Prof. Jon Fairburn

About Prof. Jon Fairburn

Professor of Sustainable Development. EU projects have been funded under INTERREG, GRUNDTVIG, FP7, ERASMUS, TRANSVERSALS

Introducing Dr Alyson Nicholds, our new Associate Professor

 

Dr Alyson Nicholds, Associate Professor (Business Management), Staffordshire Business School

I am delighted to be joining Staffordshire Business School as Associate Professor (Business Management).  This is my 5th University, having previously worked at Leeds Beckett, Birmingham, Middlesex and Coventry in various teaching/ research roles.

Dr Alyson Nicholds

Dr Alyson Nicholds

I’m probably best described as an ‘interdisciplinary’ academic of all things Public Policy. What this means, is that I bring to bear all my past professional experience (as Nurse, Health Promoter and Development Officer) to analyse, empirically, ‘what works’ in health, social care, urban, science and technology policy.

I do this by exploring ‘why policy fails’, but this is not by evaluating the impact of policy is (i.e. rationally), but by analysing ‘why practitioners do what they do’ (i.e. the accounts that professionals provide of their practice). We call this more novel type of research ‘discourse analysis’ and it works by paying close attention to the language embedded in what practitioners say and do i.e.:-

  • How professionals ‘describe’ how they do what they do (‘functionalist discourse’);
  • How professionals ‘interpret/ frame’ why they do what they do (‘constructivist discourse’);
  • How the context ‘shapes/ constrains’ what professionals say and do (‘dialogic discourse’);
  • How society ‘influences’ what it’s possible to say and do (‘critical discourse’)

Discourse analysis is therefore important because it addresses some of the limitations of more rational/ scientific approaches to traditional policy analysis which typically ignores the human voice. Hence, much of my early work has involved applying the second type of discourse (constructivist discourse) to real-life cases, as with my PhD, which revealed regeneration professionals’ shared experiences of the barriers to effective regeneration in the East and West Midlands[1] [1a].  Indeed, this was so compelling, that I’m now reanalysing this data using the third type of discourse (i.e. dialogic discourse) to understand ‘why actors don’t do what they say’!

Other work, using this more ‘constructivist discourse’ approach, involved a large scale NHS funded study (Post Doc) to ascertain the value of different joint commissioning arrangements in health and social care (i.e. in 6 NHS Trusts in England)[2]; and scientists’ preferences for sharing knowledge in a global network (i.e. the large-scale physics experiment known as the hadron collider at the CERN facility in Switzerland) [3].

More recently I’ve been working with colleagues from Birmingham and Middlesex to analyse how formal and informal leaders prefer to lead in sub-national urban development places (i.e. the Smart Cities policy initiative)[4]. My latest work explores the practical applications of all of this type of discourse work in transforming the social outcomes of public policy through greater reflexivity in management learning. In future blogs, I’ll be writing about this and the different ways we might better research these complex types of policy problems, to address widening social and economic inequality.

[1] http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/3495/1/Nicholds12PhD.pdf

[1a] Alyson Nicholds (2011) Making sense of urban policy failure in complex times, Regional Insights, 2:2, 18-20, DOI: 10.1080/20429843.2011.9727924

[2] Helen Dickinson, Stephen Jeffares, Alyson Nicholds & Jon Glasby (2014) Beyond the Berlin Wall?: Investigating joint commissioning and its various meanings using a Q methodology approach, Public Management Review, 16:6, 830-851, DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2012.757353

[3] Mabey, C. & Nicholds, A. (2015) Discourses of knowledge across global networks: What can be learnt about knowledge leadership from the ATLAS collaboration? International Business Review, Volume 24, Issue 1, February 2015, Pages 43–54. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969593114000754

[4Alyson Nicholds, John Gibney, Chris Mabey & Dan Hart (2017) Making sense of variety in place leadership: the case of England’s smart cities, Regional Studies, 51:2, 249-259, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2016.1232482

Middleport Pottery – my experience by Simon Hope

by Simon Hope on the BA Tourism Management award (top up)

Pots, Plates and plenty of clay. Middleport Pottery is a historical attraction based in Burslem, Stoke on Trent. It consists of a factory tour, history tour, tea rooms and a shop. The site promotes the history and culture behind the potteries industry and transports you back to the past.

It started in 1888, as a working potteries factory and had fallen into despair until it was brought by the United Kingdom Historical Building Preservation Trust and renovated so that the factory can be continued to be worked.

Some of the range of Burleigh Pottery

Some of the range of Burleigh Pottery

We were toured round the factory by Tony who was a volunteer (as are all the tour guides) that was very insightful about the factory and all the history surrounding Middleport Pottery. We started on the old cobbled path then followed the path round to the clay dispense room with runners. Then we progressed through the factory tour developing more and more knowledge.

I really enjoyed the tour, it felt personal and connected. I felt like I was being transported back in time and I was surprised at how most of the factory preserved the historical feel whilst still operating. Whilst we were touring we saw the whole process and was able to see an order for Ralph Lauren which was exciting.

Middleport Pottery

Middleport Pottery

It was a completely different process to the World of Wedgwood (WoW) which we have visited previously.  WoW was very modern, and the tour was more views from a side line whereas Middleport pottery was much more hands on and interesting.

Bottle Kilns. The most interesting part of the tour brought us to one of the bottles kilns. I stood inside the kiln looking up towards the sky, thinking of how many thousands of pieces of crafts and the people who worked in these conditions. I was astounded, and it has made a lasting impression.

I would recommend the tour to any tourist student that wants an insight to history of the pottery industries. It has helped me to see how the operations of volunteer-based attraction works and I have seen where there is potential for the attraction to develop and maintain its advantage.

Overall, I would like to thank Middleport Pottery and Tony for the time taken to show us around the site. I would also like to promote the attraction to anyone who is interested in Stoke on Trent history and potteries.

Middleport Pottery on facebook 

Middleport Pottery on twitter

You may also be interested in our blog on resources for Chinese visitor for Middleport Pottery

My Visit to the Wonderful World of Wedgwood

By Sasha Wilson L6 Tourism Management

Wedgwood is an iconic brand within the pottery industry, it was founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 and is valued as part of English History (Visit Stoke, 2018). It is now owned by the Fiskars Group who have ownership over other iconic brands including Gerber, Fiskars, Littala, Waterford and Royal Copenhagen (Wedgwood, 2018).

The World of Wedgwood is located in Stoke-on-Trent, Barlaston and is known for being a cultural attraction suitable for all ages. They attract 100,000 visitors per year with 25% of them being international with Japan and China being the most popular, helping to contribute to their global sales by 40% (Perkins, 2018).

Sasha with some of her fellow students

Sasha with some of her fellow students

My fellow colleagues and I arrived at the World of Wedgwood around 9am, where we were greeted by the director (Chris Perkins) and educational contact (Olivia Thackston). Chris has been working for the attraction for 5 years and manages the front of house, catering and museum teams, ensuring that they all run smoothly and all issues are resolves effectively.

The director showed us to the dinning hall where we conducted the interview, he started off by informing us about the Fiskars Group and the World of Wedgwood providing us with in-depth and valuable information. The group had individually prepared some questions to ask him, however many had already been answered through his inspirational talk.

I wanted to find out how the attraction is sustainable so I asked what strategies and procedures have been put into place to help the environment and reduce waste. He informed me that they don’t use plastic and that everything is made from glass so it can be reused, they also manage visitor numbers and order the right amount to cater for their needs to reduce food waste (Perkin, 2018).

An interesting fact I found out was that they recycle their broken casts by smashing them up which is then sold and used to make motorways, helping them to be more sustainable and provide positive impacts on the attraction as they still make money (Perkins, 2018). When I found out this I was very happy as I believe that organisations have a responsibility to the do whatever it takes to be more sustainable, to help preserve the environment and local community.

Once we had finished the interview we walked around the Museum where I saw lots of Wedgwood blue plates, taking me back to my childhood as my nan used to make us stories on the plates and tell them to me which gave me a warm and happy feeling. I then rang up my nan and told her she MUST visit as she would LOVE it! While on the phone we went back in time and remembered the happy and joyful memories that Wedgwood have provided us with, which we are very grateful for.

One of the many displays in the fabulous museum

One of the many displays in the fabulous museum

We then brought tickets for the factory tour which costs us £5 as we were a group of students, this helped to encourage us to go on the tour as it is affordable and value for money. I highly recommend taking part in the factory tour as you are able to gain first-hand experience on how they make their famous potteries and see the fantastic detail that is put into the hand-crafted items.

To finish our visit we visited the gift shop where I brought a keyring as I collect one every time I visit an attraction, as I am able to look back through them and remember my experience.

Overall, I believe that the World of Wedgwood is a fun and interesting way to spend your day and well worth a visit.

You can follow them on social media Facebook , Twitter, Instagram

Reference List

PERKINS, C. (2018) World of Wedgwood Q&A. [Interview]. 11th October 2018.

VISIT STOKE. (2018) World of Wedgwood. [Online] Available from: https://www.visitstoke.co.uk/see-and-do/world-of-wedgwood-p736491. [Accessed: 18th October 2018].

WEDGWOOD. (2018) About Fiskars Group. [Online] Available from: https://www.wedgwood.co.uk/wedgwood/about-us/. [Accessed: 18th October 2018].

Find out more about Tourism and Events Management at Staffordshire University 

Who run the world? MUMS!

by Stef Price  (student)

It’s 2018 and the term ‘mumpreneur’ seems to pop up everywhere just lately. But why? And what does it mean?

Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary, a mumpreneur is “a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children”. But why? It seems like a lot of work on top of the endless list of mum duties!

Is it because us mums want to spend as much time as possible with our little darlings? Is it the getting up 20 kazillion times in the night to return a lost dummy to tiny mouths that has us too tired to get up for the old 9 to 5? Or are we just kick-ass independent women, confident enough to give the finger to corporate fat cats whilst lining our own pockets instead of theirs?

For me, it was all of the above….and then some.

In 2013, at the grand old age of 32, baby #1 came along. I loved being a mum and wanted to spend as much time with him as possible but when he was only 5 months old, it became too much trying to survive on a single poor salary and statutory maternity pay. I reluctantly trundled back to the corporate world to help put food into his little mouth.

Being able to contribute financially again felt great, but the cost, to me, was massive. I missed his first words, the first time he clapped, his first crawl, the first time he pulled himself up to standing, his first steps.…pretty much his first everything. It sucked, but I smiled and cracked on. As you do.

Stef Price Mumpreneur

Stef Price Mumpreneur

Fast forward 3 and a half years and baby #2 rocks up, yay! However, this time I wanted to cling to as many precious moments as possible for as long as possible so I vowed that I would have the full 9 months of maternity entitlement if it killed me! We planned, we saved and we stocked up on nappies to within an inch of our lives to make sure it happened…and it did! And it was amazing!

Getting a bit of help

Getting a bit of help

But something else happened too. I became a shirker! Well, kind of. I didn’t want to not work, I just didn’t want to work for somebody else – I was a shirker of the corporate world. I didn’t want to go back to my old job. I didn’t even want a new job. I just didn’t want a job.

I googled, I pondered and I scratched my head about how I could live the impossible dream of being a ‘stay home mum’ who works around the school run. I had a couple of embarrassing attempts at network marketing, but it didn’t feel right. I didn’t love it and I didn’t feel like I was being me.

I wanted to do something that I love, when it suited me and I wanted people to pay me for it. Is that too much to ask? Probably. Did I do it anyway? Yes!

And so was born Frog Princess, Hand Crafted Gifts.

An outlet for my ever-present creative streak, I began to make and sell hand crafted and personalised gifts. I touted my wares on my personal Facebook page and received a few sales and some positive feedback. It spurred me on and I decided to set up a Facebook group, a Facebook page and more recently, a website and an Instagram page in order to reach more people.

Some of the products available at Frog Princess

Some of the products available at Frog Princess

In the meantime, I’m in my second year of studying for a Bachelors degree in Business Management at Staffordshire University so I don’t have as much time as I would like to spend on my little venture, so for now, it will stay just that. Little.

However, I love what I do and I love the extra bit of money it brings. Most of all, I love that I can do it around family life and around my studies and that I have the flexibility to ramp it up or step back as and when life dictates.

According to Small Business, in 2016, 17% of Millenial mums said they planned on setting up their own business within 12 months. And whatever their reasons for doing so, whether they’re the same or different to my reasons, watch out cos mumpreneurs are taking over the world!

Frog Princess website 

Frog Princess facebook  group

Frog Princess page

Frog Princess on Instagram 

It’s never too late to get an education

by Justyna Podymna 

Did you ever think about going to University to gain new skills and qualifications? Did you let a lack of confidence and the fear of being a foreign student stop you? I wrote this blog to inspire people and to share my journey.

Justyna Podymna (right) receives her certificate at the celebration

Justyna Podymna (right) receives her certificate at the celebration

The biggest mistake you can make is limiting yourself. My story is similar and started a few years ago. Before I moved to the UK I always wanted to go to University to gain higher qualifications and to get a better job in the future. I wanted to be able to fulfil my dreams and just be happy. I came to the UK in 2007 and for the first few years I was jumping from one job to another but none of them were satisfying.

I decided to fulfil my ambition of gaining higher qualifications and returned to education as a mature student. After researching my nearest universities, I chose Staffordshire University and made an appointment with an International Advisor to find out what options were available to me, both as a mature and an international student.

Why did I choose Staffordshire University? Employability. This was the winning point in my decision. They advised me that their Step Up to HE Course would be beneficial for me to adjust to academic life after such a long time away from education.

The Step-Up course teaches you academic writing skills, research techniques, how to correctly reference and how to get out as much as you can from all available resources. At the end of the course, not only do you have valuable experience and insight, but you are a step ahead of the other students and are able to offer help and support. Furthermore, after completing the course you are awarded with a Foundation Certificate in Higher Education. This is handed out during an awards evening, along with loads of delicious free food and drink to celebrate!

Celebrations for completing the Step Up award

Celebrations for completing the Step Up award

The tutors and the course leader, Ashley, are friendly and approachable. They will help you with all the formal stuff too, like your university application, student finance and your personal statement.

You get loads of support as student. There are well-being counsellors, a student enablement centre and academic skills resources to help with your academic skills! You can access the academic skills resources here.

I’m in my second year now and I’ve realised that the support of another student is really useful and important. Everyone at Staffs is super friendly and you can expect loads of help.

Believe me your future is in your hands and anyone can do it. Don’t limit yourself because of the language barrier. You will learn something new daily. Remember, knowledge is like a tool in your hand and if you use it effectively it will push you to success.

More on Step Up here 

Course details here 

 

The age of innovation: Has the time come for the paradigm shift in innovation policy?

By Ema Talam

The United Kingdom is classified as Innovation Leader in the latest European Innovation Scoreboard. Although it excels in performance compared to the European Union average in 2017 on various indicators used (e.g. International scientific co-publications, Innovative SMEs collaborating with others, Foreign doctorate students, etc.), it stands out that the United Kingdom performs very poorly compared to the EU average  on the following indicators: R&D expenditure in the public sector and R&D expenditure in the business sector (the percentages for the UK are 67.0% and 85.1% of the EU average in 2017, respectively) (European Commission, 2018).

Businesses in the UK are the main contributors to the total R&D expenditure and this contribution has increased from 2005 on wards. Hodges (2018) points out: “Focusing on civil (non-defence related) R&D, in 2016 53% of all R&D performed in the UK was funded by businesses, 8% by higher education institutions or funding councils, and 17% by government, including the research councils”.

Increasingly, the majority of funding for R&D performed by businesses comes from businesses themselves—the share was 63.0% in 2010 and was 10 percentage point higher in 2016. The government funding for R&D performed by businesses decreased by 2.1 percentage point from 2013 until 2016 (from 9.9% to 7.8%) (Hogdes, 2018).  Research and development also becomes important in the context of Brexit. Dhingra et al. (2017) recognise lower research and development as one the factors that can lead to productivity and welfare losses in the event of Brexit.

The importance of innovation for growth is often emphasised (Van Reenen, 2011). Furthermore, my previous blogs 1, 2, 3 gave detailed accounts on the links between innovation, productivity and exporting. Although not the sole determinant of innovation, the role of research and development (R&D) can be significant in the process of innovation of a firm (OECD/Eurostat, 2005; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015b).

Due to the presence of market failures, governments use different instruments to increase private R&D spending by firms and commonly used ones are R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies. When it comes to R&D tax credits, firms make their own innovation choices, while in the case of R&D subsidies, policymakers are the ones who choose to whom the subsidy will be granted (What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; Dechezlepretre et al., 2016). Numerous studies have dealt with the issue of effectiveness of R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies on increasing R&D investment, innovation or economic performance of a firm.

Some empirical evidences suggest that R&D tax credits have been effective in increasing R&D investment, innovation and improving economic outcomes of a firm (Czarnitzki et al., 2011; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; Dechezlepretre et al., 2016). For example, Dechezlepretre et al. (2016), using UK data, show that R&D tax credits had positive impact on innovation (i.e. patents), productivity, sales and employment. The effectiveness of R&D tax credits is shown to be different in different industries and sectors the firms are operating in (i.e. differences in the effectiveness are found between high- and low-tech industries), the size of firms (i.e. predominantly, the effect is larger for SMEs) and the age of a firm (i.e. R&D tax credits are more effective for young compared to older firms) (Castellacci and Lie, 2015; What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015a; Dechezlepretre et al., 2016). Evidence also shows that the impact of R&D tax credits is larger in the long-run (Bloom et al., 2002).

The impact of R&D grants, loans and subsidies on R&D expenditure, innovation and economic outcomes is inconclusive (What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, 2015b). However, the study by Benavente et al. (2007) on Chile, found the positive impact of R&D subsidies on: process innovation, employment, sales and exports. Furthermore, the analysis by Dimos and Pugh (2016) shows that R&D subsidies have a positive, but small effect on private R&D. In particular, they state that: “findings reject crowding out of private investment by public subsidy but reveal no evidence of substantial additionality” (Dimos and Pugh, 2016, p. 811).

Latest thinking on innovation policy suggests that, in order to achieve smart, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, the focus of government intervention should not be on fixing market failures. Instead, Kattel and Mazzucato (2018) point out to the importance of mission-oriented policies and state: “The role of the public sector here is not just about de-risking, and levelling the playing field, but tilting the playing field in the direction of the desired goals—creating and shaping markets which increase the expectations of business around future growth opportunities, thus driving private investment.” (p. 2). In this case, quantity or rate of innovation are believed to be the second-order issues, while quality and direction of innovations emerge as the top priorities. According to the authors, putting missions at the heart of innovation policy can be used to address numerous challenges and problems that today’s societies are facing. Public investments centred around particular mission can create new markets and shape the existing ones. Mission-oriented policies, according to the authors, are gaining on popularity again.

Innovation matters. Due to its economy-wide impact, governments use different measures to support innovation. Approaches aimed at fixing market failures, such as R&D tax credits and R&D subsidies, generally showed to be effective, although sometimes having only small effects. However, throughout the history, there were also evidences of successful mission-oriented policies that re-shaped the whole societies. Given the stated, the real question is: Has the time come for the paradigm shift in innovation policy?

References – Innovation policy blog – v249 are here

 

Great places to eat in Stoke on Trent and Newcastle under Lyme

Staffordshire University have a lot of international students and staff from all sorts of cultures. Here are some of the more varied places to try in the Potteries.

Hawasana is based in Shelton and on Stoke Road (the next road over from the College Road campus), they will provide you with authentic Afghan cuisine including huge naans  and cheap food – on facebook  

Miso is a Japanese restaurant on the London Road in Stoke Town Centre. Also in Stoke town further along the London Road is Carmen’s Caribbean Cuisine which is a takeaway.

Hong’s Kitchen -in Newcastle specialises in Hunan pot dishes – plus a lot of stuff you don’t usually see on Chinese menus in the Potteries.

food

A selection of food from Hongs Kicthen

For authentic Polish food try Agie and Katie in Burslem (Agie is a Business School alumni).

Newcastle has two good Thai restaurants – The Blue Chilli (alumni of the Business School) and The Art of Siam  . Also in Newcastle is Patty and Shake which is very popular with a young clientele  and excellent value.

Popular for burgers and curly fries

The best Italian in the area also happens to be in Newcastle Amore  also on facebook. It is very popular during the day for coffee and cakes and a different night time menu.

A delicious plate of pasta from Amore

A delicious plate of pasta from Amore

Try the great pizzas from a clay oven at Klay Pizzeria in Hanley  

  also in Hanley is the Slamwich Club .

Finally, if you fancy something traditional try the excellent pies at Pieminster at Trentham Gardens

If you want to find out more on food in the area the following accounts are excellent

Eat Stoke on Instagram   

Staffs food and drink on Instagram

Moorlands Eater website see especially the reviews, facebook, twitter

If you have any recommendations please add them in the comments section.

Interested in tourism and events? Find out about our courses in clearing  

Or call us on 0800 590 830

Is there a panacea for low productivity ?

By Ema Talam   on twitter as @ematalam

Productivity differences between different producers exist and persist, even among those operating within the same industries (Syverson, 2011; Van Reenen, 2011). Achieving higher productivity is of an utmost importance for firms as it leads to better firm performance and leads to increased profits. These increased profits can be used for future investment and wage rises.  The panacea for low productivity is often sought, however, the factors determining productivity are numerous, differing in their scope, level of influence and complexity.

One of the factors determining productivity is innovation. While some studies establish that innovation in general is positively linked with productivity (Movahedi et al., 2017), some limit this link to product innovation (Cassiman and Golovko, 2011). Porter (1990) argues that firms often have no choice but to innovate, as they face competitive pressures coming from their buyers or competitors.

The productivity of a firm may be determined by talents and practices of its managers. Bloom and Van Reenen (2010) have shown that firms that employ better management have higher labour productivity. Management practices differ widely both among different firms and different countries. They are influenced by numerous factors, some of them being: product market competition, labour market regulations, relationship between ownership and management of a firm, education of managers and workers, etc. (Bloom and Van Reenen, 2010).

Quality of inputs is another factor that determines productivity. Rather than clinging on basic resources (or lack of those), it can be argued that productivity is mainly determined by superiority of labour and capital inputs (Porter, 1990; Syverson, 2011). Education, training and experience can all affect quality of labour inputs. Quality differences of capital inputs can influence productivity (Syverson, 2011). The lack of basic resources can push firms to innovate and improve (Porter, 1990). It has been shown that differences in intangible capital and IT can also affect productivity (Syverson, 2011).

Another significant factor that can influence productivity are different decisions regarding the organisation and structure of a firm. Different process improvements through learning-by-doing can also influence productivity (Syverson, 2011).

Productivity spillovers and competition are important external determinants of productivity of a firm. Productivity spillovers occur mainly within the same or similar industries. Competition can hugely affect productivity and firms can face competitive pressures from both other domestic and foreign firms (Syverson, 2011).

The theoretically established ‘learning-by-exporting’ hypothesis states that exporting can improve productivity of a firm. On the one hand, a firm participating in an export market is exposed to a larger competition. On the other hand, by participating in an export market, a firm can gain new knowledge from its buyers and competitors (Wagner, 2007). Some empirical research has confirmed this hypothesis (Damijan et al., 2010).

As discussed above, productivity of a firm is influenced by a numerous factors. Some of the above-mentioned factors can be influenced to a greater extent than the others and some of those factors require shorter periods to be adjusted than the others. However, given that there is variety of factors, their complexity and the level of their potential interactions, the question still remains: is there really a panacea for low productivity?

References:

  1. Bloom, N. and Van Reenen, J. (2010) ‘Why do management practices differ across firms and countries’, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(1), pp. 203-224. Available at: https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/stable/25703489 (Accessed: 24th June 2018)
  2. Cassiman, B. and Golovko, E. (2011) ‘Innovation and internationalization through exports’, Journal of International Business Studies, 42(1), pp. 56-75. Available at: http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/stable/25790105 (Accessed: 28th March 2018)
  3. Damijan, J.P., Kostevc, C., & Polanec, S. (2010) ‘From innovation to exporting or vice versa?’, The World Economy, 33(3), pp. 374-398. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9701/issues (Accessed: 24th March 2018)
  4. Movahedi, M., Shahbazi, K., & Gaussens, O. (2017) ‘Innovation and willingness to export: Is there an effect of conscious self-selection?’, Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 11(25), pp. 1-22. Available at: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/journalarticles/2017-25 (Accessed: 1st May 2018)
  5. Porter, M. (1990) ‘The competitive advantage of nations’, Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/1990/03/the-competitive-advantage-of-nations (Accessed: 4th June 2018)
  6. Syverson, C. (2011) ‘What determines productivity?’, Journal of Economic Literature, 49(2), pp. 326-365. Available at: http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/stable/23071619 (Accessed: 30th April 2018)
  7. Van Reenen, J. (2011) ‘Does competition raise productivity through improving management quality’, International Journal of Industrial Organisation, 29(3), pp. 306-316. Available at: https://ac-els-cdn-com.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/S0167718711000208/1-s2.0-S0167718711000208-main.pdf?_tid=48b828f4-40fc-4fad-a130-5cec9cbc83ab&acdnat=1530139607_684e48c04c59ac476baa4ece54f7c606 (Accessed: 22nd June 2018)
  8. Wagner, J. (2007) ‘Exports and productivity: A survey of the evidence from firm-level data’, The World Economy, 30(1), pp. 60-82. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9701/issues (Accessed: 16th April 2018)

 

 

Untangling the link between productivity, exporting and innovation of a firm through Brexit

By Ema Talam  and on twitter @ematalam

It is often claimed that the United Kingdom has benefited from joining European Union in terms of its economic performance. On the other hand, some authors argue that the rate of economic growth in the United Kingdom did not rise as a result of its accession to the European Union in 1973[1] (Coutts et al., 2018).

However, different estimates show that the United Kingdom will experience negative consequences of its exit from European Union, but the magnitudes of those estimates vary. The impacts on productivity are argued and there is no general consensus of the scale that Brexit will affect overall productivity in the United Kingdom.

Coutts et al. (2018, p. 20) state that “no aggregate link exists between trade and productivity for advanced open economies, unlike emerging economies where a relaxation of constraints on trade allow multi-national companies to enter, and to raise both exports and productivity”. At the same time, Dhingra et al. (2017) recognise that losses in terms of productivity are possible and list several factors that may contribute to productivity and welfare losses such as: “reductions in the variety of goods and services, weaker competition, the erosion of vertical production chains, falls in foreign direct investment (FDI), slower technology diffusion, less learning from exports or lower Research and Development” (p. 3).

Productivity, exporting and innovation of a firm are three seemingly distinct concepts. More in depth analysis shows that these concepts are indeed related and that it is almost impossible to examine either one of them without examining the other two. Characteristics of exporters and innovators depict well the extent of the link between the three concepts:

  • Exporters tend to be more productive than non-exporters (Wagner, 2007; Damijan et al., 2010; Caldera, 2010; Movahedi et al., 2017) and often have higher productivity growth (Wagner, 2007).
  • Furthermore, exporters are more likely to innovate (Damijan et al., 2010; Caldera, 2010), spend more on innovation (Caldera, 2010; Monreal-Perez et al., 2012) and have more (major) innovations (Bleaney and Wakelin, 2002; Monreal-Perez et al., 2012) than non-exporters.
  • Innovators tend to be more productive (Bleaney and Wakelin, 2002; Damijan et al., 2010; Caldera, 2010; Cassiman et al., 2010; Movahedi et al., 2017) and are more likely to export (Bleaney and Wakelin, 2002; Damijan et al., 2010; Cassiman et al., 2010) than non-innovators.
  • Exporters and innovators also share the set of common characteristics: they pay higher wages (Bleaney and Wakelin, 2002; Caldera, 2010) and are present in the sectors characterised with higher R&D intensity and greater amount of intra-industry trade (Bleaney and Wakelin, 2002).

A recent report published by Centre for Cities (2018) shows that in Britain, exporters constitute more productive firms. Figure 1 shows that British economy is characterised by large number of firms with low levels of productivity, but also that local service firms are predominantly less productive firms. Exporting firms account 13.2% of all the firms examined. The share of exporting firms among the top ten per cent of the most productive firms in 2015 was 31.2%, while the share of exporting firms among bottom 33 per cent was 5.6% in the same year. (Centre for Cities, 2018).

Figure 1: Productivity of all firms

Figure 1: Productivity of all firms, UK (2015)

Figure 2 Productivity of exporting firms compared to local service firms in the UK (2015)

Source: Centre for Cities (2018) The wrong tail-Why Britain’s ‘long tail’ is not the cause of its productivity problems.

*The report indicates that productivity was calculated as “gross value added per worker at a branch level” (Centre for Cities, 2018).

** Original data source is limited to non-financial business economy

***Only private sector productivity was examined

**** Article in Financial Times (Strauss, 2018) on the report indicates that, in this case, all firms engaged in markets beyond their local one are considered to be exporters. However, it can be assumed that certain portion of these firms export abroad as well.

The link between exporting and productivity is also theoretically grounded. It is commonly hypothesised that exporting and productivity are linked in the following manners:

(1) self-selection hypothesis, suggesting that more productive firms self-select into export markets, and

(2) learning-by-exporting hypothesis, suggesting that firms increase their productivity by participating in export markets (Wagner, 2007). Empirical findings prove the existence of both the link leading from productivity to exporting (Caldera, 2010; Cassiman and Golovko, 2011; Movahedi et al., 2017), as well as the link leading from exporting to productivity (Damijan et al., 2010).

Furthermore, previous research shows that exporting is linked to innovation (Damijan et al., 2010) and, at the same time, that product, process and organisational innovation have an influence on exporting (Basile, 2001; Bleaney and Wakelin, 2002; Caldera, 2010; Cassiman et al., 2010; Cassiman and Golovko, 2011; Monreal-Perez et al., 2012; Fryges et al., 2015; Azar and Ciabuschi, 2017).

Some authors suggest that there exists complementarity between exporting and investment in productivity, in the sense that one raises the profitability of the other (Lileeva and Trefler, 2010). Firm’s productivity can be tackled through factors internal to a firm (i.e. managerial practice and talent, quality of labour and capital inputs, decisions about firm’s structure, etc.) and influenced by the factors that are external to a firm (i.e. productivity spillovers, intramarket competition, regulations, etc.) (Syverson, 2011).

Empirical research has shown that innovation positively influences productivity (Cassiman and Golovko, 2011; Movahedi, Shahbazi and Gaussens, 2017).

Four types of innovation can be distinguished:

(1) product innovation, “the introduction of a good or service that is new or significantly improved with respect to its characteristics or intended uses” (OECD/Eurostat, 2005, p. 48),

(2) process innovation, “the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method” (OECD/Eurostat, 2005, p. 49),

(3) marketing innovation, “the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing” (OECD/Eurostat, 2005, p. 49), and

(4) organisational innovation, “the implementation of a new organisational method in the firm’s business practices, workplace organisation or external relations” (OECD/Eurostat, 2005, p. 51). Schmookler (1954) suggests that size of the market is one of the determinants of the level of inventive activities.

Brexit will almost certainly result in larger trade costs for the firms involved. Van Reenen (2016) indicates that there are three distinct categories of trade costs that will increase following Brexit:

“(i) higher tariffs on imports;

(ii) higher nontariff barriers to trade, arising from different regulations, border controls, and the like; and

(iii) the lower likelihood of the United Kingdom participating in future EU integration efforts, such as the continued reduction of nontariff barriers”.

Following the lines of the discussion above, trade costs are likely to have a greater impact on the more productive firms in the British economy. Also, due to the existence and the complexity of the links between exporting, productivity and innovation, adverse effects can be expected to go beyond influences on productivity.

References – blog post – v246

By Ema Talam  and on twitter @ematalam

[1] EEC at the time.

‘Made in Dagenham’

By June Dennis, Dean of Staffordshire Business School

In 1968, some 50 years ago, a group of women machinists at Ford Dagenham went on strike and campaigned to be recognised as skilled workers.  The women trained for 2 years as machinists but were paid just 85% of what male unskilled workers received.  Although they only achieved partial success – the women did not get upgraded but received an increase in pay to 92% of what a male cleaner would earn – this well publicised campaign was considered a major stepping stone in the establishment of the Equal Pay Act of 1970, now superseded by the Equality Act 2010.

I recall watching the film ‘Made in Dagenham’ about the Ford Dagenham workers some years ago whilst on holiday with my two daughters, then aged 15 and 12.  As we discussed the film afterwards, I realised even then that it was going to be one of those defining moments in their development.  It also gave me an opportunity to tell them of some of my experiences. For example, as a final year student at a job interview I was asked ‘shouldn’t you be warming your husband’s slippers by the fireplace rather than working here’.

Dr June Dennis - the new Dean of Staffordshire Business School

June Dennis – the new Dean of Staffordshire Business School

Later in my career, I recalled being told by a very well meaning male colleague that I hadn’t been given the role as link tutor for a partner in India because I had a young family and might not be able to cope with a couple of trips abroad.  I was also able to tell them about my parents being role models – both were nurses and on the similar pro-rata salaries for much of their careers, although, it was my mother who worked part-time and unsociable hours to fit around the family.  I started my own business and subsequently became a lecturer because I could not maintain an international marketing role with a young family.  Neither of my daughters had been aware that such discrimination had existed to such an extent nor that their aspirations might still be curtailed by social and workplace norms about gender roles.  Some seven years later, both are intelligent, articulate and confident women who are already role models to younger teenagers.

This year, around 10,000 organisations with more than 250 staff were required to publish data about their gender pay gap on a Government website.  The results, released in April 2018, showed that there are still stark differences in the amount women get paid compared to men and also in the proportion of women on higher incomes within organisations.  The median pay for women is nearly 10% lower than for men and some 78% of organisations pay men more than women overall.  Smaller organisations, with less formal pay structures may have even greater variances.

Some 50 years on, it is less likely that a woman will be paid less for the same job, although the recent revelations about the pay of BBC staff demonstrates that this still exists. However, some of the pay difference can be attributed to the fact that women are still more likely to take part-time and lower paid jobs which they can work around other commitments.  This may be by choice or by necessity.  Career breaks also have an impact on overall salary.  However, there are still many structural inequalities of opportunity and social barriers that hinder progression for those women who wish to progress.  Such barriers include expectation to attend early morning or ad hoc late meetings, ‘golf course’ business networking events, requirement for overseas travel when promoted and, more subtly, expectations from friends and family – I don’t recall any well-meaning friends questioning my husband about his family loyalties when he had to work away from home, for example….

Until societal views permit both men and women to choose whether they want to work full or part-time, progress up the ladder or not or take parental leave or not, then I suspect any legislation will have limited impact on these statistics.

Contact June at june.dennis@staffs.ac.uk