The DBS Oil, Gas & Energy Group (OGEG) consists of an interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners within the Dundee Business School. The group, with extensive academic and practical experience of, and a focus on, all business, management and commercial aspects of Oil, Gas and Energy, has a particular focus on developing an on-going dialogue with industry practitioners and organisations through a focussed programme of research, consultancy and continuing professional development programmes.
The group is led by Prof Reza Kouhy who holds a chair of Energy and Environmental Accounting and is the Director of Research at the Dundee Business School. Other members of the group are Rulzion Rattray, Neil McGregor and Greg Bremner.
This theme brings together research activities mainly in the areas of business, management and human resource management. What links projects in this area is the exploration of whether and how organisations as participants in the local and global economic and social environments address the key imperatives of sustainable performance: the effective resource configuration and re-configuration in the context of dynamic environments; the capacity for change and flexibility, both internally and across industry or other boundaries; and the need for responsible management and strategic action in a world of emerging economies and shrinking natural resources.
This group is led by Prof Sabine Hotho who is the Head of Dundee Business School and holds a chair of Strategic and Change Management. Professor Hotho is looking at the innovation capacity of SMEs, especially with regard to leadership and change management. How do companies adjust to fast-changing economic climates that pose challenges not just from competitors but also from all other stakeholders such as employees and the local community? How best to manage and empower effective leadership and innovation down through all levels of a modern organisation, so as to optimize the conditions for sustainable growth? Professor Hotho is focussing particularly on young businesses in the new and rapidly-evolving digital media sector, which are generally much less hierarchical and more informal and experimental than more traditional industries.
Current projects address the innovation capacity of SMEs, the management of knowledge work, the management of environmental awareness, cross-cultural knowledge transfer, labour market trends (emigration), etc. Members in this research group conduct research that is often driven by specified organisational needs and that has, as such, much potential to feed back into management practice. A number of research projects have been initiated by sponsoring organisations including the computer games industry and the NHS (see Impact Case Study Section).
Professor Mohamed Branine is researching the challenges posed in managing staff from different geographical and cultural backgrounds. Developing international managers does not depend solely on transferable skills and knowledge of management, but also knowledge of history, geography including environmental science, and faiths. Just as local employees have to be managed globally, global managers have to be managed locally, creating a balance between global integration and local responsiveness.
Professor Branine is particularly interested in the role of further and higher education in producing graduates with the right attributes to be such managers. He is the Director of the MBA programme and supervises many PhD students on the topics related to the above mentioned research areas. He has recently published his book entitled “Managing across cultures”.
These characteristics of creative industry businesses are also being studied by other researchers in Abertay’s Dundee Business School and Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games (IAMG). Knowledge exchange projects including Moving Targets and Design in Action, work closely with digital media design and production companies across Scotland to promote new product design and development methodologies. Research in the area of new business models and platforms helps these companies to exploit new markets and audiences.
Abertay plays a key role in the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity in Digital Media (involving a number of Scottish higher education institutions) which aims to improve management and leadership skills in the creative industries.
Managers in the arts and creative industries often tend to be converted practitioners who have found themselves in management roles almost by accident, without the benefit of the recognised development routes found in other industries. Mr Gregor White from IAMG is studying how such individuals can be helped to apply the benefits of more structured and effective management to their organisations, without stifling or hampering the vital creative spark on which their businesses rely.
Mr Paul Durrant leads Abertay’s Business Support Service that manages the Digital Prototype Grant Fund. The fund provides intervention funding to support SME games and digital media companies in Scotland and across the UK to develop innovative products.
Innovation in smaller businesses is also the theme of Abertay research in the area of retailing. Dr Jason Turner is studying the impact and operation of the Tesco Clubcard loyalty scheme, not just in the UK but in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia as well. His particular interest is in how smaller businesses with far less resources than the likes of Tesco can nonetheless develop and run successful customer loyalty schemes of their own.
His research interests centre around retail and customer loyalty. Projects for 2012-13 include the growth of consumers use of technologies in UK retailing, customer loyalty and New Look and customer perceptions of grocery retailing in the UK.
Claire MacEachen research interests fall into two categories: business improvement and enterprise. Within business improvement her concerns covers a wide area of organisational innovation and development from process reengineering, through to project management of developments. Related to these are her interests in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship can easily be seen as a driver for business improvement as she believes without change and improvement organisations become less useful.