Remembering and Celebrating the life and research achievements of Dr. Christina Scandelius (1968-2016)


Dr Christina Scandelius

On 17th January (2018) the colleagues and friends of the late Dr. Christina Scandelius met in the University’s Chaplaincy Centre for a service of remembrance for her life and academic accomplishments.


Dr. Scandelius was a lecturer in marketing at Brunel Business School, and was a member of the Marketing and Corporate Brand research group. She was also a former PhD scholarship holder within the Business School.  She died on 6th May 2016 after a long-fight with cancer.  Dr. Scandelius was a popular and widely-respected colleague and teacher, and had many friends in the Marketing and Corporate Brand research group, the Business School, and beyond.


The service of remembrance was organised by Dr. Geraldine Cohen (who had been Dr Scandelius’s erstwhile PhD supervisor), and led by The Reverend Sally Hitchner (Anglican Chaplain to the University). It was attended by the Dean (Professor Tom Betteridge), Associate Deans, faculty members and students.


In addition to prayers for Dr Scandelius’s family and friends, the liturgy drew on several traditions and included a reading of a Psalm from the Hebrew Bible (by Dr. Cohen), music from the Latin Requiem Mass (“In Paradisum” by Faure), and the Santa Lucia Neapolitan carol so beloved by Christina and by Swedes the world-over (In both Sweden and in Naples, St. Lucy’s day is a major festival).


Reflections on Dr. Scandelius’s life and academic achievements were given by Professor Tom Betteridge and Dr Sharifah Alwi, while Dr Dorothy Yen read from the acknowledgements page of Dr. Scandelius’s PhD thesis.


In his Panegyric, Professor John M.T. Balmer (Director of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Group) reflected:

Dr. Christina Scandelius through her vocation as a teacher and scholar illumed the lives of faculty and students at Brunel. Furthermore, through her published output, Christina provided light to the world-wide community of marketing scholars and to the practice of marketing. In all that she did, she was an embodiment of our University’s corporate brand covenant, a brand promise which is informed by the precept of useful learning. Finally, I know that her candle will burn brightly in our hearts for many years to come.

Brunel Research: Explaining the effect of rapid internationalization on horizontal foreign divestment in the retail sector

Multinational enterprises (MNEs) compete in a fierce global arena. One of the most critical aspects related to their performance, is among others, the speed of internationalisation the adopt, that is how rapidly MNEs expand their foreign operations. Although high speed of internationalisation is important for MNEs in order to leverage first mover advantages and quickly deploy their unique firm-specific capabilities, at the same time the managerial resources needed to execute such a fast-paced internationalization strategy are limited, and to a certain extent, subject to regional availability. As such, firms that grow too rapidly in one period may not only grow more slowly in the subsequent period but may also need to divest some of their operations.


The study developed by Dr. Batsakis and his coauthors (Prof. Alex Mohr from WU Vienna and Dr. Zita Stone from the University of Kent) argues that the likelihood of divestment of MNEs’ international operations increases with the speed of firms’ prior international expansion. Given that MNEs are likely to face constraints in terms of quickly deploying managerial resources to new international operations, the study argues that two important factors, namely international experience and regional concentration, can act as “shock absorbers”, thus mitigating the negative effects of the speed of firms’ prior international expansion on the level of foreign divestment.


Figure: The moderating role of intra-regional international experience on the relationship between intra-regional internationalization speed and intra-regional foreign divestment. (Image source)

Drawing on regional strategy theory and the theory of the growth of the firm (Edith Penrose), the aforementioned arguments are tested using two-stage least squares (2SLS) estimation on panel data that capture the international expansion and divestment of retailers over the period 2003–2012.


The article has been published in the Journal of International Business Studies.


Dr. Georgios Batsakis is an Assistant Professor of International Business. His research focuses on internationalisation processes and foreign market entry strategies of multinational enterprises. His teaching lies in the areas of international business, strategic management and entrepreneurship. Dr. Batsakis has published in leading international business and general management academic journals, such as the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, British Journal of Management, Management International Review, International Business Review, International Marketing Review, Journal of Business Research, among others.


Developmental programme for doctoral students at Brunel Business School

Message from Dr. Dorothy Yen, Director of the Doctoral programme at Brunel Business School


This year’s Brunel Business School PGR Student Development Programme has just finished.


Six PhD students participated in this programme as mentees. They each volunteered 1 hour per week (10 hours in total), during term 1, to shadow and assist their mentors in the delivery of final year project seminars. This experience allowed them to witness how seminars are constructed, and to engage with final year undergraduate students during the seminars.


From the feedback that we have received from both staff and PhD students, this programme was a great success, and we will endeavour to run it again as a regular training opportunity for our PGR students.


This is a sample of what our PhD students felt that gained from this experience, and how it will help them prepare them for their future higher education career:

The opportunity from participating in this BBS PGR Developmental programme has provide a valuable experience…This experience has enhanced my confidence in the classroom environment, and my ability to utilise the knowledge and research skills that I have gained throughout my PhD study. I have acknowledged the need to develop my communication skills further in order to explain or elaborate the idea clearly, in the sense that it should not only includes theoretical concepts but to combine with practicality…” Theenida Buntornwon.

What I learnt from this experience will help me in my future academic career on few levels. First, after I built a better understanding on assessing the student capabilities, it will help me to design and prepare the most appropriate teaching material based on the student needs and link it to examples from our daily life. Second, it will help me to build a good and professional relation with the students which increase their productivity and the overall outcome from the course. Third, this experience has improved my time management skills for the class and helped me to have better ideas on how to allocate time for each part of the lecture. Finally, this experience will make it much easier for in term of solving unexpected issues in the class.” Ruaa Hasan.


Thank you to the colleagues that have kindly offered to act as mentors for PhD students and allowed PhD students to shadow them when delivering final year projects, this year. Namely, Drs. Bidit Dey, Raffaella Valsecchi, Marios Samdanis, Nikolaos Antypas, Monomita Nandy, Sharifah Alwi, and Sankar Sivarajah.


More information about our PhD programme is available here.

BBS PhD Symposium Group photo BBS (2) 20 per cent


Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Research awarded to marketing student Dr. Anisah Hambali

Dr. Anisah Hambali, a former PhD student from the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research Group, at Brunel Busines School, Brunel University London, has been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Research during the recent  2017 Winter Graduation held in Westminster, London.  The title of her thesis is, “Introducing Celebrity Corporate Brand: Moving Beyond Endorsement and Exploring its Effect on Corporate Brand Enhancement.”

PHD prize

Dr. Anisah Hambali

Supervised by Dr. Sharifah Alwi and Professor John M.T. Balmer, Dr. Hambali is a worthy receipt of this prestigious accolade not only because of the cutting-edge focus of her thesis, but also the quality and rigour of the study. She has also been a very active PhD member of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research Group and won the college’s 3-Minutes Thesis Competition in 2016 and represented the college in the final round. In 2013, she was awarded with the Conference Fund Prize by the Academy of Marketing.


Dr. Hambali is persuing an academic career and has been appointed as Assistant Professor in Brand Management and Marketing in Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. She takes up this faculty appointment in January 2018.


Commenting on her award, Dr Hambali said:

“The award of the Vice Chancellor’s prize is a terrific honour and is the cherry on the cake having completed my PhD on celebrity corporate brand endorsement. I came to Brunel because of its international reputation in corporate branding and to work with Dr Sharifah Alwi and Professor John Balmer who are known authorities in the field”.


Congratulations to Dr. Anisah Hambali.

Research: The role of local communities in disaster relief and recovery

A new paper by Brunel Business School expert, Professor Afshin Mansouri, highlights the critical role of local communities in disaster relief and recovery. The paper was co-authored with Dr Jennifer Bealt and published in the January 2018 issue of Disasters. In it, the authors discuss how the local community can form ad-hoc networks to provide effective and efficient disaster management.


Figure 1. The disaster management cycle
Image source

The relief and recovery activities that need to be performed in the aftermath of a natural disaster (Figure 1) are not only numerous but also varied and complex. Moreover, humanitarian logistics activities are, normally, performed by multiple actors, each with their own set of resources and expertise. As a result, disaster relief and recovery efforts are sometimes thwarted by problems such as:

  • Poor coordination among humanitarian organisations (HOs)
  • Lack of commitment
  • Failures to bridge the gap between relief and development activities
  • Competition for funding, media attention, and scarce resources
  • Managerial attention focused on accountability to donors to the detriment of the needs of the population affected by the disaster


Conversely, as Professor Mansouri and his co-author argue, when local responders form collaborative aid networks (CAN), they may greatly improve the success of relief and recovery efforts. This is because of the wealth of knowledge and skills already in existence within those communities. Moreover, their solutions tend to be self-reliant, participatory, and inclusive.


Specifically, the involvement of the local community in post-disaster operations has two main benefits:

First, the capacity, local knowledge, and resources possessed by CANs can support relief and recovery efforts significantly. The collaborative nature of local networks allows for improved dissemination of resources and information on needs. Furthermore, their ability to share information leads to more efficient and effective humanitarian operations, tailored specifically to the disaster-affected community. Local knowledge and expertise also has ensured proficient distribution of goods and competent navigation of the terrain.


Second, CANs support a more inclusive approach to long-term recovery, a process with which HOs often struggle. CAN involvement in humanitarian operations may increase the resilience of disaster-affected societies and decrease their vulnerability to hazard events in the future. By recognising the power and influence of community-driven supply chains, and the positive effects of community-led engagement in humanitarian operations, the effective communication of needs to a variety of stakeholders is facilitated in the face of adversity.



An open access (free) version of the paper can be accessed here.


Professor Mansouri is Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Director of Research at Brunel Business School. His research activities focus on improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness of humanitarian operations, as well analysing trade-offs between the environmental, economic, and social sustainability dimensions in supply chains.

fig 2

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the ground-breaking MSc in Corporate Brand Management

Established in 2007, with Professor John M.T. Balmer as its first Director, the pioneering MSc in Corporate Brand Management has “come of age” as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.  Over the last 10 years, the course has attracted students from all parts of the globe and former students now hold prominent corporate brand management positions.


MSc Corporate Brand Management Students (2015-2016) at the final group presentations for the Corporate Brand Management Consultancy Elective with Course Director, Dr Sharifah Alwi (front row centre) and the two external assessors from the consultancy industry.


Its launch – just 12 years after the formal introduction of the corporate brand concept in 1995 – was trailblazing in that it, arguably, was the first Master’s degree anywhere in the world to have corporate brands as its explicit focus.



The foundational work on corporate brand scholarship has taken place in the UK. Therefore, it was fitting that a British University should be the first to offer this degree. In launching this degree, Brunel University, as a prominent London-based University, was able to capitalise on London’s status as the capital of corporate brand management and consulting.


Moreover, the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research group at Brunel Business School then – and now – has an international profile vis-à-vis its research and scholarship in the corporate branding field.  Professor John M.T. Balmer is, sometimes, credited with formally introducing the corporate brand notion in 1995 and was the first academic to be appointed to a personal chair in corporate brand management at Bradford University. As such, the course is greatly informed by the research and scholarship undertaken by Marketing and Corporate Brand faculty.



In remaking on the anniversary, the Director of MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management, Dr Sharifah Alwi, commented: “The 10th anniversary of the degree is a time for real celebration and an opportunity for us to re-engage with our former students who are working across the globe. Thanks are also due to colleagues who have served as Directors of the programme including Professor Balmer, Professor Melewar, Professor Gupta and Dr Heller”

Professor John M.T. Balmer who, as the first director of the course (and who still teaches on the degree) notes: “It has been a huge privilege to be associated with this degree and to have taught so many excellent students, many of whom are now working in the corporate branding sector.”


Professor John MT Balmer Founding-Director of the MSc in Corporate Brand Management


We would like to hear from past students – about your experiences and where you are now. If you are a graduate, contact the Director of the MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management, Dr Sharifah Alwi:


Director of the MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management, Dr Sharifah Alwi

Dr Grigorios Theodosopoulos investigates the management challenges faced by hospices in England

Approximately 70% of the available palliative care beds in England – that is, places offering end of life care for terminally ill patients – are managed by voluntary sector organisations. The great majority of these organisations, known as hospices, are independent local charities, which are subject to an increasing number of regulatory demands covering areas as diverse as health and safety, patient treatment, and value for money. There are also a number of key stakeholders, and associated relations, that impact on what hospices do, and how. Figure 1 illustrates these stakeholder relations.


Image source

Dr Grigorios Theodosopoulos has researched the management challenges faced by hospices in England, and has recently published a paper on this topic. The paper reveals that hospices are called upon to provide an ever-increasing range of clinical and other services, for which they need to secure funding via innovative income generating initiatives. Drawing on interviews and financial data, the research conducted by Dr Theodosopoulos and his co-authors sheds light on:

  • The complexity of the funding model used by these organisations
  • The scarcity of appropriately skilled staff for clinical, nursing and fundraising work
  • The extended demand for hospice care driven by population demographics


Dr Grigorios Theodosopoulos is a Senior Lecturer in accounting, and a member of the Accounting and Auditing Research Centre, at Brunel Business School. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, member of the British Accounting and Finance Association, member of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network and has broad working experience in accounting, commercial auditing, and management. His research focuses on the development and application of an accounting business models’ framework within voluntary sector organisations. His teaching interests include: contemporary issues in accounting research, financial reporting and analysis, and introductory accounting.


The research paper is entitled ‘Accounting for voluntary hospices in England: A business model perspective’, and was published by the journal Critical Perspectives on Accounting. For further information about this work, or for a copy of the paper, please contact Dr Theodosopoulos here.