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Article
Publication date: 11 December 2018

Alasdair Marshall, Udechukwu Ojiako and Maxwell Chipulu

Risk appetite is widely accepted as a guiding metaphor for strategic risk management, yet metaphors for complex practice are hard to critique. This paper aims to apply an…

Abstract

Purpose

Risk appetite is widely accepted as a guiding metaphor for strategic risk management, yet metaphors for complex practice are hard to critique. This paper aims to apply an analytical framework comprising three categories of flaw – futility, perversity and jeopardy – to critically explore the risk appetite metaphor. Taking stock of management literature emphasising the need for metaphor to give ideation to complex management challenges and activities and recognising the need for high-level metaphor within strategic risk management in particular, the authors propose a means to scrutinise the risk appetite metaphor and thereby illustrate its use for further management metaphors.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors apply a structured analytical perspective designed to scrutinise conceivably any purportedly progressive social measure. The three flaw categories are used to warn that organisational risk appetite specifications can be: futile vis-a-vis their goals, productive of perverse outcomes with respect to these goals and so misleading about the true potential for risk management as to jeopardise superior alternative use of risk management resource. These flaw categories are used to structure a critical review of the risk appetite metaphor, which moves towards identifying its most fundamental flaws.

Findings

Two closely interrelated antecedents to flaws discussed within the three flaw categories are proposed: first, false confidence in organisational risk assessment and, second, organisational blindness towards contributions of behavioural risk-taking to true organisational risk exposure. A theory of high (over-optimistic, excessive or inappropriate) risk-taking organisations explores flaws within the three flaw categories with reference to these antecedents under organisational-cultural circumstances where the risk appetite metaphor is most needed and yet most problematic.

Originality/value

The paper is highly original in its representation of risk management as an organisational practice reliant on metaphor and in proposing a structured means to challenge it as a dominant guiding metaphor where it has gained widespread uncritical acceptance. The discussion is also innovative in its representation of high risk-taking organisations as likely to harbour strong managerial motives, aptitudes and capacities for covert and illicit forms of risk-taking which, being subversive and sometimes reactionary towards risk appetite specifications, may cause particularly serious futility, perversity and jeopardy problems. To conclude, the theory and its implications are summarised for practitioner and educational use.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2018

Alasdair Marshall, Hamdi Bashir, Udechukwu Ojiako and Maxwell Chipulu

This conceptual paper aims to explore how supply chain managers deal with social threats to supply chains, in the process of demonstrating the potency of a largely…

Abstract

Purpose

This conceptual paper aims to explore how supply chain managers deal with social threats to supply chains, in the process of demonstrating the potency of a largely neglected strand of realist social theory. This theory, as posited, sheds a great deal of light on the behavioural reality of how supply chain managers operate within the social aspects of their risk environments.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is presented as a narrative synthesis of classical realist sociological literature.

Findings

The Machiavellian approach provides a template that can be used to help academics and practitioners understand how and why supply chain managers orient themselves to the social threats they confront in very different ways. The theory’s contention that the behavioural reality can be subdivided between two basic patterns allows it to serve as a constructively simple template for becoming attuned to ways in which supply chain managers socially construct and act within their social threat environments.

Research limitations/implications

The growing social complexity of supply chains gives behavioural responses a complexity reduction function. The authors theorise that such patterns, once activated, may not necessarily adapt rationally as guides to optimise the chance of success against the full range of social threats they are likely to encounter.

Originality/value

Cross-disciplinary supply chain management research is increasingly drawing upon sociology and behavioural science to facilitate greater understanding of not only the supply chain environment but also the roles of supply chain managers as relationship influencers and managers of conflict. The authors posit that Machiavellian–realist social theory can contribute to supply chain management scholarship by offering a constructively simple approach to evaluate the behavioural realities associated with social threats.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 41 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 October 2019

Senthilkumar Venkatachalam, Alasdair Marshall, Udechukwu Ojiako and Chamabondo Sophia Chanshi

The purpose of this paper is to explore, using fine-grained exploratory multi-case studies, organisational learning practices – and associated constraints – impacting the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore, using fine-grained exploratory multi-case studies, organisational learning practices – and associated constraints – impacting the performance of four small- and medium-sized project organisations which deliver energy efficiency projects in South Africa and whose learning practice mixes are of wider significance for the emerging project society in the region.

Design/methodology/approach

The unit of analysis is the Energy Efficiency Demand Side Management (EEDSM) programme; a US$104m grant funded the initiative directed at supporting energy efficient retro-fit projects across local municipalities in South Africa. Thematic analysis is undertaken, based on multiple exploratory interviews with project practitioners working for small- and medium-sized EEDSM project organisations.

Findings

Recognising the criticality of tacit knowledge as a focus for learning, within unstructured, novel, non-routine and technically specialised learning contexts in particular, the widespread lack of organisational harnessing through linkages to strategy and performance are noted, and advocacy is offered for the development of appropriate learning cultures linked to communities of practice that bring specialists together from across regional project societies.

Research limitations/implications

The socio-political context of the EEDSM programme, although briefly addressed for its organisational cultural implications, was not given detailed consideration in the exploratory interviews. This would have enhanced the idiographic complexity of the findings, while also reducing prospects for distilling generalisable organisational learning improvement opportunities for emerging project societies. However, the study does not seek to provide evidence for specific learning practice effects on performance as this was not something the interviewees felt able to comment on in significant detail.

Originality/value

Learning practice studies for small- and medium-sized project organisations remains sparse, so are studies of business environments within developing countries, in general, or sub-Saharan Africa, in particular. Looking beyond narrow individual project views of performance, the present study’s project society-based business environment is theorised as both constraining and benefiting from the project-learning practices discussed by the respondents.

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2019

Fenfang Lin, Jake Ansell, Alasdair Marshall and Udechukwu Ojiako

This paper aims to distil the management challenge pertaining to B2B SME branding strategy, communication and constraint in the emerging market context of Chinese manufacturing.

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3760

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to distil the management challenge pertaining to B2B SME branding strategy, communication and constraint in the emerging market context of Chinese manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

Complemented by 19 interviews, this paper adopted a novel methodological approach – netnographic analysis – to investigate a selection of Chinese manufacturing SMEs.

Findings

Findings revealed three managerial approaches to B2B brand management: conservative, flexible and integrated-exploratory.

Practical implications

Understanding the three approaches offers managerial implications for Chinese manufacturer SMEs to redesign their branding practice. Informed with a better understanding of the available option, they will be able to achieve high value-added production through branding to gain competitiveness. This study sheds light on B2B SME branding from an emerging market perspective, an area that has been largely neglected in the existing literature.

Originality/value

Findings make a novel contribution to B2B SME brand management literature by clarifying practical management issues pertinent to Chinese emerging market manufacturers in particular, and offering widely generalizable lessons for B2B brand management research.

Details

PSU Research Review, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2399-1747

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Alasdair Marshall and Udechukwu Ojiako

The purpose of this paper is to utilise Vilfredo Pareto ' s Machiavellian-realist social theory to provide a distinctive realist philosophical understanding of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to utilise Vilfredo Pareto ' s Machiavellian-realist social theory to provide a distinctive realist philosophical understanding of entrepreneurial risk-taking. By doing so, this paper seeks to stimulate debate and encourage future empirical testing that has the potential to present a richer understanding of entrepreneurial risk-taking.

Design/methodology/approach

To establish that a realist perspective can help theorise entrepreneurship, the authors look through a modern day risk and uncertainty optic at the hidden mechanisms within the social world where enterprises operate. Looking from this unique standpoint, where the long established social theory is reinvigorated by contemporary risk philosophy within a shared realist paradigm, human nature equips entrepreneurs with certain “animal spirits” to muddle blindly and instinctually through their risk environments.

Findings

The paper argues that this combined perspective unlocks a much richer understanding of entrepreneurial risk-taking, in particular, by capturing more of its behavioural reality and despite our strong emphasis on the inaccessibility and hiddenness of the risk environment to the entrepreneur, by exploring the entrepreneur-risk environment fit in ecological terms.

Originality/value

The paper’s unique blend of the classical Italian social theory with the contemporary risk theory offers a novel ecological view of the entrepreneur’s blind (mal) adaptation to their risk environment.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 January 2014

Alexander May, Adrian Anslow, Yue Wu, Udechukwu Ojiako, Max Chipulu and Alasdair Marshall

Real operational data are used to optimise the performance measurement of air cargo capacity demand management at Virgin Atlantic Cargo by identifying the best KPIs from…

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1348

Abstract

Purpose

Real operational data are used to optimise the performance measurement of air cargo capacity demand management at Virgin Atlantic Cargo by identifying the best KPIs from the range of outcome-based KPIs in current use.

Design/methodology/approach

Intelligent fuzzy multi-criteria methods are used to generate a ranking order of key outcome-based performance indicators. More specifically, KPIs used by Virgin Atlantic Cargo are evaluated by experts against various output criteria. Intelligent fuzzy multi-criteria group making decision-making methodology is then applied to produce rankings.

Findings

A useful ranking order emerges from the study albeit with the important limitation that the paper looked solely at indices focussing exclusively on outcomes while ignoring behavioural complexity in the production of outcomes.

Originality/value

This paper offers a practical overview of the development of performance measures useful for air cargo capacity demand management.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Max Chipulu, Udechukwu Ojiako and Alasdair Marshall

The purpose of this study is to examine whether individual demographic and socio-cultural factors affect actions taken by consumers in relation to ethical violations and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine whether individual demographic and socio-cultural factors affect actions taken by consumers in relation to ethical violations and failure (or perceived ethical violations and failure) by service operations firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Data collection was undertaken over a two-year period, from 2011 to 2013, and involved sampling 3,155 respondents from 19 countries. Data analysis was undertaken utilizing hierarchical linear modelling (HLM).

Findings

Findings suggest that although both individual demographic factors (age and gender) and societal differences do affect ethical actions taken by service consumers, inter-societal cluster variations have a more significant effect on the ethical action than individual demographic differences do.

Originality/value

For service operations firms, the study findings offer evidence on the need for constant readjustment of service attributes in line with the ethical dispositions of the different demographic and socio-cultural clusters within the consumer base.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2014

Sirikhorn Klindokmai, Peter Neech, Yue Wu, Udechukwu Ojiako, Max Chipulu and Alasdair Marshall

Virgin Atlantic Cargo is one of the largest air freight operators in the world. As part of a wider strategic development initiative, the company has identified forecasting…

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1590

Abstract

Purpose

Virgin Atlantic Cargo is one of the largest air freight operators in the world. As part of a wider strategic development initiative, the company has identified forecasting accuracy as of strategic importance to its operational efficiency. This is because accurate forecast enables the company to have the right resources available at the right place and time. The purpose of this paper is to undertake an evaluation of current month-to-date forecasting utilized by Virgin Atlantic Cargo. The study employed demand patterns drawn from historical data on chargeable weight over a seven-year-period covering six of the company's routes.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study is carried out, where a comparison between forecasting models is undertaken using error accuracy measures. Data in the form of historical chargeable weight over a seven-year-period covering six of the company's most profitable routes are employed in the study. For propriety and privacy reasons, data provided by the company have been sanitized.

Findings

Preliminary analysis of the time series shows that the air cargo chargeable weight could be difficult to forecast due to demand fluctuations which appear extremely sensitive to external market and economic factors.

Originality/value

The study contributes to existing literature on air cargo forecasting and is therefore of interest to scholars examining the problems of overbooking. Overbooking which is employed by air cargo operators to hedge against “no-show” bookings. However, the inability of air cargo operators to accurately predict cargo capacity unlikely to be used implies that operators are unable to establish with an aspect of certainty their revenue streams. The research methodology adopted is also predominantly discursive in that it employs a synthesis of existing forecasting literature and real-life data for accuracy analysis.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2014

Maxwell Chipulu, Udechukwu Ojiako, Paul Gardiner, Terry Williams, Caroline Mota, Stuart Maguire, Yongyi Shou, Teta Stamati and Alasdair Marshall

– This study aims to explore the impact of cultural values on the importance individuals assign to project success/failure factors (PSFFs).

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6333

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the impact of cultural values on the importance individuals assign to project success/failure factors (PSFFs).

Design/methodology/approach

Themes emerging from 40 interviews of project practitioners based in Brazil, China, Greece, Nigeria, Thailand, the UAE, the UK and the USA are integrated with literature evidence to design a survey instrument. One thousand three hundred and thirteen practitioner survey responses from the eight countries are analysed using multi-group, structural equation modelling.

Findings

Ten project success/failure indicators (PSFIs) are found to reduce to two main PSFFs: project control and extra-organisational goals and project team management/development and intra-organisational goals. It is found that the levels of importance individuals assign to both factors are dependent, not only on age and gender, but also cultural values measured as constructs based on Hofstede's individualism, masculinity, power distance and uncertainty avoidance dimensions.

Research limitations/implications

The snowballing method used to gather survey data and analysis of relationships at individual level reduces generalisability.

Practical implications

The results reveal insights on how best to match the cultural values of project participants to project characteristics. They also increase knowledge on the likely perceptual differences among culturally diverse individuals within projects.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the literature on culture in project environments by defining a factor structure of multiple-dependent PSFIs and increases insight on how specific cultural values may impact on the perception of the so-defined PSFFs.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 November 2019

Martin Hiebl

Abstract

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 42 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

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