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La Trobe Business School Professor shares SeniorPreneur insights on Studio 10 National TV

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz

Recently, La Trobe Business School’s Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz, appeared on Channel 10’s morning show. He shared research outcomes from the recent nbn Silver Economy Report, where he collaborated on research and analysis on a national SeniorPreneur research project.

SeniorPreneurs emerge from retirement

The Silver Economy Report reveals that tech-savvy baby boomers are expected to contribute an additional $ 11.9billion to the Australian GDP in new ventures each year, Insights reveal that SeniorPreneurs are expected to start 14,000 new businesses each year; representing the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship. 34% of all small businesses are lead by senior entrepreneurs. More than half (54%) of them claim they employ a predominantly online model in their businesses, with 61% of them preferring to upskill online. Be it motivation to create or supplement income (67%), pursue passion projects (58%) or keep mentally stimulated (55%), these tech-savvy boomers are undergoing a new renaissance.

The Silver Economy Report is available online, here.

The Studio 10 TV in-studio interview is available here (Professor Alex Maritz speaks at 1:48).

La Trobe Business School is at the cutting edge of innovation and technology when it comes to offering tech-savvy Entrepreneurship Education courses online. For more information, click here.

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.”

The perks of being a PhD student rep


By Anne Brouwer

Why would you become a student representative?

Let me rephrase that.Why would you want to read 30-page policies? Why would you want to spend hours in meetings? Why would you choose to put yourself out there and speak up to higher management? Why would you want to deal with other people’s problems? Why would you want to be the one to open up a can of worms?

You won’t believe this, but it’s actually quite fun!

Of course, there is the feeling of satisfaction for serving the greater good. I can’t deny that it feels awesome to help fellow graduate students when they have issues concerning their PhD journey.

There is the unique experience of learning how educational institutions operate, of realising how complex universities are and getting a sense of the politics behind it.

There are the networks you make, not only with fellow graduate students but getting to personally know the people in charge! You know, the ones that help run this joint, like the Dean, Associate Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, School Graduate Coordinators and so on. They are the kind of people that might come in handy when you need an extension, reference or a job.

Talking about jobs, extracurricular activities definitely boost your resume. I have built up a wide array of examples for future job interviews that show leadership skills, project management, resolving conflict situations, organising events, time management, teamwork, etc. I hate to say it, but it’s important to show your future employer that you’re more than just a person who holds a doctorate. Let’s face it, our future prospects in academia don’t look all that great, especially not when all you have been doing is your PhD, just like all the others holding doctorates out there.

But, as I said earlier, it is also just really fun. Going to exclusive events, getting free food and drinks, making new friends among your fellow PhD students, learning that the students in the other College aren’t as scary after all, and just getting the opportunity to hang out with people you would otherwise never come across.

Another great thing about being a student rep is that it allows you to get away from your PhD research without feeling too guilty about it. I quickly realised that working full-time on my PhD research was not going to work for me. It is mentally draining, I have a short attention span, and I’m easily bored. These three years should not only be about working hard on my research, but also for some socialising, fun, and freebies as well!

And if you think “it doesn’t matter because nobody will listen to us”, you’ve got it all wrong. When I started out as a graduate student representative about a year ago, I quickly came to realise that La Trobe takes its graduate student reps seriously. When we raise issues, action is usually taken straight away and feedback that we give on candidature policies actually gets incorporated.

If you are like me and allergic to people who only complain and don’t do anything to make their problems go away, and if you read this blog thinking being a student rep could indeed be fun, then shoot me an email (a.brouwer@latrobe.edu.au) and let’s talk about how you can get involved!

Anne Brouwer is a PhD Candidate and a Research Scholar in the La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University. 

She has completed a Master of Science degree from both the Technical University Munich and University of Wageningen, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. Her research interests are in green marketing, greenwashing and sustainable consumption. 

She is the student representative for the ASSC College on the Board of Graduate Research and the student representative for the La Trobe Business School. 

Outside LTU activities she travels around the world (whenever her schedule allows it), volunteers as a marketer for a non-profit organisation, hikes around Victoria and cycles a lot. She tweets from @AnneRBrouwer.

This post was originally published on the RED Alert Research Blog.

Antony Jacobson, Professor of Practice -Entrepreneurship at La Trobe Business School, was a special guest lecturer at St Helena Secondary College, Eltham North

Professor Of Practice Antony Jacobson was invited to address Year 11 students on overcoming innovation challenges on 25 May 2017. This presentation was a follow on to students from St Helena Secondary College attending one of the three VCE Business Forums held by the LBS at La Trobe University in February this year.

In the lecture at St Helena Secondary College, Antony Jacobson explained that disruptive innovation doesn’t only satisfy existing consumer needs.  Rather, such innovation creates new boundaries, horizons, products and services that have not been thought of before. The innovator of today is a pioneer who takes our lives, imagination and our functionality to new and previously unimagined areas.

Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson sparked students’ enthusiasm by stating that, “in the coming years, the world will be focused and enthused by never before seen innovations and we will be reading about the schools and universities these innovative pioneers came from. Never underestimate your own ability, passion and intelligence as a potential disruptive entrepreneur and let’s in the coming years read about the world’s new innovators that have come from St Helena Secondary College and La Trobe University”

Professor of Practice Jacobson will be visiting numerous high schools through the remainder of 2017, addressing students about entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities, and making them aware of the exciting Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses and subject offerings available at La Trobe Business School.

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.

 

LBS Associate Professor Elspeth Frew on Radio National’s Nightlife

LBS Associate Professor Elspeth Frew

Recently, LBS’s Associate Professor Elspeth Frew was interviewed on Radio National’s “Nightlife” for an hour discussing dark tourism, together with her research collaborator Dr Leanne White.

During the program there listeners across Australia called in to speak about their experiences at various dark tourism sites and how these visits had impacted them.

To listen to the full episode, click here.

TEN TAX TIPS FOR STUDENTS? [1]

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of Practice

By Mark Morris

Few student welcome the prospect of preparing and lodging an income tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (the ATO).

However, where the income tax deducted from a student’s job exceeds the total income tax payable for the tax year the only way in which a student can obtain a refund of overpaid tax is by lodging an income tax return.

Of course, other students will be legally required to lodge a return and pay tax where insufficient income tax been retained from their salary, or where they derive other categories of assessable income on which they owe tax.

We have developed ten tax tips to help you decide whether you need to lodge an income return for the year ended 30 June 2017, and how to prepare a return if you have too.

1. Are you an Australian tax resident?

The first step is to work out if you are an Australian resident for Australian income tax purposes.

If you were born in Australia and continue to live here, you will be regarded as an Australian resident for income tax purposes as this is the country in which you reside.

However, it is important for international students to recognise that being a resident for Australian tax purposes is quite different to being a permanent resident for Australian immigration purposes, and that they may sometimes unknowingly be an Australian tax resident.

Very broadly, an international student may be regarded as residing in Australia if they are here for such a period of time that their behavior reflects a degree of continuity, routine or habit that is consistent with residing in Australia.

Whilst it is a question of fact in each case as a broad rule of thumb the ATO takes the view that living in Australia for six months is a period of time which is generally consistent with a person residing here for tax purposes.

For example, in one of the ATO’s binding public taxation rulings it held that an overseas student who came to Australia to attend a pre-arranged 4-year university course was an Australian resident even though he left after 6 months to return to his home country following a family illness as his living and working arrangements whilst in Australia were consistent with someone whose pattern of behavior was that they resided in Australia[2].

Accordingly, if you are unsure whether you are an Australian resident for income tax purposes you should contact the ATO or a registered tax agent to obtain more clarity as to whether or not you are an Australian resident in working out your tax rights and obligations.

2. What happens if you are an Australian tax resident?

Assuming you are regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes what are some of the key tax implications you need to consider.

On the plus side you will be entitled to a tax free threshold which will mean that you do not pay any income tax for the year ended 30 June 2017 if your total taxable income was $18,200 or less.

Accordingly, if you worked part time and derived salary income from which income tax was deducted by your employer you will be able to obtain a tax refund of any Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax retained from your salary income if your total taxable income was $18,200 or less.

In practice, most individual resident taxpayers will also usually be entitled to a tax credit being the low income tax offset which means that no tax will typically be payable if that person’s taxable income is below $20,542. However, the amount of this this tax offset reduces tax payable but is not in itself refundable.

On the negative side you will be subject to tax on all your assessable income for the year ended 30 June 2017 regardless of where it was sourced. For example, an overseas student would need to include both their Australian salary income and any interest income earned in a bank account held in their home country.

In addition, Australian residents are subject to a 2% Medicare levy but only where their taxable income exceed certain thresholds.

By contrast a non-resident is only taxable on assessable income which has an Australian source being generally locally derived investment income. However, such income will be subject to tax at a rate of 32.5% for any taxable income derived up to $87,000 as there is no tax-free threshold for non-resident individuals.

3. What do I need if I want to lodge a return for the 2017 year?

Most students who have been employed would have already been issued a tax file number which is a prerequisite for every individual lodging an income tax return.

If for some reason you are lodging a return but do not have a tax file number you will need to apply for one from the ATO either directly or by using a registered tax agent.

You should then collate all the records and information you will need to prepare you income tax return including, amongst others, any payment summary, bank interest statements, dividend slips, invoices and receipts.

Assuming you have a tax file number you may consider preparing and lodging your income tax return on-line using the ATO’s myTax product if your tax affairs are reasonably simple. Further details on myTax can be found here.

Otherwise it may be prudent to contact a registered tax agent to ensure you identify all your entitlements and to ensure that your income tax return is correctly prepared.

Regardless of how you lodge your return you will need to disclose full bank account details when preparing your income tax return if you expect to receive a tax refund.

4. What types of income need to be included in your return?

As discussed, as an Australian resident you will be taxed on all of your assessable income wherever it is derived.

Some of the more common types of assessable income include the following:

  • Salary and wages (whether as a full-time, part-time or casual employee);
  • Allowances and bonuses (where received during the 2017 income year);
  • Tips and gratuities (such as those received working in hospitality jobs);
  • Fees received as an independent contractor under a contract for service;
  • Any business income derived during the year (not being income derived from carrying on a hobby);
  • Australian government payments and allowances including, amongst others, Newstart allowance, youth allowance, AuStudy payments and certain other educational and training allowances;
  • Interest income;
  • Dividend income (including the amount of any franking credit tax offset for any franking credit attached to a dividend paid by an Australian resident company);
  • Any distributions received as a beneficiary from a family trust or as a partner in a partnership; and
  • Capital gains arising from the disposal of certain CGT assets (which is a highly complex area requiring specialist expertise).

The total of such assessable income may be reduced by eligible deductions which may take the form of work-related deductions, self-education expenses in certain circumstances and personal deductions.

5. What type of work-related deductions can you claim?

You may be entitled to claim a deduction for expenses directly incurred in the course of gaining or producing your assessable income. However, you will not be able to claim an outright deduction which is capital in nature although you may be able depreciate certain capital assets like a computer over time for tax purposes where it has been used for the purpose of gaining or producing assessable income. In addition, you will not be entitled to claim a deduction for expenditure which is private in nature such as the cost of conventional clothing (e.g. suits) purchased for work purposes.

Some of the more common types of deductions you may be able to claim are as follows:

  • Work-related subscription and union fees;
  • Protective clothing and certain work uniforms (including compulsory work uniforms required by your employer);
  • Home office expenses (where you are required to work at home after hours and have a separate room allocated in your home study for that purpose);
  • Employment related telephone mobile and internet costs; and
  • Travel expenses between worksites (but excluding travel between home and work)).

You may also be entitled to claim a deduction for the cost of tools of trade, briefcases and calculators costing less than $300 to the extent to which you use it for work-related purposes.

However, you will only generally be able to claim any work related expenses costing $300 or more if you have retained all the relevant invoices and receipts.

6. When are self-education costs allowable?

Broadly, self-education expenses are only deductible to the extent that the course of study undertaken will either maintain or improve your skills in your current occupation.

Accordingly, you will not be entitled to claim the costs of your course if you’ve not yet embarked on a particular career. Nor will you be able to claim such costs if you have decided to change careers and have incurred such expenses in studying a new area of expertise.

However, you will be able to claim a deduction for self-education expenses where the study or training you are undertaking is likely to enhance your chances of promotion or increase your income earning capacity in your existing occupation.

Further details as to when self-education expenses are allowable or not are set out in Taxation Ruling TR98/9 which can be downloaded here.

Eligible self-education costs include, amongst others, course fees, textbooks, stationary, travel costs and the depreciation of items such as laptops, tablets and printers. However, it is necessary to add back $250 of any self-education expenses as being non-allowable.

Finally, any Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayments are non-deductible.

7. What other personal deductions may be allowable?

Donations of $ 2 dollars or more to a deductible gift recipient (e.g. a charity like the Red Cross) will be allowable provided you have kept copies of receipts for any gifts made.

You can also claim a deduction for any fee paid to a registered tax agent during the year ended 30 June 2017 for the cost of managing your tax affairs. However, any amount paid to a registered tax agent to assist you in in preparing your 2017 income tax return will only be deductible in the year ended 30 June 2018.

8. What tax offsets can you claim?

Whilst tax deductions may reduce assessable income tax offsets are directly applied as a credit to reduce tax payable.

Certain tax offsets may also result in a refund to the extent that the tax credit exceeds tax payable.

The most common tax offsets that a student may claim include the beneficiary tax offset, the franking credit tax offset and the small business tax offset.

A beneficiary tax offset may be available where a student receives a Newstart allowance, youth allowance, Austudy payments and certain other Commonwealth education or training programs.

The calculation of this offset can be complex but this offset may not only reduce tax payable on the amount of Government benefits received but also assessable income received from other sources.

Further details on the beneficiary tax offset can be found here.

A resident company may pass on a tax credit for tax it has paid to shareholders when it pays such shareholders a franked dividend. Such a tax credit can be claimed as a franking credit tax offset which may also result in a tax refund where the franking credit exceeds tax payable.

Finally, where a student is also carrying on a business that individual may be entitled to the small business income tax offset for the year ended 30 June 2017 being 8% of the income tax payable on the portion of an individual’s taxable income that is ‘total net small business income’ provided the aggregated turnover of the business is less than $5million.

However, an individual is only able to claim one small business tax offset for an income year irrespective of the number of sources of small business income derived by that individual and the maximum amount of the offset is capped to $1,000 per year. The application of this offset is also quite complex and specialist advice should be sought if you intend to claim it.

9. What are some of the potential traps to watch out for?

There are special rules to discourage adults from splitting income with their children (i.e. minors) aged under 18 at the end of the year unless that minor is engaged in a full-time occupation, receives a carer allowance, disability support pension or double orphan pension or a person who is disabled or a beneficiary under a special disability trust.

Where the minor is subject to these special rules, penalty tax rates apply to such children receiving dividends, interest, rent, royalties or a family trust distribution.

Where such income is between $417 and $1,307 tax will be paid on the excess of income over $416 at a rate of 68% whilst any amount of such income in excess of $1,307 will be subject to tax at a rate of 47%.

10. Where do I go for help?

If you believe that you required to lodge an income tax return or that you may wish to lodge a return in order to obtain your tax refund, you may wish to either contact the ATO or look at their website for more details at www.ato.gov.au

Should you want to get independent tax advice then try to locate an accountant who has the tax expertise to makes sure you lodge a correct income tax return but make sure that the accountant is also a registered tax agent who has been legally authorised to provide such services.

And if you are entitled to a tax refund go get what is yours!

[1] Latrobe University has used reasonable care and skill in compiling the content of this general commentary. However, it should not be relied upon as advice in any circumstances, and no warranty is provided by either the University or the author concerning the accuracy and completeness of these materials. Accordingly, they disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of reliance on any of the matters raised in these materials, and professional advice should be sought from an appropriately qualified registered tax agent where required.

[2] Refer to Example 8 of Taxation Ruling TR98/17.

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.

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/

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