2018 Summer research projects

2018 Summer Research Projects

 

A cost-benefit analysis of open-plan offices in higher education environment

Project Duration

This is a continuation of the summer research program on open-plan office An estimate of 6-10 weeks for data collection and data analysis and possible write-up.

Description

In this project, I extend our work in the area of Physical Work Environment (PWE) (Ayoko & Ashkanasy (Eds), 2019; Ayoko, Ashkanasy, & Jehn, 2014; Ashkanasy, Ayoko, & Jehn, 2014) and investigate the employees’ work environment (e.g. open-plan offices) where continual productivity, employee-wellbeing and engagement are critical. This is a crucial economical imperative in Australia because designing and redesigning the work environment constitutes a significant proportion of organisational financial overheads. For example, Australia spends about AU$3.6 billion per annum on redesigning and reconstructing the physical environment of work (FMA, 2002). Notwithstanding this huge investment, the design and allocation of space is an unacknowledged and expensive unmanaged risk for many organizations (Davis, Leach, & Clegg, 2011). In this regard, little research has assessed the success of these investments in terms of cost/benefit analysis and especially in higher education environment.

So far, scholarly findings on open-plan office are mixed. For example, empirical studies suggest that open-plan office promotes communication between employees (Kim & de Dear, 2013) while others demonstrate that open plan offices are linked with reduced employee satisfaction, a loss of privacy, and increased cognitive workload (De Croon, Sluiter, Kuijer, & Frings-Dresen, 2005). These findings are paradoxical (Ayoko, Ashkanasy & Jehn, 2014) and warrant further research. Thus, the current study moves the research in this area forward by quantitatively and qualitatively documenting the costs and benefits of open-plan offices especially in the higher education environment.

Aims and research questions
The current project aims at identifying the readily quantifiable and non-quantifiable costs and benefits of the open plan offices in higher education environment. The non-market impacts will be considered. These non-market impacts of costs and benefits will include environmental externalities (e.g. increased pollution) and social externalities (e.g. social cohesion/collaboration). In determining the costs and benefits of open-plan offices, the current project will also assign monetary values to those important variables in the open-plan offices such as building, furniture and internal décor. Finally, the project also aims to further categorise variables that cannot be assigned with monetary values through a qualitative description of the impact of the costs and likely benefits of the open-plan offices in higher education.

The above aims culminates into two specific Research Questions: 1) What are the costs and benefits of adopting open-plan offices for employees in higher education environment and 2) how do we minimise the costs and maximise the benefits arising from adopting the open-plan office in higher education institutions?. A deeper understanding of the costs and benefits of adopting open-plan offices and their impact on employee productivity and wellbeing should provide policy makers, architects and space designers with information to make a quality decision about the adoption of open-plan offices and what type of open plan offices might be suitable for increased productivity for academics and administrative staff in higher education. By studying the above named variables, I aim to contribute to the resolution of the paradoxical role of the open-plan office on productivity and wellbeing.

Two of our initial studies in this area suggests that there is much rhetoric around the open plan office (Ayoko, Ashkanasy, Waddell, 2014) and that employees draw differing meanings from the open-plan offices given the office configurations (Tann & Ayoko, 2019). The current study will be a follow-up on the previous studies not only to disentangle the paradoxical nature of the construct of open-plan office but also to unpack the costs and benefits (through cost –benefit analysis) of the open-plan office in the context of higher education. Outcomes of the current research should expose quantitatively and qualitatively the costs –benefits of open plan offices in higher education. This should, in turn, assist Australian higher education managers and leaders to have the needed information on which to make a quality decision on the adoption of open-plan office in higher education. Additionally, outcomes of the current study should also inform organisational policies on spatial allocation at work while the findings should inform architects and designs about best practice designs that may promote productivity and employee wellbeing.

Approach & methodology
Researchers have often employed quantitative approach to the study of open-plan offices (Ayoko et al., 2014). The current study departs from this practice by employing a mixed-method approach(quantitative and qualitative-case study) to answer the research questions. In particular, the project will be conducted in two studies (Study 1- qualitative and Study 2, quantitative) in examining the costs and benefits associated with open-plan environment in higher education. Since the 19th Century, cost-benefit analysis has been used by the US government agencies in environmental management (Hanley & Spash, 1993) and since the 1960s, this approach has been extend to “human beings” and “physical investment programs” (Guess & Farnham, 2000).

Sample: Using a case study approach for Study 1, we will interview (using in-depth-interview) 6-10 facility managers in various universities across Australia and New Zealand where open-plan offices for academics are now been trialled. We have already secured in writing the facilities managers’ willingness to participate in this research. Additionally, we plan to interview 25-30 employees who have worked in open-plan offices in the last 6 months in higher education. We have now been granted access to 2 buildings that hosts employees from UQ where employees have recently moved or just about moving to open-plan offices. Case studies have been documented as useful for cost-benefit analysis (Farrow & Shapiro, 2009). For Study 2, we plan to collect quantitative data using Qualtrics platform from 200 or more staff across universities in Australia and New Zealand on variables that carry monetary and non-monetary values.

Data Analysis: The qualitative data will be analysed using NVIVO software to identity the major themes around the costs and benefits of open plan offices. Altogether, a qualitative approach will assist in getting a deeper insight into the experience of the workers in open plan offices and the possible cost and benefits of such offices. For the quantitative analysis, we plan to examine the connection between variables. Finally, we plan to use a decision support tool (e.g. Decision tree, simulation or scenario analysis).

An ethics application for our preliminary research in this area has already been approved but we will ask for an extension.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

By participating in the project, scholars can expect to gain/learn skills related to:

  • Literature Review – e.g. of recent literature in the area of open-plan office, physical environment of work and cost-benefit analysis studies
  • Development of interview and survey questions for a case study
  • Data collection
  • Qualitative /quantitative analyses of data
  • Opportunity to be involved in drafting and collaborating on a paper for presentation and publication

Outcomes and Deliverables

  1. Succinct review of recent literature in open-plan office, physical environment of work and cost benefit analysis especially specific to higher education
  2. In-depth interview questions for data collection using a case approach
  3. Data collection from participants. Gatekeepers approval to collect data has been obtained from the 6 universities across the Tasman.
  4. Contributions to data analysis and write up of results targeting a quality conference and or journal publication. A short paper will be written for presentation in EGOS 2019 conference in Edinburgh, UK).

Suitable for

This project is open to application from UQ Students only such as Honours, Masters, and PhD students with a background in Economics, Organization Behaviour or Psychology. Applicants must also have some familiarity with qualitative approach to data collection and analysis.

Primary supervisor

Associate Professor Remi Ayoko in Management
University of Queensland Business School (UQBS)

Further information

Contact supervisor on r.ayoko@business.uq.edu.au for more clarifications if need be.

Drivers of Success and Failures in Innovation Processes of Professional Service Firms in the Information Technology

Project Duration

10 weeks

Description

It has been widely acknowledged that developing new services and products is of increasing importance for companies to generate profitability and competitiveness. Innovations provide new services, new processes or new products. Some innovations are small (incremental innovations), some are big and disruptive. There is always a certain process leading to the innovation. These processes are influenced and affected by different organizational factors.

Vast amount of money, formal and complex innovation process, are no guarantees of innovation success. Different factors influence the success of an innovation. How success is measured also differs from organizations to organizations. However, measurements of success and factors leading towards it are, to a large extent, alike for different branches within the same organization.

The proposed study is to examine factors driving success and failures of innovations for professional service firms in Information Technology. This is done through an extensive literature study to derive an analytical framework which is then compared against several cases of innovation initiatives within a single case company.

The proposed study aims to carry out semi-structured interviews with personnel related to successful innovations and failed innovations to understand the underlying factors leading to their respective outcomes

Managerial implications are aimed at the top management support and creating a formal New Service Development (NSD) process and a structural way to improve the top management support through the creation of appropriate performance indicators aimed at innovation.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

Scholars will gain skills in learning how to structure a research project in terms of how to identify knowledge gaps, framing of logical and sound arguments, data collection and also derive theoretical and practical implications based on systematic and scientific methods of inquiries. Based on the study, scholars will also be provided with the opportunity to generate publications from their research

Suitable for

This project is open to applications from students with a business information systems management background in their final year, who are keen on pursuing an academic career.

Primary supervisor

Dr Dongming Xu

Further information

For further information prior to submitting applications, please contact Dr Dongming Xu d.xu@business.uq.edu.au

Sustainability, development, and the arts: The Queensland Ballet as a discursive case study?

Project Duration

This is a 10-week project, which will run between December 2018 and February 2019 (with a break over Christmas – New Year).  The Summer Scholar for this project is expected to work approximately 20 hours per week (as negotiated with the Supervisor).

Description

Program background: Case studies are a widely-used pedagogical tool within Western business education (Pilz & Zenner, 2017), with students acquiring business knowledge and skills by engaging with actual issues faced by real organizations (Leenders, Mauffette-Leenders, & Erskine, 2001).

Businesses and universities alike have repeatedly identified excellent communication skills as critical graduate attributes (see, for example, Hare, 2015). To date, however, relatively little attention has been paid to the discursive dimensions of business cases.

Discourse is defined here as “the language used in representing a given social practice from a particular point of view” (Fairclough, 1995, p. 56). ‘Sustainability’ and ‘development’ discourses, for example, have become prominent aspects of twenty-first century business (Allen, Walker, & Brady, 2012); but these terms can mean many different things (Barros et al., 2014), and the ways in which they are used within the non-profit sector remains relatively unexplored.

Aim: This project will document how discourses of ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ are used by key stakeholders in the Australian non-profit sector, via a case study of a highly successful arts organization in Queensland.

The precise research questions for this project are:
• What place do ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ discourses have in public communication by key stakeholders in the Queensland Ballet?
• How are ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ conceptualized by these stakeholders?
• What can we learn about the Australian non-profit sector – and, more specifically, the Australian arts industry – from the Queensland Ballet’s communication about ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’?

The results from this study are expected to inform the development of a business case focusing on corporate communication, with a view to expanding the range of learning available to business students.

Approach: This project uses appreciative inquiry and discourse analysis to examine communication about ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ by key stakeholders in a successful Australian non-profit arts organization.

The Summer Scholar for this project will contribute to a literature review and data collection, through library and internet-based research.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The Summer Scholar for this project will be expected to

  • complete a literature review, focusing on (i) ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ discourses, and (ii) the Australian arts industry, in a manner suitable for publication in top-ranked scholarly journals, and
  • collect all public communication from key stakeholders in the Queensland Ballet’s new multi-million dollar redevelopment project (including media representations).

Suitable for

This project is open to applications from UQ enrolled students with a background in Business, Communication, and/or Journalism.

In addition to the ability to work with minimal supervision, the successful applicant must have excellent library research, time management, and communication skills. A genuine interest in discourse analysis, sustainability, and/or the arts will be a definite advantage.

Primary supervisor

Dr Kate Power

Further information

If you would like further information about this project, please contact Kate (k.power@business.uq.edu.au).  Inquiries prior to submitting an application are encouraged.

Creating a "Pitching Research" Academy

Project Duration

10 weeks [Commencing 19 November 2018].

Description

This project seeks to build on the success of the “pitching research” concept developed by Faff (2015), who provides a simple 2-page template tool, SO THAT a novice researcher can confidently and succinctly convey all the essential elements of a new research proposal to an academic expert. The tool is both methodical and succinct in its design.

Notable landmarks to date, in developing this tool:

  • In 2015, a small grant ($2000) was received from Accounting Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) to build a web portal for creating pitches. See: PitchMyResearch.com
  • The pitching template is being used as the basis for AFAANZ Research Grants (2015 & 2018: > $2million dispersed since 2003) and hosted by the “PMR” web portal in 2016 and beyond
  • A new “one-stop shop” website is under development: pitchingresearch.com
  • “Pitching Research” has engaged with novice researchers across many disciplines including: accounting, finance, management, marketing, strategy, international business, tourism, medicine, public health, food science, engineering, pharmacy, philosophy, ethics, education, business information systems and psychology
  • Substantial investment in supplementary resources: online library with worked pitch examples across > 240 different areas; various YouTube videos, etc
  • Substantial investment in pitching workshops/talks: presented at 37 Australian universities, and 51 different countries.

As a consequence of the above, in 2016 “pitching research” recently received an accolade from the accreditation body AACSB.

Aim/Objective:
Primarily using the web portal, PitchMyResearch.com, this project seeks to:

  1. Give a meaningful "taste test" of research to undergraduates - especially those on a 4th year Honours track, through a blend of individual and group work activities.
  2. Explore "digital scholarship" applications of the "PR" framework.
  3. Further expand the worked examples available to help guide novice researchers how to use the template tool.
  4. Provide pilot examples of pitches that leverage off the “Research Skill Development” framework [see Faff (2016)]
  5. Collect student based feedback on how best to develop the web portal resource into a more useful T&L tool right across UQ.

Project significance:
By enhancing an already established tool for starting research, this project will continue developing a larger technology-driven initiative for use across all faculties at UQ.

References
Faff, R., (2015), “A Simple Template for Pitching Research”, Accounting and Finance 55, 311-336.

Working Papers (mostly highlighting prior Winter/Summer Scholars work):

  1. Faff, R., (2017a), “Pitching Research”, Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2462059 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2462059
  2. Faff, Robert W., (2017b), Pitching Research®: A Comprehensive Resource Center Supplement (August 14, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3018939
  3. Faff, R., (2016b), “Mapping “Pitching Research” Tasks into the RSD7 Framework: A Pedagogic Perspective”. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2724451
  4. Faff, Robert W. and Li, Ya and Nguyen, Bao Hoang and Ye, Qiaozhi, (2016), "Pitching Reseasrch: A Pilot Experiment with UQ Wiinter Scholars" (July 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract= 2816233
  5. Faff, Robert W. and Carrick, Robin and Chen, Angel and Dallest, Kathy and Escobar, Marisol and Foley, Gabe and Gill, Chelsea and Khong, Bo Xuan Matthew and Liu, Maggie and McCullough, Jon and Ndugwa, Zina and Nguyen, Bao Hoang and O'Brien, Shari and Orole, Felix and Qureshi, Asma and Rad, Hossein and Rekker, Saphira and Shahzad, Syed Khuram and Smith, Marita and Tunny, William and Wallin, Ann, (2017), “Motivating Postgrad Research Students to Pitch Their Ideas: What Have We Learned from “Pitching Research” Competitions at UQ?” (January 15, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract= 2899942
  6. Faff, Robert W. and Carrick, Robin and Chen, Angel and Escobar, Marisol and Khong, Bo Xuan Matthew and Nguyen, Bao Hoang and Tunny, William, (2017) “Pitching Research: A Reverse-Engineer “Sparring” Experiment with UQ Summer Research Scholars” (January 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2903811
  7. Faff, Robert W., Carrick, Robin, Chen, Angel, Escobar, Marisol, Khong, Bo Xuan Matthew, Nguyen, Bao Hoang and Tunny, William, (2017b), “Fantasy Pitching III: UQ Summer Research Scholars – the Role of “Money” in the 21st Century” (January 26, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2906617
  8. Faff, Robert W., Carrick, Robin, Chen, Angel, Escobar, Marisol, Khong, Bo Xuan Matthew, Nguyen, Bao Hoang and Tunny, William, (2017c) “UQ Summer Research Scholar Program: Insights and Reflections from the Pitching Research “I-Templates” Team” (February 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919027
  9. Hale, Rebecca and Kilner, Andrew and Nucifora, Rebecca and Plath, Caitlin and Wu, Elvis and Zhang, Xinyuan and Faff, Robert W., Applications of ‘Pitching Research’: Insights and Reflections from the 2017 UQ Winter Research Scholars (February 26, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3130029
  10. aff, Robert W., Walsh, Kathleen D., Deng, Zhiming, Dhawam, Ani, Dong, Yue, Dronova, Natalia, Duong, Hung, Gain, Alexndria, Guan, Rongjun, Guo, Shijun, Holm, Lars, Klein, Kerstin, Kolouchova, Daniela, Krupka, Lukas, Kusz, Lawrence, Lee, Alex, Liu, Anqi, Mehrotr, Vishal, Mohan, Ritu, Pokorny, Lukas, Qvist-Soerensen, Peter, Procházka, David, Raut, Sneha, Stevens, Elle, Sun, Wei, Thomas, Alice, Tiwari, Milind, To, Marie, Wang, Anguo, Wang, Jenny, Wardhany, Nur, Westermann, Steffen, Yin, Shixin and Zhong, Zheming, Fantasy Pitching V: Doraemon, Handshaking, Spiders, Misery … (March 22, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3146726

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The successful scholar will, with close guidance from the supervisor:

  1. Be exposed to a simple tool designed to kick start research, with a role of helping to gather feedback on its enhanced web development
  2. Get first-hand experience of the challenges in starting research on topics relevant to their academic interests, either as a prospective Honours student or a current research student
  3. Create several reverse-engineered examples of completed research pitches relevant to their research interests, showcasing recent research completed within UQ Business School
  4. Assist developing other "pitching" related resources and intiatives - especially from a digital scholarship perspective
  5. Co-author several working papers on SSRN.

Suitable for

This project is suitable for very high achieving students who are enrolled in their final year of undergraduate study (and seriously thinking of Honours enrolment) or Coursework Masters students.

Primary supervisor:

Professor Robert Faff

Further information

Professor Robert Faff r.faff@business.uq.edu.au

The Big 4 Australian Banks’s exposure to climate change risk: Insights from capital markets and an analysis of banks’ public rhetorics

Project Duration

6 weeks with a start/end date negotiable with the supervisors. (Typically, it would run from December 2018 – January 2018 with a break for the Christmas/New year period).

Description

Aim:
To investigate the Big 4 Australian banks’ management of their climate change risk exposure via an analysis of: (i) capital market reactions to climate‐change risk events for the banks; and (ii) the public rhetoric of banks around their identification, assessment and subsequent management of their climate change risk exposure

Background: Banks occupy a unique role in society. On the one hand, they are accountable to shareholders to generate profits. On the other hand, in their role as financial intermediaries, banks translate the preferences and needs of savers and investors into appropriate capital investments (Scholtens, 2006).1 That is, they are the defacto custodians of society’s resources.

Within the context of greenhouse gas emissions, banks have been identified as prioritising short‐term profits over the longer‐term issue of global warming via their continued lending to clients with carbon intensive projects. Within an Australian context, the Big 4 banks are implicated in such practices2, which it is argued has the potential to expose banks to significant carbon‐related risks. Potential borrowers with increased exposure to carbon risk are vulnerable to future regulatory costs, their production processes are more vulnerable to the physical risks of climate change, and they are subject to greater business risks (e.g. changes in customer preferences). The increased exposure to carbon risk likely increases their default risk since each of the risks detailed above has the potential to reduce expected future earnings and cash flows. Moreover, banks may face reputational risks when their stakeholders view their lending policies and processes towards carbon‐intensive projects in a negative light. While this risk does not have a direct impact on the present value of an existing loan portfolio, it can impair a bank’s ability to generate future customers and hence future revenue streams.

Evidence is mixed on how well the Big 4 banks are managing their carbon risk exposure. On the one hand, the banks voluntarily make disclosures to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) around the drivers of their carbon risks, the magnitude of the potential impacts, any financial implications and how the exposures are managed. Additionally, the banks make climate‐change related disclosures in their annual financial statements (e.g. Directors’ report). The sum of these disclosures could be viewed as prima facie evidence of banks’ awareness of their risk exposure and attempts to adequately manage their risk exposure. Balanced against banks’ public rhetoric, shareholders are currently suing the Commonwealth Bank on the basis that its 2016 Directors’ Report did not adequately inform investors of climate change risks. Additionally, banks have suffered significant reputational damage with the negative publicity surrounding the funding of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine and associated infrastructure in Queensland. Against this backdrop, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has publicly placed directors on notice that it will be prosecuting around non‐disclosure of climate change risk if they fail to properly assess it (Roddan, 2018).3

In summary, these events create an interesting tension around banks’ public disclosures on their exposure to climate change risk. That is, are these disclosures reflective of genuine attempts to identify, assess and manage exposure to climate change risk? Alternatively, are these disclosures used to manage public impressions and thus lacking credibility?

Method/Approach
(1) Capital market’s perceptions of banks’ exposure to climate change risk. We will construct a timeline of events relating to banks’ potential exposure to climate change risk over the period 2009 until the end of 2017.

  • The study period aligns with the commencement of reporting carbon emissions under the NGER Act (2009), which signalled the beginning of an awareness of climate change risk within Australia, and ends prior to the money laundering issues/banking royal commission occurring during 2018.
  • The events will be identified from disclosures in the financial press (accessed from the Factiva database), and announcements to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) as part of continuous disclosure.
  • We categorise the events in the context of climate change risk as negative (e.g. announcement of stakeholder activism around a funded carbon intensive project); positive (e.g. the announcement by a bank of quantitative measures to scale back lending to carbon intensive projects); or neutral (e.g. unable to categorise as either negative or positive).

An event’s study will be used to assess capital market’s assessment of banks’ carbon risk exposure. That is, cumulative abnormal market returns (CARs) will be calculated around for a five‐day trading window around each event on the timeline. If capital markets assess banks’ exposure to climate change risks as significant, we would expect significant negative (positive) CARs to the identified negative (positive) events.

(2) Analysis of the Big 4 banks’ public disclosures on their exposure to climate change risk. Content analysis will be used to analyse banks’ public rhetoric around identification, assessment and management of climate change risk in annual financial statements (e.g. Directors’ report, impairments of loan portfolios); their CSR/sustainability reports; and their voluntary responses to the annual CDP questionnaire.

As part of this analysis, we would seek to:

  • Identify the specific nature of the climate‐change risks concerning banks and compare this to the nature of climate‐change events identified in (1) above;
  • Document any changes in banks’ disclosures occurring around the events identified in (1) above; and
  • Document general changes in banks’ disclosures over the study period (i.e. 2009‐2017).

1. Scholtens, B. (2006). Finance as a driver of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 68, 19‐33.

2. Specifically, the report“ Still coughing up for coal: Big banks after the Paris Agreement”, which resulted from a collaboration between BankTrack (an anti‐coal financing lobby group) Friends of the Earth France, Market Forces, and Rainforest Action (http://ecofinancas.org.br/2016/12/still‐coughing‐up‐for‐coal‐big‐banks‐after‐the‐paris‐agreement/).

3. Roddan, M. (2018). ‘ASIC puts directors on notice over disclosure on climate change risks’. The Australian. 19 June.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The applicant will gain skills in data collection, as well as data management. Specifically, the following data will be collected: share price data (SIRCA database or Datastream); ASX announcements (DatAnalysis database); and press items (Factiva database).

The applicant will also be able to develop skills in content analysis of public documents.

Additionally, the applicant will participate in the development of a research project from an initial idea through to the start of a working paper.

Suitable for

This project is open to applications from students with a background in Commerce (e.g. undergraduate enrolled in Bachelor of Commerce; or a postgraduate enrolled in a Masters of Commerce). The applicant should have a natural curiosity about potential drivers of disclosures made by business; as well as a good command of English since there is data collection and analysis required around public disclosures.

Primary supervisor

Associate Professor Kath Herbohn (with Professor Peter Clarkson)

Further information

If you would like additional information on this project, please contact Kath Herbohn (k.herbohn@business.uq.edu.au). Inquiries prior to submitting an application are encouraged.

CSR in the Peruvian mining context:  understanding internal corporate communication dynamics

Project Duration

This is a 10-week project, which will run between 19 November 2018 and mid-February 2019 (excepting the two weeks between 24 Dec 2018 – 4 Jan 2019). The Scholar for this project is expected to work approximately 30 hours per week.

Description

CSR in the mining industry faces several challenges related to internal stakeholder communication within the mining value chain. As a result of compromised internal communication strategies, the message external stakeholders receive has not always achieved the intended aims. One of the factors affecting external stakeholder communications is the lack of consistent messaging. This inconsistency results in emerging social issues with external stakeholders, as well as economic consequences for the industry.

The internal stakeholders are essential to constructing dialogue and collaboration necessary to build trust and legitimacy in the eyes of external stakeholders. Using communication theory as a tool for CSR, we aim to determine how internal stakeholder communication affects external stakeholder interaction.

Effective Communication needs to be timely, accessible, well presented and organized and should enable effective interactions with both internal and external stakeholders. (Lodhia, S., 2014). Yet, in order to be accountable to both sets of stakeholders, the leadeship of mining organizations must communicate internally first before communicating externally to create positive external outcomes.

Why Perú and Australia?
Both nations depend on the mining industry to support their economies and the development of their nations. In the case of Australia, the mining industry will represents in 2.9% of the country’s growth (Janda, M. 2018). Yet, in the case Peru thanks to the rising prices of metals, the Peruvian GDP will increase to 2.1% during 2018 (Diario El Peruano, 2018). Likewise, both nations share strategic mining assets from the following corporations: Glencore, Goldfields, MMG, Vale, Xstrata, Anglo American, Newmont Mining, and other transnational mining corporations. Equally, both countries face social and environmental issues related to their operations, which have potential to prevent the suitable development of their assets, as well as diversify while engaging the expectations from external stakeholders.

AIM: The aim of this research is to discover which categories of operational and strategic issues inside the organizational matrix of mining industries are currently being faced in both countries and how this affects the completion, sustainability, and development of the CSR plans. This will be a comparative study of both countries in the same industry.

APPROACH: This project uses qualitative (thematic analysis) methods to examine mid-level mining CSR-practitioner reflections. The Summer Scholar for this project will contribute to either the thematic analysis of students’ reflection assignments.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The scholar for this project will be expected to:

  • Research and analyze existing data.
  • Report on research findings in a manner suitable for publication in CSR, Sustainable mining, Communications and Strategic Management Journals
  • The results from this study are expected to provide the basis for an academic paper based on original research.

Suitable for

This project is open to applications from UQ enrolled students with a background in Mining industries, CSR and Sustainability from the Business or Communication school. In addition, the scholar should have strengths in qualitative research, as well as, data analysis.

Primary supervisor

Dr Carol Bond

Further information

If you would like further information about this project, please contact Dr Carol Bond (c.bond@business.uq.edu.au).

Transforming healthcare: building organisational capabilities in evidence-based practice

Project Duration

10 weeks

Description

The project investigates strategic change and new capability development in a large healthcare organisation. The project builds on a longitudinal, in-depth case study following a range of strategic initiatives in real time over the past 18 months. The case study draws on multiple qualitative data sources, primarily interviews, observations, and documents.

Tasks include thematic analyses of interviews with senior executives, clinicians, and internal reports, and an in-depth analysis of a selected initiatives.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

Scholars will gain skills and experience in qualitative research, including data analysis, interpretation and synthesis. The project also provides in-depth and hands-on training in case study methods, and in the use of the qualitative data analysis software NVivo.

Suitable for

This project is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students with an interest in qualitative research methods, strategic change and/or an interest in gaining a detailed understanding of a large healthcare organisation. Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential.

Primary supervisor

Associate Professor Paul Spee

Further information

Please contact Paul Spee on p.spee@business.uq.edu.au for further information prior to submitting your application

Innovative Education for Entrepreneurship: How design-thinking and critical self-reflection can build entrepreneurial insight

Project Duration

This is a 10-week project, which will run between December 2018 and February 2019 (with a break over Christmas – New Year). The Summer Scholar for this project is expected to work approximately 20 hours per week (as negotiated with the Supervisor).

Description

Program background: Entrepreneurship is generally regarded as the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources to hand. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to exploit and extend their networks of influence to enable the resource attraction their pursuits require. Consequently, one common theme of entrepreneurship teaching-beyond the standard use of case studies, guest speakers, and business planning-involves embracing a program of social interactions to facilitate networking. Such interactions can fruitfully be built into team-based activities that underpin course assessment regimes. Yet these same regimes have been known to offer prescriptions for success that differ markedly from the actions actually undertaken by practitioners seeking to build new ventures (Edelman et al., 2008). If that is the case, how can entrepreneurship teaching be expanded or re-envisioned to yield a more transformative experience for students? One promising avenue seems to be the adoption of design thinking (Garbuio et al., 2018) and critical self-reflection on the part of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Reflection on learning is widely regarded as having pedagogical value, with considerable scholarly literature documenting the benefits for both students and teachers, including:

  • increasing students’ meta-awareness of, and motivation towards, their own learning (Moon, 2006; Turner & Beddoes, 2007);
  • helping students think critically and make connections between course material and other contexts (Connor-Greene, 2000);
  • fostering “deep” learning (Pavlovich, 2007, p. 286);
  • foregrounding the agency of the learner (Fullana et al., 2014; Moon, 2006);
  • enhancing “instructors’ understanding of the learning process” (O'Connell & Dyment, 2011, p. 47); and
  • promoting altered behaviour in future (C. Johns, 1994).

The effectiveness of reflection in achieving these ends depends to a large extent, however, on (i) the type of reflection required, and (ii) the level of instruction and support students receive in learning how to reflect critically on their own work. When students are not given sufficient direction, their reflections are often largely superficial (Barton & Ryan, 2013; Orland-Barak, 2005; Ovens & Tinning, 2009; M. E. Ryan, 2013): that is, they amount to mere “reporting without significant reflection” (Cowan, 2014, p. 53).
In this study, UQ masters students across a number of business-related programs have been:

  • involved in team-based activities informed by design thinking,
  • invited to write short, online reflective assignments about entrepreneurship, and
  • provided with both “structure” and “prompts” (Dyment & O'Connell, 2010, p. 241), to “teach [them] how to reflect, through the assignments given” (Russell, 2005, p. 201, emphasis original).

We believe this combination of design-thinking-informed social engagement and individual reflection offers some promise as a means of deepening the entrepreneurial learning of students, while also facilitating a broader developmental pathway towards more enterprising graduates.

Aim: This project analyses students’ reflection assignments, in order to:

  • identify the extent to which, and in what ways in which, UQ postgraduate students’ conceptualizations of entrepreneurship change while they are enrolled in Master of Business, Master of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and related courses including Master of Biotechnology; and
  • evaluate the extent to which design-thinking-informed social engagement and critical reflection contribute to the effectiveness of students’ learning in the context of entrepreneurial education.

Approach: This project uses both quantitative (statistical analysis) and qualitative (discourse analysis) methods to examine students’ reflection assignments.

The Summer Scholar for this project will contribute to either the statistical analysis or the discourse analysis of students’ reflection assignments.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The Summer Scholar for this project will be expected to:

  • extract and analyse existing data, and
  • report on research findings in a manner suitable for publication in entrepreneurial, discourse analytic, and/or pedagogical journals.

Depending on the successful applicant’s background, s/he can expect to gain knowledge of:

  • entrepreneurship, discourse analysis, and/or pedagogy, and
  • the processes involved in original, empirical scholarly research.

The results from this study are expected to inform future entrepreneurship course delivery across the programs listed above, particularly concerning the possible embedding of design thinking and reflective learning practices.

Suitable for

This project is open to applications from UQ enrolled students with a background in business, entrepreneurship, linguistics, and/or education.

In addition to strengths in either statistical or discourse analysis, the successful applicant must have excellent time management and communication skills.

A genuine interest in entrepreneurship, discourse analysis, and/or pedagogy will be a definite advantage.

Primary supervisor

Dr Russell Manfield or Dr Kate Power (depending on whether the Summer Scholar hopes to contribute statistical or discourse analysis).

Further information

If you would like further information about this project, please contact Russell (R.Manfield@business.uq.edu.au) or Kate (k.power@business.uq.edu.au).
Inquiries prior to submitting an application are encouraged.

Trends and Issues in Tourism and Hospitality Degree Education in Australia – Has the Bubble Finally Burst?

Project Duration

Ten weeks, beginning mid November 2018, with a break over the Christmas / New Year period as agreed with the successful applicant.

Description

Project Aim:
This project aims to progress understanding of degree education in tourism and hospitality management within Australia, by researching the trends and issues over the past decade, including both shifts in the degree programs on offer, and change factors affecting the institutions involved in the provision of these programs.

Project Background:
The offering of hospitality, and subsequently tourism, management degree programs has grown significantly throughout Australia since the first pioneer programs were launched over 40 years ago. This project questions whether the current level of growth in program offerings is sustainable in the future. It may be that the combination of student demand and market supply forces will necessitate a consolidation of hospitality and tourism programs. Alternatively the increasing recognition of the importance of hospitality and tourism in the economic, business, government and education sectors, the predicted growth in inbound tourism, the current domestic labour shortage, as well as the increasing international student cohort may continue to drive the provision of numerous degree offerings in hospitality and tourism.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

This Research Program will support the scholar in understanding the research process, and developing the specific skills and knowledge to complete:

  • A comprehensive literature review
  • Secondary data collection
  • Spreadsheet development
  • Data analysis
  • Presentation of data
  • Publication preparation

Suitable for

This project is open to UQ enrolled students who are interested in learning about the process of research design, data collection, and publication.

Given the research focus, this project is particularly relevant to those students studying, or with an interest in, Tourism, Hospitality and/or Education.

Primary supervisor

Dr Noreen Breakey
Dr Niki Macionis

Further information

If you have any questions about this project please contact Noreen (n.breakey@uq.edu.au) or Niki (n.macionis@business.uq.edu.au).

Enquiries are welcome and encouraged.

Tracking the development of the Startup Ecosystem in Brisbane and Australia

Project Duration

10 weeks

Description

The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the startup ecosystem in Brisbane, South East Queensland and Australia. The project contributes to a detailed mapping of the current state and development of the startup ecosystem. The successful applicant would work closely with the research team to develop a comprehensive understanding of important actors, timeline and key events shaping the development of the ecosystem.

Tasks include, coding interviews and reports focusing on the startup ecosystem in Brisbane, South East Queensland and Australia as well as reviewing existing literature about successful startup ecosystems.

Coding the interviews involves identifying themes within the interviews, assigning per-defined codes to different sections of the interview transcripts. Lastly, the successful applicant will write up an overview of the findings.

Expected outcomes and deliverables

The successful applicant will get training and gain important experience in qualitative methods as part of the project. Students can expect to gain. These include how to code, create themes, and write up findings from different types of qualitative data. Hands-on training in NVivo is also provided. Additionally, students gain skills in conducting a systematic literature review.

On conclusion of the program a report presenting an overview of the findings is expected.

Suitable for

This project is suitable for students who are interested in developing skills in qualitative research methods and developing analytical skills. It is particularly suitable for students who are interested in pursuing an honours degree or a research component in a Master Degree as the project provides training in research methods. Lastly, this project is suitable for students who have an interest in entrepreneurship and/or starting a new venture.

Primary supervisor

Associate Professor Paul Spee

Further information

p.spee@business.uq.edu.au

Applicants are welcome to contact the supervisor prior to submitting an application

 

Related Content

Can't find what you are looking for? Search this site.