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.
16 NOV 2020
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
Design/approach: In the Spring of 2020, global clothing retailers were advised or ordered to close physical stores due to lockdown measures of the COVID-19 pandemic and many supply chains temporarily halted production. This paper explains how pre-pandemic modern slavery advancements will be detrimentally affected as a result of societal lockdowns and apparel retail closures around the world. Purpose: This viewpoint argues that the closures will cause regressive rather than progressive modern slavery shifts as necessity of survival prevails over addressing modern slavery risks within supply chains. Findings: Two consequences of lockdowns are highlighted which will have negative implications on modern slavery progress. These are 1.) the exploitation of vulnerable people which includes i.) higher exploitation of those already involved in modern slavery and ii.) increased risk of exploitation for those susceptible to being drawn (back) into modern slavery and; 2.) the need for repetition of previous work completed by external stakeholders, or in some cases, a better alternative. Practical implications: The pandemic itself causes friction between immediate response solutions and long-term modern slavery goals. Social implications: In response to modern slavery drivers, governments may need to fill governance gaps, to control the power of corporations, and to reconsider migration regulation. Originality/value: The COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequent supply chain disruptions were unforeseen. This paper argues that there are significant negative effects on the developments in modern slavery eradication made in the last 10 years. As businesses struggled for basic survival, the apparel manufacturing sector has been detrimentally affected as upstream labourers are now at higher risk from the increased likelihood of modern slavery violations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.