Alliance Manchester Business School and the University of Manchester are distinctive in UK higher education as the first university and business school to make social responsibility a core strategic goal.
Social responsibility is one of our core values which is why our societal impact has been ranked top in the world by Times Higher Education.
As one of the world’s leading research institutions, we're focusing on research, student learning, public engagement and our campus to make a difference.
We ask not only what is the University is good at, but what it is good for.
The University has five strategic priorities for social responsibility:
The University of Manchester has a number of signature programmes under each of the Strategic Priorities.
The Chartered Association of Business Schools' (CABS) 2021 report titled: Business Schools and the Public Good recognises best practice from a diverse range of its member schools, including Alliance MBS.
In 2019, Alliance Manchester Business School became an advanced signatory of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Read our first PRME SIP (Sharing Information on Progress) Report.
Social responsibility news
Monday, October 18, 2021
With increased awareness of ‘doing good while doing well’, multinationals are realising that profit maximization is not the only route to success. They also need to demonstrate that their existence is beneficial for society in general. >>
Monday, September 27, 2021
Understanding sustainability requires a focus on how people live, how they acquire, use and dispose of goods and services. Crucially, research is now focusing on how innovations can actually promote a much more environmentally friendly lifestyle. >>
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
This week, The Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) published a new report titled: Business Schools and the Public Good, recognising best practice from a diverse range of CABS member schools, including Alliance MBS. >>
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
AMBS’ Professor Frank Geels is the Co-Investigator of a new £20 million UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded research and innovation centre. >>
Monday, March 22, 2021
A new Business and Management PhD project, focusing on using technology to improve bus travel for SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) students, gets underway at Alliance MBS next academic year. >>
Friday, March 12, 2021
This year, Alliance MBS awarded eight incoming undergraduate students with social responsibility scholarships. We caught up with this year's scholars to find out which social responsibility issues they are most passionate about, and how their scholarship has further motivated and enabled them to take action to make a positive impact. >>
Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 1: No Poverty
A Human Development Report for Greater Manchester
In 2017, Professor Jill Rubery published a Human Development Report for Greater Manchester. The report mirrors the approach taken by the United Nations in measuring human development in the city region against health, knowledge and standards of living. The Human Development Report researched inequalities by gender, ethnicity, social class and locality across all the city’s ten boroughs.
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being for People
Institute for Health Policy and Organisation
The Institute leads academic research across health policy, organisation and management to achieve high levels of engagement and impact with non-academic stakeholders.
New product to tackle iodine deficiency
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Alliance Manchester Business School and Tata Chemicals Europe has focused on researching the consumer perspective of health and nutrition in order to develop a product that addresses iodine deficiency.
Research on health risk communications
This research develops a communication blueprint for healthcare services to successfully profile and target the UK public with appropriate personalised risk communications. It is estimated that one in two people will develop cancer at some stage in their lives. According to Cancer Research UK, 40% of cancer risk is attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors. Our researchers have successfully developed risk assessment models based on genetic and genomic information (i.e. having or not having disease-related genes) and individual lifestyle and environmental factors, which help individuals recognise factors that contribute to their cancer risk most, and recommend how to eliminate those factors.
Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
AMBS’ Wendy Wild contributed a chapter to the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals on Good Health and Wellbeing. The volume fosters knowledge to support the UN Sustainable Development Goal to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
Goal 4: Quality Education
Undergraduate scholarships for social responsibility
We offer scholarships to UK/EU and international students achieving AAA at A-level (or equivalent) who are able to demonstrate a significant contribution and commitment to social responsibility. Hear from our social responsibility scholars.
High school partnership
Alliance MBS has a longstanding relationship with the Education & Leadership Trust. Throughout the year there are numerous opportuniIties for our staff and students to volunteer to support the partnership and for school students to visit AMBS to take part in a wide series of events, such as our annual Inspiring Girls conference on International Women’s Day.
An interactive workshop on financial literacy was held with the support of Manchester City Council and the Manchester Youth Council. The objectives of the workshop were to seek the views of students about what they feel should be included in a school financial-education curriculum.
We host an annual Investment Challenge event for local year 12 students. This project is funded and supported by Alliance MBS and delivered in partnership with Global Investor Simulations. 180 students compete in an interactive simulated stock market to develop their skills in finance and improve their business awareness. Watch the video to find out more:
Designing transformative services for refugees
This research project studies refugee-support services in the UK to identify how services can be made more inclusive, accessible and equitable. It explores changes needed in concept, design and process of services that can empower refugees by improving their skills and social connections. The outcomes of this research contribute to wellbeing for refugees and for their host communities.
Leveraging data analytics for nursery education
Early years education is critical to a child’s future development. Software provider Connect Childcare is working with Alliance MBS to look at the key role that data can play.
Researchers at the Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre have begun a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Connect Childcare, a leading provider of nursery management software, in order to analyse data within the business. The research aims to establish a basis for assessing the economic value of real-time data in the early years education sector in order to help business, government, and society.
Royal British Legion (RBL) support for veterans
A pilot project in collaboration with RBL focused on assisting ex- servicemen and women into work and was completed in 2019. As a result two places were secured on AMBS’s Manchester Management Development programme, while RBL also participated in the Prometheus third sector conference. Veterans were also supported with one to one career discussions.
The Tutor Trust
We spoke to Alfie Balsdon, BSc (Hons) International Business, Finance and Economics student, about his experience working with The Tutor Trust, a unique charity which aims to tackle inequality by supplying schools with university students, who act as academic tutors to disadvantaged pupils.
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Improving the rights of women workers in global supply chains
Research undertaken within the Global Development Institute and Alliance Manchester Business School has long focused on the important role of women workers in global production and in promoting gender equality in global retail value chains. We have collaborated with companies, NGOs and international organisations to better understand the challenges women workers face and develop strategies to promote gender equality, while identifying a mix of private, social and public governance strategies. The research has had impact on the UK Ethical Trading Initiative, International Labour Organisation, Oxfam, Nike, Marks & Spencer, Cadbury/Mondelez, Cotton Connect and the Department for International Development.
Fathers’ experience of shared parental leave
Researchers at the Work and Equalities Institute and Lancaster University Management School explored the experience of shared parental leave (SPL) among fathers and couples through qualitative longitudinal interviews. They worked with the charity Working Families and the Fatherhood Institute to put together video case studies of parents using SPL and resources on family friendly policies that employers and employees can access. These resources have been accessed by employers, trade unions and policymakers. The research has played a key part in the government’s SPL campaign.
Women on boards and lower corporate scandals
Ser Huang Poon, Chris Godfrey and co-authors investigated whether corporate board gender diversity, as measured by the ratio of female board members, can reduce the risk of corporate scandals. Research in general finds a positive relationship between a company’s board gender diversity and its corporate reputation, and also its social responsibility. The results imply that boards with higher gender diversity, for reasons other than scandals, were better than their lower diversity counterparts in reducing scandals.
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Across the University we have 13 100% electric vehicles, two hybrid vehicles and 14 charging bays.
Sustainable energy innovation
A research project funded by the Lord Alliance Strategic Research Fund analyses changes in corporate value creation and capture attributable to the emergence of sustainable energy innovations in the European energy sector. As it is a major challenge for electric utilities to redesign their business from the inside, they are increasingly looking externally for help. This project creates insights into how European utilities change their collaborative behaviour to be able to tap into new sources of value creation built on sustainable energy innovations.
Solar energy provision in the Borneo jungle
Borneo is a mesmerising landscape with thousands of remote villages nestled in its jungle. Villagers live by traditional means, living off the rainforest and in longhouses, and using the river as their means of transport. The development of Borneo’s cities has led to an inequity between city dwellers and villagers, attracting many people to the cities for employment and an enhanced standard of living. Realising this and the need to advance the whole nation, the Malaysian government initiated a programme to electrify villages with a continuous source of electricity from village-based solar plants. As part of an EPSRC-funded project, AMBS’ Duncan Shaw and colleagues are working with villagers to understand how they exploit the new source of electricity and how this changes living patterns.
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Just Work in Greater Manchester: challenges to developing and sustaining decent work
The Work and Equalities Institute (WEI) identifies and promotes the conditions for more inclusive and fair work and employment arrangements through its research, and thereby seeks to address other inequalities in health and education that are driven by labour market factors and employment conditions. One example of its research is Just Work in Greater Manchester, a project that seeks to identify routes to more decent work and to generate greater security for the most vulnerable. The research explores challenges for equality, fairness and sustainability in the workplace, and considers how employers are responding to the challenge of an increasingly diverse workforce and what new institutions are needed to enforce fair rights and responsibilities at work.
Business and Human Rights Catalyst
The Business and Human Rights Catalyst, opened in 2016, is one of the first human rights programmes worldwide hosted by a business school. The BHR Catalyst aims, through world-leading research and policy recommendations, to have a real impact on the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in society and to serve as a safe space for inter-disciplinary discussions between academics, policymakers and businesses on the role of the private sector in relation to fundamental rights.
Shareholder wealth effects of modern slavery regulation
Marie Dutordoir, Joao Quariguasi Frota Net and co-authors examine the shareholder wealth effects of the adoption of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA). The MSA’s Transparency in Supply Chains clause introduced new reporting requirements mandating certain firms to provide an annual statement outlining how they identify and mitigate modern slavery in their business and supply chain. The study uncovers significant cross-sectional differences in stock price reactions, with results suggesting that the MSA provides a competitive advantage to firms with a demonstrated track record of addressing slavery risk. The findings highlight the economic value of maintaining socially responsible sourcing practices, and inform the current policy debate on the importance of greater transparency in corporate supply chains.
Enduring Net: Blockchain against modern slavery
Enduring Net is a charity set up by Prof Ser-Huang Poon incorporated to deploy distributed technology and artificial intelligence to facilitate humanitarian work. It principally focuses on the ability of distributed ledgers, facilitated by blockchain technology, to serve as a secure and reliable means of information exchange between the disparate agencies involved in handling cases of modern slavery. It is involved in active discussions with Greater Manchester Police and, through impact accelerator awards, is building strong links in India. The eventual goal is to construct a worldwide system.
Are CEOs judged on their companies' social reputation? A study by Xiangshang Cai, Ian Garrett, and Yan Xu explores the notion of "What motivates industry leaders to be socially more responsible?" Ian and Ning find that social reputation is a crucial determinant of CEO'’'s desire for social responsibility. Ian and Ning investigate whether a CEO's external job opportunity is a function of her company's social reputation. They find the CEO of a company with a good (poor) social reputation is more (less) successful in the outside-director market. Companies are willing to invite as their directors the CEOs of firms with good social standing and reluctant to do so with CEOs whose firm has a bad reputation. More nuanced analyses show that workplace diversity and supply-chain human rights are most consequential among the social and environmental dimensions of CSR. Appointing, as a director, a CEO who manages a firm with a poor social reputation can be a public-relations disaster. An event study shows that the market reaction is indeed lower when a firm appoints as a director the CEO of a company with a poor social reputation. The study demonstrates that social reputation constitutes an essential motive for the CEOs' social and environmental initiatives.
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
Infrastructure is core to sustainable development, and researchers at AMBS across all divisions are engaged in investigating the development and delivery of infrastructure development projects. Important work has been conducted over a number of years on infrastructure finance, particularly on the use of public-private partnerships. For instance Professors Gil and Stafford have recently published a book on African infrastructure development, and Dr Han is working on Belt and Road investment in Africa. Closer to home, Prof Winch, Dr Maytorena-Sanchez, and Dr Ronzani are working on strategic aspects of infrastructure development and delivery in the UK context which have important implications for the achievement of sustainability goals.
Nuno Gil and Anne Stafford edited a book on ‘Duality by Design: The Global Race to Build Africa's Infrastructure’. As Africa experiences exponential population growth and China rises to become the world’s largest economy, China’s development assistance to tackle Africa’s infrastructure gap has risen, along with growing controversy on China’s role in Africa’s socioeconomic development. Building on an extensive body of evidence, this book argues that building institutions and quick capital investment are two desirable, but organisationally incompatible objectives.
Our Masood Enterprise Centre supports students to solve problems, innovate, recognise opportunity, manage risk and apply their subject knowledge and skills to many of the SDGs. We are committed to improving the sustainability of our campus through a range of specific policies covering: Travel; Waste and Recycling; Energy and Carbon; Construction; Sustainable Labs; IT; Biodiversity; Food and Fairtrade.
The reshaping of city transport
A major three-year study of how digital mobility platforms are reshaping cities will also look at the huge impact COVID-19 is already having on transport systems. Alliance Manchester Business School has been awarded a grant by the Economic and Social Research Council to investigate how digital platforms are rapidly reconfiguring urban services and disrupting the way mobility systems are currently organised across cities. Read full news article
Goal 10: Reducing Inequalities
Diversity and inclusion at the workplace
Researchers at Alliance Manchester Business School have been working with industry specialists to make recommendations for a practical approach to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They looked at how decisions on recruitment and promotion are made in the best organisations, focusing on how employees are treated and how they are made to feel included. The result is a new workplace standard, British Standard BS76005 - Valuing people through Diversity and Inclusion, which has the potential to transform management thinking and improve diversity across the UK.
Making research more inclusive
Research findings often do not represent hard-to-reach groups such as migrants. To address this, researchers from the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) are conducting research with Moss Side community members of Somali origin. In one study, using questionnaires translated into Somali and recruiting participants from community spaces, the researchers surveyed 57 adults about the frequency with which they engage in sustainable practices such as conserving water and energy or recycling. Their inclusive research approach enabled engagement with the local community and revealed that individuals in the Somali community engaged in sustainable behaviours with a high frequency, countering common assumptions that migrants need to be educated about sustainability.
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Cities and sustainability
The Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI), via its Cities and Sustainability group, undertakes research that is concerned both with understanding the future of the sustainable city and in shaping what this looks like.
Talking rubbish in Moss Side
Together with the resident community action group ‘Upping It’, researchers from the Sustainable Consumption Institute conducted a neighbourhood-level study of waste management problems in Moss Side, a deprived inner city ward in Manchester. The purpose was to understand the reasons for litter/rubbish in streets and alleyways, and why more waste is not recycled from a resident perspective. The study also considered the extent to which interventions by the city’s universities, City Council, waste authorities and contractors have been effective, and what more can be done.
Spontaneous volunteering for community disaster response
Research from Professor Duncan Shaw and Dr Chris Smith has been looking into the role of spontaneous volunteers. When a major natural or man-made disaster strikes people feel compelled to help, but these spontaneous volunteers are usually untrained in emergency response and can become a hindrance to emergency services on the ground.
However, if trained correctly, these volunteers could instead offer a valuable resource in helping often stretched emergency services. In this light, our research has informed a new international standard which offers guidance in the event of natural and man-made disasters.
Peer reviews to make communities safe, resilient and sustainable
Central to enhancing disaster risk reduction (DRR) to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is the need to share learning and benchmark practices. One way of communities doing this is through a AMBS-led international standard (ISO22392) on conducting peer reviews. A peer review of DRR gives opportunity to a host community to reflect on its practices with, and receive feedback from, knowledgeable and independent reviewers. Our first involvement in such peer reviews was through a EU-funded project which worked with three EU cities/countries and the United Nations to develop and implement a peer review tool. Further delivery of peer reviews in the Middle East and Latin America has had significant effect on thinking, practices and laws in those countries.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Sustainable Consumption Institute
The Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) explores how reconfiguring consumption and production systems can contribute to less resource-intensive ways of life. Our research allows us to better understand human needs, values, practices and habits, while exploring sustainable approaches to production, supply and distribution of goods and services. Our wide ranging research includes waste management problems, household sustainability and the cultural politics surrounding this, thrifty consumption, the circular economy, and sustainable cities. One example is SCI’s research on sustainable meat, such as looking into new animal breeding technologies and rearing practices, as well as at meat reduction initiatives.
Goal 13: Climate Action
System transitions and societal challenges
The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research studies societal challenges such as climate change, energy security, transport and resource efficiency, food safety, obesity, and environmentally friendly production. Addressing these so-called ‘grand challenges’ requires R&D, technical innovation and system transitions. Research by MIOIR builds links between evolutionary economics, innovation management, and science and technology studies to research the dynamics of long-term, large-scale transitions, sustainable consumption and production, and eco-innovation.
Goal 15: Life on Land
For each tree lost through campus development, two more are planted. Our Tree Policy aims to increase tree cover across campus. This supports our partner charity City of Trees, which aims to plant a tree for every man, woman and child that lives in our city region within a generation.
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Quality of Audits
Professor Chris Humphrey has written an article for ICAEW’s Audit Futures which makes recommendations about how to approach reading the Brydon report to enable its depth and significance to be best appreciated. In 2019 Sir Donald Brydon published the findings from his independent review into the quality and effectiveness of audit. Professor Chris Humphrey was the only academic representative on the Advisory Board and is referenced extensively in the report.
Business and Human rights - One of the most significant developments in global governance over the past decade has been the assigning of human rights responsibilities to business. Read here about the recent launch of the Business & Human Rights Catalyst at Alliance MBS.
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Every year, MBA students undertake a pro-bono consultancy project with over 20 UK-based charities. Students deliver 2,400 hours of consultancy work and conduct additional group research over three months. The project underpins the importance of ethics and ‘giving back’ to our students and local community.
Associate Heads of Social Responsibility:
- Professor Brian Nicholson - Accounting and Finance
- Professor Andrew McMeekin - Innovation, Management and Policy
- Dr Ilma Nur Chowdhury - Management Science and Marketing
- Dr Jenny Rodriguez - People, Management and Organisations
- Dr Dane Anderton - Executive Education
Colleagues undertaking research on Social Responsibility:
- Professor Frank Geels - Innovation, Management and Policy
- Professor Jonatan Pinkse - Innovation, Management and Policy
- Professor Duncan Shaw - Management Science and Marketing
- Professor Ser-Huang Poon - Accounting and Finance
- Professor Marie Dutordoir - Accounting and Finance
- Professor Frank Boons - Innovation, Management and Policy
- Dr Oliver Laasch - Innovation, Management and Policy
- Dr Jo Mylan - Innovation, Management and Policy
- Dr Emma Banister - Management Science and Marketing
- Professor Jill Rubery - People, Management and Organisations