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Ethics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation is a key part of our work.


This stream is led by Professor Mollie Painter and Emrah Karakilic, and addresses important research questions on how processes, dynamics, habits and managerial thinking may undermine ethics and sustainability.  The overriding goal is to pioneer research that challenges everyday assumptions through philosophical thinking and practice.  Research priorities include:

  • Processes and dynamics that may undermine ethics and sustainability;
  • Upcycling as an instance of social entrepreneurship and as a waste management strategy;
  • Understanding why certain unethical practices and unsustainable habits persist;
  • Challenge business practitioners to question ingrained ways of thinking and being;
  • Draw on philosophical thinking and practice to challenge everyday assumptions.

Examples of current projects include:

° Financialization and algorithmic trading:

The impact of algorithmic trading and the emergence of the gig economy on individuals’ working lives and on society in general is being critically evaluated through a variety of papers and grant projects that are in the making (Karakilic, Painter, Giamporcaro). Karakilic wrote a book chapter for The Oxford Handbook of Hedge Funds. Also ‘Job Security and Autonomy in the Gig Economy: The Case of Uber’ (Dr Karakilic, Professor Clark)

° Digital innovation:
Various members of the RSB Lab team are working on the role and impact of social media and other digital technologies in shaping identities, values and behaviours.

How does the community use of a locally developed digital platform connect to Social Inclusion? Lessons from South Africa- Dr Abubakre, Dr Vivier and Anna Ozolina investigate how a digital platform intermingles with marginalized communities’ organizing practices to support local efforts towards social inclusion.

° Seminar series

The RSB Lab hold regular events with guest speakers throughout the year, with the aim of creating a platform for enriching research debate.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, The RSB Lab and the Work Futures Research Group (School of Social Sciences NBS) are collaboratively running a new interdisciplinary seminar series, called the Subversive Seminar Series (ISSS). The seminars focus on provocative and polemical ideas/works, aimed at challenging contemporary orthodoxies in various fields, allowing us to listen and learn from our colleagues working in different disciplines or departments.

Seminars in this series in 2020/21 have so far included:

  • Professor André Spicer from City, University of London – Business School (formerly CASS)
    Topic: Clusterf***s: A Theory
  • Professor Hugh Willmottfrom Cardiff Business School & CASS, City, University of London
    Topic: The problematisation of the blinded peer review in academic publishing.

Examples of previous projects include:

° Shared Vocabularies project

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 helps to build understanding and inform future decision making on defining and managing values-driven functions.  The project is led by Professor Mollie Painter on behalf of PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) affiliated Business Schools.

° Upcycling project

In cooperation with Prof. Tim Cooper within ADBE, the RSB Lab developed research on upcycling as an instance of social entrepreneurship and as a waste management strategy. The goal of this research was to generate 3* and 4* papers for both schools, and to 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.

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