Overcoming Barriers to Transformation and Maximising Impact

As the TCR agenda grows, business/management researchers are entering non-traditional contexts for data collection and seeking societal impact from their work. However, initiating and maintaining dialogue with gate-keeping third and public sector organisations presents challenges. In short, policy makers and those in the third sector do not traditionally look to business schools for this type of research. This track follows the track chairs’ ESRC funded seminar series on Consumer Vulnerability which provided a space to critically engage with the notion of consumer vulnerability via interchange between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. During our seminar series we found that the language and practices of business and markets are not always welcome in social service provision and the public sector more widely. This is a crucial consideration for future research and illustrates the need for greater understanding of the practices and processes that allow marketing academics and third/public sector organisations to collaborate more effectively. We therefore propose to critically engage with notions of impact and transformation. In essence we want to explore barriers to transformation and possible solutions: barriers can be perception of business school research, difficulty in accessing contexts, identifying pathways to impact, data collection in sensitive contexts, researcher safety, social distance and our own biases.

Activities and Timeline – track goals

Below we outline our plans for pre-conference activities which will involve interviews with third/public sector employees and marketing/business academics who have experience of engaging with the third sector. In order to maximise the impact of the project Katherine Trebeck, Global Research and Policy Advisor in Oxfam’s Research Team, will offer advice at each stage. If funding is available Katherine will also join us at the TCR conference.

Sensitising to the issues: track members have research experience in a range of contexts including poverty, health, disaster, disability and risky consumer behaviour amongst young people. Sharing our experiences of barriers to transformation will identify common issues to take forward in the project. Mid Sept – end Nov 2016
Data collection: Agree and recruit sample drawing on track member links with local and national third sector organisations. Agree interview guide: interviews will adopt a semi-structured format to allow continuity and exploration of common themes. Dec 2016
Each track member will conduct:

1.     2-3 interviews with third/public sector personnel from organisations dealing with social issues such as poverty; health; exclusion; age.

2.     2-3 interviews with marketing/business academics who have conducted research with third sector organisations. The aim here is to explore “both sides of the problem” in order to ensure the usefulness of the research to both audiences.

Jan 2017-April 2017
Interviews will be transcribed and shared amongst track members to allow time for thorough reading prior to the conference May – mid June 2017
TCR conference: Conference as analysis and writing retreat. Analysis and interpretation of themes arising and identification of publication strategy. 18-20th June 2017

Post conference activities

At minimum we intend to publish one journal article which is a scene setter for the discussion of barriers to TCR research, proposing potential solutions to barriers to transformation. In addition we will compile a short report for circulation to participant organisations and carefully selected business schools and third sector organisations. By exposing research directors and marketing academics to the findings we hope to change practice and policy to, ultimately, allow more high quality collaborations with the third sector and TCR research generally

Chairs