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Roger Maull


Deputy Head of the Department of Digital Economy and Professor of Management Systems

Biography

Biography

Roger Maull is a Professor of Management Systems in Surrey Business School and a founder member, with Professor Alan Brown, of Surrey's Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE). He joined Surrey in October 2014 after 16 years at the University of Exeter where he was Head of Department of Management and with Prof Andi Smart founded the centre for Innovation and Service Research (ISR).

Research interests

Since joining Surrey in 2014 his research has entered a new phase: considering the implications of the Digital Revolution for businesses and society. He has been an investigator on over £5m of EPSRC funding and currently has three major RCUK research grants: CONTRIVE (http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/N028252/1 ) which is based on the earlier HAT grant; CREDIT (http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/N015525/1 ) which is investigating digital currencies and ACCEPT (http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/P011896/1 ) which is concerned with human dimensions of cyber security.

1. Hub-of-all things (HAT). The HAT is a home based personal data repository that ensures that 'my data belongs to me'. It collects data from a range of IoT devices, social media, wearables etc onto a platform that can subsequently be used for analysis. The HAT has recently undergone a successful Indiegogo campaign which will expand the user base to over 250 HATs. The HAT is also at the core of one recent successful research bid (Contrive) and is the platform on which we investigate a number of research questions around trust and personalisation. Contrive explores the notion of vulnerability using the HAT platform to explore how a consumer's notions of trust and perceived control (together making up vulnerability) contribute to online behaviour. Alongside this we have commercial funding for a major trust questionnaire in financial services.

One area I am very keen to investigate further is collecting data on food use in the home. This links back to previous research in supply chains in the service industry (Maull, Geraldi and Johnston) and IoT and supply chains (Parry, Brax, Maull and Ng). It also has strong links to our ongoing research with Fareshare (http://www.fareshare.org.uk/) who distribute food to over 250,000 people a week. This research was the subject of a recent paper in the Journal of Service Research, (http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/841894/).

2. CREDIT. This is the UK's first research grant investigating the impact of Distributed Ledger Technologies in 4 areas: business models; governance; legal and regulatory issues and privacy and trust. The team have been closely involved in producing the UK government report on DLTs - Blackett report. This project is led by Dr Phil Godsiff.

Roger is very interested in how organisations change their business model in response to these major technological changes. For incumbents there are massive challenges as they seek to change what is provided, how it is provided and how it is financed. Inevitably, this leads to questions about changing the organisation's culture or 'dominant design'.

3. ACCEPT. Human-related risks among the most important factors in cybersecurity, e.g. an IBM report (2014) shows that over 95% of security incidents involved "human errors". Responses to human-related cyber risks remain undermined by a conceptual problem: the mindset associated with the term 'cyber'-crime which has persuaded us that that crimes with a cyber-dimension occur purely within a (non-physical) 'cyber' space, and that these constitute wholly new forms of offending, divorced from the human/social components of traditional (physical) crime landscapes. In this context, the unprecedented linking of individuals and technologies into global social-physical networks - hyperconnection - has generated exponential complexity and unpredictability of vulnerabilities.

The project's overall aim is to develop a framework through which we can analyse the behavioural co-evolution of cybersecurity/cybercrime ecosystems and effectively influence behaviours of a range of actors in the ecosystems in order to reduce human-related risks. This project will involve a group of researchers working in 5 academic disciplines (Computer Science, Crime Science, Business, Engineering, Behavioural Science) at 4 UK research institutes, and be supported by an Advisory Board with 12 international/UK researchers and a Stakeholder Group formed by 12 non-academic partners (including LEAs, NGOs and industry).

Theoretically, Roger's research is underpinned by his long-standing interest in systems thinking. Systems thinking comprises two questions: what is a system and how does it behave? To address the first, he suggests reading Jackson's SoSM papers and books. The framework of complexity and viewpoint sums it up elegantly and leaves systems thinkers with two issues; establishing boundary and viewpoint. The issue of how a system behaves is more intriguing. He is a strong advocate of Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety (LRV) and has written some conference papers of the topic with Phil Godsiff. The Customer Disturbance Model on P6 of this paper is probably our best effort so far.Ashby defines variety 'as the number of states a system can be in'. Taken together with LRV this suggests that firms need to match the value proposition with the needs of the customer. Of course, firms can choose at which point on the Line of RV to compete (Fig 3 in the paper) but positions of the line correspond to positions where costs are too high or where customer requirements are not being met.The study of variety has implications for the digital world. The 'market of one' implies huge and overwhelming producer variety. Matching that variety is a challenge we have considered in a recent paper. He is currently trying to carve out some time so that he can develop these ideas further.

The wider societal implications of understanding digital and its implications for variety are reflected in Roger's on-going interest in the nature of wicked problems and how digital technologies may be used to reduce uncertainty (known unknowns) in decision making.

Departmental duties

Deputy Head of the Department of Digital EconomyDirector of Centre for Digital Economy (CoDE)