The University of Sheffield
Management School

Management School News

Posts Tagged ‘Creed’

Combating informal employment: lessons from France

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

In recent years, the French government has developed a host of innovative policy initiatives to tackle the problem of informal employment, which is paid work that is not declared to the state for tax, social security and labour law purposes. To evaluate the transferability of these policy initiatives to other European nations, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions has commissioned research.


Professor Colin Williams, Director of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) in the School of Management, along with Jan Windebank, Professor of French and European Societies at the University of Sheffield, will review the effectiveness and transferability of a number of policy initiatives being pursued in France to tackle informal employment. This will include evaluations of:

·               the Inter-Ministerial Delegation to Combat Illegal Work (Délégation Interministérielle à la Lutte contre le Travail Illégal, DILTI) ;

·               Employment vouchers for micro-enterprises (Cheque d’emploi trade petitite entreprise, CE-TPE) ; and the

·               Service vouchers scheme (Cheque emploi service universel, CESU)


The findings will be added to the existing ‘knowledge hub’ of best practice policy measures across 27 nations recently developed by Professor Williams, and available at


About Colin Williams
Colin Williams is Professor of Public Policy and joined the Management School in September 2006. Prior to this, he was a professor in the School of Management at the University of Leicester. His broad research interests are in re-theorising the nature of economic development and investigating the implications for public policy. Much of his recent work has focused upon theorising informal employment and evaluating contrasting policy approaches for tackling this phenomenon, which directly feeds into the work of the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED).


Brussels seminar to group of experts on undeclared work

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Colin C Williams, Professor of Public Policy, has delivered the findings of research commissioned by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions to a group of experts on undeclared work. This research evaluates the policy approaches and measures being used to tackle undeclared work in the 27 EU member states and Norway.

In March 2009, the preliminary findings were presented to a group of experts on undeclared work in Brussels, including European Commission officials responsible for tackling undeclared work, trade union officials, representatives from employer organisations, a range of academic experts and government officials responsible for undeclared work officials from the governments of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Sweden.

This research is being conducted in cooperation with Dr Piet Renooy at Regioplan in the Netherlands. The current project extends an earlier initial study that provided an evaluation of the policy measures being used in five EU member states.

The feedback from this group of experts will now be fed into the final overview report. A  ‘knowledge bank’ which makes available to policy-makers throughout the world up-to-date evaluations of specific policy measures used in particular nations and whether these policy measures are transferable to other contexts, is available at:

LSCM Research Group is to start work on Transformational Logistics

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Transformational Logistics is an umbrella term for logistics and the informal economy. It is of particular interest to development studies, welfare economics and logistics in the emerging world.

An estimated 4 billion people live in the ‘informal market’.  They are found all over the world from the favellas of Brazil to the slums of Mumbai.  All these places lack basic amenities but can be astonishing in terms of their innovative instincts.

These alternative societies represent a significant opportunity for all types of products but require a very different logistics expertise to serve their needs.  Traditional markets can learn a great deal from the way in which these societies exist; there are high levels of innovation on products, process and even recycling which could contribute much to more traditional westernised market models.  Some informal economies have experienced fractured or volatile market logistics which have been handled solely by military and/or humanitarian agencies.  In these cases, there is real scope to employ logistics techniques to help transform the economy from a state of survival to becoming a consumer-based member of the global marketplace.

Transformational Logistics aims to explore the issues embedded within the relationship between logistics and the informal economy.  It aims to stimulate debate, learning and practice both within the informal market and in its relationship with the wider global economy.  Three of the lead academics engaged in this project – Professor John Cullen, Professor Lenny Koh and Professor Colin Williams- are based at the University of Sheffield Management School.

Transformational Logistics can stimulate integration between formal and informal economies; promoting effective and efficient ways to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth.  It can also help to generate connections between physical, cash and information flows to support hybrid business models that embrace synergies between both formal and informal markets. 

Transformational Logistics can enable the transition of an economy from a natural disaster, the devastation of warfare or a soviet-style planned economy to a stable market economy capable of delivering sustainable and inclusive growth.




For more detail please go to the Transformational Logistics Blog.

See also Logistics and Supply Chain Management Research Group.

Cash-in-hand work and organised crime

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Do those working on a cash-in-hand basis have links with organised crime? To what extent does off-the-books work overlap with the organised crime sector?

The School of Management working in cooperation with the multi-disciplinary Centre for Criminological Research (CCR), as part of the European Commission-funded CRIMPEV network, have been seeking answers to these questions.

To reveal the findings, Professor Joanna Shapland (School of Law, University of Sheffield), Professor Colin C Williams (School of Management, University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Ponsaers (Ghent University) have guest edited a special issue of the International Journal of Social Economics entitled “The informal economy and its links to organised crime’.

To view this special issue, visit:

Tackling undeclared work

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Colin C Williams, Professor of Public Policy, has been commissioned by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions to evaluate the policy measures being used to tackle undeclared work in a total of 27 EU member states as well as Norway. This work is being conducted in cooperation with Dr Piet Renooy at Regioplan in the Netherlands.

The current project extends an earlier initial study that provided an evaluation of the policy measures being used in five EU member states.

The outcome of this EU-wide investigation will be a ‘knowledge bank’ which will make available to policy-makers throughout the world not only up-to-date evaluations of specific policy measures used in particular nations but also information on whether these policy measures are transferable to other contexts. This ‘learning hub’ is available at:

White Rose PhD Studentship

Friday, July 11th, 2008

The role of entrepreneurship, innovation networks and knowledge exchange in institutional change

based at The University of Sheffield Management School Start date October

Research on entrepreneurial networking and innovation has focused on diverse themes. One area of particular interest has been the way entrepreneurs engage in networks and use them to leverage resources and enhance business credibility to enable firm creation and growth (Hoang and Antoncic, 2003). Much work in entrepreneurship has focused on the individual as the unit of analysis and has tracked and mapped their approaches to networking (Larson 1991; Liao and Welsch, 2003). Within these studies research has explored issues such as the role of social relationships and the importance of trust; and it has explored power as it relates to the entrepreneur’s position within these business and social networks – particularly where there are external contingencies impacting on relationships, such as in supply chains (Pittaway and Rose, 2006).

This previous work, while providing a valuable foundation for understanding the role of entrepreneurs in innovation networks, has two major limitations. First, it tends to privilege individuals as the main unit of analysis. This means that teams, communities, families or other social groupings that collectively realise entrepreneurial initiatives are ignored. Secondly, many studies of entrepreneurial networks ignore the wider institutional environment in which entrepreneurial activities take place. As a result, there is an abundance of studies of individual networking practices and there are extensive studies of industry networks or supply chains. But we rarely see studies that investigate entrepreneurial activity across these multiple levels of analysis. An example of this is debates about economic development and entrepreneurship in the context of ‘peak oil’ and climate change. We can identify local entrepreneurial innovations addressing these challenges at a local or micro level. It is also possible to identify policy initiatives at an industry or national level. But it is rare to see how the entrepreneurial practices interrelate across a number of levels contributing to (or being shaped by) climate change/peak oil.

This PhD will be concerned with the interrelationship of entrepreneurial innovation, knowledge exchange and networking processes as drivers of institutional change. The study will seek to apply a situated and contextualised understanding of entrepreneurial innovation and knowledge exchange that fully acknowledges the context and structural conditions within which a range of actors (entrepreneurial or otherwise) operate when constructing network relationships. It is expected therefore, that the PhD will draw from theories relating to institutional theory, entrepreneurial networks, institutional entrepreneurship, innovation networks, community or social entrepreneurship to investigate how entrepreneurial ideas or innovations are constructed across boundaries to bring about institutional change. These boundaries can be national, cultural, local, organisational, regional, ethnic, institutional or political. The key aim is to demonstrate the role that entrepreneurial action and knowledge exchange plays in enacting transformations of particular (local, organisational, community etc) contexts.
The following themes are invited:

  • The processes through which innovation networks are constructed relationally between various actors (i.e. industry, trade, community, philanthropic, family businesses, communities, not for profit, or entrepreneurial people, teams or organisations).
  • Entrepreneurship as an enabler or barrier to institutional change or regional development
  • The travel of entrepreneurial ideas from one (global) context to another.
  • The process through which entrepreneurial ideas are ‘translated’ at a local level.

Especially welcome are proposals that address the above theme(s) against the context of climate change/ peak oil/energy challenges and demands for sustainable development. Studies might, therefore, focus on the food processing industry, food commodities, dairy/cattle/farming sector; the construction or engineering sectors; or on the diffusion of new technologies or scientific innovations/creation of new networks that will help to alleviate climate change/energy/regional development challenges.

The studentship would be located in the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED) at the University of Sheffield Management School and would complement existing PhD students working in CREED and the Management School. This includes PhDs on networks, enterprise policy, entrepreneurial learning and enterprise education, informal economy, family business. The student would be a member of the School’s MRes and RTP programmes which would provide a firm foundation for their research skills. A grant of c£12,000 per annum will be awarded to fund the studentship.

The principal supervisor, Dr. Denise Fletcher, is Director of Research for CREED and has a track record of PhD supervision in different contexts of entrepreneurship. She is a board member of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development and of the Board of the Institute of SmallBusiness and Entrepreneurship. Her work centres on narrative, social construction, institutional entrepreneurship, networks and the travel of entrepreneurial ideas across different socio-cultural contexts.

Denise Fletcher’s profile page

Dr Nicky Shaw, the co-supervisor, currently directs the Graduate School at Leeds University Business School. She has worked on a major EPSRC-funded project on improving innovation, has researched innovation sharing within the partnership network of a major utility and is now leading an industry-funded project to apply social network analysis to further understand networking both within a large organisation and with its partners

Application process


Applications should take the form of:

  1. A personal CV;
  2. A covering letter stating why you are the best person for this studentship;
  3. A maximum 3000 word research proposal outlining your proposed topic. (This should include a proposed title; brief review of relevant literature; a statement of the aims of your research and a summary of appropriate research methods to be utilised to implement the study).

Please note that there is no requirement to download or submit this application via the university application system. Overseas students can send attachments by email but applications in hard copy are preferred. Also email applications should be sent in one complete word document.

Send CVs with covering letter and research proposal to reach us by 5.00 p.m. on Monday 11th August, 2008, to:

Mandy Robertson,
Research Administrator,
University of Sheffield Management School,
9 Mappin Street,

For further information contact: Denise Fletcher on


Hoang, H. and Antoncic, B. (2003). Network-based research in entrepreneurship: A critical review. Journal of Business Venturing. 18 (2), 165.

Larson, A. (1991). Partner networks: Leveraging external ties to improve entrepreneurial performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 6(3), 173.

Liao, J. and Welsch, H. (2003). Social capital and entrepreneurial growth aspiration: a comparison of technology- and non-technology-based nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of High Technology Management Research, 14(1), 149.

Pittaway, L. and Rose, M. B., 2006, ‘Learning and relationships in small firms’, International Small Business Journal, 24(3), 227-231.

The Sheffield Management Lecture June 2008

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

The Sheffield Management Lecture 2008 was another successful event in this series of annual lectures. Speaker, John Seddon, educated and entertained the audience of nearly 450 people with an exposition of the problems associated with managing by targets.

Citing many examples of failures of management attempting to comply with ministerial target setting – the so called “Command and Control” approach – John instead proposed a model where “flows” are managed rather than costs.

His entertaining oratory style went down well with the assembled members of the region’s business community.

Keith Glaister, Dean of the University of Sheffield Management School said “I was delighted at the success of the Management School lecture. John Seddon gave a provocative presentation which stimulated wide-ranging discussion and debate. John was able to integrate management practice with an academic perspective based upon his experience with private and public sector bodies and organisations.”

More information, photgraphs and an audio download.