Business Research Translation Competition

The Business Research Translation Competition is held to show the relevance, robustness and usefulness of business research to external stakeholders.

The winners (holding certificates and prizes) Dr ‘Ilaisaane Fifita, Dr Daniel Tisch, Assoc Prof Rachel Morrison, Assoc Prof Bevan Catley and Prof Emeritus Kerr Inkson with the University of Auckland Business School Dean Prof Jayne Godfrey, the Associate Dean (Research) Prof Snejina Michailova, and the judges Robert MacDonald and Geoff Whitcher. The awarding ceremony was held on 13 December 2019 and hosted by the University of Auckland Business School.

2019 winners and winning translation papers

Overall research category

1st place

Assoc Prof Bevan Catley, Massey University Business School (Albany)

Breaking the badness: How to successfully manage a complaint of workplace bullying

2nd place

Prof Emeritus Kerr Inkson, University of Auckland Business School

Board directors and the swamp of compliance

3rd place

Assoc Prof Rachel Morrison, AUT Business School

Gendered responses to open-plan offices: Objectification theory at work

Māori/Pacific research category

Dr ‘Ilaisaane Fifita, University of Auckland Business School

The role of identity in resisting tobacco smoking

Early career research category

Dr Daniel Tisch, University of Auckland Business School

Can we communicate more effectively to farmers about climate change?

About the judges

Kambiz Maani (Chair of the Judging Panel)

Professor Maani is an internationally acknowledged expert in systems thinking and complexity. Kambiz’s academic and consulting career spans over 30 years in the USA, Asia, Australasia, and South America. His academic portfolio includes the Foundation Chair in Systems Thinking and Practice at the University of Queensland (UQ), Division and Department Head at the University of Auckland, and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at Massey Business School. He has held visiting positions at MIT, London Business School, Boston University, Cornell and Aalto (Helsinki School of Economics).

Kambiz’s work focuses on complexity management and group decision making. He is the recipient of several research and publication awards from scholarly journals. His current projects include strategy and policy design and climate change and sustainability. Kambiz has advised numerous corporations and government agencies in Australia, New Zealand, USA, China and Asia. He provides seminars and corporate training internationally.

Professor Maani is the author of internationally acclaimed books, used widely at universities, governments and organisations around the World. His latest book: “Multi-Stakeholder Decision Making for Complex Problems”, published by World Scientific Press in 2017, features his consulting projects for UNESCO Biospheres in Asia.

Geoffrey Whitcher is credited with helping transform how entrepreneurial thinking is fostered in New Zealand.

He is an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit and was an organiser of Knowledge Wave conferences in the early 2000s, which pushed for the transformation of NZ into a knowledge-based economy and also in setting up Kea, a global network of expatriate New Zealanders that has one million members.

After over 30 years in business, including stints at Unilever and Fletcher Challenge in both New Zealand and overseas as well as in Directorships on some NZ corporates in 2000 he became commercial director of University of Auckland Developments where his initial role was to build bridges between academia and industry.

Geoff was involved in the creation and establishment of Spark (now Velocity, Chiasma, the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge, and two post graduate programmes the Masters of Bioscience Enterprise (MBE) and the Masters of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship and served as a board member of business incubator Icehouse and the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA). Now retired he is an Executive in Residence at Auckland Business School.

Rob McDonald (Chair of the Business School Advisory Board)

McDonald’s finance career spans over 35 years, having worked overseas before joining Coopers and Lybrand in the corporate advisory and valuations practice in 1985. He joined Air New Zealand in 1993 and left in 2018 after 13 years as CFO. Rob is Chair of Contact Energy Limited and is a director of Fletcher Building, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and Sovereign Assurance Company Limited. He is a former board member of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand Inc. and former vice chairman of the IATA Financial Committee. Rob has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland. In 1999 he completed the Program of Management Development at Harvard Business School. He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Danny Chan (Member of the Business School Advisory Board)

Danny Chan holds a number of directorships in New Zealand. He is the Deputy Chairman of Academic Colleges Group Limited, the largest private education group in New Zealand. In 2009, Danny was appointed to the Board of Abano Healthcare Limited, an NZX listed healthcare provider. His other directorships including Flowerzone International Limited, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited and Farmers Mutual Group.

Danny was a former director of Everbright Pacific Limited, a subsidiary of one of the largest Chinese government owned conglomerates, China Everbright Limited. He was also a director of Airways Corporation Limited, a state-owned air traffic management company and AgResearch Limited, a crown owned scientific research company that specializes in agricultural and biotechnology developments.

Roger France (Member of the Business School Advisory Board)

Roger France is a professional, non-executive director and chartered accountant with more than 17 years governance experience in a wide range of organisations. He is currently Chairman of private investment company Tappenden Holdings and the Deep South National Science Challenge, a Director of the Southern Cross Medical Care Society, a Trustee of the University of Auckland Foundation, and a member of the Advisory Panel for Next Foundation. Roger’s past Board appointments include Fonterra, Air New Zealand, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Blue Star Group, Orion Health Group and Team New Zealand. He was member of the Council of The University of Auckland for twelve years and Chancellor between 2009 and 2012. Before taking up a governance career, Roger was the CFO of two listed New Zealand companies and a corporate advisory partner at PwC. Mr France is a Fellow of both the New Zealand Institute of Directors and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

About the competition

Business research is expected to contribute to society, the environment, and the economy. Governments and funding agencies across the world have been calling for academics to demonstrate their research impact, show a return on public investment, and articulate the resulting knowledge in a language that is accessible to those who can benefit from it.

The purpose of the competition is to enhance our skills and confidence in communicating our research to wider, non-specialised audiences.

We invite researchers from the University of Auckland Business School, Massey Business School, AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, and Waikato Management School to participate.

Submission and assessment criteria

Register and submit a translated paper (1,000 words) aimed at a non-academic audience, based on a selected journal article published in the last five years (see Preparation guide below). Please remove any details of your short paper that could reveal your identity and upload it at the link below.

A judging panel comprising business people from the private and public sectors will review the submissions, focusing primarily on the appeal and usefulness to business practitioners. The articles submitted will be assessed individually based on the criteria set out below before the judges convene to discuss their assessments and agree on the winning entries.


  1. The likely interest and value of the findings to the business/policy community: 70%
    • Does it address a significant issue? (25%)
    • How easily can a non-specialist understand the research? (25%)
    • How easily can the research be applied to add value to a business or policy maker community? (20%)
  2. Quality of the writing: 15%
  3. Research/academic rigour: 15%

Submissions are now closed.

Preparation guide

The following questions that might assist you in writing your brief paper are taken from the Harvard Business Review Guidelines for Contributors.

  1. What is the central message of your article (the "aha")? What is important, useful, new or counterintuitive about your idea? Why do practitioners need to know about it?
  2. How can your idea be applied in business today (the "so what")?
  3. For which kinds of companies/organisations would it work especially well? Why?
  4. What research have you conducted to support the argument in your article?
  5. On what previous work (either of your own or of others) does this idea build?


Q: What does ‘translation’ mean in this context?

A: By ‘translation’ we mean re-writing an existing paper you have published for a non-specialist audience, business or public, in a broad, lay and jargon-free language. If the paper you chose is already non-technical and jargon-free, you can simply create a shorter version of it for the competition.

Q: My research is not about ‘business’, can I still participate?

A: The word 'business' is generic in this context and intended to include private, public and not-for-profit business, as well as business policy, etc. (e.g., healthcare, migration, security, housing). Think about this as writing about your research for the NZ Herald, National Business Review or Newsroom.

Q: How recent should the research be?

A: Research Translation Competition short papers should be based on published articles with a date after 1 January 2014, either in print or available online with a designated DOI.

Q: Can I submit more than one short paper?

A: Only one submission per competitor will be accepted.

Q: I am a PhD student, am I eligible?

A: Unfortunately you will have to wait until you finish your PhD to be eligible.

Find out more

For further enquiries you may contact:

Christiane Rupp
Special Research Projects Manager, University of Auckland Business School