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Posts Tagged ‘Dibben’

#12daysofthinking – the Management School’s contribution

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

In December 2016, the University of Sheffield ran a campaign sharing academic reflections on the most pressing issues facing our society, via Twitter and

Here we share the Management School’s contributions. You can see all of the activity by searching the #12daysofthinking hashtag.

Prof Jim Haslam on The State of our Planet:


Dr Christine Sprigg, Prof Pauline Dibben, Dr Chris Stride and Prof Jason Heyes on The World of Work:





Dr Geoff Nichols on Our Health:


Businesses aim to balance people and profit with Management School toolkit

Friday, August 5th, 2016


A research project led by Prof Pauline Dibben from the Management School has led to the team developing a free online, diagnostic toolkit to help organisations achieve financially sustainable supply chains and excellent employment practices.

The ESRC-funded SCA-Emp (Supply Chain Accounting and Employment Practices) project undertook research with organisations in the automobile and textile sectors in the emerging markets of Brazil and South Africa to determine how they could intervene and make supply chains more ethical.

The toolkit, available at, offers the ideal intervention. It is aimed at HR managers, accountants and supply chain managers in organisations all over the world, as well as in developing economies – users can easily progress through the toolkit and it will identify areas of possible improvement for the business, making recommendations for them to implement.

The toolkit will also assess users’ progress against a range of statements, make plans for improvements, and then print ‘dashboard’ style reports and action plans.

Benefits of using the toolkit include a potential impact on the bottom line; increased competitiveness; an increase in socially responsible, ethical business practices; and reputational benefits.

Pauline hopes that the toolkit will lead to broader societal changes: “The toolkit will enable businesses to apply more ethical approaches to their supply chains, which should lead to improvements in employment practices. I hope that this will meet the end goal of making a positive difference to vulnerable workers across the world.”

Members of the team are now actively promoting the toolkit in Brazil and through a series of events in the UK, utilising their network of professional bodies who have been involved in the research including CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).

Anyone can access the toolkit, and it is also available in Portugese:

‘Impressed, but more could be done’ – Prof Dibben updates SUMS on SCA-Emp progress

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

An ongoing ESRC-funded project, led by Professor Pauline Dibben of the Management School, is beginning to yield some interesting findings.

SCA-Emp, which is examining supply chain accounting and employment practices in the automotive and textile industries in South Africa and Brazil, aims to explore the current role and future potential of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards.

The project team has now gathered a great deal of information using questionnaires and interviews in both sectors and countries, as well as interviews with government officials and trade unionists. They have found out how employees are managed, the types of relationships that companies have with their suppliers and clients, and how companies monitor the HR practices of suppliers.

Professor Dibben commented: “We have been impressed by how companies are trying to treat their employees with care, and by the close relationships that they have with some of their suppliers. However, more could be done to treat people fairly so that they get the most from employees irrespective of gender, race and disability. Companies could also improve how they share best practice with suppliers.”

The team has used initial findings and guidelines on labour standards to put together the first version of a ‘SCA-Emp diagnostic toolkit’ – a guide that can help companies to use accounting to improve HR in their own company and share best practice with their suppliers and clients. During the summer, they have shared a draft version of the toolkit through workshops in the UK and in Brazil. Workshop participants have included company owners, accountants, lawyers, supply chains managers, HR managers, representatives from employer federations and academics. A short video summarising these workshops can be seen here:

Shortly, the team is holding further workshops in South Africa. After this, they will begin exploring the findings in more detail, writing research papers, updating the toolkit, and then making it available to companies.

For more information about the project’s findings, the workshops, or the toolkit please check the other pages in this website or contact Prof Dibben:

REF2014: SUMS soars up the rankings

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
  • 81 per cent of our research is considered world leading or internationally excellent
  • Top five in the Russell Group for research impact
  • Top ten in the UK for research impact
  • Top 15 in the UK overall

Sheffield University Management School is rounding up 2014 on a high.

Hot on the heels of EQUIS reaccreditation, which keeps us in the top one per cent of business/management schools globally, the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014) has released excellent results for the School.

For the first time, we are in the top 15 business/management schools in the UK – a huge 81 per cent of our research is considered world leading or internationally excellent. Up two places from the previous assessment (RAE2008, =16th), this significant elevation is a reflection of our fantastic research environment, output and impact.

The School performed exceptionally well in its research impact, which is the demonstrable contribution that research makes to society and the economy. Sixty per cent of our research impact is considered ‘outstanding’ (4*), and the remainder ‘very considerable’ (3*). Impact is assessed on its reach and significance, so we are pleased to have seen such outstanding achievements in this category – with our core research themes of sustainability and socially responsible work practices and processes, it is evident that our academics are making a significant contribution to the world.

Associate Dean for Research, Professor Pauline Dibben, said: “We are delighted with our REF2014 results. They have cemented our strong end to the year, following news of our EQUIS reaccreditation, and truly reflect what the Management School does well.

“We have a clear focus on social responsibility, strong ethics and integrity – qualities also noted by EQUIS. It is what we do, and who we are. These attributes also contributed to the score for our research environment, that was ranked 3 and 4*.

“We provide an internationally excellent environment in which our academics are supported to produce world leading research.”

The Management School has achieved a great deal in the years leading up to 2014, and this month the hard work and determination has come to fruition. Dean of the Management School, Professor David Oglethorpe, said: “To achieve such great success in both the REF and through our EQUIS reaccreditation in one week marks us out as one of the most outstanding and improving Schools in the UK, with a truly global reach and significance.  I am delighted with these results which are a testament to the dedication, commitment and quality of everyone who works in the School.”

High expectations for accounting and employment relations in rising economies

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Back row (l-r): Professor Phil Johnson, Professor John Cullen and Professor Geoffrey Wood; Middle Row (l-r): Dr Juliana Meira, Dr Debby Bonnin and Prof Luiz Miranda; Front: Principal Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben

Back row (l-r): Professor Phil Johnson, Professor John Cullen and Professor Geoffrey Wood; Middle Row (l-r): Dr Juliana Meira, Dr Debby Bonnin and Professor Luiz Miranda; Front: Principal Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben

In economies experiencing rapid growth, companies need to ‘aim high’ in their management of accounting and employment practices down the supply chain.Forging relationships with value and meeting labour standards are essential for achieving competitiveness throughout the supply chain and both are the focus of a new ESRC-funded research project from Sheffield University Management School (ESRC Grant reference: ES/K006452/1).The three-year project aims to explore the current role, and future potential, of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards within the automotive and textile industries in Brazil and South Africa. Principal Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben, Associate Dean for Research at Sheffield University Management School, explained: “SCA-Emp [Supply Chain Accounting and Employment Practices] looks at the extent to which companies in the textile and automotive sectors consider employment practices in their accounting. But not just that – it’s whether they work well with their supply chain and understand and engage with them.

“This research will be fascinating, especially since the formal economy is so important in South Africa and Brazil, where many workers do not have formal employment. It will be interesting to see the extent to which organisations keep careful accounts on social issues such as the number of women working and how much they are paid, how many disabled people they employ and how they manage people from different ethnic backgrounds.”

The investigating team includes an international spread of academics from different disciplines to ensure a comprehensive degree of coverage. Professor Dibben is joined on the project by Sheffield University Management School colleagues Professor John Cullen and Professor Phil Johnson, together with Professor Geoffrey Wood from the University of Warwick, Professor Luiz Miranda and Dr Juliana Meira from the Federal University of Pernambuco Brazil, and Dr Debby Bonnin from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Two PhD students, Caroline Linhares and Gareth Crockett, complete the team.

The team draws on expertise in employment relations, supply chain accounting, supply chain management, and research methods, and is supported by a strong advisory board boasting academics and practitioners from three countries, whose knowledge and experience will be highly complementary to the international project. The advisory board includes members of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Chartered Institute for Management Accountants (CIMA).

Promoting labour standards and influencing change are key aims of SCA-Emp, as well as formulating a project of high academic value and strong research impact. Professor Dibben added: “We want to establish a formula for best-practice – much of the project is about developing a supply chain accounting and employment practices toolkit. It will benefit a number of parties, including academics, since supply chain accounting and employment aren’t brought together in research very often, and the project should therefore contribute toward the development of supply chain accounting and global commodity chain theory. It’s also exciting because we are focusing our research on South Africa and Brazil – two emerging economies. Accountants, CEOs, CFOs, HR specialists and other practitioners should be engaged in the progress and conclusions of SCA-Emp, as well as employment rights lawyers, politicians and practitioners in other emerging economies. However, the workers themselves are perhaps the most important stakeholders.”

The team is keen for the project to help organisations become more aware of what happens in their supply chain. Labour standards are a very topical issue and public awareness is growing due to news coverage of working conditions and fatal incidents in factories all over the world. Professor Dibben wants participating organisations to benefit from being involved in the project. She hopes that from the research, they will learn where they could improve practice further.


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.