If you're interested in doing a research PhD with us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about postgraduate research at the University of Cumbria, visit our research pages.
We research how professionals can better lead their organisations, sectors or communities towards sustainability and social justice, and how such leadership can be enabled.
Our focus is on the attributes and competencies that enable someone to participate in social transformation. This includes the study of how organisational and societal transformations occur, as well as how to encourage personal transformations and wellbeing through learning experiences.
Our research draws upon the empowering educational approach of Charlotte Mason, who established our campus in 1892, and the opportunity of our beautiful landscape for learning both in and from nature. Our first Occasional Paper, "Searching for Sustainability Leadership" by Professor Jem Bendell and Richard Little (of Impact International), is available as a pdf.
We research how professionals, including entrepreneurs and community leaders, can employ novel ways to resource their activities to enable the transition to sustainability, social justice and prosperity, as well as the implications for governments, foundations and other stakeholders.
The last few years have seen an explosion in the use of alternative means of sharing, giving, swapping, exchanging and financing, with the terms “sharing economy”, “collaborative consumption” and “complementary currency” becoming popular. We research these developments as aspects of “sustainable exchange.” Our research resonates with the local legacy of John Ruskin on contrarian economics.
We research how professionals develop, deploy or assess strategies for transforming difficult public problems. This includes a study of the scaling up of social innovations, the use of transformative cross-sectoral alliances, transformative philanthropy, innovations in public policies, and business innovations that are disruptive to existing markets and industries.
Our research on philanthropic leadership resonates with the local legacy of Beatrix Potter, whose active purchase and gifting of land made possible the Lake District National Park and the extent of the National Trust.
Research on the Sustainable Development Goals
22 December 2021
Building on our 2020-21 research with itdUPM on ‘Transformative Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ involving multi-stakeholder partnerships in Carlisle, Lancaster, the Lake District and Madrid, IFLAS is current working with the start-up sustainability consultancy SDG Changemakers on a new industry research project to support the development of InToto, a digital sustainability business management tool for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The project is using the 17 SDGs agreed upon by 193 nations as its content framework for the development of InToto.
Dr David F Murphy, Associate Professor of Sustainability and Collaborative Leadership, and colleagues Dr Sarah Williams and Dr Justin Larner, together with SDG Changemakers’ Co-Directors Claire Benson and Felicity Jones are working with Penrith-based intern researcher Anna Mossop to support her in:
- Identifying a common set of key performance indicators (KPIs) appliable to MSMEs.
- Matching these KPIs to a core basket of SDG targets and indicators.
- Testing the model with at least three local MSMEs to see if the mission, vision, values, and strategic KPIs can be matched to specific SDGs, and then mapped onto a sustainable business model and action plan.
Supported by the Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP II), the research project is already underway and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2022. Funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund and the Northern Powerhouse, CUSP II is a partnership between the University of Cumbria and Lancaster University that supports inventive, innovative Cumbria businesses who want to accelerate their development through collaboration with academic expertise and specialist resources.
Research into Currencies
Why use alternative currencies?
One of our biggest projects has been looking into the usage of alternative currencies, including Bitcoin and the Bristol Pound. Click here to find out more.
IFLAS associates contribute to many publications - please see some links below.
- Bendell, J (2018) Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, Ambleside, UK: IFLAS Occasional Paper 2, 27 July 2018.
- Bendell, J. (2017) Evolving Partnerships: A Guide to Working with Business for Greater Social Change, eBook edition, Routledge Taylor and Francis, London
- Bendell, J and Doyle, J (2017) Healing Capitalism: Five Years in the Life of Business, Finance and Corporate Responsibility. eBook edition, Routledge Taylor & Francis: London.
- Bendell, J. and Ellersiek, A. (2012) ‘The Potential and Practice of Civic Networks’, in Global Justice Activism and Policy Reform in Europe: Understanding When Change Happens, Edited by Anne Ellersiek, Mario Pianta and Peter Utting. Routledge.
- Bendell, J. and Miller, A. (2016) ‘The Relationship of Special Economic Zones to Sustainable Development Goals: Findings from an international survey in developing countries’ in Pathways to a Sustainable Economy Conference, 28-29 November 2016, Griffith University, Brisbane.
- Bendell, J. and R. Little (2015) ‘Seeking Sustainability Leadership’, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Issue 60, pp. 13-26(14).
- Bendell, J., Miller, A. and Wortmann, K. (2011) ‘Public Policies for Scaling Corporate Responsibility Standards: expanding collaborative governance for sustainable development’, in Sustainability, Accounting, Management & Policy Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2.
- Bendell, J., Sutherland, N. and Little, R. (2017), ‘Beyond unsustainable leadership: critical social theory for sustainable leadership’, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 418-444.
- Hurford, G (2019) ‘Promoting responsible leadership and sustainability: a case study in management education’ in: Sharma, RR, (ed.) Human Resource Management for Organizational Sustainability. New York: Business Expert Press, pp. 177-184.
- Marshall S., and Williams, S. (2019). ‘An investigation into the sustainable actions of micro and small businesses’ in Crowther. D., Seifi. S., and Wond. T. (eds), Responsibility and Governance: The Twin Pillars of Sustainability. Chapter 14, pp237-255. ISBN 978-981-13-1047-8.
- Marshall, A and Murphy, DF (2017) ‘Rural Innovation Ecosystems and Leading Wellbeing’ in The Journal of Corporate Citizenship. Special Issue No. 68, December 2017, pp. 7-14.
- Murphy, DF (2017) ‘It’s the film that matters, not the photo: good governance in development co-operation’, in Shah, R, Murphy, DF and McIntosh, M, (eds.) Something to Believe In - Creating trust and hope in organizations: Stories of transparency, accountability and governance. Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis, originally published by Greenleaf (2003), pp. 224-230.
- Murphy, DF and Hammer, A (2012) ‘Review of the Stop TB Partnership Working Groups’, Final Draft Report: Version 2.0. 21 March 2012, London: The Partnering Initiative.
- Murphy, DF and Marshall, A (2021) Citizenship and Sustainability in Organizations: Exploring and spanning the boundaries. Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge.
- Murphy, DF and Marshall, A (Eds.) (2017) The Journal of Corporate Citizenship. Special Issue on Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts. No. 68, December 2017. GSE Research and Greenleaf Publishing: Sheffield, UK.
- Murphy, DF and Stott, L (2021) Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Basel, Switzerland: MDPI Books.
- Schaefer, A., Williams, S., and Blundel, R. (2018). ‘How individual values underpin SME environmental engagement’ Business and Society, 59 (4).
- Shah, R, Murphy, DF and McIntosh, M (2017) Something to Believe In - Creating Trust and Hope in Organisations: Stories of Transparency, Accountability and Governance. eBook edition, pp. 245, London & New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis.
- Stott, L and Murphy, DF (2020) ‘An Inclusive Approach to Partnerships for the SDGs: Using a Relationship Lens to Explore the Potential for Transformational Collaboration’ Sustainability. 12(19), 7905.
- Werna, E, Keivani, R and Murphy, DF (2009) Corporate Social Responsibility and Urban Development: Lessons from the South. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Williams, S. (2018) ‘Can a values reframing of ISO14001:2015 finally give business an effective tool to tackle climate change?’ in Seifi. S., and Crowther. D. (eds), Redefining Corporate Social Responsibility. Chapter 2, pp15-27. ISSN 978-1-78756-162-5.
- Williams, S., and Preston D. (2018). ‘Working with values: An alternative approach to win-win’ International Journal of Corporate Strategy and Social Responsibility, Volume 1 Number 4.