MariaLaura is a leading international researcher known for her cutting edge research.
Her research is focussed on social/ sustainable enterprise; entrepreneurship and new working practices; work and wellbeing/ the work-life interface; and the sociology of work and organizations.
Her research interests and expertise centre on the following key areas:
MariaLaura's research is published in the leading management and social science journals including Human Relations; Organization Studies; Organization; Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice; British Journal of Management; International Small Business Journal; Journal of Management Inquiry; Regional Studies; Tourism Management; New Technology, Work and Employment; Gender, Work and Organization; as well as in books and monographs. For example, her latest book, for which she is Lead Editor, is 'Organisational Collaboration: Themes and Issues', published by Routledge.
Her work has been funded by a range of bodies, including the British Academy, RCUK, ESRC, EEUK, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, as well as Third Sector organizations. She is currently leading and researching a number of exciting and impactful funded research projects.
PhD/ MBA/ MSc/ UG programmes
MSc/ MBA Dissertation Supervisor
The anonymisation of personal data has multiple purposes within research: as a marker of ethical practice, a means of reducing regulation and as a safeguard for protecting respondent privacy. However, the growing capabilities of technology to gather and analyse data have raised concerns over the potential reidentification of anonymised data-sets. This has sparked a wide ranging debate amongst both academic researchers and policy makers as to whether anonymisation can continue to be relied upon. This debate has the potential to create important implications for market research. This paper analyses the key arguments both for and against anonymisation as an effective tool given the changing technological environment. We consider the future position of anonymisation and question whether anonymisation can remain its key role given the potential impact on both respondent trust and the nature of self-regulation within market research.
This article explores effectual processes within home-based online businesses. Our empirical evidence provides a number of refinements to the concept of effectuation in this specific domain. First, the ubiquity of non-proprietary online trading platforms encourages the adoption of effectual approaches and removes the importance of forming proprietary strategic alliances and pre-commitments. Second, the notion of affordable loss – a central tenet of effectuation – should be extended beyond the notion of economic to social affordable loss, including loss of status and reputation, and finally, home-based online businesses allow effectuation to be associated with low levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and experience.
Widespread commercial use of the internet has significantly increased the volume and scope of data being collected by organisations. ‘Big data’ has emerged as a term to encapsulate both the technical and commercial aspects of this growing data collection activity. To date, much of the discussion of big data has centred upon its transformational potential for innovation and efficiency, yet there has been less reflection on its wider implications beyond commercial value creation. This paper builds upon normal accident theory (NAT) to analyse the broader ethical implications of big data. It argues that the strategies behind big data require organisational systems that leave them vulnerable to normal accidents, that is to say some form of accident or disaster that is both unanticipated and inevitable. Whilst NAT has previously focused on the consequences of physical accidents, this paper suggests a new form of system accident that we label data accidents. These have distinct, less tangible and more complex characteristics and raise significant questions over the role of individual privacy in a ‘data society’. The paper concludes by considering the ways in which the risks of such data accidents might be managed or mitigated.
There has been little research into how organizations modify their identities in response to the various ethical and cultural changes that occur in wider society. This qualitative investigation of recent museum approaches to handling human remains is situated within a critique of “museum identity” dynamics in history, archaeological, and science museums in the U.K. public sector. The theoretical framework encapsulates various paradoxes inherent in museum response strategies to such identity challenges. This study reveals the discursive practices museums use to legitimate and privilege their historical identities, while simultaneously engaging with different alternative identities in processes defined here as “organizational sensitivization.” These involve either amalgamating identity challenges or diffusing them, usually by means of open dialogue. Those challenges perceived to be identity threats are marginalized by the museums to protect their articulated identities through engagement in self-legitimization processes. This can leave museums with paradoxically unresolved tensions and identity ambiguities.
This paper aims to critique the process of corporate-owned, high-tech start-up strategizing through an inductive, longitudinal, case study of ‘UK-Research-Tech’. Insights are given through the combined ‘dialectical–paradox’ concept, thereby focusing on where ‘dialectic’ and ‘paradox’ theorizing overlap. This linked iterative, ‘dialogical–dialectic’ research approach also reflects chief executive officer/top management team (CEO/TMT) start-up dynamics over time. These foci fill important gaps that impede better understanding of dialectical, dialogical and paradoxical forces within strategic decision-making. As an interpretative tool, they illuminate CEO/TMT strategizing and changing interrelationships affected by broader, volatile, techno-economic contexts and parent-company influences on ventures. In this case study, it was found that the CEO's relatively autocratic, parent-framed approach combined with TMT members' contradictory reactions to create ‘dialectical–paradox’ oppositional forces, eventually only resolved through ‘eleventh hour’ business strategy changes to rescue the venture. This research contributes to more nuanced understandings of corporate-constrained ventures during early business development from start-up strategic decisions at parent-company level to subsequent conditions of more independent dynamic equilibrium. The ‘dialectical–paradox’ conceptual lens contributes an innovative critique of processes affecting strategic decision-making dynamics. Another important contribution is the empirically inspired conceptual model, developed for use both to guide subsequent case-study research analyses and as a reflective tool for CEO/TMT strategic decision-making, especially within corporate-inspired start-ups.
Home-based online business ventures are an increasingly pervasive yet under-researched phenomenon. The experiences and mindset of entrepreneurs setting up and running such enterprises require better understanding. Using data from a qualitative study of 23 online home-based business entrepreneurs, we propose the augmented concept of ‘mental mobility’ to encapsulate how they approach their business activities. Drawing on Howard P. Becker's early theorising of mobility, together with Victor Turner's later notion of liminality, we conceptualise mental mobility as the process through which individuals navigate the liminal spaces between the physical and digital spheres of work and the overlapping home/workplace, enabling them to manipulate and partially reconcile the spatial, temporal and emotional tensions that are present in such work environments. Our research also holds important applications for alternative employment contexts and broader social orderings because of the increasingly pervasive and disruptive influence of technology on experiences of remunerated work.
This article examines the business choices made by independent farming families, when confronting the need to diversify away from traditional agricultural activities by starting farm-based tourism businesses. Based on interviews with farm family members who have set up tourism attractions on their farms, and drawing upon the concept of experiential authenticity, the article explores their self-conceptions of their family identities. In so doing, it addresses the choices and dilemmas facing farm families who attempt diversification through the tourism attraction route, and considers how this affects their attitudes towards more traditional farming activities. Using qualitative case study data, an empirically grounded framework is proposed that expresses the choices and challenges facing tourism entrepreneurial family farm members in the UK, through the conceptual lens of experiential authenticity. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
This article, which examines inspection experiences in the home-based context of the B&B, makes a distinctive contribution to surveillance theory, and specifically the concept of „exposure‟. It draws on Levinas‟s phenomenological ideas on identity and his concept of „sensibility‟, in order to better place the „exposed‟ subject at the centre of analysis. Our empirical research shows how B&B proprietors negotiate their exposure to surveillance within their homes when they take part in the tourist board‟s accommodation grading process. Their „lifestyle businesses‟ involve exposing the context of their own lives to their paying guests, and by extension to the hotel inspectors from the tourist board with its own covert inspectorial procedures. These are described from both the inspector‟s and proprietor‟s perspectives. We explore not only their subjective experiences of the inspection process, but also the power dynamics between proprietor and inspector, and the various resistance and counter-resistance strategies which each employ
This article examines the business choices made by independent farming families, when confronting the need to diversify away from traditional agricultural activities by starting farm-based tourism businesses. Based on interviews with farm family members who have set up tourism attractions on their farms, and drawing upon the concept of experiential authenticity, the article explores their self-conceptions of their family identities. In so doing, it addresses the choices and dilemmas facing farm families who attempt diversification through the tourism attraction route, and considers how this affects their attitudes towards more traditional farming activities. Using qualitative case study data, an empirically grounded framework is proposed that expresses the choices and challenges facing tourism entrepreneurial family farm members in the UK, through the conceptual lens of experiential authenticity.
Current theorizations of bricolage in entrepreneurship studies require refinement and development to be used as a theoretical framework for social entrepreneurship. Our analysis traces bricolage's conceptual underpinnings from various disciplines, identifying its key constructs as making do, a refusal to be constrained by limitations, and improvisation. Although these characteristics appear to epitomize the process of creating social enterprises, our research identifies three further constructs associated with social entrepreneurship: social value creation, stakeholder participation, and persuasion. Using data from a qualitative study of eight U.K. social enterprises, we apply the bricolage concept to social entrepreneurial action and propose an extended theoretical framework of social bricolage. © 2010 Baylor University.
This article explores an under-researched form of commercial hospitality provision by analysing the gender dynamics in the distinctive occupational setting of the home. The primary contribution is to extend understanding of traditionally female occupations by adding to accounts in the literature on gendered identities and occupational roles in small and micro enterprises. It is based on in-depth interview findings from 33 home-based commercial hospitality proprietors in Scotland. These enterprises perform the twin functions of private home and providing revenue-generating, short-term accommodation. The findings reveal three broad categories of proprietor; the female sole proprietor, proprietor couples and the male sole proprietor, all of whom reinforce traditional gender-based roles and stereotypes. As an extension of domestic labour, commercial 'home hosting' is inherently gendered. It is argued that this is very pronounced in home-based commercial hospitality where home and business spheres overlap. © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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