Monthly Archives: April 2013

Business Challenge or Opportunity? Webinar: 29th May 2013



Topic: Business Challenge or Opportunity?
Host: Doctoral Research Programmes, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Time: 11:00 am, GMT Summer Time (London, GMT+01:00) – 1 hour in duration

With the economic climate showing few signs of improvement in the short term and, as focus on the bottom line sharpens, organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to come to terms with the rapidly changing business landscape. Firms are also struggling to identify – and realise – the potential of the most powerful tools and resources available to them.

This webinar is aimed at senior business managers around the world and offers insight and ideas, as well as some practical advice, about to how you can identify and address some of those frustrating business challenges and turn your next initiative from a quiet, dead-end street into a buzzing superhighway that has real impact within your business.

Dr Emma Parry, International Executive Doctorate (DBA) Director, Reader in Human Resource Management will lead this unmissable webinar, which includes:

The Role of Presence, Poetry and Persistence
in Creating Positive Futures
Donna Ladkin, Professor in Leadership and Ethics

at Cranfield School of Management

Improving Business Performance
Using Evidence-Based Approaches
Mark Baker, Head of Risk & Assurance, Pentland Brands plc

There will also be an opportunity for participants to ask questions to our presenters at the end of the webinar. This webinar will last for 1 hour.

To register for this training session


A performance management approach to provide focus and improve services

Gillian Porter, Head of Performance and Analysis explains how Durham Constabulary have been adopting a different approach in order to establish a level of self-sufficiency in the face of government spending cuts. In order to focus on the desired outcome of improved service delivery to the public, they needed to come up with their own set of KPIs which could be realistically managed and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy. The organisation also uses a Strategy Map at all strategic and tactical meetings to guide discussion.

Public Sector Performance Roundtable

The Cranfield Experience: DBA Perspectives

Maria De Villa, Mark Baker, Ruth Murray Webster and Shahzad Orakzai  share their thoughts on what makes Cranfield unique from their own perspectives as International Executive Doctorate (DBA) Researchers.

Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA)

Doctoral Research at Cranfield: My #CranfieldPhD – Alessandro Giudici

Alessandro Giudici talks about why he chose Cranfield, what challenges he encountered during his PhD journey and how the School of Management has supported him through these challenges.

Watch this video in Italian

Cranfield PhD in Management

Experience personalisation at The Money Advice Service

Guy Shone, Head of Consumer & Market Insight explains how The Money Advice Service is listening to customers and reflecting their voices within the solutions it provides in order to develop the financial capability of the UK population. Understanding customers’ online behaviour and providing appropriate content in a timely and relevant way in order to facilitate the decision-making process is key to this.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

Business triads in servitization

A synopsis of his PhD research, by Antony Karatzas at Cranfield School of Management.

Business triads in servitization: The influence of the provider–partner relationship on the performance of the partner towards the provider’s customer base

Antony KaratzasCranfield PhD

Antony Karatzas
Cranfield PhD

In my research I focussed on a theoretical and practical problem arising due to servitization. In simple terms ‘servitization’ refers to the phenomenon whereby a manufacturer supplements its core product offering with related services and then markets an integrated product-service offering (often called ‘Product-Service System’). In particular, industrial settings – such as commercial vehicles, defence and commercial aviation – the ‘servitized’ manufacturer (here referred to as ‘provider’) relies on independent service partners for the delivery of the services to the customer-base. These partners are obliged to deliver the services at the levels specified in the contract signed between the provider and its industrial customer. When this is the case, the service performance of these partners is determinative for the successful provision of the offering as a whole and, consequently, for customer satisfaction. Furthermore, because the three parties (provider, service partner, customer) are in direct and on-going interaction, they are considered to form a business triad. The triadic setting I looked at in my research is sketched below in Figure 1. The context is the network of partners and customers of the UK branch of a German commercial vehicles manufacturer.


This particular problem has not been addressed in servitization research. However, the broader buyer–supplier relationships research stream, along with the increasing amount of literature around the subject of business triads, suggest that the service performance of the partner in the triad (i.e. towards the provider’s customers) can be affected by the provider–partner working relationship. With this idea in mind, I tried to answer the following research question:

In a triadic servitized context, how does the provider–partner relationship affect the performance of the partner in delivering the services to the customer base?

Additionally, because an inter-firm relationship is multidimensional and multifaceted and, because the initial inquiry indicated that certain contextual factors have a strong role to play in the performance of the partner, I also asked:

What configurations of dimensions of the provider – partner relationship (‘relationship connectors’) and contextual factors elicit superior service performance?

The relationship dimensions were based on Cannon’s and Perreault’s (1999) framework of relationship connectors, and included: information exchange; operational integration; relationship-specific adaptations; formalization; and cooperative norms. The contextual factors included partner size, and the proportion of its revenue that comes from fixed-cost service contracts and warranty activity.

I employed a mixed methods research design. The qualitative piece consisted of several exploratory interviews and three case studies of purposively sampled provider–partner relationships (the bolded lines in Figure 1). Its purpose was to answer the first research question. The quantitative piece had a supplementary character and, as part of it, questionnaires completed by 38 of the provider’s partners were analysed with the use of a novel configurational method called fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). This provided an answer to the second research question. In summary, the findings consist of:

  1. An emergent analytic model capturing the causal ordering of the relationship dimensions, their interplay with two emergent exogenous factors, and their eventual impact on the service performance of the partner.
  2. A set of configurations of relationship dimensions and exogenous factors which enhance service performance.

With the in-depth study of the influence of the provider–partner relationship on the performance of the partner (towards the provider’s customer-base), my research simultaneously contributes to knowledge in two ways. Firstly, it extends the understanding and theoretical development of the phenomenon of servitization, and secondly, it extends triadic research by examining triadic interaction in a novel setting. It also demonstrates the usefulness and applicability of a novel analytical technique (fsQCA) that has not yet been widely used in management research.

The managerial implications and practical recommendations of my work are mainly directed to servitized manufacturers. They are aimed to help them in the understanding and improvement of working relationships with service partners – an endeavour that can enhance service performance and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

Adapting to a Social World: Insurance

Stephen Mitchell, Digital Strategy Director explains how Aviva has been developing its digital strategy over the past year. Their dedicated Digital Response Unit demonstrates Aviva’s commitment to customer service and quality financial products through transparent and two-way after-sales conversation, providing valuable business information.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

Towards a sustainable future in food logistics


Step Change in Agri-Food Logistics Ecosystems (Project SCALE) is an exciting three year project working across North-West Europe to increase economic competitiveness and improve environmental and social sustainability of food and drink supply chain logistics.

Project SCALE is funded by INTERREG IVB North-West Europe which is a financial instrument of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy. It funds projects which support transnational co-operation.

The five partners of Project SCALE – Cranfield School of Management, European Food and Farming Partnerships (EFFP), DHL Supply Chain, Wageningen University and the University of Artois – will be working with agri-food businesses and stakeholders to develop new solutions that will transform food logistics operations.

The next stage is to hold a series of workshops with key industry stakeholders who are seeking new Triple Bottom Line (TBL) focussed food logistics solutions that will drive their future business strategies. These workshops will seek to engage with key members of the food and drink industry and logistics thought leaders from across North West Europe.

The first SCALE workshop ‘Collaboration for Sustainability in the Food Sector’ will be held on Thursday 18th April at Cranfield University.

Future SCALE workshops will focus on other elements of the SCALE Journey – details and invitations for these will be issued in due course.

The April workshop will showcase several key components which are currently under development and include:

  • The launch of a new, customised case study which focuses on the challenges of collaborating across a network of companies to achieve better performance along the triple bottom line dimensions.
  • The first testing of the new TBL Collaborative Framework as an approach to achieving the appropriate levels of collaboration across the network
  • The demonstration of a network simulation tool that can be used to help identify the impact of proposed changes to the network along the TBL.

The workshop is viewed as part of the overall development process and will be interactive and include feedback sessions throughout the day to capture your views/ideas, for further developments that would enhance the both the experience and effectiveness of the tools/frameworks.

There are limited spaces at the workshop and we are deliberately targeting individuals and organisations that will bring diverse viewpoints. At this point in the development process a wide range of inputs will increase the robustness of the outputs.

The workshop is free of charge as it is part of the Interreg programme which requires that all the outputs are shared freely with the member states and the organisations therein.

To register for the workshop please contact Lynne Wall at:

Tel: +44 0 1234 758562 or e-mail:

Looking forward to seeing you at the workshop in April.

pdficonDownload the flyer here

Personal impact of the DBA

Shahzad Orakzai, Maria De Villa, Mark Baker and Ruth Murray Webster talk about the impact that the Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA) programme has had on themselves personally.

Cranfield International Executive Doctorate (DBA)

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