School of Business

EDI research

Several academics and PhD students in our School conduct research relevant for multicultural businesses, communities, and societies. Through our research we equip various stakeholders to become more inclusive and equitable in their practices. You may browse a selection projects we have conducted below. 


Constructing a bridge to multicultural marketplace well-being: A consumer-centered framework for marketer action

Dr Cristina Galalae

As modern societies have become increasingly diverse, we witness elevated tensions between different cultural groups. Through spaces and representations they create, marketers provide interaction for various groups and we argue that marketing science, education and practice can play a transformative role in addressing these tensions. Towards this end, this paper contributes in three areas. First, we examine the structures and mechanisms underlying tensions and argue for a change from current policies of tolerance that merely recognize diversity, to actively seeking a well-being-enhancing multicultural engagement. Second, we provide a conceptual framework, employing a bridge metaphor that identifies the interactive marketplace domains of multicultural engagement (security, visibility, opportunity, utility, competence, and cultural navigability). Third, from the framework, we derive an agenda for actions by marketing academe and practice to support each domain.

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BAME Students' access and transition into PGR studies: Experiences and insights from students and staff in CSSAH at University of Leicester

Dr Chandrima Roy and Dr Reka Plugor

This is an internally funded project that draws on the experiences of students and staff in Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at University of Leicester. Ethnic minority applicants to higher education institutions are more likely to be concentrated in universities with a focus on applied and professionally oriented courses, and are less likely to enter higher ranked, research focused universities for their first degree (Boliver, 2016). Beyond access, the experiences in higher education are not equitable either, BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) students are more likely to drop out without completing their degrees and there remains a substantive awarding gap of good degree qualifications between white and BAME students across the sector (Williams et al., 2019). One of the key messages from previous studies with BAME students is that BAME difference is either dismissed or avoided (Hammond et al. 2019). Through this project we listen and voice BAME students’ experiences and concerns, aim to uncover the barriers in BAME students’ access and transitions into post graduate research (PGR) studies, their success within PGR degrees and their transitions into an academic post.

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The adaptation experiences of Chinese PhD students in the UK

Dr Chenyiman Lou

One of the main aims of Dr Chenyiman Lou's research is to reduce the educational disadvantages faced by Chinese PhD students in the UK. The data suggest that these students often encounter various challenges in the academic, sociocultural and well-being realms in the UK, in their horizontal transition from China to the UK, and vertical transition from undergraduate or master’s study to PhD-level study. This study offers practical implications for Western universities and higher education practitioners in terms of understanding Chinese (doctoral) students more comprehensively and thus providing appropriate support for them.

A multi-contextual lens on racism and discrimination in the multicultural marketplace

Dr Cristina Galalae

This article highlights the generative properties of context for consumer experiences of racism and discrimination. Drawing from conceptualizations of context in social anthropology and human geography, it develops a framework to systematically catalogue intersections of various micro- and macro-social contexts that configure within and across marketplace geographies and inform racism and discrimination. The framework is applied to an integrative review of studies on marketplace racism and discrimination. The review illuminates that:

  • application of intersectional perspectives varies significantly across cultural difference dimensions
  • knowledge is clustered within specific micro-social context expressions of cultural difference dimensions
  • studies intersecting micro- and macro-social expressions commonly reveal underexplored discrimination instances
  • knowledge on macro-social contextual forces significantly lacks non-western perspectives

Drawing on the review findings, a list of areas of advancement for future scholarship is presented, along with recommendations for marketing practitioners acting towards identifying, understanding, and counteracting racism and discrimination.

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Exploring essential entrepreneurial competencies for entrepreneurs with disability

Dr Ning Baines

This project aims to improve the understanding on entrepreneurial competences for disabled entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is a key policy idea to support the disabled people towards their economic independence, owing largely to the discrimination in the job market. While the potential of disabled entrepreneurship is clear, how to achieve it is much less so. Our intention is that, to support disabled entrepreneurs in a sustainable manner, it is necessary to better understand what makes the set of competences that correspond to both individual and structural challenges. Our project therefore involves two stages. First, the exploration of competences and skills through depth interviews with disabled entrepreneurs. Second, development of an intervention as part of a start-up camp for disabled entrepreneurs, intended for subsequent wider use.

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Institutionalizing Diversity-and-Inclusion-Engaged Marketing for Multicultural Marketplace Well-Being

Dr Cristina Galalae

Within an institutional theory framework, this article identifies three interconnected fields of the marketing institution—research, education, and practice—that contribute to advancing the diversity and inclusion discourse in promoting multicultural marketplace well-being. Conducting three studies, one in each field and across contexts in three continents, the authors identify barriers that inhibit effective implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives in today’s multicultural marketplaces. These barriers exist within and across fields and pertain to cultural-cognitive (shared meanings), normative (normative factors), and regulatory (rules and systems) pillars supporting the existence or transformation of institutions. From the research findings, the authors provide specific guidance for institutional work within marketing’s fields and policy developments needed to advance diversity-and-inclusion-engaged marketing for enhancing multicultural marketplace well-being.

This research has been adopted into the member toolkit by the National Diversity Council (NDC). 

Identity-based inequalities in the fine cocoa and chocolate industry

Lina Lucumi-Mosquera 

PhD student Lina Lucumi-Mosquera is currently evaluating the extent to which the participation of Colombian cocoa farming communities in the fine chocolate industry resolves or reinforces identity-based inequalities.

Meritocracy a Myth? A Multilevel Perspective of How Social Inequality Accumulates Through Work

Maria Karanika-Murray

This research focuses on the ways by which workplaces contribute to the accumulation of social inequality, defined as unequal opportunities and rewards for different social groups. Our Cumulative Social Inequality in Workplaces (CSI-W) model describes nine mechanisms, spanning four levels (individual, dyadic, network, organizational), through which initial differences in opportunities and rewards can shape performance and/or subsequent opportunities and rewards. Thus, we challenge the conventional view of workplaces as meritocracies and describe how social inequality dynamics in workplaces can exacerbate and legitimate social inequalities over time.

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Parents and Work

Maria Karanika-Murray

This work focuses on understanding the needs of parents returning to work and develop ways for organisations to support them. In this first book on this topic we synthesised the knowledge of a number of international experts from a diverse disciplinary fields to explore issues around work-life balance, return to work, career development, and parenting, among others, and developed practical recommendations on how businesses, policy-makers, and researchers, can support parents in the return to work journey, with benefits for families and organisations. This work continues.

Read 'Navigating the Return-to-Work Experience for New Parents

Read the article 'Five ways to support new parents returning to work during the pandemic'

Board diversity as strategic choice and why it should matter to SMEs

Professor Paul Hughes

Diversity in boards has gained attention as a reflection of societal imbalances. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of diversity in terms of both gender and nationality in management boards of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on firm performance from an upper echelons perspective. We also examine how board-specific characteristics influence the structural makeup of boards in gender and nationality diversity terms. Gender and nationality diversity contribute to firm performance and represent distinct upper echelon characteristics that change the cognitive and psychological dynamics of boards. Firms with larger boards do not perform better, but diverse boards reduce the narrowing view of CEOs. Yet the presence of owner-managers, despite their performance-enhancing contribution, holds firms back from benefitting from diversity as a strategic choice.

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The work experiences of ethnic minority doctors in NHS England

Salma Baz

This study focuses on the work experiences of ethnic minority doctors in the NHS England. The aim of this research is to investigate the role of ethnicity and race on the work experiences of ethnic minority doctors in the NHS England. The study aims to understand the causes behind the statistical figures of WRES report on individual level. The researcher will deploy in-depth qualitative interviews using Biographical Narrative Interpretive approach to elicit data. The research participants are divided into two groups: UK-native ethnic minority doctors and ethnic minority non-UK native doctors working in the NHS England. The researcher also aims to conduct key-informant interviews. This study will contribute to the extant debate on the inequalities in the NHS by an in-depth exploration of the role of ethnicity and race in the work experiences of ethnic minority doctors.

Exploring the entrepreneurial well-being of Indian women entrepreneurs using an interpretivist phenomenological approach to understand the impact of personality and prevailing entrepreneurial ecosystem

Sruthi John

The constant debate between Nature vs. Nurture has spilled itself into several fields; one domain that has particularly witnessed this dichotomy is the arena of women entrepreneurship. For a long time, women’s roles have been restricted to just the household sphere, but the empowerment experienced by women due to internal motivating characteristics (Nature) and external societal changes (Nurture) has seemingly emancipated many from misogynistic shackles. However, in spite of such waves of change to embed equality, diversity and inclusivity for women across all spheres, it is vital to investigate entrepreneurial well-being from their lived experiences using a phenomenological interpretivist approach.

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