Business

Summer research projects offered by the Business School for summer 2018–19. Applications are now closed.

Tikanga Mahere Te Ao Māori: Towards defining a Māori approach to Strategy

Supervisor

Dr Jamie Newth and Dr Daniel Tisch

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS001

Estimates put the size of the Māori economy at $50 billion, representing 6% of the total New Zealand asset base. Despite its increasing importance in a post Treaty of Waitangi context, the mātauranga of Māori business strategy remains under-researched. Through collaboration with Māori businesses, the goal of this project is to create knowledge of Māori approaches to strategy with a Vision Mātauranga approach.

Customers as partners or profits? Evaluating the service-orientation of customer profitability analysis

Supervisor

Dr Frederick Ng

Discipline

Accounting and Finance

Project code: BUS002

Researchers have criticised customer profitability analysis for its focus on calculating profits and argued that instead businesses need to understand what it is customers buy and why they do so. This project critically evaluates case studies of customer profitability analysis using service-dominant logic. Service-dominant logic is a theory which argues that customer partnerships, rather than customer profits, should be the focus of analysis. This project will reveal areas of strength that promote long-term, strategic decisions, as well as areas of shortfall that lead to short-term thinking.

The impact of gender diversity of NZ boards and board committees

Supervisor

Dr Michelle Li and Assoc Prof Alastair Marsden

Discipline

Accounting and Finance

Project code: BUS003

In NZ, the number of studies on the implications of gender diversity is very limited. This is surprising given that NZ was one of the first few countries that advanced gender equality and is high on gender equality indexes. In May 2017 the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) released a new corporate governance code, which requires NZ listed firms to establish a diversity policy and publicly reports on the numbers of women at board and senior management level.
This project will examine the impact of the new NZX corporate governance code on gender diversity in boards and senior management of NZ companies.

Effects of Class Action Law Suits, Political Connections on Firm Behaviour and Market Perceptions: Evidence from US

Supervisor

Dr Dulani Jayasuriya

Discipline

Accounting and Finance

Project code: BUS004

It is generally considered that following the filing of a law suit, the defendant firm’s cost of borrowing increases along with reputational loss. The aim of this research project is to create a unique database focusing on identifying the effects of class action law suits and board member political connections on firm behaviour, such as risk taking, profitability and lending. We examine the effects of shareholder litigation, political connectedness on firm behaviour and market perception for US firms during a sample period of 1996 to 2017. Therefore, this project aims to identify the effects of crony capitalism, securities class actions on firm behaviour and market perception. The econometric and programming skills the student would learn from this project would also help with undergraduate and masters theses and increase their employability prospects across several disciplines such as Law, Economics and Finance.

Understanding inter-disciplinarity in an entrepreneurial context

Supervisor

Dr Frank Siedlok

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS005

The combination of fuzzy (social science) and techie (natural science) knowledge could enable start-ups to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about customers, products and competitors, generating new ideas that established firms often lack. Most knowledge is currently based on collaborations between relatively close disciplines and there is little known about the potentially productive interactions between more distant disciplines. In this project, our focus is on developing a better understanding of the techie—fuzzy combination by exploring inter-disciplinary start-up companies.

The use of serious play for the inclusive development of reflexive and critical thinking skills in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes

Supervisor

Dr Peter Smith

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS006

Our project develops teaching methods using Serious Play to support learners’ critical and reflexive thinking skills to aid collaborative learning and problem-solving. Using LEGOTM Serious Play, board games and computer games, we validate a range teaching methods that support inclusivity in learning at multiple levels, focussing on respectful cultural inclusion at undergraduate levels and progressive levels of interdisciplinary engagement up to the doctoral student level. We plan to deliver practical and adaptable resources for use in a wide variety of tertiary education contexts and stimulate further developments in teaching practice.

Technology use in the context of disruptive IT incidents, emergencies or disasters

Supervisor

Prof Julia Kotlarsky and Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor

Discipline

Information Systems and Operations Management and
Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS007

Today, Information Technology (IT) could be considered as a double-edged sword – helping to prevent or recover from life-threatening emergencies and disasters, but also exposing individuals, organizations and even nations to major threats and terrorism. Therefore this project aims to build a theoretical foundation for understanding the characteristics of technology use on a global scale, in relation to cyber-security, cyber-terrorism and technology use during emergencies or disasters.

Self-Sovereign Identity and Blockchain

Supervisor

Dr Johnny Chan

Discipline

Information Systems and Operations Management

Project code: BUS008

There are apparently over a billion people in the world who are unable to provide their identity, which means they could not access the critical services that we take for granted: applying for a bank account, claiming property rights, or having a medical record. Blockchain, a new technology for decentralised data and transaction management, could potentially offer a radical solution. This project aims to examine how blockchain could manage and protect the identity of individuals, regardless of where they live and what they do.

How does the changing nature of health and safety law and privacy rights impact on workplace drug testing?

Supervisor

Dawn Duncan and Dr Alan Toy

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS009

New Zealand law allows for workplace drug testing in limited circumstances where there are health and safety reasons. Given the introduction of the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and the proposed reform of New Zealand’s privacy laws, it is timely to examine whether the law in this area provides sufficient protections for employees and enough guidance to employers. This project aims to examine the impact of the new Act and the potentially changing legal protections for employees and then develop recommendations and guidelines for employers to use when making a decision to implement workplace drug testing.

Data Privacy Litigation in New Zealand and Overseas: A comparative analysis

Supervisor

Assoc Prof Gehan Gunasekara

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS010

New Zealand’s Privacy Act allows individuals to sue defendants in the Human Rights Review Tribunal, where they have often obtained significant damages awards and other remedies. This project compares New Zealand with overseas jurisdictions that have similar laws and the remedies they provide for individuals to sue when their privacy rights have been infringed. It will explore whether they also provide dedicated specialist tribunals or require individuals to sue in the ordinary courts. It will evaluate the number and types of such claims and assess the extent to which the nature of the forum affects the outcomes.

Business model innovation in tribal marketing: How video game publishers co-create their business models with consumer tribes?

Supervisor

Dr Carlos Diaz Ruiz

Discipline

Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS011

Videogame publishers are developing ways to capitalise on the creativity of consumer tribes. Consumer tribes are groups of consumers that are entrepreneurial, but their interest can be short-lived. The goal of this study is to identify the strategies that videogame publishers use for attracting the attention of consumer tribes and maintaining their interest. This project would suit a student who is passionate about videogames, knows the terminology, and has experience as a gamer.

Closing the Apparel Supply Chain in China

Supervisor

Prof David Robb

Discipline

Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS012

The apparel industry is the second highest polluting industry. Initiatives to reduce the impact include recycling more than 100 billion clothing items manufactured each year. Organisations in China are grappling with huge volumes of used clothing, with limited and shrinking domestic and international markets for recycling or reuse. This project seeks to survey the scope of the problem, the challenges, the practices, and potential ways forward. The student will need to be able to read Chinese.

Competition under bounded rationality

Supervisor

Dr Grigorij Ljubownikow

Discipline

Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS013

Have you ever wondered how firms interact with their competitors in a world characterized by complexity and rapid changes? In this project, you will contribute to a research project that explores how we can better understand the ways in which firms compete once we stop assuming that they behave fully rationally. With the guidance of the primary investigator, your role will involve conducting a structured and critical literature review. This includes keyword based database searches, retrieval, and classification of documents and structured analysis of these documents. In the process, you will learn how to use Endnote as a reference management software and the R statistical language for structured document analysis (no prior knowledge is required, and training will be provided). So, if you want to learn about how boundedly rational firms compete and gain some valuable research and computer skills along the way, then this project is for you.

Predicting success: The case of movies and sports’ players

Supervisor

Dr Cristiano Bellavitis

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS014

This project aims to predict successful outcomes in two industries which are usually very hard to predict: soccer and movies. We aim to test how different factors in a dataset of European football players allow us to predict match victory and eventually create a betting strategy. We will also test how different factors in a movie database help us to understand what affects the success of a movie at the box office. The student will need to be familiar with statistical programs such as R, Stata and/or machine learning algorithms.

The cultural distance of international education experiences and cultural intelligence: The influence of personality

Supervisor

Dr Dana Ott

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS015

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is a set of skills that assists individuals with intercultural interactions and adjusting to unfamiliar cultural environments. An inherent aspect of all international experiences is cultural distance (CD), which is the level of similarity between an individual’s home culture and the host culture. This project will analyse the relationship between CD and CQ, and consider the influence of personality characteristics on this relationship. The aim is to be able to explain the influence of cultural differences on skill development during an international experience.

Comparison of Personality and financial attitude of Māori and Chinese business leaders.

Supervisor

Prof James Sun

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS016

Cross-cultural collaboration and international business are impacted by leadership style, cultural values and attitudes towards business. In recent years there has been a growing number of business activities developing between Māori and Chinese, however there is a lack of research on the similarities and differences between Māori and Chinese business leaders. This project aims to explore the similarities and differences in the personality, leadership style and financial attitudes of Māori and Chinese business leaders. The student will need to be able to translate English into Chinese.

Capital or Capabilities: addressing unlocked potential of NZ SMEs to export

Supervisor

Dr Janine Swail

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS017

In New Zealand, only one in five local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are involved in the export economy. Therefore, understanding why more NZ SMEs do not choose to grow their businesses through exporting must be better understood. In this project we seek to better understand the barriers NZ SMEs face, and how the relationship between barriers can negatively impact upon the decision to export. We aim to develop a set of practical recommendations to increase the uptake of exporting among this group.

Māori fishing industry enterprises: Firm-level analysis and benchmarks

Supervisor

Dr Billie Lythberg

Discipline

Mira Szaszy – Research Centre

Project code: BUS018

This project aims to understand the performance, activity and challenges of Māori enterprises in the fishing industry. We will look at how the assets are governed, managed and used for the benefit of iwi members. Our findings will be used to help Māori fisheries enterprises manage their assets and operate more efficiently. This project would suit a Māori student who is familiar with using excel and reading financial statements.

Finding Fonua in Urban New Zealand

Supervisor

Assoc Prof Karen Fernandez

Discipline

Marketing

Project code: BUS019

Fonua is the Pacific Island equivalent of the Māori whenua, meaning the land and its people and their ongoing inter-relationships. Pacific people in urban New Zealand are adapting their traditions and rituals to maintain linkages with their island homes. Given the rising seas induced by climate change, many more Pacific people will need to be housed here in the future. This project will investigate how Pacific Islanders in Auckland have adapted the use of their residential and communal spaces to enact traditional relationships, and how these activities can inform housing policy.

Trade Liberalization and Labour Market outcomes: The Role for Labour Market Regulation

Supervisor

Dr Asha Sundaram

Discipline

Economics

Project code: BUS020

There is much debate on the impact of trade openness on employment and wages for workers. This project will look at the impact of trade liberalization on Indian firms. It will examine the relationship between trade cost reductions and employment and wages. We aim to understand the role of labour market regulation in determining the impacts of trade on workers.

When BOTs meet Humans

Supervisor

Prof Ilan Oshri

Discipline

Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS021

In the last five years we have witnessed tremendous interest in how software robots (also known as BOTs) will transform the way we work. BOTs are capable of working relentlessly and accurately while bearing little cost to the employing firm. Humans, on the other hand, are expected to face the loss of millions of jobs in the coming decade, due to the introduction of BOTs. This project aims to test the hypothesis that current predictions over-estimate the abilities of BOTs and under-estimate the need for human involvement in BOT performance. We seek to understand the involvement of humans in work performed by BOTs and the threats and opportunities involved in this new technology.

Aroaro: distributed mixed reality learning space utilizing both augmented and virtual reality

Supervisor

Assoc Prof Fernando Beltran

Discipline

Information Systems and Operations Management

Project code: BUS022

We are creating an innovative learning and teaching experience whereby real human presence and physical artefacts mix with virtual human presence and virtual artefacts. Distributed Mixed Reality Learning (DRML) enables participants to be “present” in the same space at the same time with both physical and interactive holographic objects. This project is about the creation of a DRML environment that integrates technological advances in virtual reality, mixed reality, high-speed communications and holographic learning modules to enhance the learning experience. The student will need specific software development skills such as Java Script, Unity3D, C# and User Experience design.

Environmental sustainability, and supply chain trade-offs in the international trade of agro-based products

Supervisor

Prof Tava Olsen

Discipline

Information Systems and Operations Management

Project code: BUS023

Exporting agricultural products is one of the main pillars of NZ’s economic growth. However, NZ’s geographical location poses a risk to its food exports. In this project we will investigate the sustainability of NZ supplying fresh avocados for the US market in comparison with Mexican avocados. We will look at the carbon and water footprints and the trade-offs between them for NZ, Mexico, and the US. Next, we will investigate the sustainability of exporting fresh avocados versus processed avocados. We aim to determine which systems would decrease the environmental impacts of the food supply chain and increase the overall benefits.

Impact Measurement in NZ Social Entrepreneurship

Supervisor

Dr Deborah Shepherd

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS024

‘Social entrepreneurship’ describes the intentional pursuit of economic and social change. This can occur in both developed and developing economies where inequality, marginalisation, environmental degradation, and other social problems occur. The rise of social entrepreneurship brings about challenges in measuring the positive differences it actually makes. This project will investigate how organisations can measure non-financial outcomes and communicate their impact to stakeholders.

Beyond CRISPR: Emerging technologies that change science commercialisation

Supervisor

Dr Lisa Callagher

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS025

CRISPR is a simple tool that enables the cutting, copying and mass production of strings of DNA. It is recognised as a radical technology that offers novel solutions to global challenges. CRISPR is being rapidly adopted by science organisations for a broad range of applications. As the cost of bringing new drugs to market is estimated at US$2billion, this project will explore how CRISPR applications can accelerate new product development and how this will change traditional business models.

Accelerate: Challenging and Extending High Performing Students in a Large First-Year Course

Supervisor

Assoc Prof Richard Brookes

Discipline

Marketing

Project code: BUS026

The two-course sequence of BUSINESS 101 and 102 represents a very large and complex implementation of Flipped (Team-Based) Learning. In Semester 2, 2017, 30 students engaged in a voluntary extra-curricular development programme where they assessed, reported back and presented recommendations on a marketing issue faced by St John Ambulance. This project will investigate how similar challenges could be provided for students in progressive stages of their undergraduate years, with beneficial outcomes for students, the Business School and the participating Not-for-Profit Organisation. The student will need to have an understanding of qualitative research and how to analyse survey-based quantitative data.