Rosie is the Deputy Head of the Department of Business Transformation at Surrey Business School. Rosie's main research interest is in sustainable supply chain management, particularly focused on socially responsible purchasing. She works with the fashion retail, food and beverage and manufacturing sectors as well as the NHS. In 2019, she was awarded Surrey Business School's EC Researcher of the Year and currently holds the position of Associate Editor for Supply Chain and Operations Management at the European Management Journal.
She previously worked as a Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain at Roehampton Business School (2008-2016). Prior to this she was an Operations Consultant at Deloitte LLP in London working with clients such as News International, BP, Unilever and SABMiller.
Rosie has previously taught a range of operations management, business ethics, retail and supply chain modules and has many years of experience in programme management, curriculum redesign and has been a board member across a range of university committees.
Rosie is a Senior Fellow of the HEA (Higher Education Academy) and was previously a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). She completed the Aurora Women's Leadership Programme in 2018.
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
Business, industry and community links
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.
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 from Surrey Business School improves supply chain performance in the vintage car sector
In the media
Rosie's main research interest is in sustainable supply chain management with recent projects on supplier selection processes for socially responsible sourcing, supply chain intermediary service triads, modern slavery in global supply chains, transparency and innovative technologies for sustainability (blockchain), political CSR and global supply chain turbulence. She has completed projects in reverse exchange of devices in the NHS and global sustainability education of future business leaders.
The production of aggregates and asphalt has significant strategic importance for the manufacturing sector. With an estimated value of around €16 trillion, Europe’s road network is its most valuable asset and much of the inherent value of Britain's road network is in the billions of tonnes of asphalt that make up the surface of its highways. Asphalt is used as the surfacing material for over 95% of all UK roads as well as for footpaths, playgrounds, cycle ways and car parks and approximately 20 million tonnes of asphalt produced each year in the UK. At the end of a road’s lifespan, asphalt can be recycled to make new roads and is done so by some companies (asphalt itself is recyclable – in the US it’s the most recycled product there is - more asphalt gets recycled than glass, paper, steel or anything else). This project funded by the UK Manufacturing Symbiosis Network Plus, identifies challenges of the aggregates and asphalt industry (asphalt/bitumen production) and the impact of this production on the environment and society; identifies what sets best practice firms apart as a business (e.g. vertical integration, innovative materials, technological advancement); applies the findings to the wider industry to determine applicability and identifies barriers and solutions to industrial symbiosis in this construction sector.
Edinburgh Napier University (reverse logistics)
Lancaster University Management School (modern slavery)
Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary (sustainability education)
Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia (sustainability education)
Mutah University, Jordan (sustainable sourcing)
Postgraduate research supervision
Suleman Dauda (completed 2019 no corrections)
Naveed Qureshi (completed 2020)
Zahra Shirgholami (planned completion 2021)
PhD external examiner at the University of Gloucestershire - July 2019
PhD internal examiner at the University of Surrey - September 2017, November 2017, February 2019
PhD upgrade as first examiner at the University of Surrey - February 2017, August 2017, July 2019
University of Liverpool: MBA Programme and module examiner
University of Hertfordshire: Programme and module examiner
Previously: Edinburgh Napier University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Huddersfield
MSc Business Analytics
Supply Chain and Logistics Management MANM250 (Module leader 2019-2020)
MSc Operations and Supply Chain in the Digital Era
Purchasing and Cost Management MANM404 (Module leader 2018-2019)
Sustainable Supply Chains MANM405 (Module leader 2018-2019)
Supply Chain and Logistics Management MANM250 (Module leader 2017-2018)
Executive MBA and full-time MBA: Understanding, Developing and Growing the Business, Understanding Business in the International Environment (2016-2018), Managing the Agile Business (2018-2020)
Undergraduate: Business, Economics and Sustainability MAN1100 (Module leader 2016-2017)
Previously Taught: Managing Operations, Business Skills, Quantitative and Accounting Methods for Business, Marketing and Enterprise, Retail Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, Retail Theory and Practice
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.
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, R. (2021) ‘Stewardship behaviours in sustainable supply chain management’, in “Citizenship and Sustainability in Organisations: Exploring and spanning the boundaries”, ed. Marshall, A. & Murphy, D.F. Routledge/Greenleaf.
Cole, R. (2020) ‘Getting your research philosophy clear’, in "How to keep your doctorate on track: Insights from students’ and supervisors’ experiences” ed. Townsend, K., Saunders, M.K. Loudoun, R & Morrison, E. Edward Elgar.
Cole, R., Benstead, A.V., McLoughlin, K. (2020) 'Should Coca-Cola be held solely accountable for the environmentally damaging impacts of the plastic waste of their product?' SAGE Business Case, forthcoming.
Southin, N., Snider., B & Cole, R. (2019) ‘Developing Supply Chain Interest and Employability Skills Together–A 30 Minute Class Exercise’, 26th August 2019, OM Blog: A blog for operations management educators.
Snider., B & Cole, R. (2019) ‘How Students Link Sustainability and Global Strife’, 13th April 2019, OM Blog: A blog for operations management educators.
McLoughlin, K., Benstead, A. and Cole, R. (2020) ‘Getting to the bottom of chain liability’, Ideas Incubator session at the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Sustainable Supply Chains and Operations Forum, Nottingham, 10th-12th February.
Shirgholami, Z., Cole, R., & Aitken, J. (2019) ‘Getting on the right track: MNCs on the path to end forced labour in supply chains’ paper presented at the BAM Annual Conference, Birmingham, 3rd-5th September.
Thürer, M., Cole, R., Hanna, M. & Protzman, C.W. (2019) ‘Classroom simulations for customization: Teaching production control in non-repetitive contexts’ paper presented at the EurOMA Annual Conference, Helsinki, 17th-19th June. HIGHLY COMMENDED.
Cole, R. & Snider, B. (2018) ‘Beat the dice: sustainability uncertainty and implications on the total cost of ownership’, paper presented at EurOMA, Budapest, 24th-26th June. HIGHLY COMMENDED.
Aitken, J., Deakins, E., Skipworth, H and Cole, R. (2018) ‘The role of temporal norms and orientations in operations management’ paper presented at EurOMA special session, Budapest, 24th-26th June.
Cole, R. (2018) 'Tracing the origin: the use of blockchain in supply chain provenance' paper presented at the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Sustainable Supply Chains and Operations Forum, Kassel, 5th-6th March.
Cole, R. & Snider, B. (2017) 'Sustainability solutions to manage supply chain turbulence', paper presented at the POMS International Conference, Sydney, 12-14th December.
Cole, R. (2017) 'Tackling trust deficiencies of socially sustainable supply chain members', paper presented at the BAM Annual Conference, Warwick, 5th-8th September.
Farhad, N., & Cole, R. (2017) 'Inter-organizational cooperation of MNCs and NGOs for socially sustainable sourcing', paper presented at the BAM Annual Conference, Warwick, 5th-8th September.
Aitken, J., Bozarth, C., Turner, N. & Cole, R. (2017) 'Supply chain complexity: Developing a combinative capability', paper presented at the EurOMA Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 3rd-5th July.
Farhad, N., & Cole, R. (2017) 'SDGs and the energetic society: A study of inter-organizational cooperation between MNCs and NGOs to achieve socially sustainable sourcing in the Bangladeshi garment sector' paper presented at the SDG and Sustainable Supply Chains in the post-global economy symposium at Royal Holloway University, 27th May.
Farhad, N., & Cole, R. (2017) 'Socially sustainable sourcing through the lens of political CSR: Readymade garments in Bangladesh', paper presented at at the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Sustainable Supply Chains and Operations Forum, Milan, 27th-28th April.
Cole, R., Barker, F., & Lindsay, C. (2016) 'Employing reverse logistics for NHS devices: the case of hearing aid equipment in the UK' paper presented at at the Production and Operations Management World Conference, Havana, 6th-10th September.
Cole, R. (2016) 'Initial benchmarking classifications for supplier selection scorecards in socially sustainable supply chains ', paper presented at the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Sustainable Supply Chains and Operations Forum, Lancaster, 11th-12th April.
Cole, R. (2015) 'Moving towards a stewardship perspective in the management of socially sustainable supply chains', paper presented at the BAM Annual Conference, Portsmouth, 8th-10th September.
Cole, R., & Aitken, J. (2015) 'Supplier self-assessment and the role of third parties in the pursuit of sustainable supply chains', paper presented at the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) Sustainable Supply Chains and Operations Forum, Barcelona, 23rd-24th March.
Cole, R., & Aitken, J. (2014) 'Making the right decision: supplier self-assessment tools in the context of sustainable supply chains', paper presented at the EurOMA Annual Conference, Palermo, 20th-25th June.
Cole, R. (2014) 'Under what conditions? Transactional and relational factors affecting supplier selection decisions in the purchasing context of social sustainability' , paper presented at the Sustainable Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management Doctoral Student Conference, Sheffield, 5th June. BEST PAPER AWARD.
Cole, R., & Aitken, J. (2013) 'The identification and management of factors affecting supplier selection decisions to achieve sustainability objectives', paper presented at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation: Logistics Research Network Annual Conference, Birmingham, 4th-6th September.
Cole, R., and Aitken, J. (2012) 'Considering social sustainability factors as a determinant when making supply chain decisions: The difference between theory and practice', paper presented at British Academy of Management Annual Conference, Cardiff, 11th-13th September.
Aitken, J., and Cole, R. (2011) 'Service company led reverse logistics systems', paper presented at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation: Logistics Research Network Annual Conference, Southampton, 7th-9th September.