Not all knowledge is good

By Prof Ashley Braganza

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) continues to be featured in the press because of its failures to identify serious breaches in care provision in hospitals and care homes. The British Medical Association says it has no confidence in the CQC and Dr. Mark Corcoran wonders if the CQC has really changed and whether or not it should continue to exist ( The CQC has brought in new management, yet questions remain about their ability to change.

While it is all too easy to blame the culture, from a Knowledge Management perspective it appears that the CQC’s inspectors are from non-medical backgrounds and are being asked to assess the efficacy of hospital operations that have little or no knowledge about.

I doubt many people would get on a flight if they knew the people who serviced the engines were not fully trained engineers.  Quite frankly, if an airline tried to convince me that they used really clever brain surgeons to service the engines… I still would not get on the flight.  One obvious explanation for CQC’s failure is that its people didn’t have the right knowledge. A more worrying concern is that people at all levels of the organisation were ‘OK’ with sending out inspectors that lacked the necessary knowledge to make judgements about care provision, and were ‘OK’ with accepting reports from these inspectors.

Going forward, the new CQC will need to ensure that it changes entrenched behaviours and practices associated with accepting and publishing reports that are not fit-for-purpose.

Connect on LinkedInProfessor Ashley Braganza is Professor of Organisational Transformation and Director of Executive Development and Alumni at Brunel Business School and a lecturer on the Brunel MBA programme. He has a PhD in Organisational Change and Information Systems from Cranfield University and an MBA from University of Strathclyde. His research and consultancy interests encompass change management, strategy implementation, process and knowledge management and transformation enabled information systems. He has published over 100 papers in prestigious academic and practitioner journals and 3 books. He is the Director of nexus – The Knowledge Exchange. He is the Founder and Chair of the British Academy of Management Special Interest Group in Transformation, Change and Development. He has carried out over 50 consultancy assignments with large global organisations. He is a member of the Information Systems Evaluation and Integration (ISEing) research group in Brunel Business School.

BBS Academics Get Awards for Excellence

Journal articles by two Brunel Business School academics have recently been awarded prizes at Emerald Literati Network’s 2013 Awards for Excellence. These awards are given to the best papers published in Emerald journals – each journal’s Editorial Team nominate that title’s single Outstanding Paper and up to three Highly Commended Papers from the previous year (2012).

An article by Dr Natasha Slutskaya won ‘Outstanding Paper’, as it was judged the best paper published in Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management in 2012. The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibilities of incorporating such visual methods as photoelicitation and photovoice into qualitative research, in order to retrieve something that, as a result of particular group socialisation, has been hidden, unspoken of or marginalised

Fintan Clear won ‘Highly Commended’ as his paper was deemed one of the top three papers published in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. The paper reports on a qualitative study into how small businesses use Web 2.0 information and communication technologies (ICT) to work collaboratively with other small businesses. The study looked at the benefits available from the use of Web 2.0 in collaborations amongst small firms, and sought to characterize the different types of such online collaborations.

Congratulations to both Fintan and Natasha!

Business Intelligence, Social Media and Cloud Computing: All Make Sense in Latest Course in BBS

Ray HackneyWe interview Professor Raymond Hackney on the latest addition to the Brunel Business School portfolio of innovative postgraduate courses in Business and Management: the MSc Business Intelligence & Social Media. The programme will commence in September 2013 with an additional intake in January 2014.

Register for a webinar with Prof Hackney staring today at 12 o’clock UK time here.

Could you tell us who is this programme for?

The programme intends to cater for the needs of students who desire a multi-disciplinary education in business use of new social media, business intelligence, and mobile and cloud services. The course will encourage the study of organizations, their management and the changing external environment in which they operate; and complement these managerial concerns with practical skills in new web technologies.  The central ethos is to help students prepare for a career in business and management from an operational to managerial level within and beyond the IT sector by gaining technical skills, and an appreciation of the crucial role that new social web technologies play in today’s organizations and their ability to transform business processes.

What is the objective of this programme?

The business climate is changing fast due to the emergence of new ‘disruptive technologies’ and there is a wide spread expectation that new jobs will be created as a direct consequence in the technology business sector; but it is also widely perceived that there is a worldwide shortage of qualified managers with the skills to capitalize on the expected opportunities, particularly in the emerging economies. This course is designed to prepare candidates with the skills and knowledge they will need to work with these ‘disruptive’ technologies in the business world.

The programme is intended to support students in developing knowledge and competency in social media and related business skills and is aimed at candidates with a business and management background who have a desire to get exposure to the new information technologies that enable much of modern communications and business operations.  Accordingly, there is an emphasis on subjects that relate strongly to the commercial world, especially business on the web.  The course aims to help students understand the importance of information and mass communications technologies to the operations of modern businesses of all kinds.  Students will be encouraged to reflect on the relevance of

concepts to business and also to apply their newly developed skills in advanced studies or professional practice. It is intended that successful graduates of the course will progress to leadership and decision making roles in industrial organisations or develop successful consultancy and advisory businesses of their own. Practitioners seeking a more commercially relevant and technology oriented Master’s qualification in the area of new business technologies rather than an MBA will also find the course of interest.

What type of assessment can students expect?

Assessment is through a variety of assignments and exams all specific to applied learning and culminating in a dissertation which involves empirical research into organisations.

Chris Evans

Dr Chris Evans, a lecturer on the new MSc, has recently received an award for innovative teaching.

Modules typically combine weekly lectures and group student-led seminars and case study groups, whilst some provide workshops and/or a tutorial component.  Large class sizes in core modules require modern, audio-visual teaching aids and electronic delivery of teaching materials. Where feasible, new-media will be incorporated into the course on a module-by-module bases, e.g. for group online discussions, twitter contact with tutors, maintenance of social networks for group working and at class level communications. The on-line learning resources give access to lecture guides, notes/slides, cases and other resources.  Thus, students learn quickly how to access on-line materials provided and how to make the best use of databases and search engines. Some modules require teamwork including group assignments and group presentations where teamwork skills are refined. Students will be expected to utilise social-network applications as an integral part of their group communications, as well as to communicate with tutors through the use of twitter and through self-maintained professional blogs. Seminars provide group contact with the chance to review, discuss and debate topics.  They could require students to make presentations to the peer group and the tutor, individually or as part of a team using PCs, digital projectors, and online with the aid of new-media (such as multi-media mashups).

On some modules, such as Social Media, use of new-media technologies is an explicit part of the assessment strategy and therefore students must demonstrate skills and competencies with use of appropriate technologies.  In other modules, such as Professional Project in BI and SM, teaching will make use of new-media and students are required to participate through the new-media too. Levels of engagement and participation will be monitored on an on-going basis through built in analytics capabilities of new-media tools, as well as through tutor formative and summative assessments. In all new modules, there is both a summative and a formative element in which group activities must be mediated through the use of new-media, and skills so developed by students will be an integral part of the feedback from tutors. Where summative assessment is conducted, tutors will monitor and evaluate student engagement and with one another through new-media, and assess individual student performance accordingly. Formative assessment of group activities will be less evaluative and more developmental by encouraging greater participation and helping students develop more productive engagement strategies.

Many modules have a teamwork requirement including group assignments assessed via reports. Opportunities for formative assessment will be integrated in to the teaching scheme on a module-by-module basis as appropriate; though all new modules developed for this course include a formative element in which a group activity is completed early in the course to enable students to receive constructive advice on how to improve their performance for the main credited assessment. In addition, most notably within the Dissertation module, there are several check points for student progress of a compulsory but formative nature.

And finally, what support do students receive in this programme from academics? In what form?

The University has many opportunities for students to pursue extra-curricular activities that will enhance their experience on the course but also provide valuable personal development in line with employability demands.

The Academic Skills Service (ASK) is located within the Library, and runs an online learning resource for Personal Development Planning (PDP).  This Library webbase outlines a structured approach to the PDP process with suggested planning and reflection activities for each stage of study at Brunel, such as the use of self-awareness questionnaires, reflective exercises and frameworks to identify strengths and weaknesses. Working with supervisors on the dissertation is viewed by students as particularly insightful and useful to their personal development.

Business Life LogoThe Business School’s Business Life initiative ( is a unique Employability Programme designed to maximise students’ employability by providing an intensive programme of professional workshops and events that run in parallel with academic studies. Students registered on the MSc in Business Intelligence and Social Media will be encouraged to participate in the Business Life activities.  As part of the Business Life Employability Programme students are able to participate in events and training that help them obtain job-ready skills and gain recognised certificates and valuable examples of their work which provide Brunel Business School students with real employability advantage.  The initiative provides the following support: High quality personal, technology, language and business skill training courses and workshops, Career development and planning services, including mentoring, industry taster sessions and guest speaker series, Sector leading work experience programme covering placements, volunteering, internships and vacation work, Help with marketing personal capabilities, through networking events, CV development, employer exhibitions and student showcases, Lifelong continuous professional development, including short courses.

BBS Advisory Board Member Awarded for IT Provision Excellence

Dr Stephen Jones, a member of Brunel Business School Advisory Board, has been awarded the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) award in June 2013 in recognition of the best IT provision out of 650 competitors in the public sector organisations. Socitm is the membership association for all ICT professionals working in Local Authorities and the Public and Third Sectors and suppliers to those sectors, founded in 1986.

Dr Jones is the Head of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at Conwy County Borough Council, a Welsh Unitary Authority. He has worked for over thirty five years as an ICT practitioner and researcher, predominantly in the public sector.

Dr Jones is actively involved in Brunel Business School as part of his membership in the Brunel Business School Advisory Board formed to support the School in discharging its Mission and Strategic Imperatives. The Advisory Board’s aims are:

  • To ensure our taught programmes are relevant to the needs of industry.
  • To discuss issues across: Admissions, Placements, Recruitment and Marketing, Skills, Succession and Accreditation etc.
  • To discuss current research themes and developments relevant to research groups.
  • To recommend lines of action based on strategic and operational information received from the School’s Executive Board.

Head of BBS trains Chief Execs of Sudanese Banks

Professor Zahir Irani, Head of Brunel Business School delivered a workshop on Business Planning in Khartoum, Sudan on 8th June 2013 to the Chief Executives of Sudanese Banks.

Professor Zahir IraniThe workshop covered the main components necessary for developing comprehensive business plans, focusing on how to evaluate and implement them within complex cultures. The workshop was hosted by the Sudanese Bankers Association and sponsored by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan, and Chaired by the Deputy Governor. It was a precursor to a 3-day training programme on the same topic to help capacity build and generate empirical data on Leaders in Developing Countries. The training programme then covered business planning issues in more detail by equipping attendees with the relevant skills required for developing and leading effective business plans, specifically supporting women leaders.

This workshop comes as part of 5 years of fruitful collaboration between Brunel Business School and the Sudan Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences.  Professor Irani and other Brunel delegates have visited Sudan and delivered workshops prior to this one for Sudanese banks and women leaders in particular. The topics included leadership development, employability skills for higher education to boost economic growth, change management, and achieving business excellence.

A Brunel team (Professor Amir Sharif and Dr Tillal Eldabi from the Business School) also worked closely with the Sudan Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences in developing their MBA in Micro Finance with a British Council DELPHE award to the Academy.

BBS welcomes scholars and Ambassador from Kazakhstan

The Ambassador of the Kazakhstan Embassy, Mr Kairat Abusseitov, with Brunel University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Julia Buckingham participated at an evening reception on 19th June in honour of the Presidential Bolashak Fellowship Scheme, where over 40 students are being developed by the Business School.

Professor Zahir Irani, Head of the Brunel Business School, said: “We are looking forward to working with scholars from Kazakhstan. They will undoubtedly help in the economic development of their country and we are privileged to play a small but significant part.”

Professor Buckingham welcomed a delegation of diplomats and a group of academic scholars from the Republic who arrived here earlier this year to study English and Business. In February, the first group of Scholars that are members of staff from different Kazakhstan universities came to Brunel as part of the country’s programme to give young, talented people an opportunity to study abroad.

In the traditional exchange of gifts, Professor Julia Buckingham was given a hand-painted wooden plaque, and the Brunel Business School gave the Ambassador an engraved glass trophy.

5 job interviews with LinkedIn? Here’s a student story to show you how.

BBS Abdul-Basit Mohammed-02We interviewed Abdul-Basit Mohammed, a Brunel Business School student completing his BSc (Hons) International Business degree on his success on LinkedIn. Abdul is currently employed with British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and shares his experience of using LinkedIn as a student to encourage others to follow suit and reap the rewards.

So get to it, set up your profile and connect with Adbul-Basit today!

Why did you first create a LinkedIn profile?

I have always tried to be up to date with social media platforms and while on placement the social media manager advised me to be active on LinkedIn.

How difficult was it for you to complete the details?

It took time getting used to it because unlike social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, it is more professional but like the other social media platforms once you get the hang of it, you get addicted.

Did you get any guidance or training on using it?

No, I worked things out on my own. I made time for going on LinkedIn, having a look at what others who are similar to me are doing and incorporating different ideas.

How did you go about connecting with people?

I first added my friends and anytime I went to events and spoke at events to someone that I felt will be a good contact, I asked them if I can add them to my network. After a while I started getting request from other people on LinkedIn.

Were you approached with any offers?

Since joining LinkedIn, I have been contacted about job offers and had 5 interviews so far. I got my current part-time job through LinkedIn while at Brunel University.

How did you secure your job opportunities?

I made sure the people and groups I follow are within the industries I am hoping to get employed in. I also follow recruitment agents, agencies and keep in touch with them. The most important thing of all is my profile; with LinkedIn your profile, network of connections, the companies you follow, groups you follow and comments/posts all serves as a CV. You can now apply for jobs on some company websites with your LinkedIn account and it’s even easy to apply for jobs within LinkedIn.

What opportunities did you get from LinkedIn?

I got to meet people I would have never had the opportunity to meet and get invited to events I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to. You get an insight into certain industries too, through the groups you follow. I have a good example. I have always had an interest in CSR, Ethics and Sustainability but it is a very difficult sector to get into. After working at Sky for a while I realised they are involved in this and created a whole department “The Bigger Picture”, so I added a few executives on LinkedIn and sent an email at work and asked them to have lunch with me. As a result I had lunch with the former head of the department who put me in contact with the current head and we will be meeting soon, to see how I can gain a voluntary experience.

What advice would you give to other students who want to set up a profile on LinkedIn?

As students we all know networking is very important for students and graduates, so why not have all your contacts in one platform. I advise students to join LinkedIn and start by adding fellow students and try to be active users. I will sometimes come across certain opportunities not suited for me so I will think of a former classmate or colleague and send it to them.

What advice would you give other students who are currently looking for a job on LinkedIn?

I know a lot of students and graduates say there aren’t any jobs out there but this is not true.  There are jobs out there, but as a student or graduate you might not have the necessary skills and experience for a lot of the roles. LinkedIn is a platform that supports students and graduates because it promotes a lot of Graduate schemes, entry level jobs and placements. There is a whole section dedicated to students. The best thing about LinkedIn is that although paying members have a lot of benefits, you don’t have to pay to reap all the benefits and opportunities.

Have you seen any benefits from joining Groups on LinkedIn?

Yes, joining Groups on LinkedIn has a lot of advantages. Apart from the jobs tab, you have the discussions tab for interacting, members tab to see what professions other members are in and you can add them to your network and the promotion tab to see what opportunities are being promoted and for you to promote yourself. You can ask so many questions within groups and get a lot of help from group members.

Is completing a profile on LinkedIn enough? What other things should students be doing?

Completing a profile is very important because people and employers can overlook an incomplete profile. you see the difference when your profile is complete because employers start contacting you. Having said this, that is not enough. Being successful on LinkedIn involves a multitude of activities. You need to be active, get involved in discussions, post your interests and questions, promote yourself and keep up to date with the articles, journals and posts others put up that might interest you. If your other social media platforms have professional profiles you can connect them to your linked in account to expand your reach to employers.

We wish Abdul all the best in his future endeavours, especially as he becomes a dad soon!



BBS Students get ready for international programme in Korean Aerospace University (KAU)

Following the success of the international exchange programme in South Korea last year, Brunel Business School students prepare for another summer in the land of Psy.  The study exchange programme is organised by Dr Wafi Al-Karaghouli and Dr Habin Lee with local partner Mr Joon Lee at Korean Aerospace University (KAU). The School will be covering their flight and tuition expenses.

KAU founded 60 years ago and it is one of the top-tier universities in Korea. The university plays a pivotal role in East Asia’s Aerospace and Astronautics. KAU is the only university in Korea specializing in aviation and aerospace, and one of the few universities in the world that has its own runway!

The exchange programme will see four students from BBS travelling to KAU (South Korea) during the summer and two students from KAU to study at level 2 (year 2) at Brunel for two terms. BBS students will be staying at KAU’s campus for the duration of the programme, like their counterpart who will stay at Brunel Campus. The selection process at both universities is very rigorous. BBS students go through two phases, involving application and an interview.

BBS/KAU Exchange Students 2012

BBS/KAU Exchange Students 2012 with Dr Wafi Al-Karaghouli

The exchange programme is aimed at Level 2 (year 2) students of the BSc Business Management and BSc International Business programmes at Brunel Business School and provides an excellent learning experience (practical and cultural). It exposes students to the aviation industry and provides them with a competitive edge over other graduates who will be competing for jobs in the civil aviation sector.

The School is currently in discussions with the Korean university to possibly establish such exchange programme for the Brunel MBA (Aviation Management) students, as KAU offers similar degree.

2013 KAU Summer Programme

2013 KAU Summer Programme