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Applied business and technology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The research priority area is a source of a vibrant, energetic and eclectic research community and has a long tradition of working closely with the local, national and international business communities. It covers a wide range of academic subject communities ranging from business management, marketing, accountancy, economics, finance and law working with commercial and social enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations. 

The research priority area was established with strong links with a wide variety of agencies in our core areas of expertise through direct contact with a range of industry stakeholders, governments and other policy makers and through professional bodies, and extra-governmental organisations (both nationally and internationally). The University in Business (UiB) acts as an important conduit to the local and national business community with particular expertise in small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Gloucestershire.

Research Agenda

The research agenda is driven by focussing on:
  • High impact lead research making a real difference to business performance
  • World Class areas of expertise in each of the academic communities
  • ​Research supporting small business engagement and prosperity

Expertise and Impact

The academic subject communities in the Applied Business Research priority area are organised into three research centres and one grouping which aims to develop high impact research with close links with industry, commerce and the public sector making a real difference to performance and policy development. The contemporary research impact agenda engages across a broad range of topics in a research-driven scholarly community, which has as its guiding axiom the continual creation and dissemination of a portfolio of knowledge combining leading edge theoretical understandings with practical and policy-oriented insights.​​

Research centres

​The research centres are key to the Applied Business Research identity and are tasked with developing and supporting the research activity within its academic subject community’s overall research strategy. ​​​

Human Resource Management Research Centre (HRMRC)

​Human Resource Management Research Centre (HRMRC) collaboratively works with private and public sectors to offer advice and solutions to address real-world HR problems. We undertake applied research within the broader domain of people management in an effort to promote a synergy that fosters collaborations and a wide range of research outputs. 

Our main aim for research is embedding research, scholarship, practice and consultancy across all our activities; hence, HRMRC members provide the opportunities and support to pursue their drives for research, scholarship and consultancy in their particular subjects, which can be reflected in our taught courses. Members of HRMRC have continued to publish and present their work in leading academic journals and elite international conferences, author/co-author major text books, and consult for public and private organisations. The centre further collaboratively works with a number of professional bodies such as CIPD to bridge the gap between theory and practice by bringing both academics and practitioners to participate into thought-provoking debates and workshops. The centre, amongst other things, aims to:

  • ​​​promote and generate research of an international quality in Human Resource Management in its broadest sense;            
  • ​​​provide regular development research seminars and workshops on a variety of areas for the development of academic researchers and educators;
  • ​​​deliver research-informed teaching of an outstanding quality;            
  • ​​​generate research data and insights of particular significance and value to HR and other functions within organisations;            
  • investigate current and pressing leadership, management and HRM issues in both developed and emerging market settings through the use of a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies;
  • secure funds from both internal and external agencies to support research and commercial activity; and ​
  • disseminate our work through formal publications and academic media, and leading business media outlets.​
Our members have expertise and research interests in a broad range of areas, including the following main areas:
  • ​International and HRM and Leadership: Research on this stream focus on issues in relation to investigating and comparing HR practices in international settings, national and regional models for the management of human resources within the globalized economy, the impact of local cultural and institutional arrangements on HR practices of MNEs, HR issues in emerging markets, the skills and knowledge required to manage in international contexts, the relationship between HRM and organizational performance, developing next generation globally responsible leadership, and sustainable leadership in regional and international settings. Our research on this particular line has appeared in leading academic journal such as Human Resource Management, British Journal of Management and the International Journal of Human Resource Management. Academics who are interested in these research areas are Tamer Darwish, Sue Williams, Jocelyen Fleming, and Dee Allen.
  • Business Ethics: Work on this research area is centred on business ethics and how the positive management practices (virtues) can help organisations become both more ethical and better at creating wealth. Our business ethics research has been published in highly respected academic journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics and Business Ethics: A European Review. Our members who are engaged in research business ethics are David Dawson and Jun Zhang.            
  • Strategy Process and Learning: Our research is also focused in issues in relation to strategic management and learning. More specifically, we have academics who are interested in the following areas: decision making process, developing strategic framework for SMEs, dynamic capability development in emerging markets, learning with a strategic management simulation, and active learning classrooms. Research on this area has appeared in highly rated academic journal such as Management and Organisation Review and Studies in Higher Education. Members who are engaged in such work are Jason Evans, Colin Simpson and Matthew Checkley​.

Contact us:

Further information about the HRM Research Centre can be obtained from:
Dr Tamer Darwish
Head of HRM Research Centre
The Business School
The Park, Cheltenham
GL50 2RH
+44 (0)1242 714306

Marketing and Retail Analysis Research Centre (MARA)

Marketing and retailing have been central to University of Gloucestershire Business School research since the 1990s. These interests coalesce within the Marketing and Retail Analysis Research Centre. The goal of centre is to contribute original and internationally recognized research and applied analysis. MARA also forms a hub for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and support for researchers seeking to explore a range of marketing and retailing issues. With over 15 staff and 40 doctoral researchers associated to the centre it also aims to foster creativity and share expertise. 
As a centre we look beyond traditional concerns that focus on marketing functions and the organization itself. There is specific interest in consuming behaviours – including cultural anthropology in marketing and consumer identity. In addition, digitalization and digital environments are an area of growing interest – leading to the examination of issues ranging from supply chain integration to engagement with technology as an alternative consumer-to-consumer exchange mechanism. There is also associated attention given to the role of personal knowledge and understanding in marketing – both inside companies and as consumers. In examining these concerns, we take a critical stance on the role of marketing, retailing and consumers in society. ​

Consuming behaviours

Within the consuming behaviours area, work is being undertaken includes that by Rachel Vieira, who is exploring fashion sharing within younger consumers or Richard Warr whose research looks at music consumption behaviours and tribal identity construction. Philippa Ward is examining stimulation of consumer nostalgia in British and German Christmas markets while Magdalena Gonzalez-Triay is working on pro-environmental consumption and Lily Wang is examining environmental consumption in China.

Digitalization and digital environments

The digitalization and digital environments stream sees Neil Towers researching the unseen journey of young consumers in the omni-channel retail environment and Wilson Ozuem considering social constructivist perspectives on digital marketing.

Personal knowledge and understanding in marketing

There has been diverse research on personal knowledge and understanding in marketing. Stuart Hanmer-Lloyd with colleagues at Oxford Brookes has been undertaking longitudinal analysis of the role political marking has on UK youth voting participation and Apostolos Pistolas is looking at voting behaviour and populism in crisis contexts. Robin Bown is examining the development of market understanding particularly in the context of small businesses.​

Contact us:

For further information about MARA, please contact:

Dr Philippa Ward
Head of MARA Research Centre
The Business School
The Park, Cheltenham
GL50 2RH
+44 (0) 1242 714048

Centre for Contemporary Accountancy Research (CenCAR)

CenCAR is hosted by the academic subject group in accounting and Finance. Building on experiences from the past, this centre aims to promote high quality research on an array of subjects related to these disciplines. The researchers range from senior members of the academic group to postgraduate students who are interested in getting involved with their research. We believe a healthy environment of collaboration supports emerging researchers in achieving their professional ambitions. Furthermore, we encourage multi–disciplinary research that explores both the traditional areas of accounting of finance along with their intersections with other disciplines. All in all, the centre aims to serve as a platform for all researchers to strengthen their research. 
The centre aims to support research from a variety of viewpoints. These include hosting visiting researchers from other institutions, organizing research seminars, and publishing working papers. Active interactions through these media provides a dynamic environment that helps all participants elevate their research outputs. Also through such collaborations, the centre aims to encourage submission of joint grant applications and foster group research capabilities. Our researchers also actively engage in supervision of postgraduate researchers and encourage projects at master and PhD/DBA levels. 
While empirical studies have been central to accounting and finance research, the centre also promotes research on the theoretical aspects of the field. With an international context the research are applied to a variety of industries including banking and financial sector, governments, manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy. ​

CenCAR Research areas

Areas of research fall into three broad areas; Accounting, Finance and Performance Management.


Our past and current research activities have focused on accounting theory and its implications for empirical research and international accounting standards (Prof. Bob Ryan); earnings management auditor performance and internet reporting (Dr. Doaa Aly); accounting in developing countries (Prof. Bob Ryan, Charles Afriyie and Dr. Tracy Jones) ; and corporate governance (Dr. Doaa Aly and Dr. Daniel Gyimah). A significant number of CenCARs postgraduate research students in this subject area are from developing countries and interested in such subjects and the implication of international accounting and corporate governance practices in these specific environments​


Our research in performance management incorporates performance measurement from traditional management accounting, with strategic management to consider performance at both an organisational, and sub-organisational level. Research in this area considers specific performance tools, such as budgeting, the balanced scorecard (Prof. Malcolm Prowle), but also explores management inform1ation needs more generally, environmental accounting, and strategic management accounting (Dr. Tracy Jones). Productivity is an important part of performance based research in CenCAR. CenCAR has focused a number of research projects around the area of the service sector environment and the not-for-profit sector (Dr. Malcolm Prowle). Research students have focused on reporting for performance management, utilising Critical Success Factors, or on specific areas, such as environmental reporting.​

Performance Management

We have a wide range research expertise in finance and its interactions with macroeconomics and the decision sciences. Even though we sometimes use qualitative approaches to research most of our experts conduct quantitative research in company valuation (Prof. Bob Ryan and Charles Afriyie), investor behaviour and decision making (Dr. Daniel Gyimah and Charles Afriyie), risk management and real options applications (Prof. Bob Ryan and Dr. Babak Jafarizadeh), business analytics and forecasting (Charles Afriyie and Dr. Babak Jafarizadeh). We completed and on-going projects on the applying microeconomic and macroeconomic theory to stock markets, product development, financial services industry and national development (Dr. Xiaoling Hu).

Enterprise Research Unit (ERU)
The Enterprise Research Unit (ERU), provides a cross disciplinary base for engagement with businesses through research. It focuses on delivering highly relevant research that meets the needs of businesses in Gloucestershire and the surrounding region and aids economic growth. ERU staff work to:
  • ​Engage with enterprises and enterprises with our research
  • Secure funding for research from businesses and grants
  • Create and publish Enterprise research of international quality
In meeting these objectives the centre acts as a hub for creating and communicating enterprise research through working in organisations and through our highly relevant practitioner programmes. It also supports the pipeline of qualified researchers through supporting staff and PhD student with training on cutting edge techniques and the provision of equipment and software to support research projects.
Each year the ERU runs a small grant competition for University of Gloucestershire staff who want to run research projects in enterprises with applications being evaluated in September.