asking for it in the NSS.

Without sufficient staff engagement, limited management expertise and no great demand from UK based students, most UK universities have been in no great rush to internationalise their activities. Let’s hope that the HEA’s Internationalising HE framework helps moves things along, somewhat quicker than they have in the last decade, so that the enthusiasts can get effective support from their senior management colleagues.

I would like to thank Philip for this piece and for his contribution to leading and supporting internationalisation activities in business education. The HEA Internationalising Higher Education’ framework will be launched at the HEA Annual conference at Aston University in early July.

Recent workshop outputs

New approaches to Business and Management students’ experiential development for the workplace Aston University, 02 April 2014, attracted delegates from a range of disciplines at Aston University and more widely across the UK. The speakers presented some useful examples of workplace and work-related learning opportunities and the outputs are now available.

Innovative approaches to experiential teaching in management decision making education Plymouth University, 23 April 2014, discussed one mark of successful and promotable managers being the ability to make good decisions is. The aim of this workshop is to champion and promote innovative approaches to experiential teaching/learning in teaching management decision making, so that delegates can bring insights and share new ideas, also to help delegates develop skills in critical thinking, self-reflection and continuous improvement.

Reports and resources from other events in 2013-14 are also available, including:
Employability and the sociological imagination, University of the West of Scotland
Using an online, virtual reality audit simulation to enhance teaching and learning within Accounting and Finance, University of the West of England

Check out the HEA events list

Some future workshops relevant to business education include:

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