Monthly Archives: January 2013

Advanced information solutions in procurement management

Harshal Gore, Membership Services Manager at GS1 outlines how retailers and suppliers have been struggling with product information management within the Supply Chain. Where trust may have previously been an issue with regards to sharing data, the availability and importance of consumer information is now driving a change of approach in order that consumer needs can be met.

Cranfield / CIPS Executive Procurement Network


Middle managers: Front line of change

Professor David Buchanan discusses the findings of an in-depth study of NHS middle managers. His study highlights the key role of middle managers in change and recommends how an enabling environment can be fostered.

Faculty Biographies: David Buchanan

See associated project resources and briefings from Cranfield Healthcare Management Group

Driving supply chain innovation

Andrew Haworth, Supply Chain Director explains how Balfour Beatty’s Innovation Programme is an important strategic business initiative. From a Supply Chain perspective, their Open Innovation Programme is about engaging with innovation at the grass roots of the supply chain and investing in technology solutions which enable collaborative working across the supply chain. They have also invested in the creation of a Supply Chain Solutions team who are dedicated to working consistently with the Supply Chain and relevant project teams within Balfour Beatty.

Cranfield / CIPS Executive Procurement Network

Exploring the motives of company-backed and self-initiated expatriates

Summary of a research paper by Dr Noeleen Doherty, Senior Research Fellow at Cranfield School of Management.

Dr Noeleen Doherty

Dr Noeleen Doherty

Location, host country reputation and career factors are key motives in international assignments.

The lack of understanding of the complex nature of international assignments has been highlighted recently exposing the need to know more about both company-backed (those employees who are supported by a company to undertake an international assignment) and other internationally mobile individuals like self-initiated expatriates (those who undertake international working without the sponsorship of an organisation). The traditional expatriate assignment is where individuals, at the request of their companies, work abroad for one year or more but many people make the individual choice on their own initiative to spend time employed in a foreign location.

The thrust of the literature to date appears to suggest that self-initiated and company-backed individuals have a different approach to the decision to move and work in another country. Various factors such as motivations, funding sources, patterns of working and career types appear to vary considerably between those who are supported by their company and those who initiate their own foreign work experience. Few studies have investigated the range of issues considered important to the decision to move abroad for expatriates, particularly comparing the company-backed and self-initiated expatriate experiences. This research investigates these factors by directly comparing the two types of expatriates and exploring the motivations potentially impacting their behaviours. As a result, this study provides a better understanding of the underlying attitudes and actual vocational choices of self-initiated and company-backed individuals.

The study also reveals details about the diverse motivations to undertake an expatriation and the similarities and differences between these two groups. Through a web-based study, the structure of the motivational components considered influential to the decision to move abroad was explored and quantitatively assessed. Significant differences between the motivations of the self-initiated and company-backed across three key areas:

  • Self-initiated expatriates were influenced significantly more by the location and the host country reputation.
  • Career factors were significantly more influential in the decision to move for those who were company-backed.

While providing a direct comparison of international work drivers for self-initiated and company-backed expatriates, this research also highlights the need for more data about the potentially diverse drivers of global careers. It is the authors’ hope that these insights can serve to refine our theoretical understanding of the expatriation field and might give impetus for further research in the areas of global mobility, cross-border talent flows, emigration and immigration.



Doherty, N., Dickmann, M & Mills, T. (2011) Exploring the motives of company-backed and self-initiated expatriates, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 595–611.

Cranfield School of Management


My PhD experience at Cranfield

A summary of a doctoral experience by Craig Mauelshagen, PhD Alumnus at Cranfield University.

CMe-11_400Having successfully defended my Thesis just before Christmas I have had some time to reflect on my PhD experience at Cranfield. I had the good fortune to have one supervisor from the School of Applied Sciences and one from the School of Management. That way I was able to draw on the resources of not only two supervisors but also two departments. This of course came with some challenges. However, there was also opportunity, for example being able to draw on multiple epistemological communities to make sense of my research topic. In this regard, my advice to any new or aspiring PhD students is to look carefully at the resources available to you and manage them! Overall looking back at my PhD I am really grateful for the opportunities Cranfield gave me to gain access to organisations in which to conduct my research. Something other organisational scientists and other sociologists will appreciate.

I realise at this point I have not mentioned what my PhD was about or what the core findings are. Briefly (very briefly, because really I have been talking about this too much in the last month), I conducted two case studies investigating what factors (structural, cultural, social) affected how risk management was embedded in organisations. What I found, was a number of cultural and social factors (respect for experience, deference to expertise, informal communication, shared mental models) that played key roles in determining how risk management was coordinated in the two case studies. My findings go some way to expanding our understanding of how organisations can achieve enterprise risk management that is coordinated but also adaptive.

In terms of how I am building on my PhD, I am pleased to say that I am now a post doc at Cranfield, researching business risk analytics. In this role I work closely with the Risk & Analytics team at Yorkshire Water (a strategic partner of the Centre for Environmental Risks and Futures here at Cranfield). I am really looking forward to applying the theory and knowledge gained through my PhD in an applied context. I really think that the interaction between academic research and ‘real-life’ practice is an incredibly rich source of knowledge, both practical and theoretical. And, as we know, this is the sort of thing Cranfield excels at. Finally, as grateful as I am to my supervisors Prof Simon Pollard and Prof David Denyer (and I am very indebted to them for their guidance, support and patience), I would like to say I could not have done my PhD (and certainty not in three years) without the love and support of my wife, Kelly. Thank you!

Upcoming Doctoral Open Days at Cranfield School of Management

Management Research: Delivering Business Results

Professor David Denyer outlines a rigorous partnership approach to research which successfully addresses important business issues.

Faculty Biographies: David Denyer

Management Accountants as Change Agents: Free focus group on 25th Jan

A research-led event invitation from Kim Turnbull James, Professor of Executive Learning and Dr Jean Neumann, Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management.

MgmtAcctsAsChangeAgentsFocus group to be held on:
Friday 25th January 2013 (London)

Cranfield School of Management announces a practitioner-friendly research project which aims to increase understanding about the current situation of management accountants as change agents.

Funded by the CIMA General Trust Charitable Fund, this one-year project will result in a picture of change management opportunities and demands being faced by management accountants from various roles and sectors. Researchers, Professor Kim Turnbull James and Dr. Jean Neumann, are keen to identify what helps and hinders management accountants in taking up change-related activities, as well as the sort of development and support that might make a positive difference.

Professor Turnbull James and Dr Neumann will explore perspectives and experiences of management accountants themselves. Initially, they will use focus groups during which conversations between and amongst management accountants will be recorded. Participants will not be personally identified in the research reports and so this will allow individuals to express their opinions as well as different experiences to be noticed and compared with others in the same profession. Four main questions will be discussed, illustrated with stories from practice:

  1. From which roles are management accountants being required to be involved in organisational change?
  2. What types of opportunities are they being offered and what types of demands are being made of management accountants as it relates to involvement in change?
  3. During change-related activities, what has helped management accountants in being effective and what has hindered.
  4. What support or other development might make a difference for management accountants as change agents?

The focus group session will be held on January 25th, 2013 (at CIMA offices in Pimlico, London). It will run from mid-morning to mid-afternoon with a break for lunch. A limited number of management accountants will be selected to participate, with the aim of achieving a blend of roles and sectors.

Who should attend?

  • Management accountants involved in change-related activities.

Benefits of attending

  • Sharing experiences with others facing similar issues with organizational change
  • An opportunity to shape professional development programmes targeted at management accountants working with change.


  • The focus group, together with case studies of specific change scenarios, will form the basis of a number of practitioner focused outputs: an article aimed at management accountants, a web based booklet and an executive report for CIMA. CIMA will also hold a working conference in Sept 2013 to discuss the research outcomes. Participants in the focus group, who would like to know the results of the research, can opt to receive details of these outputs personally via email.

PLEASE APPLY ASAP if you would like to participate in this focus group – places limited.
No cost. Lunch provided.
This workshop is sponsored by the CIMA General Trust Charitable Fund.
This is not an open workshop. Participation is by invitation only.
However, if you have colleagues who share an interest in these issues, please do refer them to this post, and ask them to contact us.

To secure your place at this workshop, please phone or send an email to:
Alison Cain
T: +44 (0)1234 751122

If you have any questions about this workshop, please contact:
Kim Turnbull James
Professor of Executive Learning
Cranfield University School of Management
Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL

This project is a joint initiative between Cranfield School of Management and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Why CRM fails – and how to fix it

Summary of a research paper by Stan Maklan, Reader in Strategic Marketing at Cranfield School of Management.

Dr Stan Maklan

Over half of companies fail to meet the expected return on their CRM investments… because they rush too quickly into large-scale, IT-based CRM investments, seduced by “best practice” and management fashion.

The authors’ research suggests the problem is relatively straightforward: companies have bought sophisticated new relationship management resources, such as call centres, databases, software and websites, but continue to run their businesses as they have always done and assumed that customers would value the results of their investments. However, successful CRM investment begins by developing new capabilities. But these new capabilities do not develop automatically from investments alone in CRM technology solutions.

The question arises of how marketing investments should be managed for the greatest return. A sustained program of investing in and developing a wide range of resources (e.g., brands, distribution networks, supply chains and know-how) and capabilities is required. Unfortunately most managers do not hold such a holistic view, i.e. the need to invest in both resources and capabilities. From the authors’ observation, the problem is confounded by the issue that it is unclear who is responsible for the development of these new relationship marketing capabilities.

The authors’ research findings are that the marketing function and organisation need to develop new capabilities to improve customer relationships and then backfill the capability development with capital investment in order to sustain and embed it. However, the authors posit that managers have lacked a suitable framework for assessing and developing their marketing capabilities.

A framework that helps managers develop their CRM resources and capabilities concurrently is presented in the article. Managers can use this framework to position each of their organisation’s four principal marketing capabilities (demand management, creating marketing knowledge, building brands and CRM) in relation to the marketing relationship continuum (from transactional, one-to-one to networked relationships). In doing so, they can then identify how thesecapabilities must be developed in order to execute their desired CRM strategy.

This approach is utilised and described in two UK examples: 1) BMW Ltd. (UK) who in the early 00s decided to delay its investment pending further capability development in relationship management; and, 2) Flutter, an online betting company, who, after going through a programme of identifying its true marketing capabilities, invested in a less expensive and different aspect of CRM than it had first intended.

Key insights emerge for managers responsible for their companies’ CRM investment decisions from the action research

  • Capabilities are the precursor of CRM investment and not vice versa
  • The rate at which capabilities develop varies between companies
  • CRM cannot always be driven topdown.

As a result of the research, and in answer to the question of why is it that so many large, well-managed and well-resourced companies fail to see adequate return on their CRM investments, the authors argue that it is precisely because these leading companies are usually so well endowed with resources that they rush too quickly into large-scale, IT based CRM investments, seduced by “best practice” and management fashion. Somehow, the capabilities needed to support these resource investments get forgotten. The top team needs patience and the courage to eschew “neat” global solutions, consultants’ best practice models and their own preference for immediate results by allowing marketing capabilities to develop and lead CRM investments.


Maklan, S., Knox, S., Peppard, J. (2011) Why CRM Fails – and How to Fix It, Sloan Management Review, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 77-85.

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