Reimagining business and management as a force for good. This was the title of the prestigious British Academy of Management (BAM) annual conference, held last month at the Alliance Manchester Business School.
At the conference my colleague Dr Samer Mashlah and I presented a research paper entitled ‘The Role of SMEs in Transformational Cross-sector Social Partnerships (T-CSSPs) – A Future Research Agenda’. Quite a mouthful, but I am pleased to say the paper was well received, being clearly aligned with the theme of the conference. Our exploration of T-CSSPs is at the cutting edge of academic research.
Inspired by the work of Austin (Harvard) and Seitanidi (Kent), the paper addresses the societal pressures on businesses to work collaboratively with other actors in the economy – charities, civic authorities, universities – with the aim of exploring the motives, challenges and methods that SMEs face when they seek to do good, i.e. create social value.
We know that many local companies (70%) want to do more in this regard, but most are not sure how. They also would like to measure the social return on any investment in terms of their charitable activities, donations or volunteer time. It should be noted that the University has a strong pedigree in impact measurement.
Disconnect between academia and business
The BAM conference, however, discussed at length the disconnect between business and academia, something also noted by the UK government and reported in a variety of places, such as the Chartered Association of Business Schools 2021 report ‘Business Schools and the Public Good’.
To address this gap, we need your help!
The University would always like to collaborate with more local businesses, but more specifically we need your help in our research project, which aims to identify how SMEs can help drive systemic social change for the benefit of the community.
There are many case studies about global players such as Starbucks and Conservation International working together over 20 years to improve the coffee market. What about local businesses coming together to work with the civic authorities, charities and the University to address the biggest social issues in Northamptonshire? In a way that is:
Strategic: leveraging your business skills
Focused: on the most pressing issues
Aligned: with the concerns of your employees, suppliers, customers
Local: charity begins at home!
It is our belief that local companies are well-placed to deliver social as well as business value within their localities, through ‘transformational’ cross-sector collaboration (T-CSSPs). We want to prove it!
So, the overall aim of the study is to answer the following three questions:
What are the motives for your business to engage with T-CSSPs?
What are the challenges faced when seeking to create social value and engage in T-CSSPs?
What methods could you adopt to support – or lead – effective place-based T-CSSPs?
Stakeholder capitalism – its time has come
The shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism is gaining traction. With good reason. Major economic and financial disruption, the urgency of climate change along with austerity-driven cuts to governments’ budgets around the world mean that business needs to take care of not only its own sustainability but also that of the local business environment in which it operates, recruits and sells.
We want our research to live up to the Responsible Research in Business & Management (RRBM) network’s vision – research that supports responsible economic performance, great innovations, positive employee and customer well-being, a thriving natural environment and strong communities
So, help us to help you. Please get in touch if you would like to be associated with this exciting, innovative and valuable research project.
Save The Date!
The 6th Lord-Lieutenant’s Leaders’ Forum is on Thursday November 3rd at the University from 5.30-7pm, and the focus will be on helping businesses engage with the community.
If you would like to know more, contact Adrian Pryce via 07720297402 or firstname.lastname@example.org