Special Issue of Social Business
Social Business, Volume 8, Number 1, 2018
Changing behaviours for the benefit of economies and societies
by Lyndon Simkin, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 1-2
Powering community energy through more effective segmentation practice
by Sally Dibb and Helen Roby, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 3-12
Community energy is a key part of the UK Government’s plan for decarbonising the energy sector, yet public engagement with the sustainability agenda remains low. This paper explores the importance of community energy groups in this process, drawing on a study examining how to increase local engagement with energy projects. The findings reveal striking diversity in what constitutes a community, the range of community energy projects being undertaken, the journeys communities are taking towards sustainability and the factors that shape those journeys. This diversity has implications for whether and how communities become engaged in energy projects. The findings also suggest that there is potential to use commercial approaches to achieve better targeting of carbon-reduction initiatives.
Getting to know you? New business models for privacy and the quantified self
by Maureen Meadows and Tally Hatzakis, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 13-20
In this paper we propose a research agenda around privacy-friendly business models. We explore the relationship between ‘big data’ and new business models, in particular in the context of the Quantified Self or self-tracking. The key driver for self-tracking is an evidence-based approach to personal improvement, via lifestyle changes based on actionable information. Data-driven business models define firms that rely on data as their key resource for doing business. We suggest that there is a need for new business models to reflect the changing privacy requirements of consumers in an age when ‘informed consent’ is becoming increasingly important, and that privacy management will play a critical part in the effectiveness and sustainability of QS-based business models in the future. There is a need to explore alternative business models driven by ‘big data’, which not only generate economic value from the appropriation of QS practices, but also respect users’ privacy requirements.
Fostering sustainable behaviour in retail: Looking beyond the coffee cup
by Jennifer Ferreira, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 21-28
Rapid growth in consumption of goods and resources has implications for environmental sustainability. Businesses have an important role in fostering sustainable behaviour and driving innovations in sustainability in different industries, including retail. The paper begins by exploring the importance of integrating sustainable behaviour in business and introduces some of the stakeholders involved. This is followed by an exploration of developments in the coffee shop industry and implications for sustainable behaviour, focusing on the examples of recyclable coffee cups, coffee shop building design and waste coffee grounds. Finally, a research agenda is introduced which considers pathways for investigating the role of different actors in fostering sustainable behaviour and the importance of place.
The electric vehicle and the consumer: From environmentalists to innovators?
by Andrew Jones, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 29-36
Due to enduring technical limitations, the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across most automotive markets has been sluggish, despite many national governments providing generous incentives for consumers. As a result, EVs have been positioned as a ‘niche’ product mainly targeted at ‘consumers with a conscience’ who are willing to overlook the technical limitations in order to purchase an ‘eco-friendly’ vehicle. However, recent advances in battery technology, as well as the arrival of new players such as Tesla, provides the basis for an alternative approach to emerge. Instead of seeing these vehicles as ‘eco-friendly’ products, EVs can be positioned as desirable high-tech ‘gadgets’ which appeal to a wider base of consumers. Like tablet computers or smartphones, securing mass-adoption for EVs may be possible if these products are promoted as a must-have gadget or badge of honour.
‘The income generation engine’ in social business
by Kevin Broughton, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 37-47
The objective of this paper is to conceptualise how voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations in England responded to a dramatic shift in the policy and funding environment since 2010 (or ‘austerity’). It does this by investigating how case study VCS organisations have attempted to continue to deliver neighbourhood regeneration (NR) support to disadvantaged areas, and is informed by research undertaken over five years during a period of dramatic policy shift in England, between 2009 and 2013. Through a set of case study NR organisations, primarily from the VCS, it utilises existing literature and primary quantitative and qualitative data on organisational change in the case studies to conceptualise how VCS organisations have attempted to survive an austere environment whilst continuing their missions of supporting disadvantaged communities. Those VCS organisations considered ‘successful’ have adapted their strategies and structures around what might be called an ‘income generation engine’ in order to navigate an austere environment. There are both strengths and weaknesses to the income generation engine which has implications for social business organisations and their beneficiaries.
Just the job? The policy and practice challenge of developing inclusive labour markets
by Paul Sissons, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 49-55
The concept of inclusive growth is increasingly presented as a means of more fully linking economic development and social inclusion. A central element of this relates to issues of labour market inclusion, which encompasses both employment quantity and job quality. Generating more inclusive employment outcomes is a challenge for policymakers and employers alike. Contemporary labour market concerns revolve around low pay, in-work poverty and employment insecurity. Technological developments continue to shape labour market change in powerful ways. This paper discusses the labour market challenges which influence the possibilities of creating more inclusive employment outcomes, drawing predominantly on insights from the United Kingdom. The paper then considers the nature of the policy challenge and identifies potential areas of development.
Responsible personal finance: Three fundamental questions
by Lindsey Appleyard and Sally Dibb, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 57-63
Our interdisciplinary research on responsible personal finance is developing a new mixed methods research agenda to explore the ‘lived experience’ of financialisation, an area that is largely neglected by the academic literature. This body of work will lead to new conceptual and theoretical understandings of responsible personal finance from a consumer perspective. The research advances the academic and policy debates by considering several fundamental questions: What is responsible personal finance? How can finance be responsible? With whom does financial responsibility lie? Through addressing these questions and considering how finance impacts upon individuals’ everyday lives, the broader implications for financialisation can be better understood. Moreover, this research is designed to encourage greater responsibility within financial organisations for their operations and practices for the benefit of society.
An examination of the antecedent and corollary of personal financial planning: The need for early education
by Harjit S Sekhon, Husni Kharouf, Lindsey Appleyard and Syed Muhammad Fazal e Hasan, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 65-75
Within the broad context of services, financial services play an integral part in the well-being of people’s lives. There is little doubt that, in a number of advanced economies, responsibility for long-term financial well-being is being shifted from the state to the individual citizen. This study provides an exposé of financial planning and whether it is informed by the advertising efforts of a financial services institution and, in turn, whether that advertising is influential. Using a survey-based approach amongst UK citizens, we reveal that advertising has an impact on financial planning. For practitioners, this means that communications must be an integral part of ensuring citizens are making the best decisions for themselves. This, we argue, has important implications for citizens and policy. We advocate that financial education should start as early as possible so as to highlight the longer term benefits of good financial planning. This approach could be based on strategies used to educate and increase financial engagement. Another of our survey’s important contributions is that it shows that good financial planning and decision-making lead to a greater level of financial ability. Financial ability leads to trust.
Beyond corporate responsibility: Constructing sustainable and inclusive economies
by Carlos Ferreira, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 77-86
Societies face unprecedented challenges in terms of environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness. Businesses can, and should, play a role in delivering these outcomes, but their attempts to do so have so far produced mixed results. As such, it is important to take a more holistic approach, in order to understand how sustainable and inclusive economies can be constructed. The paper starts by exploring the importance of focusing on the processes by which sustainable and inclusive outcomes are delivered. This is followed by two short case studies, on biodiversity offsetting and social investment. Finally, a research agenda is introduced which addresses the construction of sustainable and inclusive economies.
Living with data: Scale, time and space dimensions in a data-driven culture
by Alexeis Garcia-Perez, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 87-93
Data and the processes related to their production, use and leverage are not a technical subject but a combination of science, technology, business and society-driven issues. This short piece argues that data management is a knowledge problem, and that it is the knowledge from researchers, private organisations and end-users which enables best practices in the design, production, combination, aggregation and analysis of data. Using examples of research, it is argued that a knowledge-based approach to data management, which considers the space, time and scale dimensions of the subject, is the key for research to drive necessary changes in behaviours in economies and society.
The circular economy: A key approach for addressing strategic business challenges in supply chains
by David Bek and Ming Lim, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 95-102
This paper considers the role that practices associated with circular economy (CE) approaches can play in enabling businesses to manage their supply chains in more sustainable ways. The belief that sustainable practices are inevitably detrimental to financial performance is challenged through analysis of a case study of a South African flower bouquet exporter, whose business has been designed with full integration of CE principles. We evaluate the drivers for adoption of such CE strategies and highlight the need for ongoing multi-disciplinary research to support the development of effective sustainable innovations in supply chain practice.
Over-claiming the circular economy: The missing dimensions
by Jordon Lazell, Solon Magrizos and Marylyn Carrigan, (2018), Social Business, 8(1), 103-114
A new approach to sustainability has been proposed, the ‘circular economy’, as a pathway for companies – large or small – to engage with the challenges of sustainable business. This paper begins with an overview of the concept of the circular economy, before discussing some of the tensions and limitations of this approach, particularly the more overlooked social aspects of circularity. As a result, the paper suggests some alternatives as exemplars of more ethical and socially inclusive approaches to the circular economy.