Business and Management Research News 2024

Staffordshire Business School was ranked No1 in the Million+ group of universities in REF2021 – you can see our submission on the national results website here and for Business Schools across the sector there is an analysis by the Chartered Association of Business Schools (we ranked 51st out of 107 overall and 16th for Impact).

You can read our previous research news for 2023 here , 2022 here.

Peer review papers

Abbas, A.F., Khwaja, M.G., Abbasi, A.Z. and Hameed, A. (2023), “Market mavenism, tourists’ co-creation experience, loyalty, vaxication intention: mediating role of travel incentives in the post-COVID-19 environment”, Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 532-550.

Abbasi, A. Z., Rather, R. A., Hooi Ting, D., Nisar, S., Hussain, K., Khwaja, M. G., & Shamim, A. (2024). Exploring tourism-generated social media communication, brand equity, satisfaction, and loyalty: A PLS-SEM-based multi-sequential approach. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 30(1), 93-109.

Barnett, N. J., Giovannini, A., & Griggs, S. (2024). Serial adapters? Local government chief officers and the navigation of space and time. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 0(0).

Dimungu-Hewage, D., & Poletti-Hughes, J. (2023). Does board diversity decrease corporate fraud? International evidence from family vs. non-family firms. Review of Corporate Finance, 3(1–2), 175-211 –

Etherington, D., Jones, M., & Telford, L. (2023). ‘COVID crisis, austerity and the ‘Left Behind’ city: Exploring poverty and destitution in Stoke-on-Trent’. Local Economy, 37, 692-707

Etherington D, Jeffery B, Thomas P, Jones M and Ledger-Jessop B (2023) ‘Trade union strategies to tackle labour market insecurity: Geography and the role of Sheffield TUC’ Industrial Relational Journal, 54, 261-277.

Hameed, A., Khwaja, M. G., & Zaman, U., (2023). Configuring optimal contextual performance and task performance in offshore business processing organizations. Business Process Management Journal.  29(1), 285-307

Hazzam J. & Wilkins S. (2023). The influences of lecturer charismatic leadership and technology use on student online engagement, learning performance, and satisfaction, Computers & Education,

Malik, M.F., Khwaja, M.G., Hanif, H. and Mahmood, S. (2023), “The missing link in knowledge sharing: the crucial role of supervisor support- moderated mediated model”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 771-790.

Mami, D, Lami, E and Pugh G (in press) Fiscal Enforcement and Elections in the context of high corruption. Public Finance Review. ISSN 1091-1421

Poletti‐Hughes, J., & Dimungu‐Hewage, D. (2023). The effectiveness of gender diversity reforms and the impact of a familial culture: a spillover effect on board independence. British Journal of Management, 34(3), 1316-1339.– 4* Journal

Turi, J.A., Khwaja, M.G., Tariq, F. and Hameed, A. (2023), “The role of big data analytics and organizational agility in improving organizational performance of business processing organizations”, Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 29 No. 7, pp. 2081-2106.

Wilkins, S., Ireland, J.J., Hazzam, J. and Megicks, P. (2024). Service contract type and consumer choice behavior: the contributory roles of perceived value, brand reputation and consumer incentives, Marketing Intelligence & Planning,

Wilkins S., Hazzam J., Ireland J. & Kana R. (2023) International branch campuses: the influences of country of origin and campus environment on students’ institution choices and satisfaction, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management,

Zaman, U., Aktan, M., & Khwaja, M. G. (2023). Linking Regenerative Travel and Residents’ Support for Tourism Development in Kaua’i (Hawaii): Moderating-Mediating effects of Travel-Shaming and Foreign Tourist Attractiveness. Journal of Travel Research, 62(4), 782-801. (ABS 4)

Zaman, U., Florez-Perez, L., Anjam, M., Ghani Khwaja, M. and Ul-Huda, N. (2023), “At the end of the world, turn left: examining toxic leadership, team silence and success in mega construction projects”, Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 2436-2462.

Zaman, U., Naeni, L. M., Huda, N. ul, & Khwaja, M. G. (2023). Time Flies When You are Having Fun: The Mediating Effects of Project Opportunity Management in the Relationship Between Project Leaders’ Self-Efficacy and Multidimensional Project Success. Project Management Journal, 54(2), 132-148.

PhD Completions

Mayowa AKINBOTE (2023) The Impact of the ECB’s Unconventional Monetary Policy Announcements on Financial Markets and Investors’ Behaviour (Principal supervisor Prof. Nirmala Lee and secondary supervisor Dr Lan Jiang) from London Metropolitan University

Dilrukshi HEWAGE (2023) The Effectiveness of Board Diversity Reforms and Corporate Practices: The Moderating Role of a Familial Culture, Prevalence of Family Businesses and Family Ownership (Principal Supervisor: Dr. Jannine Poletti Hughes, seconday supervisor Dr Yang Zhao) from the University of Liverpool.

Spiro LAZAROSKI (08/23). Investigating the transmission channels by which exogenous shocks originating in the global economy are transmitted to the countries of the Western Balkans (2003-2015). (Prof Geoff Pugh Principal Supervisor) from Staffordshire University

Tiantian LIU (03/2023). Chinese entrepreneurial proclivity and the conjectured link with the experience of foreign sojourns: Evidence from a study involving undergraduate students based in Beijing. (Harper Adams University With Dr Keith Walley and Dr Paul Adkins and external supervisor Prof Geoff Pugh)

Khaoula OMHAND (02/24) The Race to the Top: The Experiences and Strategies of Women of Colour in UK Academia from Wolverhampton University

Vicky ROBERTS (12/23) Branding in Micro- Organisations – A Network Approach from the University of Bradford

Ema TALAM (09/23). Evaluating the potential of public policy to jointly promote firms’ exporting and innovation. (Prof Geoff Pugh Principal Supervisor with Emeritus Professor Nick Adnett and Dr Mehtap Hisarciklilar) from Staffordshire University

Ongoing Projects

Prof Geoff Pugh, Prof Jon Fairburn, Prof Mark Gregory and Christine Dover are working with the University of Manchester ESRC funded project entitled Digital Stoke

Prof Jon Fairburn and Craig Holdcroft are part of the cross Unversity team delivering an Advance HE grant for the use of AI in training researchers including free workshops sign up here

Prof Jon Fairburn and colleagues at OCSI have completed phase 1 of preparation for the next Index of Multiple Deprivation (due Spring 2025). As well as assessing the issues of updating the air quality compenent of the IMD Prof Fairburn was also asked to research and assess potential new environmental indicators.

Prof Steven Griggs is leading a project to evaluate the development of the Goods Yard in Stoke on Trent

Bids in the pipeline

ESRC responsive mode: new investigator grants round two –Digital Marketing Capabilities in SMEs – To be submitted in February Dr Joe Hazzam


New book by Kieron Chadwick – available here

Progress from last year’s small research awards

Drivers and outcomes of digital marketing activity – Dr Joe Hazzam, Paul Dobson, Vicky Roberts, Dr Bharati Singh

First paper has been submitted to the European Journal of Marketing (3*). The second paper is due to be submitted in April to the Journal of Small Business Management (3*)

Exploring factors leading to augment destination tourism in the northern areas of Pakistan using digital channels – Dr Muddasar Khwaja and Carol Southall

Khwaja, M.G., Southall, C., (2024). Exploring Factors Driving Destination Tourism Augmentation in Northern Pakistan through Digital Channels. 8th International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Economics, 8-10 March, 2024. Prague, Czech Republic.

Based on the suggestions and recommendations, it will be submitted to International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (ABS 3*) by the end of March 2024.

Exploring the development of Islamic financial technology in South east Asia. A sentiment analysis – Dr Syed Zaidi and Dr Muddasar Khwaja

Title: “Does electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) increase financial appetite? Configuring through the lens of facilitating conditions, information usefulness, and argument quality.”

Authors: Khwaja, M.G., Zaidi, S.M.T., & Abbas, A.F. Journal: International Journal of Bank Marketing (under review)

Job rotation and the inclusive labour market – Prof David Etherintgon and Duncan Adam

Full details will be available in an upcoming blog shortly. The blog on the conference that was organised is already here

Small research awards for 2024

Inclusive Labour Market – Engaging Stakeholders and Delivering Impact in Islington – Prof David Etherington and Prof Steven Griggs

Navigating Financial Evolution: Holistic analysis of financial inclusion, neo-banks and challenger banks in Pakistan’s transformative landscape – Dr Syed Zaidi and Dr Muddasar Khwaja

Diversity and inclusion in the workforce: A case study of Alton Towers – Carol Southall, Amanda Payne and Dr Andy Hanks

The Impact of Entrepreneurial Education on Small and Medium-Size Enterprise (SMEs) performance.  – Dr Itoro Ekpo and Dr Fred Nyakudya

Gender and forced displacement: Investing in women refugee entrepreneurship to reduce GBV Vulnerability – Dr Khaoula Omhand, Dr Dilrukshi Dimungu Hewage, and Dr Susan Sisay

Role of firms’ governance in stimulating Corporate Carbon Productivity in the UK – Emission Trading Schemes vs. Government Policy Intervention – Dr Dilrukshi Dimungu Hewage and Dr Khaoula Omhand

Conferences and presentations

Carol Southall presented at the ‘UK Coach Tourism: Volume, Value, Perceptions & Professionalisation’ conference Jan 2024

Ibrahim, B., Hazzam, J., Aljarah, A., & Qalati, S. (2023). How Do artificial intelligence-driven Chatbots impact customer-brand relationship? Travel and Tourism context, The 5th Spring Conference on Futuristic Approaches, Istanbul, Turkey.

Ibrahim, B., Hazzam, J., Aljarah, A., & Elrehail, H. (2023). Social media marketing elements and online brand engagement: an investigation in the coffee shop industry, 2nd International Conference on Contemporary Issues in Commerce, Istanbul, Turkey.

Khwaja, M. G., (2023). Inspecting patients’ Experiential Value to build Patients Loyalty in private and public sector hospitals: An Empirical Investigation. 22nd International Marketing Trends Conference, ESCP Business School, Paris. France (19-21 January, 2023).

Khwaja, M.G., Southall, C., (2024). Exploring Factors Driving Destination Tourism Augmentation in Northern Pakistan through Digital Channels. 8th International Conference on Research in Business, Management and Economics, 8-10 March, 2024. Prague, Czech Republic

Upcoming Tourism conference organised by Carol Southall, NTAN & ATHE on the theme  the dynamic interplay of “People, Place, and Pride” in the realm of tourism – 27th June


Dr Ema Talam, Prof Geoff Pugh and Prof Jon Fairburn submitted evidence to the UK Parliament, Business and Trade Committee which is investigating industrial policy

Etherington D and Jones M (2023) ‘Political economy of the inclusive labour market: welfare through work revisited’ in J Ingold and P McGurk (eds) Employer Engagement: Making Active Labour Market Policies Work (Bristol University Press, Bristol) 34-51

Grattan N and Jones M (2023) ‘More-than-civc: higher education and civic society in post-industrial localities’ in J Dobson and E Ferrai (eds) Reframing the Civic University: An Agenda for Impact (Palgrave Macmillan, London) 121-141

Hussain, K., Abbasi, A.Z., Khwaja, M.G., Hussain, A., and Hooi, T.G. (2023). Perceived Value of Images Carrying Tourism Location Information on social media and Customer Brand Engagement. in Brand Co-creation tourism research: contemporary issues and challenges. CRC Press. Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. Book chapter

Havoli B, Fairburn J, Pugh G, Talam E, Efendic A, Stojcic N (2023) Promoting the creative sector in three deindustrialised economies: the United Kingdom; Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Croatia. Project Report. Staffordshire University.

Jones M (2023) ‘Dr Gordon MacLeod (1964-2022)’ Scottish Geographical Journal, 139, 242-246.

Jones M (2023) ‘Relationality’ in L Lees and D Demeritt (eds) Concise Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Elgar, Cheltenham) 333-337

Middleton, J, Southon, P and Fairburn, J (2023) The impact of environmental provisions in trade agreements on non-communicable disease: working paper. PETRA.

Staffing changes

Good luck to Dr Muddasar Khwaja who has a new job at Keele University and Dr David Cook who has a new job at Nottingham Trent University

Good luck to Vicky Roberts in retirement

Professors Geoff Pugh and Jon Fairburn will be Emeritus Professors from April 2024.

Digital Stoke – a research project

by Prof Geoff Pugh and Prof Jon Fairburn

About the project

This project is interested in the presence in Stoke-on-Trent of an IT or digital sector of substantial size, high productivity, and continued growth relative to the local economy. The purpose of this research is to conduct primary research:

(i) to map the IT sector in Stoke;

(ii) to analyse the IT sector origins, structure, performance, and current and potential role in the local economy; and

(iii) thereby to inform evidence-based policies to sustain and develop this emergent sector.

Some Initial Findings

In keeping with many other local authorities, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has placed the digital sector at the centre of its economic development strategy. Anecdotally at least, there does appear a strong base to build on. The emergence of a cluster of creative media businesses on the former Spode Pottery site, the success of privately owned, cyber security business Synectics Solutions, and the continuing growth of the e-gaming capabilities at Staffordshire University all suggest that, unlike some areas chasing the digital opportunity, “Silicon Stoke” has real potential.

The available data, notwithstanding the widely known limitations at the local area level, is entirely consistent with the anecdotal picture: digital is already a major component of the local economy. In 2019, according to the experimental local area ONS GVA data[1], the digital sector accounted for 10.6% of GVA in Stoke-on-Trent, significantly higher than both its 2.1% contribution to output across the rest of Staffordshire and its 6.2% share of UK GVA. And digital in Stoke -on-Trent is fast growing: the relatively high share of local economic output reflects growth of 500% in GVA in the city since 2010, compared to a rough doubling of the sector across the UK and in the rest of Staffordshire.

As a result of this rapid growth, Stoke-on-Trent had the 42nd largest digital sector in the country in 2019 among ITL3 regions in GVA terms, despite being only the 122nd largest local economy. By contrast, Staffordshire was the 23rd local economy in size terms, but only 65th when ranked on size of its digital sector.

Striking as these figures are, they don’t tell us the full story. The 2019 GVA data identifies Stoke-on-Trent as having the 11th largest Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (AER) sector in the UK among ITL3[2] areas. The AER sector in Stoke-on-Trent is almost 3 times the value of that in Staffordshire, despite the county’s local economy being three times that of Stoke-on-Trent in total. The explanation is not hard to find; gambling accounts for over 97% of the AER sector in Stoke-on-Trent, reflecting the presence of the HQ and core operations of Bet365, one of the world’s leading online betting companies.

On any measure Bet365 is a digital company. If we adjust the ONS data using employee numbers as a proxy for GVA share, the digital sector in Stoke-on-Trent would on a conservative basis have been worth around £1 billion in GVA terms in 2019. This level of GVA would make Stoke-on-Trent, the 25th largest digital ITL3 area in the UK. On productivity, the performance is even more impressive. Matching the available data on employment to the sector GVA data at the local authority level[3], Stoke-on-Trent’s digital sector productivity of £153k per job is the fourth highest in the UK. Adjust for Bet365’s presence and the city moves up to third place, just ahead of the City of Westminster and behind Hounslow, home to Heathrow Airport, and Portsmouth, home of IBM. Even allowing for the fact that by combining some ITL areas the local authority measure may dilute the digital strength of places such as Reading, this ranking is very different to that for productivity (GVA per job) across the local authority area, in which Stoke-on-Trent is in the bottom quartile nationally.

The structure of Stoke’s digital sector initially appears to comprise of one (very) large firm (bet365) together with a large number of micro, small, and medium  size firms. To what extent might bet365 be functioning as an “anchor” firm is to be investigated. However, it is clear that “digital Stoke” is not a one-firm phenomenon but is based on a wide range of firms in a range of sub-industries.

Next steps

We are currently processing and collecting primary and secondary datasets for mapping using Geographic Information Systems.

We will be looking to interview past and current workers in the digital sector starting in 2024.

If you can assist or are interested in further information about the project please contact Christine Dover below.

Research team

Prof Geoff Pugh email

Prof Jon Fairburn email

Visiting Prof Mark Gregory email

Christine Dover (Research Assistant) email

Research Fellow (University of Manchester) starts 1st Feb 2024

Funded through the ESRC in collaboration with the Productivity Institute at the University of Manchester.

[1] Regional gross value added balanced by industry and all ITL regions. May 2021, ONS.

[2] International Territorial Level, a recognised classification to allow comparison of places of similar sizes.

[3] Regional gross value added (balanced) by industry: local authorities by International Territorial Level (ITL) region. May 2022, ONS. Business Register and Employment Survey. 2021, Nomis.

Business School Research News April 2018

Recent papers

Adnan Efendic and Geoff Pugh (2018). The effect of ethnic diversity on income – an empirical investigation using survey data from a post-conflict environment. Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 12(2018-17): 1-34.

This paper was picked up and promoted on twitter by Lars-Gunnar Wigemark (@LarsGWigemark ) who is the EU Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Vishwas MaheshwariPriya GuneshGeorge LodorfosAnastasia Konstantopoulou, (2017) “Exploring HR practitioners’ perspective on employer branding and its role in organisational attractiveness and talent management“, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 25 Issue: 5, pp.742-761,

Vishwas Maheswari & Priya Gunesh (accepted for publication 2018 ) ‘Role of Organisational career websites for employer brand development’ in International Journal of  Organizational Analysis

Olarewaju, Tolulope (2017) Organising Household Consumption and Occupational Proportions: Evidence from Nigeria. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 26 (4). ISSN 1934-8835

Almond K and Power J (2018) Breaking the tile in pattern cutting: An interdisciplinary approach. Journal of Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education, 17 (1) pp 33-50 ISSN 1474273X

Book chapters

Carol Southall has a chapter on Family Tourism in a new book – Special Interest Tourism: Concepts, Contexts and Cases (2018) eds Agarwal S, Busby G and Huang R.

Carol Southall with the new book

Carol Southall with the new book


Jess Power has a chapter  Embedding interdisciplinary and challenge-led learning into the student experience. In: Experiential Learning for Entrepreneurship (2018) eds Hyams-SSekasi D & Caldwell E Palgrave, UK.

Conference papers

Vicky Roberts will present her paper Understanding the role of Value Co-creation in Building New Luxury Brands: A Social Network Analysis Approach (Vicky Roberts, Stuart Roper & Sabrina Thornton). At the 13th Global Brand Conference 2-4th May Northumbria University

Angela Lawrence will present her paper Adopting Social Media For Stakeholder Engagement: A Case Of UK HEI at the Academy of Marketing Conference 2018 2nd to 5th July, University of Stirling

Tolu Olarewaju will present a paper Corruption, The Great Value Destroyer: The Role of Generalised Trust in Social Networks, Social Media Participation and Legal Institutional Quality for Corruption”. At the First Global Conference on Creating Value; at Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University from 23rd May, 2018 – 24th May, 2018. 

Carol Southall jointly delivered a paper with Dr Maren Viol (British University Vietnam) ‘Western-centrism in Internationalised HE Tourism Curricula: Perspectives from Vietnam’. at International Conference of Critical Tourism Studies – Asia Pacific. Held 3-6 March at University Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Upcoming events at the University

5th July Silver Workersover 50s conference at Staffordshire University – save the date more details to follow, please register on the link. Organised by Hazel Squire and Prof Jon Fairburn

International Erasmus Week 12-16th November

Wendy Pollard and Jon Fairburn are organising an international week on the themes Enterprise, Employability and Entrepreneurship. Please let your international partners know.

Full details and how to register on the link


Doctor of Business Administration – a way to link industry with academia

Our Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) students are well established and recognised professionals in their fields in high-powered executive level jobs in various industries ranging from retail to corporate banking, from academia to government. One of our DBA students completed Staffordshire University’s Masters in Strategic Human Resource Management (HRM); another one had completed Staffordshire University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) before joining the DBA programme, which demonstrates the varied progression options. Our DBA students come from diverse backgrounds both cultural and educational. They all have in common one thing though – they want to advance their careers as well as their respective fields, industries or companies through research.

Our DBA candidates use academic literature and rigorous research to develop new marketing metrics that will help firms in different industries predict their sales growth; they develop family business succession plans in countries where no such things exist; they investigate international trade opportunities in education services so that universities in their country can grow; some test existing models in new contexts, others develop new concepts and theories.

Such exciting collaboration enables Staffordshire University to be incredibly close to businesses at the highest level and contribute to their strategic decision making. One such example is a project that has spun out of a DBA research initiated by the HR Director of DFS.  A team of high calibre researchers presented findings directly to the DFS team and the cooperation flourishes. Read this post and this article to learn more.

In May our DBA students presented their research at a DBA symposium organised by the Chartered Association of Business Schools and Aston University Business School, where they worked with their peers from other DBA programmes and discussed their research under supervision of experienced academics, researchers and doctoral supervisors. The event was preceded by the Postgraduate Research Conference at Staffordshire University, to which our DBA students made a valuable contribution. In fact, authors of the very best papers were selected by the conference organisation committee to chair a session, giving students an important experience valued highly in academia. Later this year, our DBA students contributed to a very successful and productive DBA symposium organised by Cranfield School of Management and the British Association of Management in October. DBA candidates met with DBA supervisors, programme directors, and DBA students and graduates from universities all over the UK and abroad. Liaising with them enabled students to set a benchmark against the market standard and gauge their own progress. Debates and discussions about their research helped our students to develop confidence in articulating their research to specialist and non-specialist audiences. This is a key skill DBA candidates need to develop in order to be able to disseminate their research to practitioners as well as academics. This will also help them tremendously when they eventually defend their thesis during a viva voce examination.


Networking however doesn’t only happen at symposia or conferences. During the BAM symposium residential week our DBA students enjoyed an evening playing bowling with their peers and the Programme Director (who broke her finger trying to lift the side bars for them!). This was a great opportunity for our DBA candidates to get to know colleagues from other cohorts, who are in different stages of their doctorate, whilst trying something new as most of them had never bowled before. It strengthened the cohesion between and within cohorts and facilitated better teamwork and peer support amongst the DBA candidates, who are from different parts of the world.

To find out more about Staffordshire DBA contact the Programme Director
Dr Jana Fiserova, visit our website or follow us on Twitter #staffsDBA