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Ethics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation is a key part of our work.

 Research focus:

  • How processes, dynamics, habits and managerial thinking may undermine ethics and sustainability;
  • Challenging everyday assumptions through philosophical thinking and practice.

Upcycling project

In cooperation with Prof. Tim Cooper within ADBE, the RSB Lab has been developing research on upcycling as an instance of social entrepreneurship and as a waste management strategy. The goal of this research is to generate 3* and 4* papers for both schools, but also to collaborate on the development of an ESRC grant application. To further this process, we successfully applied for a seed-corn grant, which allowed for the hiring of Kyungeung Sung as an RA with ADBE. The RSB Lab matched her hours with those of Johanna Oehlmann, an hourly hire, and they conducted 29 interviews, which are now transcribed.

Research activities:

  1. Two papers are planned: one led by Prof. Painter-Morland and Johanna Oehlmann on the role of alternative forms of valuation in upcycling motivations, and another led by Prof. Cooper and Kyungeung Sung on a systems perspective of factors influencing the upscaling of upcycling businesses.
  2. A workshop to develop a causal loop systems model was held on 26 July 2017.

Ethics and Data protection (in coordination with Professor Rob Ackrill)

We initiated a scheme whereby we offer to ‘match-fund’ (with RA hours) whatever research faculty with NBS wants to pursue within the ambit of the RSB Lab.  An example of this is our RA Emrah Karakilic supporting Prof. Rob Ackril on a Seed-corn bid delivery.  The project is entitled ‘Understanding the ethics and data protection issues on pedagogic research and learning analytics’.

Shared Vocabularies

Project background: The Sharing Vocabularies project addresses the problem that diverse vocabularies are used to label business functions responsible for values-driven business (e.g.: ethics, integrity, responsibility, sustainability), resulting in confusion over their meaning and scope.  The project seeks to examine how and why differing vocabularies are being used across contexts, and provide to insight into how different functions and roles are implemented and integrated within organisations.  The research will help build understanding and inform future decision making on defining and managing values-driven functions.  The project is led by Professor Mollie Painter-Morland and the RSB Lab (Responsible and Sustainable Business Lab) at NTU, on behalf of PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) affiliated Business Schools.

Research activities:

  1. Co-ordinated data across six PRME partner universities, all of which have conducted qualitative case interviews for Stage 1 of the project (11 interviews with senior CSR/Sustainability managers conducted to date);
  2. Developed 3 x teaching cases based upon the qualitative case interviews for use in PRME schools;
  3. Presented a sample teaching case at a Workshop in PRME UK in June 2017;
  4. Presented a project update in the United Nations Global Form in New York, July 17;
  5. In collaboration with Nottingham University, submitted a paper to Journal of Business Ethics on the theoretical foundations of the project.

Future project development – September to December 2017:

  • Stage 2: coordinate quantitative data collection across PRME partner universities;
  • Develop papers which present the empirical findings of the Sharing Vocabularies project;
  • Develop practitioner summaries;
  • Produce a portfolio of teaching cases and a teaching pack for UN PRME schools.


China-CSR Seed-corn project (Professor Weili Tang and Dr. Xiaozheng Zhang)

The RSB Lab initiated a scheme whereby we offer to ‘match-fund’ (with RA hours) whatever research faculty with NBS wants to pursue within the ambit of the RSB Lab.  Dr. Jo-Anna Russon is currently working with Professor Weili Tang and Dr. Xiaozheng Zhang on the China-CSR Seedcorn project.

Project background: Professor Weili Tang and Dr. Xiaozheng Zhang submitted a successful NTU Seed-corn bid for a research project studying the emergence of CSR in China, particularly within private firms.   Dr. Jo-Anna Russon is providing research support on qualitative data analysis and case study research, and providing theoretical expertise on CSR in China for the development  (1) Confucian values and leadership in private firms; (2) Chinese culture, CSR practices and employee well-being.


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