Together we make an impact

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As we are nearing the end of the challenging year of 2020, we are taking a look back at the positive ways the Faculty of Business and Law have made an impact on society. Below is a round-up of some of the top stories, successes and impactful research that has been achieved by the faculty.

Inside the black box: the public finances after coronavirus

Bristol Business School economist and Associate Professor Dr Jo Michell, alongside a colleague from the University of Greenwich, conducted a study acknowledging that the UK can afford to keep fighting Covid-19 crisis and have created an interactive tool to model the likely economic scenarios from COVID-19.

Business Schools for Good

The Chartered Association for Business Schools have launched a series entitled ‘Business Schools for Good’. It features Bristol Business School’s collaboration with Bristol City Robins Foundation. Students on the programme, Sports Business and Entrepreneurship, talk about the course and the sense of community they gain from undertaking IT. It is a great example of the work we do with a key faculty partner.

Business successes

A group of 40 entrepreneurs that we trained through our partnership with ChangeSchool and Mowgli Mentoring in February 2020, have gone on to secure £2.4m in sales and funding and are now seeing their businesses go from strength to strength.

AI software could help construction industry achieve net zero target

Bristol Business School’s Big Data Laboratory is leading an £800,00 project to develop software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help construction companies reduce the amount of embodied carbon in their building and infrastructure projects. It is a two-year project and is in collaboration with Winvic Construction, Castain and start-up company Edgetrix.

CIMA award wins

The department of Accounting, Economics and Finance have won two Charted Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Excellence awards; the CIMA Prize-Winner Excellence award and the CIMA Global Excellence award. These awards celebrate university partners with outstanding students, pass rate and excellence in the CIMA exams and the highest number of CIMA students on campus.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bristol Leadership and Change Centre’s Professor Peter Case has secured a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to assist the Ministry of Health & Child Care in Zimbabwe to improve HIV prevention. The project is in collaboration with the Malaria Elimination Initiative at the University of California and will run until December 2022. The overall aim is to integrate prevention services and move them forward in a more sustainable way. Further details of the project are available on UWE Bristol Leadership & Change Centre blog.

SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence 2020

Dr Jenna Pandeli won the SAGE Prize for Innovation and Excellence 2020 for her co-authored paper ‘ Captive Cycles of Invisibility? Prisoners’ Work for the Private Sector.’ The article critiques a case of modern prison-labour by exploring prisoners’ attitudes towards the prison-work they undertake while incarcerated and received the award due to its innovation – excellence in the field.

Systems Leadership Development in Public Health

Professor Richard Bolden and Professor Carol Jarvis (alongside an interdisciplinary team) conducted a review of systems leadership development in public health. The aim of the project, which was funded by Public Health England, was to inform the development of public health registrars and consultants in the UK. The insights support the capacity of public health leaders to respond to public health crises such as Covid-19.

Faculty Professional Service Team

The Professional Service Team in the faculty is a small but close group who have not only been incredibly flexible in taking on different duties this year but also genuinely look out and support one another and the Faculty community. We are so proud of this team and all they have achieved this year. We couldn’t do it without you!

Post-Occupancy Research Report

Dr Harriet Shortt, Dr Svetlana Cicmil and Dr Hugo Gaggiotti published their Post-Occupancy Research on Bristol Business School. The report captures how users feel about the building and how it used, all through one of the largest qualitative visual field studies in the field of Organisational Studies. The project was funded by Stride Treglown and ISG.

Combating Malaria in Namibia

Professor Peter Case’s research focus has expanded to Namibia during 2020. Three recent Zimbabwean graduates from our Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Change Leadership programme have worked on the project with Namibia’s Vector-borne Diseases Control Programme to combat malaria by improving frontline prevention and treatment of the disease in Kavango Province.

Criminal Justice Natters

Dr Ed Johnson from Bristol Law School has a podcast series called Criminal Justice Natters. His research interests centre on criminal justice and procedure; in particular, he has an interest in the law of disclosure, fair trial rights and adversarialism. In the series, he talks to people such as Chris Daw Q.C. about his bestselling book Justice on Trial and Liam Allan, who was wrongly arrested 2016.

Virtual Christmas Tree fundraiser

During December we have been fundraising for Shelter with our BBS | BLS virtual Christmas tree. You can see the running total and donate here and write a message on our tree here.

UWE Bristol launches The Bristol Distinguished Address Autumn 2020 Series

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The Bristol Distinguished Address Series (BDAS) provides a unique opportunity to hear about challenges and decisions being made at the highest level of strategic leadership by high-profile business executives from across the country and is back for Autumn 2020. Normally, the lectures are held at Bristol Business School, however, we are now running an online version of the talks.

Upcoming Bristol Lectures

The Virtual Annual Bolland Lecture 2020: NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol Panel Discussion

14 October 2020

The Nightingales are part of a nationwide effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century. The temporary hospital at the Exhibition and Conference Centre on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus was vital to help support NHS efforts with the COVID-19 pandemic and support the local community and wider region at an exceptionally challenging time.

NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol was a truly collaborative project across a wide range of organisations and companies. Completed in just 20 days, the build of the 300-bed hospital demonstrated incredible team effort and the speed at which the hospital was been built is testament to the dedication, hard work, and teamwork from UWE Bristol staff, the Army, the NHS and the contractors, Kier. Collaboration was key with all stakeholders uniting and working together, safely, swiftly and with absolute skill and commitment. The agile response from all involved – with teams working 12 hours a day – was central to the construction project being complete in such a short time.

We are delighted to host a panel discussion focusing on the construction of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol, panel members include:

  • Professor Steve West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Marie-Noelle Orzel, Chief Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • Tim Whittlestone, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol
  • David Snell, Operations Director, Kier

Virtual Bristol Distinguished Address: Doug Perkins, Chair and Founder and Dame Mary Perkins, Co-founder, Specsavers

04 November 2020

Doug and Dame Mary Perkins founded Specsavers with the aim of offering affordable eye care to everyone. They will talk about how they saw the opportunity to revolutionise the optical market, following a relaxation of UK regulations, which allowed opticians to advertise products and services for the first time.

Specsavers is not built on a stock exchange model but rather on a unique joint venture partnership, where directors part-own and manage their own stores. Theirs is a values-led approach to business, which has led to a world-wide organisation that turns over 3 billion a year, operating in 10 countries and employing 35,000 colleagues.

Doug and Dame Mary met in Cardiff while studying optometry at university. After graduating they bought Mary’s father’s optometry business in her home town of Bristol, which they built into a successful chain of more than 20 stores across the south west. This provided invaluable experience when they set up Specsavers.

With Mary being Bristol-born and educated and Doug living in Bristol for 15 years (and even playing for Bristol rugby club), they will describe how their business experience in Bristol acted as an extended pilot for the birth of Specsavers and inspired their vision for affordable eyecare and audiology at scale.

After selling their original chain of stores, it took a further three years of worldwide research of partnership and franchises, which were unheard of in the medical sector, to create their unique business model.

Virtual Bristol Distinguished Address: Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK

11 November 2020

Have you ever felt like you needed to conform to fit in? What does aspiration mean to you? Do you have inspiring role models in your life? Perminder Mann, CEO of Bonnier Books UK, a publishing company with sales of over 80million and a regular on the publishing industry power lists, shares an honest account of her path to success. Overcoming personal obstacles and challenging stereotypes head on, Perminder argues how we all must bring our authentic selves to work. As a passionate believer in the power of books and the role the publishing industry must play in our society, Perminder also lays out her manifesto for positive change.

You can discuss all the events on Twitter by using #BristolLectures. We’re running this series online so you can watch from the comfort of your own home. This event will be hosted on Microsoft Teams – you can either view via the web or download the app. To join the event, please follow the link that will be sent in your event reminder a couple of days before the event.

Updated Guidance on holding AGM’s under COVID-19 Restrictions

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Moon Executive Search, Faculty of Business and Law Advisory Board member, have published a blog outlining guidance on holding AGM’s under the restrictions of coronavirus. Originally posted on Moon Executive Search.

The Quoted Companies Alliance is a high-profile membership organisation that champions small to mid-sized quoted companies.

To enable their membership to address the practical challenges of holding an annual general meeting (AGM) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the QCA supported the production of guidance by The Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA) alongside a collection of legal firms, the Financial Reporting Council, the  Investment Association, and The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who all reviewed and contributed to the guidance.


Businesses and organisations must continue to make the crucial decisions.

Vanessa Moon said: ‘This is a relationship that we greatly value, particularly as many of our clients are listed. We have found their resources to be extremely relevant and timely and we were delighted when Tim Ward their CEO shared this new guidance with us.’

Tim Ward, CEO of the QCA, said that: “The QCA has an impressive membership group and together we have strong collective influence – these are unprecedented times and at the forefront of our activity is our commitment and capacity to support our members. We are pleased to work with the ICSA and others collectively to produce this guidance on AGMs quickly to provide our members with information on how to navigate their regulatory obligations and make decisions needed to carry out their business.“


The Guidance outlines five options that companies can take:

1.       Adapt the basis on which they hold the AGM

2.       Delay convening the AGM, if notice has not yet been issued

3.       Postpone the AGM, if permitted under the articles of association

4.       Adjourn the AGM

5.       Conduct a hybrid AGM, if permitted under the articles of association

For more information, click here.            


The Stay at Home Measures make it harder to have an AGM but not impossible.

With the increasing impact of COVID-19, businesses are under pressure to transform to ‘the new normal’ but the AGM that is required by law cannot go ahead due to social distancing measures. At a time of great uncertainty, companies and their directors will need to focus on making the critical decisions that will enable them to get through the period with least disruption. One fully attended meeting would put the entire company and their families at risk.

However, chairing a quorate meeting may necessitate just ‘two director and/or employee shareholders of the company attending the meeting, with resolutions being passed by the proxy votes of those who have not been able to attend in person’.

The Stay at Home Measures make it harder to have an AGM but not impossible. Appropriate social distancing measures should be observed by the small number of attendees at a physical meeting and shaking hands is obviously off the table.

Whilst we must all take the utmost precaution in preventing the spread of COVID-19, businesses and organisations must continue to make the crucial decisions to survive and thrive in theses testing times.

For more information about how to safely conduct an AGM click here for the guidance from ICSA.


Quoted Companies Alliance
Quoted Companies Alliance

The QCA has also created a new COVID-19 hub (“The Lockdown Lowdown”) on its website to help QCA members. The Hub includes information on regulatory updates, government support schemes available for companies and the work the QCA is doing on behalf of its members. The Hub also bring together content from member advisory firms to help small and mid-sized quoted companies. Members can access the Hub here.

Quote from Tim Ward, who is the Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance since 2009.

“The QCA and our members are committed to playing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are proud of how our members have responded by innovating and adapting their business practices and continue to make the difficult decisions to ensure their companies are sustainable in the long term. The role of the QCA to support and act as the voice of small to mid-sized quoted companies is more important than ever and we are committed to doing everything possible to support our members through COVID-19.”

Future Impact Webinar: Supporting women in male-dominated industries

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You can now watch the recording of the latest of our Future Impact Webinars on the topic of supporting women in male-dominated industries.

In this webinar our main speaker is Stella Warren, Research Fellow at Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, who gave a detailed presentation around this topic and set the context behind the issues faced by women working in a male-dominated industry.

Our other two panellists are founding members of alta (an online mentoring platform to support women in aviation) Judith Milne, Specialist Aviation Executive and Ros Azouzi, Head of Careers at the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

The webinar gave way to some positive discussion about this subject and we were able to answer several audience questions live.

To view our previous webinars in the Future Impact Webinar series visit our website and to view the most recent webinar head to the recording here.

Top 5 tips to engage with your employees

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Interview with Dr Gareth Edwards, Associate Professor of Leadership Development

Gareth Edwards Headshot

Dr Gareth Edwards is an expert in dispersed leadership from a community perspective and leadership development.

Gareth recently chaired the ‘Unlocking Performance through Employee Engagement’ Conference at the Bristol Business School. The event was focused on harnessing people’s skills and resources to boost productivity and save costs. There was also a focus on creating and sustaining employee engagement during challenging times.

Here, Gareth gives us his top 5 tips for engaging with your employees:

1. Make sure that you have a two-way conversation with organisational colleagues. It’s not enough to just open a dialogue or enter into a consultation. Employees need to feel like they’ve been part of a meaningful conversation and that their ideas have been discussed and explored. The decisions need to be strategic but with input from employees at all levels.

2. Consider the links to your organisations history. Include in the engagement dialogue a commentary about the purpose of the organisation and how this ties into current strategy and planning. Some firms have an innate family feel, others less so, but there is always a way to connect back to the roots of a company and explore engagement through heritage.

3. Think about the links between leadership and engagement. Good practice would warrant elements of distributed leadership whereby you recognise and reward examples of teams leading themselves within the organisation. It’s important to let this happen organically and promote excellence positively.

4. There is definitely something to consider around the subject of culture. There is no ‘right’ culture but it’s vital to recognise the importance that some people attach to this. Think about your organisation’s culture, how people reflect on this and link best practice to core values and behaviours.

5. Most importantly, have fun! Employees work hard and that should be recognised and encouraged, alongside social activities and a family friendly ethos. Things such as Away Days should have strategic and planning focuses, but some time should equally be spent on social activities. Things can be too formulaic, so try to find the right balance.

If you’d like to read more about leadership and engagement read the CITB’s snapshot report on ‘Building engagement: Encouraging leadership in construction’.

Unlocking Performance through Employee Engagement Conference

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On Tuesday 25 June Bristol Business School hosted the ‘Unlocking Performance through Employee Engagement Conference’ in collaboration with Engage for Success, CITB and ILM. This was the first Engage for Success conference hosted outside of London, and it was fantastic to hold it here at UWE Bristol welcoming over 170 external delegates to the Business School.

Keynote speaker presentations

Workshop presentations

On Tuesday 25 June Bristol Business School hosted the ‘Unlocking Performance through Employee Engagement Conference’ in collaboration with Engage for Success, CITB and ILM. This was the first Engage for Success conference hosted outside of London, and it was fantastic to hold it here at UWE Bristol welcoming over 170 external delegates to the Business School. The main theme of the event was around harnessing the skills of people and resources to reach new levels of engagement to boost productivity and save costs. There was also a focus on creating and sustaining employee engagement during challenging times, and with limited budgets, as often experienced by SMEs.

The event was chaired by Dr. Gareth Edwards, Associate Professor of Leadership Development at UWE Bristol, whilst Noordin Shehabuddeen, Director of Bristol Business Engagement Centre at UWE Bristol, welcomed the delegates, who came from a variety of professions from within the South West including the construction industry, accounting and finance, and local government. The conference was treated to some excellent keynote speakers focusing on the necessity for employee engagement now more than ever, to case studies from baby food manufacturer Ella’s Kitchen to Wilmott Dixon, a local construction company, who were recently ranked the 4th Best Company to work for by the Sunday Times.

There then followed a series of interactive workshops led by invited guests who are also ambassadors for Engage for Success, and a rather intriguing energiser event led by the Creator of Joy at Inspire me, who was able to create a credible rock choral version of ‘Aint No Mountain High Enough’ in just 20 mins – definitely an occasion which you had to be part of to actually believe. The event concluded with a keynote address from Andrew Sandiford, Managing Partner of local accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, followed by a panel discussion to answer questions submitted by the delegates throughout the day. It was evident that employee engagement is everyone’s responsibility, and many of the questions centered on how to do this if given little or no budget, as well as strategies as to how to gain support from the cynics and buy-in from senior management. Support was certainly gained by everyone present, and we were delighted to have hosted such a fantastic event.

Take advantage of degree apprenticeship SME funding with UWE Bristol

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15 May 2019 15:00 – 17:00

Register here

Are you interested in upskilling your workforce and does the cost of training seem a barrier to accessing local talent?

This event provides an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from existing businesses who have apprentices at UWE, and how to make it work. In addition to this, we will be highlighting upcoming degree apprenticeships and further opportunities for your business to train your employees at degree level with the funding available.

UWE Bristol is the only university in the region with funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to support non-levy employers and has secured funding to support apprentices from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

David Barrett, Director of Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol, will welcome you to the event and alongside the Degree Apprenticeship Hub team will be able to help identify your training needs and suitable solutions.
Spaces are limited for this event, so please register below.

If you have any questions about this event or degree apprenticeships please feel free to contact Ellen Parkes.

We are looking forward to meeting you and beginning the degree apprenticeship partnership journey.

The event takes place in the University Enterprise Zone on Frenchay Campus from 15:00 – 17:00.

Register here

Visiting speaker at the Phenomenal Women Lecture Series: Sam Brooks

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On Wednesday 27 February, Industry Fellow Sam Brooks delivered a talk on Powerful Coaching Conversations at the Phenomenal Women Series at Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel following a key note by respected broadcaster, journalist and author Bel Mooney. Bel spoke about her fascinating life story, and how she ended up as one of the top advice columnists in the country and how this role has provided her with some of the most rewarding moments in her professional life. Sam then explored how she operates at the other end of the coaching spectrum in a non-directive role as a coach, having been trained at UWE by completing the ILM Level 7 in Executive Coaching and Mentoring.

Sam’s talk focused on how to set the context to develop powerful coaching conversations and also introduced some of the work that is being undertaken by Dr Arthur Turner, a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Studies and tutor on the ILM coaching courses, on the effectiveness of walking coaching in creating more relaxed conversations and increasing the likelihood of creative thought. 

The next Phenomenal Women Lecture is on 10th April with Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge doing the keynote.  Dr Finn Mackay, a Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol who specialises in contemporary British feminism and feminist activism will deliver the follow-up workshop on behalf of UWE Bristol.  Finn has been involved in feminist activism for twenty years and is passionate about all social justice issues and equalities.  Other research interests include gender studies, animal rights, lesbian and gay studies and particularly gender identity, definitions, expressions and borders within the LGBTQI+ community.

Rob Law CEO Trunki: Unpacking leadership and innovation

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On Thursday 7th February, Rob Law CEO MBE Trunki gave an inspirational guest lecture at the Bristol Business School.

Rob spoke about his career challenges and how he has grown the Trunki brand on an international scale.

He also talked about his leadership style and how he keeps the Trunki team motivated.

Rob was talking as part of our free CPD programme for alumni, Trailblazers. The Trailblazer Programme blends face-to-face sessions with webinars and social events. Participants are motivated to maximise personal impact, boost effectiveness and develop leadership skills. The talk was also open to the public.

Facebook Usage and Mental Health

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Originally posted on the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre blog here.

Dr Guru Prabhakar’s co-authored paper has been published in the International Journal of Information Management (Impact Factor: 4.5).

Facebook Usage and Mental Health: An empirical study of role of non-directional social comparisons in the UK.

This paper explores the relationship between the nature of Facebook usage, non-directional comparisons and depressive syndromes. The extant research on linkage between social media usage and mental health is inconclusive. There is small but significant causal linkage between increased non-directional social comparisons and depressive symptoms among the users.

This study hypothesizes that one of the mediating factors could be the social comparisons that Facebook users conduct whilst on the site. Dr Prabhakar’s paper therefore explores the link between non-directional social comparisons on Facebook, with increased depressive symptoms in 20-29 year olds.  In brief, a positive correlation was found between passive Facebook use and non-directional social comparisons.

The findings of the research have implications at three levels: individuals, firms and medical practitioners. The individuals shall benefit from the finding that passive Facebook usage would lead to increase in social comparison which in turn results in depressive symptoms. The passive usage behaviour includes logging into the sites and monitoring others’ profiles without any interaction. Over a period of time, this might result in depression.

The issues surrounding social media usage and mental health in the UK have also been highlighted recently in the media. For example, only a few days ago the BBC published the following article:

Mental health: UK could ban social media over suicide images, minister warns

Follow this link to view the full paper:

Nisar, T. , Prabhakar, G. , Ilavarasan, P. and Baabdullah, A. (2019) Facebook usage and mental health: An empirical study of role of non-directional social comparisons in the UK. International Journal of Information Management, 48. pp. 53-62. ISSN 0268-4012