Centre for Business, Society and Global Challenges

About us

The Centre for Business, Society and Global Challenges (BSGC) brings together researchers who are actively engaged with some of the core challenges facing contemporary societies, from refugee entrepreneurship, ageing society, human rights in businesses, sustainable tourism and consumption, markets and inequality, to security, digitalisation, and the changing world of work and organisations.

With its multidisciplinary research profile, the centre has the ambition to offer a critical contribution to the research agenda on global challenges and industrial strategy.

Research and knowledge exchange activities focus on some of the major societal, economic and organisational challenges of our times through close collaboration with companies, policy makers, NGOs, practitioners and the wider public across the globe. A core motivation underpinning our research is to provide insights into the competing interest of globalisation.

View our Research Clusters


Maria Daskalaki

Dr Maria Daskalaki

Professor in Organisation Studies

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Christian Ehrlich

Dr Christian Ehrlich

Reader in Organisational Behaviour

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Simon M Smith

Dr Simon Smith

Principal Lecturer in Business, Management and Enterprise

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Active projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Refugee entrepreneurship and integration: A multiple embeddedness approach

This project takes a holistic approach by drawing on the concept of multiple embeddedness to explore the experiences of refugee entrepreneurs at the home, host and transnational contextual levels. While the existing literature focused on the experiences of refugees in their host countries, limited research has explored the role of their home and transnational contexts. We will be looking at refugees' motivation to start businesses, what challenges they faced/still face while operating their businesses, how their experiences of conflict and displacement shaped their entrepreneurial behaviour, do they have any social/human capital in their home country or elsewhere that support them and their business, and how their business supports their integration. This research will have practical implications by giving voice to refugee entrepreneurs who are able to inform support measures that fit their needs. Funded by BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants: £9,836 (2022-2024).

Dr Doaa Althalathini British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants From: October 2022
Until: June 2024

Leadership, Language and Translating Meaning through Visual Methods

This project aims to strengthen cultural voices in leadership research in order to challenge the dominance of English labels and concepts across the globe. Taking a multilingual approach and paying attention to language and translation is of great importance for robust qualitative research and theorising, and awareness should be raised amongst PhD students, early career and experienced researchers. Through this work we aim to build an active community of cultural leadership and management scholars with a particular interest in the translation of leadership and management concepts and practices across languages and cultures. The project is carried out in  collaboration with Prof. Gareth Edwards (PI, UWE), Dr Harriet Shortt (UWE) and Prof. Doris Schedtliztki (London Metropolitan University). Funded by the British Academy of Management and the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (£145,098 , funding amount received by Brookes: £17,996).

Dr Sylwia Ciuk British Academy of Management, Society for the Advancement of Management Studies From: January 2022
Until: December 2023

Cross-Cultural Exploration Of Parenthood Perceptions And Practices In Higher Education

This project is an exciting collaborative research study between UK and Brazil that aims to understand better how parenthood is conceptualised and practised in higher education across these two different contexts. It will map existing policies and practices in UK and Brazilian HEIs and will lead to an open database of promising initiatives on parenthood that can serve as inspiration for other HEIs beyond UK and Brazil.
Dr Charikleia (Charoula) Tzanakou British Council From: January 2024
Until: December 2024

Lockdown Stories/ Local Heritage and Sustainability

The project initiated collaboration with community tourism providers and local heritage projects in favelas in Rio de Janeiro to respond to a significant drop in numbers of tourists visiting their projects since Covid-19. Lockdown Stories (hyperlink: http://lockdownstories.travel) has resulted in a virtual tourism platform, helping to move some of their tourism provision online. The project, funded by Research England Global Challenges Research Fund,  continues with a new AHRC Research Network Grant with a focus on Local Heritage and Sustainability, and how to promote reflection and sharing within and across communities with partners in Brazil, Mozambique and Malaysia. (2021-2024)

Dr Fabian Frenzel Research England Global Challenges Research Fund From: January 2021
Until: January 2024

Identity Work, Ethics and AI at Work

Research on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) now constitutes a major field of inquiry within academia that calls for interdisciplinary cooperation. The objective of this study is to interview academics working on AI projects to better understand their perspectives on AI and ethics; what ethical considerations are deemed most important and why; how does someone’s academic discipline and previous research impact their views; what are the important questions that they are asking; what parameters for ethics in AI should we consider in relation to business, education and society; what tensions emerge between academic disciplines; what are the power and identity relations; are any voices marginalised; what misgivings do people share? We anticipate that participants will problematize certain ethical issues within AI that we expect to offer materials of interest to publishers in international refereed journals. 

Dr Guy Huber, Professor David Knights British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants From: September 0202
Until: June 2024

Mission-based collaboration and its impact on nonprofit brands

This research investigates the impact of balancing the need for strong NPO brands and desire for collaboration. It identifies the phenomenon of mission-based collaboration (‘intra-sector), extending the literature beyond inter-sector collaboration. It challenges the historic understanding of collaboration through resource theory, offering an alternative perspective focusing on understanding the complex relationship between individual NPO and collaboration brands. The study adopts a thematic approach, contributing to theory and practice through identifying best practice for maximum societal benefit. 

Dr Sarah-Louise Mitchell British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants From: January 2020
Until: December 2023

Representations of Colonial Landscapes in Irish Tourist Attractions

The project joins debates on practices of decoloniality in an attempt to understand the role that tourist attractions play in the propagation or negation of the Irish colonial landscape. For this reason, 6 Irish tourist attractions were specifically analysed, exploring how heritage-landscapes are produced for consumption; what stories they tell and the means through which they are told. The project has also led to the co-creation of a digital StoryMap. This is a collaboration with Valentina Albanese (PI), University of Insubria & Theresa Ryan, Technological University of Dublin.

Dr Giulia Rossetti Italian Geographical Society, University of Insubria From: September 2022
Until: August 2023

Pathways to organisational inclusion in hybrid working

Hybrid working practices, combining office-based and virtual work arrangements, have become increasingly common since the Covid-19 pandemic, yet their implications on key organisational processes, such as organisational inclusion of newcomers, are yet to be explored. The study addresses the urgent need to deepen our understanding of pathways to organisational inclusion of home and international hybrid working graduates and organisational practices which foster and hamper this process. To achieve this aim, this study uses a combination of in-depth interviews with an innovative multisensory research methodology - Multimodal Experiential Mapping. The study is carried out in collaboration with Dr Harriet Shortt (UWE) and is funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants, amount received by Brookes: £9,633.

Dr Sylwia Ciuk British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants From: January 2023
Until: December 2024

Digital Well-Being Coach for Students

The project aims to develop an artificial intelligence-based application (Mind Tutor), which will help students pursue their educational goals in a way that maintains, or even increases, their well-being during their first year of study. The AI application will be available to students alongside their on-line learning materials. It will provide an easily accessible mechanism for students to obtain resources to assist them with the setting of study goals and mindfulness exercises that promote good mental health. In addition to that it will provide access to relevant university-specific content of well-being support and if necessary (and where possible) connect them directly to well-being services within the university (In collaboration with Syndeo and London Metropolitan University). Funder: Innovate UK Smart Grants (Total: £212,323, amount granted to Oxford Broookes: £31,482).

Dr Christian Ehrlich Innovate UK Smart Grants From: January 2023
Until: December 2023

Student Intraprenuer & Entrepreneur (SIE) and Community of Practice (CoP)

This project aims to deliver a toolkit to enhance the wider-scale impact of work-based learners on global issues. The project builds on wider-scale drivers and initiatives towards impactful learning and research, which is applicable across the sector in various contexts. In addition to the practical resources, which will be available to the sector, the project team will develop an inter-institutional SIE mentorship programme to support communities of practice which will help solve national and global problems (in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University and University of Chester).

Dr Simon Smith QAA, Collaborative Enhancement Projects From: January 2023
Until: January 2025

Completed projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Maritime Dimension of Transnational Organised Crime

A research project in response to the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS) call on transnational organised crime.
Professor Juliette Koning PaCCS From: December 2016
Until: September 2018

Intelligence Organisation in the Early Modern World

Exploring the evolution of systemised intelligence through an economic lens, the project contends that Venice’s intelligence apparatus undergirded her commercial expansion that reached its peak in the mid-Sixteenth century.
Dr Ioanna Iordanou British Academy From: September 2016
Until: August 2018

Identifying pathways for refugee integration and employment in the UK and Brazil

For migrants and refugees, contact with state, charitable and commercial organisations when settling into ‘host’ societies and entering the labour market significantly shapes their experiences. Since 2016, Dr Peter Lugosi from the Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Dr Clara Della Croce and Dr Sonia Morano-Foadi from the School of Law have been researching how refugees transition into employment. This work has now been extended through a British Academy Newton funded project involving Dr Thiago Allis from the University of Sáo Paulo, Brazil.

Professor Peter Lugosi British Academy From: March 2018
Until: August 2021

Research Clusters

Responsible Organising and Governance

The Responsible Organising and Governance cluster focuses on how social actors organise for transformative action and the struggles that they might encounter. Identifying the complexity and interlacing of global challenges, the group explores sustainable, ethical, and inclusive organising and responsible leadership and governance.

Some of the topics actively addressed by the Responsible Organising researchers include social inequalities, sustainable communities, responsible production and consumption, and decent work. We invite doctoral applications and other researchers interested new organisational forms, the growth of social economies, responsible supply chains, responsible marketing, markets and ethical consumption, stakeholder engagement and the future of work and organising. Equally, we are interested in contributions exploring the darker side of organising and governance. 

rocks ballancing on each other

Sustainable Development, Accounting and Applied Economics

The Sustainable Development, Accounting and Applied Economics cluster focuses on issues of sustainability, accountability, and responsibility in achieving economic development. We support doctoral applications and topics that address the latest empirical studies, theoretical ideas, and methodological developments based on research conducted at the interface between sustainability and consumption, economics, finance, and accounting studies. Indicative areas include food security, waste management, decision making in crisis, accountability of investors, stewardship, financialization and financial inequalities. 

We also encourage interdisciplinary research with a multidimensional approach combining theory and applications. We encourage collaborative partnerships with industry partners to help address core issues surrounding sustainable, accountable and responsible economic development.

world map with coins and bank notes layed out over it

Digital Societies

The Digital Societies cluster focuses on the changing global landscape of digital technologies, and their influence on work and organisations, individuals, consumption, education, skills, labour markets and institutions. The cluster welcomes doctoral applications and other researchers as well as industry collaborators interested in, but not limited to: digital analytics and society, democratising digital technology, digital marketing, digital strategy, the study of Artificial Intelligence, digital ethics, digital geographies, and FinTech. 

city lights from above

People, Communities and Places

The People, Communities and Places cluster fosters research on relationships between evolving societal and organisational forces, people and their environments. We welcome researchers, doctoral candidates, activists and consultants working on a range of topics including empowerment, resilience, identity, community engagement, emerging forms of organisational and consumer behaviour, placemaking, health and wellbeing, productivity, mobilities and inequalities, the spatial and temporal aspects of organising, decolonisation, and social movements, linked to a variety of communities (e.g. migrants, minorities and ageing populations). We strongly encourage partnerships between academic researchers and practitioners from diverse (inter)national contexts and sectors.  

person donating money to beggar

Knowledge Exchange

The Centre for Business, Society and Global Challenges has the aim to advance strategic thinking and address core issues of the Industrial Strategy by collaborating with local, national and international clients and partners (businesses, NGO’s, policy makers and thought-leaders). 

Our academics have the expertise to explore and address challenging problems, such as: How can firms plan for the future and enhance their practice and performance? What are the drivers of community engagement and customer ‘loyalty’? What are the major waste and energy challenges? How to develop a social enterprise? What are current risk management strategies in the hospitality sector? And how to best facilitate knowledge transfer between higher education and industry?

Economic Impact Studies (EIS)

Oxford Brookes Business School has built a track record in providing bespoke EIS for client organisations who wish to understand the effect their operation(s) have on the local, regional and national economies. 

By utilising industry-standard metrics and engaging with clients on project design, the team has designed and delivered projects for clients in diverse industries such as heritage assets, potential facility expansion and new, greenfield projects. This work has helped inform future strategies and priorities for client organisations, who can engage with us over a number of years to establish the quantum of change over an extended period.

Exemplar project:

two people sitting at a desk going through paperwork

Consultancy Projects

Organisations engage with Oxford Brookes Business School to help develop solutions to a wide range of challenges and opportunities. These can take the form of formal, commissioned, self-contained multidisciplinary projects, or an open-ended engagement to identify root causes or to use academically rigorous approaches to develop solutions. 

On occasion, this can include engaging postgraduate students as well as academic and research staff, providing clients with a wide range of skills across a range of disciplines, including marketing, finance, human resources, management and leadership and strategy development and implementation.

team meeting at an oval desk

Bespoke Management Development Programmes

Drawing on the expertise of our staff, the Oxford Brookes Business School has designed and delivered a range of in-house bespoke training programmes for clients. By being embedded within an organisation, the team is able to develop programmes specifically tailored to diagnose issues, develop solutions and improve capacity and capabilities across a range of teams. 

This has been most successful where a programme has been delivered across a cross-section of staff through a number of cohorts, enabling managers – and aspiring managers – to understand their impact on, and contribution to, organisational success.

Exemplar project:

two people having a discussion

Knowledge Exchange Portfolio

Our academics are actively engaged in realising the Sustainable Development Goals through constantly developing a curriculum of responsible management and entrepreneurship education (PRME) as well as to tune in with industry through University-Industry collaborations. 

At the same time we offer expertise for businesses and organisations in such fields as: knowledge and quality management; risk assessment; consumption and well-being; spending behaviour; public policy; organisational change; spirituality; sustainable business and social enterprises; performance management; charity performance; internationalisation; and micro finance.

two people planning in front of a whiteboard