Lancaster University Management School - 54 Degrees Issue 19

Bringing new perspectives to the challenges facing society and business Fresh thinking ISSUE 19 Lancaster University Management School | the place to be Climate change fairy tales 22Embracing cyber security innovation 6Artificial Intelligence on the road 10 FIFTYFOUR DEGREES

Without the Investors in Excellence fund, Alva* would have fallen through the gaps. With the help of this money, they are hoping to find their own tenancy so they can focus on their studies and don’t have to live each day wondering whether they will suffer abuse. Student Wellbeing Co-ordinator Join us in building a better future Unlock the full potential of Lancaster University Management School's students and enrich business education by becoming a LUMS Investor in Excellence. Your monthly donation can fuel a legacy of excellence, making a lasting impact on the world. The generosity of our donors has funded emergency hardship relief, groundbreaking research, life-changing global study opportunities, and much more. For as little as £10 per month, you can join them. Donate today and be part of a community providing wider opportunities and building a brighter tomorrow. ‘‘ ’’ *name changed for anonymity LUMS INVESTORS IN EXCELLENCE FUND

FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 3 There are always alternatives Dr Dermot O’Reilly examines how alternative forms of leadership and organisation are used by groups to flourish and live their values without the need for a figurehead at the top. 34 In this issue... 30 The moral maze: Making sense of ethics Professor Darren Dalcher demonstrates the importance of ethics when it comes to managerial and organisational decisions, and how moral codes help to ensure what we might deem acceptable actions. 46 Closing the disability insecurity gap Aman Navani explains Work Foundation research into how disabled workers are disproportionately affected by insecure work 42 Exploited and abused Dr Chih-Ling Liu’s work highlights the plight of daughters in Chinese families where ‘son preference’ means female children suffer exploitation Cyber security offers innovation, not just protection It is all too easy to think only of the negatives when it comes to cyber security measures. Professor Daniel Prince outlines how a proactive approach can yield positive dividends. 6 Inspiring sustainable change Dr Joanne Larty explains the INSPIRE for Sustainability project, which aims to help SMEs and research experts work together 14 26 For the future of driving, take the next left Dr Joe Deville outlines his work with England’s National Highways to help them prepare for a potential future where vehicles can drive themselves. 10 Renewable Energy is No Fairy Tale Solution Dr Carolynne Lord transports us to a not-so-fantastical realm where businesses are falling victim to the siren’s call and pointing their sustainability efforts in the wrong direction. The long shadow of pandemics Dr Spyridon Lazarakis looks back to the flu pandemic of the early 20th century to see how Covid-19 might play out in the years and decades to come. 38 Do we need a new umbrella? The rise (and fall?) of ESG standards Dr Marian Iszatt-White explains where ESG fits for companies and business schools alike 18 22 Planning for a better future Dr Nonhlanhla Dube looks at how humanitarian organisations can better prepare their emergency response efforts for refugees.

FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 5 Professor Claire Leitch is the Executive Dean of Lancaster University Management School We are in a new academic year, which always brings with it hopes and aspirations for what lies ahead over the coming months. As a School, we have recently celebrated our reaccreditation by EQUIS – following hot on the heels of AASCB, and with AMBA to come in the new year. These accreditations reflect many areas of success and capability within LUMS, not least the high quality of our research. This is evident in every edition of Fifty Four Degrees; indeed, much of the work featured in this one shows how our researchers are able to think differently, and change how we perceive areas such as road travel, leadership or climate change. Joe Deville’s work with National Highways in England demonstrates how something we become so used to in our lives can change quite dramatically. The advent of autonomous vehicles means the motorways of the near future may be very different to those we are accustomed to now, and it is fascinating to read about how the people in charge of our roads must adapt. Different thinking is also required when it comes to cyber security. Our Cyber Security Executive MBA – delivered in partnership with the School of Computing and Communications here at Lancaster and industry-leading cyber security consultants Templar Executives aims to foster the next generation of cyber leaders. For us, programme codirector Dan Prince outlines how cyber innovation can provide businesses with the opportunity to grow and advance in new ways. If cyber is a new frontier, then the topic of leadership is as old as civilisation itself. We are in a world where most organisations – and nations – are led by a figurehead, be it a CEO, a Prime Minister, or a President. But not all of them, and Dermot O’Reilly provides insight into alternative organisational and leadership structures. Leadership is essential when it comes to helping to prevent catastrophic climate change. However, the issue of sustainability can be one that is hard to grasp for individuals and businesses alike. Articles from Carolynne Lord, Marian Iszatt-White and Joanne Larty explore new ways of thinking about climate change, from taking companies beyond the constant talk of net zero, to comparing green agendas to fairy tales, and looking at how we as business and management schools address the sustainability agenda. For those of you who would like to find out more about our work in the sustainability field, I can heartily recommend the new podcast from the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, Transforming Tomorrow. Pentland Centre Director Jan Bebbington and Paul Turner – who when he is not recording podcasts is also editor of Fifty Four Degrees – provide an insight into the work of centre researchers across many topics. They and their guests have already discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, business and biodiversity, and the links between sustainability and modern slavery, and by the time you read this there will be more episodes available. You can find Transforming Tomorrow wherever you normally download your podcasts or by visiting I hope that we will be able to give you news on further LUMS podcasts showcasing our work in the near future. Until then, I hope this edition of Fifty Four Degrees makes you think differently about some new subjects, or those you may have thought you knew well. Foreword Welcome to Issue 19 of Fifty Four Degrees. Subscribe online at SUBSCRIBE

What happens when the car in the next lane over is being controlled by a computer rather than the person sat behind the steering wheel? How would you react if the machines repairing the motorway you are driving along are doing so under AI control? Dr Joe Deville outlines his work with England’s National Highways to help them prepare for a potential future where vehicles can drive themselves. 6 | For the future of driving, take the next left


In 1985, Dr Emmett Brown, the fictional scientist in Back to the Future, was telling cinema audiences that by 2015 we would not need roads. Whatever talent the inventor of the flux capacitor was supposed to have for converting DeLoreans into time machines did not extend into envisioning the future of automobiles. Here we are in 2023, and families are yet to fly between homes and city centres using express skyways. If we are missing individual aerial transportation, then what we do have is the beginning of the age of the autonomous vehicle. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere you look right now – from ChatGPT writing articles and papers (though, I would like to assure you, not this piece), to chatbots answering customer queries, and robots carrying out quality control in factories. And on the roads, you can already see AI in the cars we are driving today, via cruise control and lane assist technologies. It is likely that the degree of autonomy will only increase, and we can imagine a future populated by fully autonomous cars, freight and road maintenance machinery. All of this makes for a future of road transportation quite different from today. Even if we do not have to worry about dodging rogue hoverboard users while travelling down the M6, it is likely to be on the roads that we see some of the most widely visible autonomous systems in action. PREPARATION IS KEY Here at Lancaster, we have been working with National Highways – a government-owned company who are responsible for motorways and major Aroads in England – for over a year now to help them prepare for this quite different future. This work is part of Trustworthy Autonomous Systems: Security project. It includes computer scientists and engineers working on developing systems for securing autonomous systems – for navigation, flight etc – to try and protect them from people trying to hack or disrupt the system. But I and my colleagues are looking at how these new technologies interact with people, using insights from sociology, organisation studies, law and philosophy. The kinds of issues we look at are how questions of ethics and security overlap, and how we might understand the organisational context of autonomous systems’ design and deployment. We have been working with National Highways to explore their evolving role as an organisation, whether through their own use of autonomous systems or how they respond to increased autonomous system use by road users in ever more automated vehicles – or what are often called connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). 8 |

How, for example, might autonomous technologies help with road building or maintenance? Could we imagine starting with a machine that lays cones automatically and extending to a machine involved in resurfacing? And how might road users react to seeing such technologies in use by the side of the road? Then there is the potential management of people’s data. National Highways are an organisation that is most widely known for its infrastructure building work: roads, signage, smart motorways, for example. In a more autonomous future, what role could they play in shaping how data moves between the different parties that will become involved? The answers to these kinds of question point to a potential shift in the organisation’s role. A RANGE OF CONCERNS We ran workshops with National Highways staff discussing various aspects of this potential future. We worked collaboratively to think about the ethics of some of these issues, and to examine what they might want to happen. We used an approach called ‘backcasting’. The idea is that we explore different desired futures for an organisation and then work with them to think about concrete steps we can put in place now to enable them to reach that future. We also spoke to members of the public about how they feel about futures with autonomous vehicles, drawing on National Highways’ customer panel. We began with a survey which included questions about how people felt about autonomous vehicles (AVs), autonomous freight, and autonomous plant machinery. We received hundreds of responses. We found low levels of confidence in AVs among survey respondents, and a high degree of concern about safety implications of AV introduction. These worries related to the lack of human judgement, and that systems could be targeted by hackers. The potential for using AVs for maintenance work provoked a range of concerns over safety. 60% of survey respondents were concerned about the safety of drivers, but also 33% were concerned about the safety of the motorway maintenance workers. Although these results are just indicative, as it was not fully representative sample, we can see in these answers how questions of security and ethics become entangled. We followed up the survey with focus groups, again including members of the public. An issue that many were concerned about was the prospect of autonomous freight. If there are these, large, heavy vehicles being run autonomously, what happens if something goes wrong? There was not much understanding about who was responsible for ensuring the security and safety of these systems. When we asked focus group participants what they wanted in a future with autonomous systems, things became more nuanced. The people we spoke to saw that this technology could help, for example, people who have disabilities, opening new possibilities for them to be mobile. But others questioned if we should be supporting the expansion of car use in the context of climate change. It is interesting how when you ask these quite specific questions, people open broader social questions about the place for autonomous systems in this UK mobility landscape. THE FUTURE IS NOW There is a need for a conversation within organisations and within society more broadly about what matters most when we talk about responsible AI, and responsibility for autonomous assistance. In the Edinburgh Declaration on Responsibility for Responsible AI, drawn up by researchers working on Trustworthy Autonomous Systems projects, one of the four key shifts that they argue needs to happen is seeing responsibility as ‘relational’, rather than something tied to particular people or technologies. When we talk about an autonomous vehicle, we are not just talking about a black box that is driving on the road operating completely independently. It is existing in interaction with all kinds of things. One of the things that we talked about a lot with National Highways colleagues is the need to bring members of the public into the debates about these potentially quite different futures. Organisations will certainly require well thought through legal frameworks and information management protocols to generate public trust in autonomous systems. But they must also engage with the public and be ready to respond rapidly to an evolving landscape. Organisations need to be ready, and National Highways are working with us to ensure they are. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 9 Dr Joe Deville is a Senior Lecturer based jointly in the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology and the Department of Sociology He is a member of the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Security (TAS-S) project, and is working with three other Lancaster colleagues on the National Highways collaboration: Professor Corinne May-Chahal and Dr Luke Moffat, from the Department of Sociology, and Professor Catherine Easton, head of Lancaster University School of Law. The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is led by Professor Corinne May-Chahal and Professor Neeraj Suri.

10 | Would you steer your ship onto the rocks if the mermaid called? Dr Carolynne Lord transports us to a not-sofantastical realm where businesses are falling victim to the siren’s call and pointing their sustainability efforts in the wrong direction, with potentially disastrous results when it comes to saving the planet. RENEWABLE ENERGY IS NO FAIRY TALE SOLUTION

FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 11 Illustrations: Veronique Heijnsbroek (

It is becoming increasingly important that organisational policymakers make decisions with sustainability in mind. Though households remain the largest users of energy (37%) in the UK, they are closely followed by the service (30%) and industry (29%) sectors. It is already broadly accepted that organisations will have to play a role in achieving Net Zero by 2050, with many businesses publishing their own sustainability statements and strategies. But are businesses focusing their efforts on the actions required? There is an abundance of social science research in the context of energy and sustainability that has relevance for businesses considering how they might tackle their carbon footprint. Academic research, however, is laden with specialist language that makes it difficult to understand by those outside of the field – especially troubling when those with the power to make the changes needed are not academics. It is urgent, then, that academics better consider how they explain and communicate their research. TELLING A TALE Along with colleagues, I have tried to tackle this problem by making use of fairy tale characters as metaphors to translate research insights in digestible and memorable ways. Fairy tales are already well known and understood, providing fertile ground for us to become more creative in communicating research. Though fairy tales are now considered the stuff of childhood, their history lends them well to this cause, having previously played crucial roles in communicating moral and social codes to adults and children alike. Our research describes three comparisons, but I focus here on the case with the most relevance for organisations: renewable energy as mermaids. A SIREN’S CALL Simply put, businesses have become enticed by the mermaid that is renewable energy. It is common to see a move towards renewable energy forms in corporate sustainability strategies. For example, four of the UK’s largest corporations (Barclays, Unilever, Tesco, and GlaxoSmithKline) have implemented a switch towards, and major investment in, renewable energy. Smaller scale operations, too, have focused on how renewable energy sources could lessen their costs and carbon footprint. In the UK, these efforts most often focus on wind power – with technologies like turbines harnessing an abundant natural source for energy production. The allure is unsurprising. Renewable energy is an attractive solution. It is a relatively cheap form of energy production, increases energy security, and reduces some forms of pollution. But it is not just these qualities that make it so attractive. The mermaid calls to us, implying that it not the social organisation of business practices that is the problem. It is simply the technologies used to harness and generate energy supplies. If the problem is technological, little change is presumed to be required in the form of demand reduction. Business can, thankfully, continue as usual. 12 |

BEWARE! Sharp rocks, however, lie ahead. Wind power generation depends on specific levels of wind. There are also challenges in matching demand with available supplies. Stop gaps will be needed – and storage is not yet possible at the levels required. This was especially evident in 2021 when low levels of wind across the North Sea meant that generation was around 15% lower than in the previous year, meaning a coal plant previously on standby had to be fired up. Weather conditions are only set to become more variable. Even when the wind blows, there is a need to reduce overall levels of demand. When it comes to demand, technological efficiencies tend to be foregrounded – yet again suggesting that the ‘solution’ to climate change is technological. Though targets have been set, current UK governmental demand reduction policies are far lower than required (only a 5% reduction by 2050), a dynamic that is likely replicated at a business level. There are many ways demand reduction could take place. For example, loosening office dress codes to reduce the dependence on air conditioning and heating; tackling the travel miles associated with business practices; and challenging the role of email between co-situated colleagues, to limit internet data traffic. MANY PATHS TO TAKE There is no one route towards Net Zero. However, there will be dangers in transit if there is not a better consideration of how demand reduction might feed into lowering the carbon footprint of business and service sectors. Renewable energy, however, still has an important role to play. Much like the mermaid figureheads carved onto nautical vessels between the 16th and 20th centuries in the belief that they calmed the seas, renewable energy should be an accompaniment to business sustainability strategies on the long voyage to Net Zero. But ears must be stuffed to her singular appeal to ensure that other routes and pathways can be spotted. These suggestions are not novel. Energy research in the social sciences has long called for social – rather than technological – measures to tackle the carbon intensity of business practices. The problem is that it has done so in jargon-thick academic research papers. Our method does something different. It calls on organisational policy- and decision-makers to consider their sustainability statements with different questions in mind. Have strategies fallen victim to the call of the siren? Is renewable energy the sole focus, or the figurehead? What other paths, like demand reduction, lead to Net Zero? In short, it warns organisations that are planning the urgent actions needed by climate emergencies to beware of the allure of the mermaid. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 13 Dr Carolynne Lord is a Senior Research Associate for a pilot project that is developing tools to integrate sustainability research insights for cities in the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business. The article is based on ‘Telling tales’: Communicating UK energy research through fairy tale characters by Dr Carolynne Lord; Dr Katherine Ellsworth-Krebs, of the University of Strathclyde; and Dr Torik Holmes, of the University of Manchester, published in Energy Research and Social Science. The full paper also reveals the vampiric properties of cars and/or the witch-like characteristics of plastics, as seen in the illustrations on these pages.

14 | Tackling sustainability challenges is a difficult task for any business. For small companies, plotting the right direction can be a major undertaking. Dr Joanne Larty explains the INSPIRE for Sustainability project, which aims to help SMEs and research experts work together to share best practice and set a positive course forward INSPIRING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE

FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 15 Muncaster Castle

16 | “There has been a separation between what a farmer produces, what customers expect of their food, and what a chef really wants – that is, something that is both nutritious and tastes good. In conversations in the restaurant and food industry there’s often a focus on one area, such as carbon foot-printing, the health benefits of food, impacts of overfishing, or the importance of insect biodiversity. But it’s all connected and it’s important for us to make those connections. There is a learning curve for everyone.” Nina Matsunaga, Black Bull, Sedbergh, Cumbria “To push things forward, we need more business owners talking to each other, sharing their ideas, and showing each other what they are doing. It’s great to see what other businesses are doing, and you think: ‘That business can do that. If they can do that, we could scale that down and do X, Y and Z instead’. It would be good to share knowledge with businesses in Ulverston, but it also needs to be across Cumbria and nationwide.” Zoe Arnold-Bennett, Shed One Distillery, Ulverston, Cumbria “There are challenges around renewable energy. For instance, it is far easier to find someone that can install or fix a gas boiler than it is someone that can fix or install a heat pump. We’ve been learning as we go along and building our own capacity and skillsets, but it’s not easy as we look at the scale and how we might standardise and decarbonise across our properties.” Ewan Pennington-Frost, Muncaster Castle, Cumbria We are experiencing environmental and societal challenges like never before. Most SME owners know that they need to change the way they do business – and want to do so. But the challenges they face are manifold: knowing where to start; understanding how to create effective positive change; and being able to make changes whilst also ensuring the economic viability of their business. Added to this, there is a balance between complexity and simplicity in the actions that are needed to transform to a more sustainable business landscape. The bigger picture is complex and includes a multitude of areas we need to focus on to turnaround the adverse impact current ways of doing business have had on areas such as soil health and biodiversity, plastic pollution, reliance on fossil fuels, as well as social justice and modern-day slavery. The tendency is to focus on one area at the expense of others. For example, a focus on low-carbon transformations, which has seen a profusion of carbon calculators that businesses can use to measure and gauge their impact, can often lead to only small, incremental, and economically viable changes being made. While a low-carbon approach, such as reducing energy usage or reducing waste, might be a good place to start for many businesses, these changes are not enough on their own to avoid the catastrophic environmental and societal consequences we are now facing. Yet emphasising the need for a complete reimagination of the way we do business can quickly become overwhelming. Envisioning a future sustainable business landscape that moves away from business-as-usual is challenging for many small business owners, especially when combined with the challenges of the current economic landscape. To make matters worse, there is an overwhelming array of information on sustainability, which is often contradictory and always complex when considered within the bigger picture. The term sustainability is also used to mean different things. It is no wonder there is confusion amongst business leaders whose expertise lies in other fields, and who face obstacles in trying to find the best way forward to make their businesses more sustainable. HOW TO PROMOTE CHANGE So far we know that supporting sustainable transitions requires: 1) an effective flow of sustainability-focused knowledge, ideas, skills and expertise Shed One Distillery

both within and across regions; 2) an ability for key regional actors, including SME owners, to (re)imagine what future sustainable business landscapes might look like; 3) active and constructive provocation to challenge business-asusual ways of thinking and doing; 4) a willingness to engage in experimentation; and 5) the development of new narratives that underpin what sustainability means for a region – encapsulating what it means to do business, to live, work and visit the area in a more sustainable way. How we integrate these different aspects is a key question that we would like to address. IN NEED OF INSPIRATION AND IDEAS The INSPIRE for Sustainability project, supported by the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business and the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University, is exploring ways we might address the challenge. Focusing on SMEs in Cumbria and North Lancashire, our aim is to better understand how the region might more effectively encourage, support, and develop sustainability-focused knowledge to accelerate innovative and economically viable sustainable transitions. The project will also recognise and promote pioneering local businesses within the region who are actively implementing more innovative and sustainable ways of doing business, and who have successfully balanced the creation of economic value with the delivery of positive value to society and the environment. Already across the two counties, we have tourism and travel businesses that are working together to enable more sustainable forms of visitor experience; food and drink producers who are returning to local and traditional ways of food production that are more sustainable longer-term; and a growing number of businesses who are work alongside local community organisations and groups to provide more positive environmental and social impacts locally. But these are just a handful of examples, and the project is currently mapping the landscape of sustainable businesses and exploring flows of sustainability-focused knowledge within and across the region. It is also identifying good practice and exploring opportunities for future research that will enable us to more effectively and efficiently co-develop and share knowledge and ideas within and across the region. HARD WORK REQUIRED It will be difficult to make the transition to a more sustainable business less complex or challenging, but hopefully through INSPIRE we will discover new ways to make it less time-consuming and resource intensive for local SMEs. By working with local businesses and understanding their challenges we hope we might discover new ways to support more businesses in sustainable transitions and foster an environment of curiosity and exploration, whilst reducing a fear of the unknown. We also hope that the project will inspire a range of businesses, from those who are currently struggling to see a more sustainable way forward, to those already on a sustainability journey, as well as inspiring a new generation of business owners who will bring new skills, knowledge, and expertise to the area. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 17 Dr Joanne Larty in a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, a member of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, and Associate Director of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation. The Black Bull. Phil Rigby Photography The Black Bull. Amanda Farnese-Heath

18 | DO WE NEED A NEW UMBRELLA? The rise (and fall?) of ESG standards Is ESG dead? As leading business figures start to reassess the value of the term, Dr Marian Iszatt-White explains where ESG fits for companies and business schools alike – and why the importance of the issues it raises will live on even if the term does not.


Earlier this year, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, declared he would no longer be using the term ESG because it had been politically ‘weaponised’. Prior to this announcement, Environmental, Social and Governance standards – ESG for short – had become popular shorthand for a range of ethical/responsible business practices. Fink himself had previously pioneered ESG standards as a risk framework for investors, although its usage has subsequently spread well beyond the investment arena. Following Fink’s proclamation, some market commentators have questioned whether ESG as an umbrella term for ‘good’ business has had its day. Writing in the New York Post, Phillip Pilkington noted that in a survey of recent debuts funds by new asset management firms, 56% had relabelled their products ‘thematic’ rather than ‘ESG’. So, should business more broadly be jumping ship and looking for another label for their good works? And how should business schools like ours respond to this apparent shift in focus? WHAT IS ESG (REALLY)? The idea of selective investment based on criteria other than pure financial reward is not new. As far back as the 1950s and 60s, pension funds – some of the largest systematic investors in the financial markets – recognised the potential to affect wider social and environmental issues through their investment decisions. ESG standards are thus only the latest framework for evaluating investment risk and leveraging investment decisions for good. The term ESG came to popularity via a 2004 report titled Who Cares Wins, a joint initiative of financial institutions at the invitation of the United Nations. In the 20 years since, the ESG movement has grown into a global phenomenon representing more than US$30 trillion in assets under management. As such, it is one of a number of visible manifestations of the growing concern – in business and across the wider public – with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The three dimensions of ESG are concerned with reporting data on: Environmental: activities impacting on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, deforestation/reforestation, pollution mitigation, energy efficiency and water management. Social: activities relating to employee health and safety, working conditions, equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), and issues relating to customer satisfaction and employee engagement. Governance: transparency in relation to corporate governance issues such as preventing bribery, corruption, director/board diversity, executive compensation, cybersecurity and privacy practices, and management structure. Whilst ESG was initiated as a risk framework for investors, it has become a widely understood shorthand for ‘good’ business, and an aspirational label for organisations around the globe. ESG AND BUSINESS SCHOOLS Unsurprisingly, business schools are also waking up to ESG, and its potential to underpin postgraduate and management education. At an undergraduate level, practical initiatives have included the establishment of ‘living labs’ where staff, students and communities can collaborate to make 20 |

a difference to local issues that matter. York St John University ran a project to redesign the campus food system along more sustainable lines, whilst Manchester University has run projects on such topics as green space in the city and sustainable transport. Here at Lancaster, the Management School is keenly aware of the need to support ESG standards, both in our curricula and our internal policies. The former is reflected in programme and module innovations such as the core values running through our MBA programmes, innovative executive education offerings such as the Good Growth programme and the Innovation Catalyst, and the recently launched ‘dissertations in place’ project that will connect Master’s students with local issues through their capstone research project. These initiatives are reflective of our membership of PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and our commitment to a responsible research agenda that feeds through into our teaching. At the same time, Lancaster’s institutional policy commits us to becoming carbon net zero by 2035 and to achieving EDI related charter marks. All this activity is backed up by our significant new project – ‘B-School to ESG-School’ – designed to ensure that our existing ESG focus runs consistently through all our management education programmes. IF NOT ESG, THEN WHAT? From this, it is hopefully clear that we – and other business and management schools – believe ESG is very much alive and kicking. But it is still worth considering alternative labels and credentials. One such alternative is B-Corp certification. Established by B Lab in 2006, this builds on the idea that business requires ‘comprehensive, credible, comparable impact standards to support economic systems change’. To provide this, B Lab offers an Impact Assessment process that evaluates a company’s practices and outputs across governance, workers, community, the environment, and customers. Since its inception, B Lab have certified more than 7,000 companies across 161 industries globally as having met their standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. This includes more than 2,600 companies in Europe, and clearly suggests the importance of business in leading the way towards a new, stakeholder-driven socio-economic model. For universities, the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), an international not-for-profit association based in Brussels and Europe’s largest network association in the field of management development, is another standard bearer for ESG issues. Talking about their recently published How to Develop a Sustainable Business School in EFMD’s Global Focus magazine, the authors shared their ‘profound belief that sustainable and ethical behaviour should underpin education and research and what business schools do’, such that business schools ‘positively impact on society, policy, and practice’. We would certainly agree with that statement and believe our management education programme participants would agree with it too. So where does this leave ESG? In answering this question, it is worth noting that while Fink stated he intended to stop using the term ESG, his stance on the underpinning dimensions had in no way changed. They still represented, for him, the key issues that investors – and by implication, business – should be concerned with today and into the future. Arguably, the true importance of this focus rests in the fact that business is potentially the only institution with the power to initiate Environmental and Social change on a grand scale and hence requires Governance standards to help them to do this in a way that is fair and transparent. In Lancaster University Management School, we will be continuing to use ESG as an umbrella term for what we believe is important in both business and management education. For us, it is the substance that is important, not the name: it does not matter if it is called an umbrella, as long as it keeps off the rain! Dr Marian Iszatt White is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, with a research focus on aspirational forms of leadership and stewardship-as-leadership. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 21

22 | It is all too easy to think only of the negatives when it comes to cyber security measures. But rather than just offering protection against infiltration and the prevention of data breaches, these evolving technologies provide the opportunity for businesses to develop new products, reach fresh markets, and take more risks – if only they approach it in the right way. Professor Daniel Prince outlines how a proactive approach can yield positive dividends. Cyber security offers innovation, not just protection


Cyber security is not only about stopping disaster. You see big impacts when cyber security fails. There was the MOVEit attack on the BBC, British Airways, and other major organisations; there are leaks of data and details – such as with the Police in Northern Ireland – and long-term ramifications from such leaks and product failures are significant. Yet there is so much more to cyber security than preventative measures – and their issues. In business, you are there to add value – to customers, but also to other communities, like shareholders. Cyber security has been positioned primarily as a protective mechanism for that value creation, preventing attacks, securing products and ensuring clients do not suffer problems because of data leaks, and so on. But there is something interesting about this protective mission. It is important to understand its role in value creation, not just value protection. PART OF THE BIGGER PICTURE Business strategy is often focused on the value creation of the new, or the enhancement of the existing, rather than incorporating that protective element cyber security provides. Within many organisations, cyber security is separate from the core business strategy, yet it is a value creation enabler, because it empowers the strategy. A key thing to understand is that if you manage risks properly, you will be able to take more risks. If you look at skydivers, they do not just jump out of a plane without any preparation. No, they take the time, manage the risks, and have back-ups. They have processes in place that enable them to take that bigger risk. When you think about this in terms of cyber security, you are using it to manage that risk. You understand the risks of using digital technology, and you put the protective elements around that. That enables the business to take greater risks and adopt strategies that would have been impossible otherwise. When I work with organisations to explore this, they realise how they can use cyber security to do something differently, to open doors to new opportunities. ENABLING INNOVATION Cyber security can enable and empower certain aspects of their business model. As part of that, I borrow a concept from cybercrime, and I talk about cyberenabled innovation and cyberdependent innovation. Cyber-enabled innovation is where you do cyber security well, so that it enables you to do more. Some criminals do this. They take technology and enhance their criminal intent and their capability to reach more people. Phishing is an example, where criminals can now reach everybody in the world. They only need 1% of people to respond. If you hit 100 million people, that means responses from one million. If you can get them all to give you £10, that is £10 million. Innovation has empowered their reach and capability. The same thing goes in in business. If you are protecting large volumes of customer records at a high standard, this enables you to do major data analytics rather than removing the risk and not keeping those records at all. You can use this data to improve products, better target customers, increase your markets – any number of things. The other example is cyber-dependent innovation, where you use cyber security technologies in new ways to develop products in a seamless and transparent way. For example, you can see how core cyber security technologies such as biometric authentication and security technologies have enabled new services. 24 |

If you think about online banking, that is only possible because of innovations in cryptography and authentication. Technically, we could have done everything in an internet banking application prior to those innovations, but nobody would trust it; nobody would believe it was secure. Having authentication integrated with your phone, so that you can use your thumbprint or your face, enables a new level of services. With cyber-dependant innovation, there is a big push into to new capabilities. Again, that comes down to thinking about how organisations can innovate with cyber security, how they change that mindset so organisations go beyond ‘here’s a bad thing that’s happened. How do we respond?’ to ‘what are the innovation trends within security protection, and how do we take that information and transform that into value for our organisations?’ CULTURE BREEDS INNOVATION Such thinking comes from a maturity in the organisational innovation process. Technologies produced by companies and sold to others, and technologies implemented within organisations, are representative of the culture of that organisation, the beliefs of that organisation, the way that organisation works. If you are embodying the culture in a technological representation that supports that organisation, then if the organisations do not care about cyber security or the protection of information or systems, the technology will show that – you are not going to get technology that cares about cyber security. One of the key things within organisational culture is leadership. If your leaders do not care about cyber security, then why should the rest of the organisation? This is something my codirector on Lancaster’s Cyber Security Executive MBA, Dr Robyn Remke, wrote about in the last edition of Fifty Four Degrees. You can have all the strategic tools in the world, but as soon as that rubs up against a resistive organisational culture, then you will have an intractable problem. We can talk about and develop multiple tools and programmes to support organisations thinking about how they approach cyber security in a more creative and positive way. But ultimately, if the organisational culture is not conducive to embody that, to create and enable the change, then we are never going to win. We are reaching almost a technological epoch now with within digital and computing technology. We know how to build secure computer systems, but we are not. That is a fundamental challenge. We are not getting the cultural adoption of the security and protection concepts that we need within organisations, coupled with the leadership to drive that adoption. You see good pockets of leadership, but the real question is how do we embody within those who are coming through what it means to be a good business leader so that when they think of a core strategy, cyber security and the protection of digital assets is as natural to them as finance, marketing and everything else? The reason cyber security makes the news when there are problems is because the bad guys and girls are getting ahead of us. They are adopting technology, making use of concepts in a way that industry is still trying to make sense of. Criminals do not have problems of leadership, they are just getting stuff done. Business can use cyber security technology in innovative ways, and there are myriad benefits to doing so – we just need to take the plunge, place it as a core element of our businesses, and reap the rewards. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 25 Professor Daniel Prince is a Professor in Security and Protection Science within the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University. He is the CoDirector of Lancaster’s Cyber Security Executive MBA. The Cyber Security Executive MBA (CEMBA) is delivered by Lancaster University Management School, the School of Computing and Communications, and cyber security experts Templar Executives. The programme holds provisional certification from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

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FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 27 There are always alternatives Do organisations need an individual leader to succeed? Not necessarily. Dr Dermot O’Reilly examines how other forms of leadership and organisation are used by groups to flourish and live their values without the need for a figurehead at the top.

There is no alternative.’ This was a slogan often used by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s to summarise her belief that there was no credible substitute to the liberaleconomic system of free markets. Similarly, many students, managers, and politicians think that there is no alternative to market-oriented hierarchical organisations, led either by entrepreneurs or executive boards. But with growing awareness of rising economic and social inequality within and across many countries, and the increasing ecological degradation of the Earth, there is rising recognition that other organisational forms might be possible, even preferable. Many have argued that market-oriented hierarchical organisations are, both historically- and quantitativelyspeaking, a minority among forms of social organising. Take into consideration the myriad voluntary groups, self-help groups, charities, NGOs, sports clubs, families (and extended families), and religious groups across the world both now and back through the ages, and the marketoriented hierarchical organisation looks more like a rarity than a self-evident blueprint for all forms of social organising. DIFFERENT APPROACHES With my colleague Steve Allen, I have reviewed research specifically looking at what leadership in so-called ‘alternatives’ looks like (including acephalous social groups [literally ‘without head’, how hunter-gatherer humans lived prior to agricultural society, and how many groups still live around the world today], co-operatives, social movements, communes, social enterprises, hobby clubs, and terrorist organisations). The work was diverse, complex and compelling, and several key things stood out. Firstly, there was great variety in how leadership was understood – some experts understood leadership as something that leaders did, and this was what they saw in their research. For others, leadership was understood as a type of mutual activity that only existed in its collective performance. For these latter researchers, leadership was seen as shifting and rotating between different people and the things they did and thought. The second key feature of many of the groups was their desire to be ‘leaderless’, that is, to continue to exist without a formal leader or group of leaders. In egalitarian acephalous groups and societies this involved what has previously been referred to as a form of ‘reverse dominance’. That is, group members exercised forms of control over people that were temporarily ‘leaders’ or otherwise had special status. These forms of ‘bottom up’ control included ridicule and ostracism, and in extreme cases, killing those that might be considered ‘too big for their boots’. The desire to be leaderless is argued by some to be itself problematic. For example, some argue that this desire for leaderlessness masks processes by which individuals exercise considerable influence. Discussing the US women’s liberation movement in the 1970s, Jo Freeman famously described this as ‘the tyranny of structurelessness’ whereby the ideal of having an egalitarian group without formal authority tended to lead to informal power structures – based on social status, knowledge, or social bonds – that favour informal elites. These informal power structures and elites were then harder to name and address because of the belief in leaderlessness. But rather than seeing power inequalities as inevitable, having formal democratic structures may address power and status imbalances. Recent social movements, such as Extinction Rebellion, the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, or the 15M in Spain, have experimented with different ways of avoiding both formal and informal hierarchy. 28 | ’

SHARING THE LOAD A further angle is put on questions of whether hierarchy is inevitable in a study of utopian communes – groups that voluntarily live together and share all their property. From a comparative study of historical and contemporary utopian communes, those communes that either had a highly dominant individual, or those linked communes that had a highly dominant central commune, tended to have a limited active lifespan. Strong hierarchy tended to work against their longevity. Rather, communes with less dominant leaders, or linked communes that worked more like a federation, tended to last longer. MANY OPTIONS What can be drawn from these studies of leadership alternatives? Firstly, it highlights that how leadership is thought about varies widely – some focus on leaders, others on the processes as to how collective consciousness, meaning, and action is developed and enacted. These different notions of leadership are also found in alternative groups, and the differing perceptions of what leadership is affects how leadership is enacted within them. Secondly, it highlights the great variety of forms of social organising that there are, and the multiple ways in which leadership is enacted. Thirdly, it draws attention to the tensions between forms of hierarchy and egalitarianism, and how, if social equality is to be taken seriously, there needs to be adequate means to prevent and reverse the overcentralisation of power, whether formal or informal. The studies imply that more stable forms of organising tend to regularise lines and directions of influence, as well as centralising power, knowledge, and other resources. This suggests that processes for rotating and distributing prestige and meaning-making as well as resources are necessary for enabling more egalitarian forms of organising. In short, there are many alternatives – in thinking about leadership, in organising social forms, and in the choices and values involved in developing and protecting them. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 29 Dr Dermot O’Reilly is a Senior Lecturer in Management Learning and Leadership in the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology. This article draws upon the book chapter Leadership within ‘alternatives’, co-authored with Dr Stephen Allen, of the University of Sheffield, published in the SAGE Handbook of Leadership (2023).