Dr Richard Adams

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Journal articles

  • Smart P, Hemel S, Lettice F, Adams RJ, Evans S. (2017) 'Pre-paradigmatic Status of Industrial Sustainability: A Systematic Review'. Emerald International Journal of Operations and Production Management,
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    This paper seeks to progress Operations Management (OM) theory and practice by organising contributions to knowledge production, in Industrial Sustainability, from disparate researcher communities. It addresses the principal question ‘What scholarly dialogues can be explicated in the emerging research field of Industrial Sustainability?’ and sub-questions (i) what are the descriptive characteristics of the evidence base? and (ii) what thematic lines of scientific inquiry underpin the body of knowledge? Using an evidenced based approach, a Systematic Review of 574 articles from 62 peer-reviewed scientific journals associated with Industrial Sustainability is conducted. This paper distinguishes three prevailing dialogues in the field of Industrial Sustainability, and uses Kuhn’s Theory of Paradigms to propose its pre-paradigmatic scientific status. The three dialogues (i) ‘productivity and innovation’, (ii) ‘corporate citizenship’ and (iii) ‘economic resilience’ are conjectured to privilege efficiency strategies as a mode of incremental reductionism. Industrial Sustainability espouses the grand vision of a generative, restorative and net positive economy, and calls for a future research trajectory to address institutional and systemic issues regarding scaling-up and transition, through transformative strategies. The review is limited by the nature of the inquiries addressed in the literatures by specific researcher communities between 1992 and 2014. This study performs the first systematic review in the field of Industrial Sustainability, synthesises prevailing scholarly dialogues and provides an evaluation of the scientific status of the field.

  • Kewell EJ, Adams RJ, Parry G. (2017) 'Blockchain for Good?'. Wiley Strategic Change, (Specia)
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    Explores key areas of Blockchain innovation that appear to represent viable catalysts for achieving global Sustainable Development targets. Projects and initiatives seeking to extend the reach of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLTs), seem mostly intended for the benefit of for-profit businesses, governments, and consumers. DLT projects, devised for the public good, could aim, in theory, to fulfil the United Nation’s current Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our overview of these initiatives suggests that blockchain technology is being applied in ways that could transform this ambition for good into a practical reality. Current examples of blockchain deployment are being specified within a value-creation remit that is most likely to benefit for-profit businesses, governments, and consumers (Ng, 2013; Bohme et al., 2015; Swan, 2015; Potts et al., 2016; McWaters et al., 2016; Walport, 2016). Received ideas about what blockchain can and should be used for are based on perceptions that the key role of this technology is to unlock cost savings and secure efficiency gains, whilst also enabling widespread business model transformation (Walport, 2016). Within this scenario, blockchain affordances (Gibson, 1978) are principally seen to ‘do good’ by resolving longstanding obstacles to profitability and value-capture (Walport, 2016). The aim of this paper is to consider how blockchain solutions could be used to achieve good outcomes for the sustainable development agenda by, for example, helping to fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015). Kranzberg’s first law of technology avers that ‘Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral’ (Kranzberg’s, 1986, p.545). In doing so, Kranzberg reminds us that innovations are morally and ethically instantiated. To date, research has tended to focus on the technical characteristics, efficiency gains - and profits - to be yielded from blockchain projects and experimental Distributed Ledger Technology (DLTs) and ‘permissioned ledgers’ being run by private consortia (Ng, 2013; Bohme et al., 2015; Swan, 2015; Potts et al., 2016; McWaters et al., 2016; Walport, 2016). While initially fixed on the commercial and consumer benefits to be drawn from blockchain innovation, attention is beginning to shift toward the appropriation of socially and environmentally beneficial use cases that aim to tackle global challenges such as, for example, financial exclusion (CTPM, 2016). Drawing on affordance theory, this explora

  • Adams RJ, Jeanrenaud S, Bessant J, Denyer D, Overy P. (2016) 'Sustainability-oriented innovation: a systematic review'. International Journal of Management Reviews,
    [ Status: Accepted ]

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