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LBS alumni Kate Davenport at La Trobe University: “No working day is the same.”

LBS alumna Kate Davenport

La Trobe Business School alumni Kate Davenport recently started working as a Consultant in Leadership and Capability (Organisational Development) at La Trobe University’s Human Resources department in Bundoora.

After having graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor in Accounting for La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University’s Albury Wodonga campus, Kate went on to take part in La Trobe University’s Graduate Development Program. Through the program, graduates have the opportunity to work in three different departments of the university over twelve months, allowing them to develop a deep understanding of the operations of several teams and how these teams intersect working on different projects as well as developing transferable skills they can use throughout their careers.

Kate completed three rotations of four months, each time working in a different department of the university: one the marketing department, one in the College of Science, Health and Engineering, as well as one in the Tertiary Enabling Program, all based in Albury-Wodonga.

“Out of all rotations, I think I enjoyed the one in the Tertiary Enabling Program the most,” she says. “Through this program, I assisted students with their studies and the transition to University– either via email or face-to-face, assisted lecturers with their classes and provided input into the curriculum. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to watch the students grow and develop while participating in the program. I also learnt to communicate better, and understand the different kinds of communication that stakeholders require.”

Kate also mentions how she refined a lot of transferable skills throughout the graduation program: “During the program, I really developed a strong knowledge of the different areas and departments within the university. I also worked on a regional campus before coming to Bundoora. I believe that this was a big advantage, since it allows me to really bring a regional perspective to the table, and make sure the needs of staff in regional areas are taken into account. The program also gave me the opportunity to participate in development sessions and paired me with a mentor to further enable my professional development.”

Throughout her degree, Kate worked at an accounting firm at Albury-Wodonga, working in self-managed superannuation funds: “I really enjoyed the work, but it would sometimes start to feel monotonous,” she comments. “At La Trobe, I enjoy the variety of my current position. I work on a range of different projects and not a single day is the same, which is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

London Bridge Will Never Fall Down

London at dusk


Paul Mather is Head of La Trobe Business School and Professor of Governance and Financial Accounting.

 Many Melbournians watched the events unfolding in London on Sunday morning (AEST) in horror.  As I am London born, and lived there for many years prior to moving to Australia, the familiarity of the scenes added to the horror and raw emotions I felt.  I walked many of the bridges in London as part of daily commutes, and the “bridge run” that often covered London Bridge, where you run up one bridge, along the embankment and return via another bridge, was a regular feature at one stage of my life. Exhilarating, but the river Thames at dawn is often exceedingly cold and I can still feel my skin tingle!

These events of Sunday morning made me reflect on a number of matters, including the relevance of what was unfolding to business more broadly and leadership in particular and I wanted to share some of these reflections.

First, the importance of leadership and resilience however stressful or overwhelming these situations may be.  In a famous TED talk, General Stanley McChrystal said “those who depend on us need their leaders on our feet”.  I would extend that and suggest that it is not just on their feet but standing tall.   Who will forget the leadership and sheer presence of the then Mayor of New York, Rudi Giuliani who inspired millions of people in the US and beyond in the aftermath of 9/11?

Second, that you should never waste a crisis! The British Prime Minister saying “enough is enough” in her initial public statement many hope signals her seeing an opportunity to use these horrific events to make necessary changes to the approach taken to counter extremism that may otherwise have been more challenging.

Third, notwithstanding the circumstances, there is always a need to remain true to your core values and those of your organisation. In the context of Britain at this time, it is not to be tempted by populism, and to remain mindful of the values that underpin British society, especially around civil liberties and the rule of law.

Fourth, the extended TV coverage showed us very clearly that being a leader is a lot more than having a title and that, when tested, many people show leadership and courage irrespective of their official position. The composure under immense pressure shown by first responders such as unarmed police officers, paramedics, and  numerous bystanders was a sight to behold and restored my faith in humanity. My personal stand out was the gentleman with a strong Cockney (East London) accent who described how he threw chairs and bottles at one of the terrorists to draw him away from someone under threat.  These selfless acts are a timely reminder that leadership comes in all shapes and sizes and is scattered right through all organisations and does not just reside in the C suite.

Finally, at a more operational level, whilst the British police and armed forces are often considered amongst the best in the world, one can only wonder at the amount of risk analysis and planning that underpinned the terrorist threat being eliminated within 8 minutes of the first call.  We face different risks with far less impact in everyday organisational life, but these actions are nevertheless a reminder to all of us about the importance of analysing and mitigating operating and financial risk.

Back to London. Londoners are resilient and you underestimate them at your peril. Of one thing I am certain. A great City and its people that withstood the plague, the blitz during World War 2, and more recently the IRA bombings, are not going to be cowed by a group of extremists. Contrary to the words in the famous nursery rhyme, London Bridge will never fall down.

In 1963, the US President John Kennedy visited West Berlin, a City surrounded by East Germany at the start of the Cold War and, in a speech designed to express solidarity with a beleaguered City, said “I take pride in the words ich bin ein Berliner”.  I am now a proud Melbournian but on Sunday I realized that London will always be my second home and I too take pride in the words-I am a Londoner.

 

The 5th CR3+ Conference on the theme of Making Corporate Responsibility Useful, cohosted by LBS, Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki Finland), Audencia Business School (Nantes, France) and ISAE/FGV (Curitiba, Brazil)

By Suzanne Young

Recently, Dr Suzanne Young and Dr Sajad Fayesi represented La Trobe Business School at the CR3+ Conference.

Within the overall conference theme of “Making Corporate Responsibility Useful”, a number of sub-themes where discussed including CSR and Global supply chains; CSR, human resource management and labour; Corporatization and CSR; Research and business education; ESG data; Social and human sustainability at work; and Sustainable development,

The CR3+ network has its roots in informal relationships in the early days of UN PRME, between three signatory business schools: Audencia (Nantes, France), ISAE/FGV (Curitiba, Brazil) and Hanken (Helsinki, Finland) –these are the “3” in CR3+. These three were soon joined by La Trobe Business School and at that stage we stopped counting our core partners – just adding the “+” for the infinite possibilities of future collaborations and partnerships. A simple equation with many possible solutions. That we are now in our 5th iteration of the conference is a strong testimony of the value of international collaboration especially in relation to the kind of challenges we are posed within the CR discourse and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Dr Sajad Fayesi and Dr Suzanne Young both presented papers and chaired streams at the conference.  Their papers are listed below:

Fayesi, S,

Tensions in Procurement Sustainability: An Exploratory Study

Nagpal, S., Young, S., Marjoribanks, T. and Durden G.,

CSR and Social Risk: From Risk Minimization to Risk Sharing

Young, S., Markey, R., McIvor, J. and Wright, C. F.,

Labour, Climate Change adaptation and the Education Sector

Young, S., Marais, M. Marjoribanks, T., Durden, G. and Douyen, R.,

ESG Risk Reporting in Australia and France: An Institutional Analysis

A link to the 2017 Conference papers can be found here.

In addition Suzanne was a panelist on the all-conference UN PRME themed discussion which focused on the role of the PRME in transforming society, business and education and the role of the UN SDGs in each country and in the respective business schools.

Australia ranks 20th globally in meeting the SDGs. It has one of the highest carbon emissions per person, rates poorly on clean energy and climate change goals, environment goals, with high levels of solid waste and land clearing and loss of biodiversity. It also exhibits high rates of obesity. However it rates highly on lack of poverty, education and water quality, and equality.

Academic institutions can contribute much to the achievement of the SDGs, for example, through incorporating the SDGs into curriculum and focusing research efforts on SDG related challenges, raising awareness of the SDGs, and taking up the opportunities the framework offers for building collaborative projects with other sectors.

Today the CR3+ Network is working collaboratively on a project as one of the United Nations Champion Business Schools in the Principles of Responsible Business Education (PRME). The project entails conducting workshops in regional Australia on the Sustainable Development Goals with members from the PRME higher educational business schools, members of the UN Global Compact, businesses, NGOs and government to present and interact on the theme of the SDGs. The outcomes of the workshops will be improved dialogue and networks, and the initiating of joint projects on the SDGs. If you would like further information or to participate in these workshops please contact Dr Suzanne Young.

The 6th CR3+ Conference will be held in Nantes France at the Audencia Business School in 2018.

 

Simmons journey takes him from UAE to Vicsport

Randall2.jpg

Simmons is loving his role as the Events and Administration coordinator at Vicsport.

After living in the United Arab Emirates for most of his childhood, La Trobe Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) graduate Randall Simmons took a chance and moved to Australia’s heartland of sport to pursue a career in the industry.

“I selected La Trobe because of the quality of its Sport Management course, and the opportunity to learn about sport management in the capital of sport was hard to pass up on.”

Gaining expertise with organisations such as Melbourne City Football Club, Carlton Football Club, the Victorian Olympic Council and the North Melbourne Football Club, Simmons made an immediate impact.

Simmons performed duties in a number of roles and across various departments including hospitality, delivering community programs and volunteer training.

“When I moved to Melbourne, I made a conscious decision to get as much sport experience as possible before I graduated.”

“By volunteering in these organisations I was able to gain the experience which most organisations in sport look for and this helped me land a full time role.”

“Sporting organisations look to employ people who have worked in the industry, volunteering is a big box to tick.”

20160603_CFC_LATROBE_UNI_03.jpg
Randall completed placement at the Carlton Football Club as part of the Sport Management practicum.

The skills Randall gained in these positions assisted him to secure employment as the Events and Administration coordinator at VicSport immediately after his degree.

The La Trobe graduate was among a wave of applicants for the position, including many from the same graduating cohort as his own.  Upon reflection, Randall says it was his volunteering, internships and tailored course work that set him apart from the rest.

“The Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) degree was designed to give us real world experience of what is happening in the industry.”

“From Sport Marketing to Sport Governance, I have been able to take certain aspects from all my subjects and apply it to my role and in my organisation.”

LTU Volunteer 2
Randall’s performed duties across a number of departments while volunteering at the Melbourne City Football Club.

By studying a Bachelor of Business (Sport Management), you could work with La Trobe’s network of sporting partners such as the Carlton Football Club, Melbourne Rebels and Melbourne City Football Club.

This post was originally published on the La Trobe University Intern Diaries Blog.

LBS Researchers attend the International Conference on Responsible Marketing at XLRI

1st row L –R: Marthin Nanere, Tata L. Raghuram, P. Venugopal, Timothy Marjoribanks, Clare D’ Souza, (Ms), Sanjeev Varshney, Supriti Mishra, Vinay Kanetkar
2nd row L – R: Shubhangi Salokhe, Suchita Jha, Sasmita Dash, Ms. Anne Renee Brouwer, Mr Anabel Benjamin Bara, ShabbirHusain R.V., Bharti Varshney,
3rd row L – R: Aniruddha Chatterjee, Shaunak Roy, Peter Mathies, Ashok Prasad, Jubin Jacob John, Pranay Kumar Singh, Arvind Selvaraj, Pratyush Ranjan

XLRI- Xavier School of Management (Jamshedpur – India) in collaboration with La Trobe Business School, organised the International Conference on Responsible Marketing’ on January 23-24, 2017. XLRI is also a PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) signatory and in 2015-16 was ranked 4th among the prestigious 91 business schools in India. The Chairs of this conference were Prof. Pingali Venugopal, and Prof. Sanjeev Varshney from XLRI. It was co-chaired by staff from the La Trobe Business School, Associate  Professor Clare D’Souza, Professor Timothy Marjoribanks and Associate Professor Suzanne Young.

The conference invited researchers and practitioners to share their understanding on Responsible Marketing and provided a forum to engage in ideas, new directions and create innovative practices that impact responsible marketing. Discussions evolved around the theoretical underpinnings of the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability, responsible marketing, ethical issues, knowledge and behaviour towards sustainable consumption.

The 56 papers presented at the conference came from different business schools in India, Australia, USA, Canada and Pakistan.  It brought together a strong network of connections and provided a platform for researchers and practitioners to explore future strategies in the area. Indeed! it stirred up the ‘responsibility revolution’ for local businesses.

Fr. Abraham (SJ) gave the welcome address (centre). Mr. Anand Sen (second left) inaugurated the conference. There was some discussion around XLRI activities which was given by Prof. P Venugopal (second right).

Fr. Abraham (SJ) gave the welcome address. Mr. Anand Sen (President, TQM and Steel Business, Tata Steel) inaugurated the conference. In his address, Mr. Anand Sen highlighted the need to advocate responsible consumption and decrease wastage. There was some discussion around XLRI activities which was given by Prof. P Venugopal.

The key note addresses were given by Fr. Oswald Mascarenhas, S.J. (JRD Tata Chair Professor of Business Ethics at XLRI), who addressed the topic of “Responsible Marketing in a Turbulent market” and Mr. B. Hariharan (Vice President, ITC Hotels) who described how ITC is “Designing & Marketing Responsible Luxury”.

Professor Timothy Marjoribanks giving the keynote address.

Professor Timothy Marjoribanks (Associate Head of La Trobe Business School) keynote speech addressed the conference theme, as well as the profound role and reflection of LTU’s business school activities.  He captured the essence of PRME, a core tenet of sustainability and highlighted LTU’s position of strength by being the first PRME signatory in Australia.  His address was infused with a sense of optimism for responsible marketing. He emphasized that such opportunities for dialogue, research and collaboration with XLRI make important contributions to our common endeavor of fostering partnerships and attaining goodwill. Furthermore, cross country collaboration results in a vortex of ideas and outcomes that is highly significant.

LBS PhD students, Mr. Peter Matheis (left), Ms. Anne Brouwer (center) and Mr. Jubin Jacob John (right)

LBS PhD students, Mr. Peter Matheis (left), Ms. Anne Brouwer (center) and Mr. Jubin Jacob John (right)

Three of our enterprising PhD students, Mr. Peter Matheis, Ms. Anne Brouwer and Mr. Jubin Jacob John presented their work at this conference. Peter’s work hinges around ethical consumption and sustainability, where he explores the mechanics of ethical behaviour of consumers and examines the complexities of the intention-behaviour gap. Anne’s paper on greenwashing and its influences on consumer decision making offered great practical insights on how to effectively identify greenwashing.  Jubin’s work resonates on institutional pressures for responsible supply chain procurement. The scientific efforts in the supply chain procurement identifies ISO 14000 standards to induce greater systemic efficacy. They were interesting papers, addressing emerging new knowledge that pioneers in scholastic and research fields within this area can use some of these theoretical underpinnings to expand their work.

Dr Marthin Nanere

Is Green Marketing – a Myth, a Fallacy or Prophecy? Several authors have provided a critique of both theory and practice on green marketing. Dr Marthin Nanere from the Business School presented his discussion around green marketing and showed how eco-labels, can contribute to progress towards greater sustainability. Taking eco labels into account and integrating it with the principles of green marketing provide opportunities for gaining competitive advantage. His paper makes a meaningful contribution to the field of responsible marketing.

In addition to the conference, there was a two-day Faculty Development Program on Responsible Marketing to help faculty and doctoral students develop curriculum and cases for teaching Responsible Marketing. In the photograph below are the participants and members of the Faculty Development Program.  The Faculty Development Program was conducted by faculty from XLRI and La Trobe University. Both days had highly stimulating sessions that concluded in awarding the best team a prize for their outlined curriculum.

The buzz surrounding the conference, the sessions featuring practitioners and how they approach responsible marketing, the academic debates on responsibility and ethics whetted the audience’s appetite. La Trobe staff and students were proud to be part of this amazing conference as engaged and valued members.

Professor Muhammed Yunus has officially opened the LBS Yunus Centre!


On 7 April 2017, Professor Muhammad Yunus visited La Trobe University. In a ceremony held at La Trobe’s Hoogenraad Lecture Theatre, Professor Yunus received an Honorary Doctorate from Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar.and officially opened the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School.

Attendees included of key stakeholders including the La Trobe Business School staff, members of the business community, stakeholders and collaborators of the LBS Yunus Social Business Centre, and the La Trobe Asia community.

Professor Muhammad Yunus was welcomed with a song by the three social businessmen: Rafiuddin Ahmed, Marthin Nanere and Petrus Usmanij.

Yunus centres and the three zeroes

During the ceremony, Professor Yunus spoke about social business and ‘unleashing the potential’. Professor Muhammad Yunus is widely known for his progressive theories surrounding microcredit and for founding Grameen Bank, an innovative institution which has enabled impoverished entrepreneurs to access an affordable loan scheme and start a business. Through social business, Professor Dr Yunus has set out to create a world with three zeroes: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions through social business. “All humans are entrepreneurs,” Dr Yunus said during his presentation. “If you can think of a problem to solve through a business you can set up that can get five people out of welfare, your effort is already worth it.”

Through Yunus Centres around the world, Professor Yunus wants to encourage young people all over the world to test out their business ideas through a microloan, and create a better society.

7th Social Business Day

From the 28 – 29 July this year, the Dhaka Yunus Centre will be hosting the seventh global Social Business Day, bringing together over 1500 people from over 60 countries. The theme of this year’s Social Business Day will be wealth concentration, and whether this concentration be stopped, and how social business can create a viable business-engine to address the huge wealth gap in society.

For more information on the Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe Business School, see the La Trobe Business School Yunus Centre website.

To be connected with the students Social Business Club, activity and events please join the Facebook page, or see the Social Business Club website.

Contact the Yunus Social Business Centre via email.

For more information on Professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus, keep an eye on the La Trobe Business School blog.

POP Mark Morris interviews Leigh Conlan: Career change is the only constant (or Doors a Latrobe Economic Degree can Unlock)

In this two-part blog entry, Professor of Practice Mark Morris discusses what innovation means in accounting, as well as what a career in accounting entails today, together with Leigh Conlan from Specialist Accounting Services. Leigh is also a La Trobe Business School graduate graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor in Economics.

Mark Morris: II understand that you are an alumni of La Trobe University

Leigh Conlan: Yes Mark, I studied economics and graduated in 1982 from La Trobe University. Following the completion of my degree with La Trobe, I was able to branch out into a variety of roles in both the public and private sectors.

Mark Morris: It seems these days that university graduates these days don’t have a job for life. Can you share with me your experience in relation to changes in your career?

Leigh Conlan: Absolutely. I have been fortunate to work for a number of organisations in a variety of capacities including accounting, economics, tax advisory, legislative analysis, and R&D consulting. I started out as a tax investigator with the ATO which was interesting work for a graduate as it allowed me to get a great perspective on private enterprise and in particular smaller organisations where accounting and the law intersect. Following this role, I transitioned to the ACCC which was then the Trade Practices Commission where I was heavily involved in litigation and policy objectives. What I found interesting in this role was, more specifically, price fixing collusion and conspiracy activities and investigations.

Mark Morris: So you were a corporate cop Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: Yes, essentially.

Mark Morris: And then you came over to private enterprise?

Leigh Conlan: That’s right, I came over to the dark side and started consulting in private enterprise. I worked for a number of big firms and was a partner of one of the larger accounting firms in Australia before I started my own practice.

Mark Morris: And what has your experience been like in respect of changes in roles?

Leigh Conlan: What I have found is that there is nothing wrong with a change of career and that change should always be embraced. In these modern times it is not only organisations that need to be agile and adaptive but this also applies to employees and individuals. To a certain extent change and being adaptive is a part of Australia’s history. Automation, fast changing technological and geopolitical changes will dictate market behaviour and employment opportunities.

Mark Morris: So how do you keep abreast of new developments in government policy and public-private collaboration?

Leigh Conlan: Well I am a member of the National Reference Group which is a peak body of private practitioners, the ATO and AusIndustry. I represent the CPA’s on that group which me enables to interface between public policy developments and issues from industry. I am also a member of the State Reference Group which provides further practical application.

Mark Morris: I gather that your ability to adapt and change led you to starting your accounting practice?

Leigh Conlan: Correct, I started Specialist Accounting Services a number of years back with a focus on providing high quality services in the fields of indirect tax and R&D advice.

Mark Morris: Can you tell me a little more about Specialist Accounting Services and how you differentiate yourselves against other service providers in this space?

Leigh Conlan: Sure. We differentiate ourselves by being an organisation which has the expertise across a range of industries relating to R&D. Specialist Accounting Services also employs a range of specialised technical consultants from the engineering and bio medical fields to leverage expertise in accordance with clients in these respective fields. This enables a better understanding of our clients’ needs and enables a smooth process through the R&D tax application process. This also empowers us to have a nurturing a close and positive working relationship with our clients. We also carry out services in respect of litigation support and competition policy assistance. Lastly, we provide a high quality service enabling our clients to receive a beneficial tax outcomes in accordance with the government legislation and the AusIndustry framework.

Mark Morris: Well, thank you for your time today Leigh. It has been a pleasure talking with you

Leigh Conlan: It was my pleasure. Thanks Mark.

Competing theories of economic thought: a changing pedagogy?

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

By Mark Cloney

Mark Cloney is a Professor of Practice at La Trobe Business School. In the following piece, POP Mark Cloney observes that economic theory has been a bit slower than other sciences to catch up to the changing nature of knowledge and the dynamics of the knowledge-based global economy [1]

He argues in the following entry that this has implications doe the discipline in terms of its capacity to engage with contemporary economic challenges, and also raise questions about the teaching of economics.

Capitalism has variously been described as an economic system with private or corporate ownership of capital goods; where investments are determined by rational decision makers and supply and demand; and production and the distribution of goods determined mainly by competition in a free market. These microeconomic foundations stem from neoclassical economics through the writings of economists such as Marshall [2].

Marshall’s Principles of Economics (1890) formalised the move from labour to utility as the source of value: a commodity’s value came from its utility to consumers through the forces of the market (i.e. supply and demand) [3]. Accordingly, in the marketplace people are rational and utility maximisers characterised as households, consumers or economic agents. These concepts were formalised in pure mathematical form in the general equilibrium model by Arrow and Debrea (1954) based on Walras’s earlier theory of equilibrium [4].

This general equilibrium model has formed the basis for economic thinking in most Western economies and university teaching of economics for the last 60 years or so.

So microeconomics analyses, the market behaviour of individual consumers and firms, is an attempt to understand the decision-making process concerned with the factors that influence the choices made by buyers and sellers, price, and supply and demand in individual markets. And, this is what drives innovation, economic development and firm behaviour in a globalised knowledge–based economy – or is it?

One of the problems with this perspective is that factors such as investment in research and development (R&D) or where actual research is conducted matters very little [5]. The traditional neoclassical view of knowledge as a public good  is that it is available everywhere and to everybody simultaneously which implies that innovation flows in a frictionless manner from producers to a full set of intended and unintended beneficiaries, contributing to generate a long-term process of convergence across countries and regions (see Rodriguez-Pose 2008). [6]

But what happens if competitive advantage in a global knowledge-based economy is as much actually determined by local non-market factors including its institutions, networks and innovation ecosystems? Or, by the forces of ‘collaboration’ not ‘competition’, or maximising ‘social and shared value’ not profits for stakeholders but for the community within in which firms operate? Do these orthodox microeconomic foundations still hold up?

The emergence of the knowledge-based economy, where knowledge, learning and innovation are the new drivers of economic growth and competitiveness, is premised on a distinct shift in the mode of production from the traditional capital and labour divisions to knowledge generation and diffusion [7]. This understanding of the knowledge economy comes from evolutionary, neo-Schumpeterian and economic geography economic theories. [8] Complementing this work are studies into the entrepreneurial society  and creativity where entrepreneur capital is a key driver for economic growth [9].

Internationally, innovation and regional development policy that focuses more explicitly on the ‘institutional’ and ‘locational’ dimensions of enterprise and socio economic development has emerged as a major policy tool to foster competitive advantage [10]. That is, there has been an increasing recognition by many that non-market factor influence competitiveness of firms just as supply and demand. So government policies have been designed to better coordinate collaboration structures in regions or local innovation ecosystems between government, education and the private sectors. Here local institutions including financial and legal support the supply side inputs and entrepreneurial activity that drives economic development and innovation [11].

These ideas support a range of alternative government policies targeted at small to medium business, industry clusters, business incubators and accelerators, strengthening institutional arrangements and networks, encouraging university/industry collaboration, local capacity building (including education, training and entrepreneur skills) and regional innovation ecosystems.

Consistent with these trends, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011) [12] argue for the importance of creating shared value, which focuses on policies, collaboration and operation practice that enhances competiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which they operate. They cite firms such as Google, IBM, Intel, Jonson and Johnson, Nestle, Unilever and Wal-Mart as examples of companies that have embarked on shared value initiatives within the community’s where they operate. The notion of shared value changes the traditional emphasis on profit and price to a much broader definition.

Porter has suggested elsewhere that government policy, business and community processes (in other words institutional arrangements) are as important determinants of industry success as is ‘price’ [13].

The move to ‘shared value’ has seen the rise of B Corps which are for-profit companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. More than 1,400 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries are working together toward the goal: to redefine success in business [14]. B Corps meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve broader social and environmental problems. In 2013 the United States introduced legislation to recognise this new type of corporate legal entity which has now been passed into law in 17 states [15]. Under this legislation companies must have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, director’s duties include consideration of non-financial stakeholders, besides shareholders, and it includes a reporting obligation on the social and environmental activities (verified through third parties).

Although in its relative infancy this movement is attempting to overcome market failures and treat as endogenous the negative externalities typically associated with the dynamics of neo-classical theory. This may or may not be a lasting trend, but what if it became the norm for firm behaviour and economic development in the knowledge-based economy?

What assumptions and economic theories can best capture these economic and policy trends and explain the broader social-political context shaping these ideas, firm behaviour and competitiveness? This is the real challenge for the next generation of economic theorists.

One of the major challenges for orthodox economics is that its theory is embedded in axioms that used to understand the world as largely stable and predictive, and which are now seen as unstable and largely unpredictable [16], as the Global Financial Crisis demonstrated in 2008.

Since the 1960s there has been profound advances in how other science disciplines understand and teach the systematic nature of botany, biology, physics, computer science, neuroscience, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences to name a few. As Liu and Hanauer (2016) [17] argue across these fields we have seen a set of conceptual shifts in understanding from: simple to complex; atomistic to networked; linear to non-linear; mechanistic to behavioural; efficient to effective; predictive to adaptive; independent to interdependent; individual ability to group diversity; rational calculator to irrational approximators; selfish to strong reciprocal; win-lose to win-win or lose-lose; and, competition to cooperation.

More contemporary economic theory such as complexity, evolutionary and behavioural economics [18] are incorporating these types of conceptual shifts and as such challenge orthodox economic theories. These contemporary approaches variously emphasise the actual motivations for firm and human behaviour, the importance of networks, ecosystems and endogenous processes, and the dynamics of constant innovation and disequilibrium as the basis for better understanding the empirical reality of the knowledge-based economy.

The remaining challenge is to design a new economic pedagogy (conceptual models and theories) to support the teaching of these alternative approaches and to incorporate them into undergraduate economic degrees.

 

 

Dr Mark Cloney

Professor of Practice – Economics

Department of Economics and Finance

La Trobe Business School

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce | La Trobe University | Bundoora Victoria 3086

T: 03 9479 5621   |M: 0428173880  |

E: M.Cloney@latrobe.edu.au

[1] See Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop (2013) Competitiveness, The Knowledge-based economy and Higher Education, Journal of the Knowledge Based Economy, Vol.4 pp 24-44.

[2] See E.K. Hunt. (1979), History of Economic Thought; A Critical Perspective, Wadsworth Publishing

[3] Ibid

[4] John, Peters, John Elliott and Stephen Gullenberg (2002), Economic Transition as a Crisis of Vision: Classical versus Neo-classical Theories of General Equilibrium, Eastern Economic Journal, Vol.28, No.2, Spring 2002.

[5] Andre’s Rodriguez-Pose and Richard Crescenzi (2008), Research and Development, Spillovers, Innovation Systems, and the Genesis of Regional Growth in Europe, Regional Studies, Vol 42.1, pp51-63, February.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Mark James Cloney. (2003), Regional Development in Australia: Rethinking the Basis for Regional Policy, PhD Economics, University of Sydney & Maskell, P. and Malmberg, A. (1999), Localised learning and industrial competitiveness, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 23 (2):167- 185.

[8] Ibid.

[9] David. B. Audrestsch (2009), The entrepreneurial society’, The Journal of Technology Transfer, Vol. 34, Issue 3, June, pp. 245-254

[10] Giordano, B. (2001) Institutional Thickness: political sub-culture and the resurgence of regionalism in Italy a case study of Northern League in the province of Varese, Transactions of the Institute of British Geography, 26 (1): 25-41.

[11] Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop (2013), p. 32.

[12] Michael E. Porter and Mark R.  Kramer (2011) The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value, Rethinking Capitalism, Harvard Business Review, Jan- Feb – https://hbr.org/2011/01/the-big-idea-creating-shared-value/ar/pr

[13] See Michael Porter (1990) The Competitive Advantage of Nations, McMillian Press, Hong Kong.

[14] http://www.bcorporation.net/what-are-b-corps

[15] Gove, Andrea; Berg, Gary A. (2014), Social Business: Theory Practice, and Critical Perspectives, Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co.p165.

[16] Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer (2016), Traditional Economics Failed. Here’s the New Blueprint’, http://evonomics.com/traditional-economics-failed-heres-a-new-blueprint/

[17] Ibid

[18] Amna Silim (2016), What is New Economic Thinking? Three strands of heterodox economics that are leading the way, https://evonomics.com/new-economic-thinking/

POP Mark Morris interviews Leigh Conlan: Supercharging R&D and collaboration

Professor of Practice Mark Morris (left) and Leigh Conlan (right)

In this two-part blog entry, Professor of Practice Mark Morris discusses what innovation means in accounting, as well as what a career in accounting entails today, together with Leigh Conlan from Specialist Accounting Services. Leigh is also a La Trobe Business School graduate graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor in Economics.

Mark Morris: I am pleased to introduce Leigh Conlan of Specialist Accounting Services to discuss the recent government innovation statement and incentives that the government has introduced for both private and research organisations in respect of R&D. Leigh, Good morning.

Leigh Conlan: Good Morning Mark.

Mark Morris: Now Leigh, I understand you run a consultancy practice in the R&D space and you advise a broad range of clients.

Leigh Conlan: That’s correct Mark, we run a specialist practice service and in fact, operate under a company name Specialist Account Services Pty Ltd.

Mark Morris: That’s great Leigh. Tell me about some of your clients.

Leigh Conlan: Well we advise a range of clients from small medium enterprises through to large corporations and government departments. We offer a professional assistance to all businesses and research providers in the matters of R&D tax incentives and government grants

Mark Morris: That’s a good segue into my next topic which is around the innovation statement released by the government. What do you think the government’s approach is in this regard Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: As you know Mark, the innovation statement is built on four key pillars but it is important to keep in mind Mark that this is the first time that there has been a comprehensive tying together of all of the research and development governmental policy objectives.

Mark Morris: So can you provide some further insight into the four pillars that the government has outlined in the innovation statement

Leigh Conlan: Well briefly speaking these four pillars as outlined in the National Innovation and Science Agenda statement being ‘Culture and capital’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Talent and skills’, ‘Government as an exemplar’. Within these pillars are specific areas that the government is targeting. For example the government has set up a $20Billion Medical Research Fund to increase funding in the areas of medical research and innovation. Another example, which may relate to La Trobe, is the government R&D funding of $2.8Billion to universities and the higher education sectors. There are also other funding initiatives such as cyber security innovation and other IT projects the government has initiated. These overall projects form only a snapshot of government funding examples but provides a glimpse of the overall innovation policy and where the government is heading in respect of stimulating research and development.

Mark Morris: So what is the majority emphasis of the government funding Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: Well Mark, the big spend by the government is still the R&D tax incentive which equates to just over $4.5Billion per annum. While the majority of that money goes into business, it should be kept in mind that research service providers also greatly benefit from this policy and there are valuable private business spinoffs from research organisations.

Mark Morris: When you talk about R&D, it’s not all lab coat style research projects is it?

Leigh Conlan: Not at all. We see R&D in areas where you would not ordinarily think that R&D would apply. Research and Development takes place in a variety of forms and industries. Some examples may be building and construction, on farms and of course software development. We have come across a number of private organisations, particularly those which are small scale, which were under the misconception that many of their activities would not be considered R&D when in actual fact they may be.

Mark Morris: Can you talk a little more about such products and processes in this regard?

Leigh Conlan: Well, many organisations are undertaking the development of products using a scientific methodology to determine outcomes and therefore creating new knowledge as a result of these activities.  It is also very exciting to see a variety of small to medium enterprises across Australia undertaking a number of dynamic projects which involve Research and Development as well as new commercialisation of innovative products.

Mark Morris: So given you are across many organisations who are at the cutting edge of technology, I assume that you have other areas you advise on?

Leigh Conlan: That’s correct. Specialist Accounting Services is unique as we have technical expertise and we can assist in a variety of capacities including comprehensive advice in the areas of commercialisation, government development and early stage development grants, government support programs and investing in early stage development funding.

Mark Morris: So can you provide more detail in regards to government incentives and programs that you advise in?

Leigh Conlan: Sure, one such program is around the commercialisation Australia program which provides funding of up to $200,000 to assist new organisations and those wanting to test the viability of product commercialisation. Also we have provided advice in relation to cooperative research centre (CRC) project grants as well. The CRC and associated grants is an outcome focused programme designed to support industry while supporting collaboration between industry, research and the community in a competitive framework.

Mark Morris: Have there been many changes by the government in relation to government grants and assistance?

Leigh Conlan: Yes there have been changes in regards to the tech sector that were previously restricted on applying for grants. These have now been removed to stimulate commercialisation and the development of novel IP across a broader range of industries across Australia. We see the government’s focus in this domain is on stimulating new knowledge, local IP and bringing innovative products to market in order to stimulate economic and employment growth.

Mark Morris: So have you seen many examples where universities specifically benefit from the R&D tax incentive scheme?

Leigh Conlan: Yes Mark I have seen this a number of times where universities are providing services to private organisations and where both benefit from the close collaboration undertaken. One such example is one our clients in the ehealth domain where a prominent Victorian university provided research assistance in evaluating IT architecture suitable for gathering information around broad based and large scale health records.

Mark Morris: So this is all research and development expenditure around software and IT?

Leigh Conlan: Correct Mark, we have also been involved with a number of initiatives in the private sector relating specifically to analytics and big data projects.

Mark Morris: Can you elaborate on how these initiatives may provide beneficial outcomes for the private sector, RSPs as well as the general public?

Leigh Conlan: We have seen a number of initiatives carried out by the big four banks in relation to blockchain. The key objective of blockchain is to develop a distributed database ledger which can continuously update records between parties and therefore improve the efficiency of banking transactions.

Mark Morris: That’s very interesting. Do you see any other developments relating to big data in the private sector?

Leigh Conlan: Actually we have also seen developments in the Telecommunications sector where a number of Australian telco’s have been building big data lakes and utilising these data repositories for a number of practical applications such as geolocation, product marketing and improving operational uptime.

For the second part of this interview, keep an eye on the Business Newsroom blog!

La Trobe Business School partners for Sport Development and Peace

Dr Emma Sherry

LBS Associate Professor Emma Sherry recently participated in the inaugural symposium on Sport for Development and Peace, hosted by the University of Illinois as an invited speaker and Town Hall panelist. The symposium, titled Forming Partnerships and Linkages in Sport for Development and Peace: Considerations, Tensions, and Strategies, brought together international academics and sport for development experts and practitioners to discuss how sport, specifically through the creation and nurturing of key partnerships, can be used to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The purpose of the symposium was to bring together scholars, practitioners and students engaged in sport for development and peace (SDP) to create a dialogue about forming and sustaining partnerships and linkages between SDP initiatives and other sectors, the challenges facing partnership development, and strategies to overcome these challenges. The symposium was hosted by the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism (RST) at the University of Illinois, the Sport+Development Lab (SDL), and Play for Change. The SDL is home to faculty and graduate students researching the intersection of sport and development. Play for Change is a registered student organization (RSO) focused on involving undergraduate and graduate students in actionable projects that use sport, recreation, and tourism for social change.

The sport for development and peace (SDP) field has grown exponentially in recent years, with more and more organizations, practitioners, and academics around the world embracing the possible contribution that sport can make to development agendas. SDP can occur at the individual, community, and societal levels. It can be defined as the use of sport as an engine for development through intercultural exchange, conflict resolution and peace building, community building, social inclusion, or programming for interpersonal development or health.

An emerging line of commentary in SDP concerns the nature of partnerships with various industry sectors. Without effective and sustainable partnerships, SDP organizations and scholars cannot viably engage in the field to effect social change; partnerships are the life blood of SDP organizations. However, many challenges and barriers exist that inhibit effective partnerships and linkages. From overcoming power dynamics, to misaligned goals and objectives, challenges can prevent organizations from establishing long-term partnerships and carrying out their missions. Given the international significance of partnerships and collaborations in SDP, much more conversation is needed about the nature of partnerships, their challenges, and effective strategies for forming and sustaining them.

The symposium brought together SDP experts, including Dr Sherry, to share presentations drawing on an original paper written for this symposium. Presenters provided a state of the field synopsis regarding partnerships with a specific sector (for example, health, community organisations, education or national and international bodies), outline challenges for developing and sustaining them, and then propose strategies for addressing these challenges.

In addition to the symposium, there were also two evening public events. On the first night, Dr. John Sugden, one of the world’s foremost experts in SDP and partnership development, provided a keynote address on the history and development of SDP, its current state of the field, and thoughts on developing and sustaining partnerships and linkages. The second night featured a town hall meeting with the symposium presenters focused on the power of sport to work for social good and change, and the challenges associated with doing so.

Dr Sherry noted that although the two-day symposium provided a full schedule for all attendees, the opportunity for international scholars in this field to spend time together to deeply discuss key research, theory-building and opportunities for research collaboration was invaluable. The opportunity for networking and discussion was extended through a very active use of Twitter by those organizing and attending (#sport4change2017) which extended the reach of the symposium to those unable to attend in person. Dr Sherry hopes that this is the first of many such events, and was delighted to be invited to present and share her research in the SDP field.

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