Rosanna Cole

Dr Rosanna Cole

Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Deputy Head of Department (Business Transformation)
+44 (0)1483 683642
21 MS 02
By appointment over Zoom at the current time


University roles and responsibilities

  • Deputy Head of Department (Business Transformation)
  • Deputy Director of the Centre for Sustainable Enterprise Management (2016-2018)
  • REF Output Review Panel
  • FASS Festival of Research Academic Planning Group (2019)
  • Personal/Academic Tutor
  • Professional Training Year Tutor

    Affiliations and memberships

    British Academy of Management
    Secretary of the Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management Special Interest Group

    Business, industry and community links

    Surrey Chambers of Commerce
    Panel member for RENEW: Supply Chain & Procurement following Covid-19, 28th May 2020.
    Chair of the edie LIVE Circular Economy Theatre (Supply chains, frameworks and standards for circularity) and Facilitator for the “Building a sustainable supply chain" workshop, NEC Birmingham, 22nd May 2019.

    Chair of the edie Sustainable Supply Chains Conference, London, 27th June 2018.

    Chair of the edie Leaders Club ‘Moving beyond audit with your supply chain’ roundtable, London, 14th March 2018.

    Chair and Welcome Keynote speaker of the edie Responsible Procurement and Supplier Engagement Conference, London, 27th June 2017.

    British Academy of Management
    Speaker at the British Academy of Management Research Methodology and Operations, Logistics & Supply Chain Management SIGs 'Methods and Methodologies in an Applied World' Event, Sheffield, 23rd May 2019.

    Keynote speaker at the British Academy of Management Sustainable & Responsible Business and Operations, Logistics & Supply Chain Management SIGs PhD Development Day, Wolverhampton, 20th April 2017.


    Research interests

    Research projects

    Research collaborations


    Postgraduate research supervision

    My teaching

    My publications


    Cole Rosanna (2017) Turning Point. Getting their Wings: Angel Agents Live On - Supplier Stewards in Sustainable Enterprise,Journal of Corporate Citizenship2017(67)pp. 3-11 Greenleaf Publishing in association with GSE Research
    This ?turning point? highlights stewardship theory as an underused but highly applicable behavioural organisational theory to explain and enhance sustainable supply chain management practices. By partly rejecting well accepted agency forms of governance mechanisms, the recommendation to investigate stewardship theory as a way to explain our observations in sustainable operations is encouraged. Future research demonstrating and supporting the use of angel agents will be both provocative and engaging by evidencing the removal of the control mechanisms many see as a necessity in principal-agent relationships. For academics and practioners, adapting theory for modern contexts such as sustainable development, is an important requirement to tackle new challenges. Identifying examples of stewardship theory in buyer-supplier exchanges, which are typically emblematic of a principal-agent approach, is under researched but conspicuous enough to be the subject of empirical and theoretical studies.
    Stevenson M, Cole R (2018) Modern Slavery in Supply Chains: A Secondary Data Analysis of Detection, Remediation, and Disclosure,Supply Chain Management23(2)pp. 81-99 Emerald

    Purpose: To examine how organisations report on the detection and remediation of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains; and to understand their approaches to disclosing information in response to modern slavery legislation.

    Methodology: An analysis of secondary data based on the statements released in response to the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act by 101 firms in the clothing and textiles sector.

    Findings: Many firms use the same practices to detect and remediate modern slavery as for other social issues. But the hidden, criminal nature of modern slavery and the involvement of third party labour agencies mean practices need to either be tailored or other more innovative approaches developed, including in collaboration with traditional and non-traditional actors. Although five broad types of disclosure are identified, there is substantial heterogeneity in the statements. It is posited however that firms will converge on a more homogenous set of responses over time.

    Research limitations: The study is limited to one industry, responses to UK legislation, and the information disclosed by focal firms only. Future research could expand the focus to include other industries, country contexts, and stakeholders.

    Practical implications: Managers must consider how their own firm?s behaviour contributes to the modern slavery threat, regulate both their stock and non-stock supply chains, and ensure modern slavery is elevated from the procurement function to the boardroom. In making disclosures, managers may trade-off the potential competitive gains of transparency against the threat of information leakage and reputational risk should their statements be falsified. They should also consider what signals their statements send back up the chain to (sub-)suppliers. Findings also have potential policy implications.

    Originality: The study expands our understanding of: (i) modern slavery from a supply chain perspective, e.g. identifying the importance of standard setting and risk avoidance; and, (ii) supply chain information disclosure in response to legislative demands. This is the first academic paper to examine the statements produced by organisations in response to the UK Modern Slavery Act.

    Cole Rosanna, Lindsay Claire Frances, Barker Fiona (2018) Reverse exchange of healthcare devices: the case of hearing aid equipment in the UK,Production Planning & Control Taylor & Francis:
    Reverse exchange (RE) in dealing with the return, recycle and reuse of products is receiving a growing focus. When properly handled, RE in healthcare can deliver an economic benefit of cost minimisation and has extensive positive impacts on both human health and the environment (Li and Olorunniwo, 2008) but to date, RE research is mostly limited to pharmaceutical return. This paper investigates the potential for RE benefits in the UK National Health Service (NHS) supply chain for medical devices. Hearing aids supplied to adults with hearing loss are used as an illustrative example. This research applied a consensus approach through the use of dispersed nominal groups in order to obtain qualitative data on information, barriers, solutions and priorities to support findings. Findings illustrate that the end user behaviour of returning the device, and the requirement by NHS Procurement for manufacturers to meet RE targets are secondary to the importance of audiology departments who have the autonomy to design RE processes and successfully implement initiatives. A schematic highlighting the information and materials flow of the supply chain and the barriers and facilitators to RE is presented for hearing aid devices with potential for transferability to other small medical device supply chains.
    Cole Rosie, Snider Brent (2019) Managing in turbulent times: The impact of sustainability in management education on current and future business leaders,Journal of Cleaner Production210pp. 1622-1634 Elsevier
    During modern times of economic and political turmoil, we ask how we should be educating current and future business leaders to navigate periods of global turbulence. The paper suggests that firstly, undergraduates (future managers) and executive MBA students (current managers) need sustainability embedded in their management education because both groups believe that the global supply chain practices have contributed to global turbulence and that sustainable supply chain actions could help to reduce that turbulence. Secondly, that exposure to supply chain sustainability examples in management education increases global awareness and empathy in current and future managers. Thirdly, it is suggested that a gender balance is required for improved sustainability decision making. Lastly, it is found that direct facilitation by an instructor is not required for threshold learning and that it can occur exclusively through self-reflection. The overarching contribution of the paper is that rather than viewing economic, environmental, social and political turbulence as external factors that managers must simply navigate, supply chain sustainability education enables managers to connect how their global supply chain decisions can either intensify or reduce the turbulence.
    Snider B, Southin N, Cole Rosie (2019) Patio Swings Intermodal Shipping Competition: An Inquiry Based Partial Information Exercise,Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education17(2)pp. 146-162 Wiley
    Rather than providing all the required information as classroom exercises typically do, this international purchase and intermodal transportation competitive in-class exercise intentionally holds back selected supply chain details. This Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) approach simulates a real-world Distribution Requirements Planning (DRP) scenario by requiring students to identify what information they need and seek out those details from the instructor while competing with fellow student groups. In this 20-30 minute exercise students are challenged to identify the all the necessary supply chain activities required to effectively ship patio swings from a supplier in China to a national retail chain in time for a spring sale. Generating the benefits of improved critical thinking in a fraction of the time required for traditional IBL, the approach is best described as a Partial Information Exercise (PIE). A student survey (n=310) found that students strongly supported the inquiry approach, it generated significantly increased interest in global supply chain management roles and responsibilities, and over 91% of participants recommended the exercise continue to be part of the introductory operations and supply chain management course.
    Cole Rosie, Stevenson Mark, Aitken James (2019) Blockchain Technology: Implications for operations and supply chain management,Supply Chain Management : an International Journal24(4)pp. pp 469-483 Emerald

    Purpose: To encourage the study of blockchain technology from an Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSCM) perspective, identifying potential areas of application; and to provide an agenda for future research.

    Approach: An explanation and analysis of blockchain technology is provided to identify implications for the field of OSCM.

    Findings: The hype around the opportunities that digital ledger technologies offer is high. For OSCM, a myriad of ways in which blockchain could transform practice are identified, including: enhancing product safety and security; improving quality management; reducing illegal counterfeiting; improving sustainable supply chain management; advancing inventory management and replenishment; reducing the need for intermediaries; impacting new product design and development; and, reducing the cost of supply chain transactions. The immature state of practice and research surrounding blockchain means there is an opportunity for OSCM researchers to study the technology in its early stages and shape its adoption.

    Research implications: The paper provides a platform for new research that addresses gaps in knowledge and advances the field of OSCM. A research agenda is developed around six key themes.

    Practical implications: There are many opportunities for organisations to obtain an advantage by making use of blockchain technology ahead of the competition, enabling them to enhance their market position. But it is important that managers examine the characteristics of their products, services and supply chains to determine whether they need or would benefit sufficiently from the adoption of blockchain. Moreover, it is important that organisations build human capital expertise that allows them to develop, implement, and exploit applications of this technology to maximum reward.

    Originality: The first paper in a leading international OSCM journal to analyse blockchain technology thereby complementing a recent article on digital supply chains that omitted blockchain.

    Cole Rosanna, Aitken James (2019) Selecting suppliers for socially sustainable supply chain management: Post-exchange supplier development activities as pre-selection requirements,Production Planning & Control30(14)pp. 1184-1202 Taylor & Francis
    The aim of this paper is to provide an understanding of how the supplier selection process used by buying organisations to establish socially sustainable supply chains has evolved from the traditional purchasing function. Through the application of a socially responsible purchasing (SRP) approach, organisations are attempting to address the challenges of selecting appropriate suppliers to engage with. To achieve SRP, behavioural agency attributes were found to complement traditional agency forms of governance from the start of the process. Through the use of an exploratory case study approach, three focal (purchasing) firms pursuing a strong sustainability agenda, and two supply chain intermediary organisations were investigated. The results show that supplier development activities previously positioned post-selection, are now performed at the pre-selection stage, moving them to the beginning of the process. Suppliers must now demonstrate commitment to sustainability through implementing improvements highlighted in corrective action reports at the pre-selection point before any financial transactions occur. The movement of post-selection supplier development activities to the pre- selection stage, to align sustainability goals and reduce risk, is a significant finding of this paper that purchasing personnel and suppliers should consider in the establishment of a socially sustainable supply chain.
    Cole Rosanna, Aitken James (2019) The role of intermediaries in establishing a sustainable supply chain,Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management Elsevier Ltd
    In sustainable supply chain management, buyers may use intermediaries to bridge exchanges with suppliers when knowledge of suitable sustainability practices is weak and in need of facilitation. Understanding how supply chain intermediaries perform this role and what happens when intermediation is no longer needed is important in establishing more sustainable supply chains. Two supply chain intermediaries have been investigated with the resulting case study evidence analysed using the Gioia methodology. The findings suggest supply chain intermediaries add value to the buyer-supplier exchange by facilitating sustainability-related information transfer, knowledge development, risk management and improved capabilities. For example, specific practices such as corrective action reports, often managed by the intermediary, underpin the development of a sustainable supply chain. When the intermediary is no longer needed, they become disintermediated from the specific buyer-supplier exchange but may be re-employed in a new triadic relationship in the future with previous parties. This provides positive spill-over effects through intermediation?disintermediation?post-inter-mediation cycles for both the buyer and supplier populations and for broader society. Overall, the findings highlight the value of the transient position of supply chain intermediaries in establishing sustainable supply chains and the intended consequences of their involvement.
    Cole Rosanna, Snider Brent (2019) Rolling the dice on global supply chain sustainability: a total cost of ownership simulation,INFORMS Transactions on Education INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences)
    Sustainability in management education is a potential solution to societal challenges, influencing students? worldviews and attitudes to contribute to a more profound social change. Through this innovative dice-based classroom simulation, students are exposed to supply chain sustainability, total cost of ownership (TCO), and risk management while also understanding their linkages through effective instructor debrief. Student teams compete by selecting sourcing options such as supplier location, transportation methods and sustainability reputation from a menu, then see how their decisions fare as the product line life cycle is simulated with a dice. The debrief facilitated by the instructor, compares and contrasts results across the teams generating insights into the interrelationships between supply chain sustainability choices, total cost of ownership, and risk management. Successfully conducted by multiple instructors, in multiple countries and across all levels of management education (undergraduate, MSc, and executive MBA), survey results (n=350) plus a pilot study (n=31) confirm that this dice-based simulation accomplishes multiple learning objectives while also providing a highly engaging experiential learning classroom environment for this sample.
    Thurer M, Cole Rosie, Hanna M, Protzman C.W (2020) Classroom Simulations for Teaching Production Control in Non-repetitive Contexts: Insights for Theory and Practice,Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education Wiley
    When introducing production control solutions, most textbooks focus on a to-stock, repetitive context. In response, we extend the classical match and dice game, which focusses on a repetitive context,in order to teach complexitiesthat emerge in a non-repetitive context, such as the emergence of direct and indirect load, and to introduce appropriate production control solutions, e.g. Constant Work-In-Process (ConWIP)and Control of Balance by Card Based Navigation (COBACABANA). Twofield testsareused to prove the playability of our game and assess its teaching effectiveness using post-game scores and self-assessment. Both give support to our game and highlight that it helps students to understand complex knowledge.Applying the simulation as part of aniterative design process in two cases not only ensured the pragmatic validity of our design, i.e. that learning objectives were met, but also provided important insight on the production control systems taught. During the applicationwe encountered several issues that provide insights for the implementation of concepts as COBACABANA (or Workload Control) in practice. In terms of theory, applying the game showed that there is a change in mindset required when switching from Kanban to COBACABANA and physics synchronization is essential for logistics synchronization.
    Papathanasiou Angeliki, Cole Rosanna, Murray Philip (2020) The (non-)application of blockchain technology in the Greek shipping industry,European Management Journal Elsevier
    The implementation of blockchain technology (BCT) is gaining traction in supply chain networks, revolutionising the operation of contemporary supply chains and reshaping the potential of business relationships. Empirical studies on blockchain adoption are scant because implementation across networks is in fairly early phase of development, yet evidence from empirical studies is highly desirable. This is one of the first studies of blockchain adoption in the Greek shipping industry, which has not so far been examined by the literature, in direct comparison to early adopters in other European countries such as Norway. The research examined eight Greek shipping companies using workshops with experienced supply chain personnel. Qualitative analysis identified the current position of these organisations in terms of blockchain adoption, by considering possible benefits and inhibitors to implementation. Despite benefits of automated processes and reduced paperwork as a result of smart contracts, findings show a reluctance to adopt BCT. That is, enterprise resource planning (ERP) transformations have left organisations fatigued and disinclined towards further systems development and resistant to subsequent change. Also, the exposure of shared information in the shipping nexus is considered to cause a threat to competitive survival.
    Studies on Asian business clans have highlighted the importance of networks in business operations. However, there has been less attention on social ties as an instrument to influence and maintain business ties. Despite being present and contributing substantially to the Pakistan economy, little is known about Talukaat, a form of business clan. Indeed, its role in business performance notwithstanding, there is a paucity of knowledge regarding its nature and formation. In this regard, this study seeks to contribute to knowledge about Asian business clans particularly by exploring Talukaat in the context of the textile industry in Pakistan. To examine Talukaat, this thesis sought to answer three exploratory research questions which were drawn from the literature (i) to develop an understanding of what Talukaats are (ii) how they operate and (iii) how they compare to other Asian business clans. The thesis utilised Social Network Theory as a theoretical lens to examine Talukaat. To answer the research questions and offer detailed perspectives on Talukaat, an inductive approach was adopted. This approach, together with the epistemological stance of interpretivism involved the use of semi-structured interviews, observation guides, and a snowball sampling technique. This research methodology was used to explore the in-depth knowledge of business managers operating in Pakistan?s textiles industry. The findings suggest that business ties are underpinned by social ties, and the two are inseparable. It also came to light that, networks formed in businesses operate through shared social values, preventing opportunism and maintaining solidarity in them. From the findings, a definition of Talukaat was drawn to highlight the main features of the network: a closed but informal network that relies on direct social ties based on a number of constructs including kinship, community, friendship, trust, collectivism, reciprocity and facilitative professionalism which is influenced by shared social values. Moreover, the findings provide a better understanding of the role Talukaat plays in the textile industry in Pakistan. A comparison of Talukaat network to three other Asian clans: Japanese Keiretsu, Chinese Guanxi and Arabic Wasta revealed that, all three are closed networks implying there is limited access of ?outsiders? to the network. Compared to Chinese Guanxi, Talukaat showed extensive influence over business decisions whereas, Japanese Keiretsu and Arabic Wasta do not. The thesis makes important contributions to knowledge by exploring Talukaat, and in so doing adding an additional facet to the examination of business clan networks, and more importantly from an Asian perspective. The thesis has also revealed that managerial decision making in the Pakistani textile industry is influenced by Talukaat and this has wider implications on business networks and operations.

    Additional publications