School of Business

Professor Mat Hughes

Professor Mat Hughes is a Schulze Distinguished Professor (the twelfth in history and the first outside the USA) and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Leicester School of Business.

His research expertise lies in entrepreneurship and innovation and their intersection with strategy and management.  Mat's expertise includes the strategy and management of entrepreneurship and innovation in various contexts with a specific focus on entrepreneurial orientation, innovation ambidexterity, and social capital and relational strategy.  His work addresses the conditions and circumstances for business growth.

He is widely published in world-leading and internationally excellent journals, and sits on editorial boards of the British Journal of Management, Journal of Management studies and Journal of Business Venturing.  He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Family Business Strategy and Senior Editor of the leading practitioner website, funded by the Richard M. Schulze Foundation.

He addition he hosts a successful podcast series on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud and Amazon, rated by Feedspot as among the Top 25 UK Innovation podcasts in 2021.

Research case study

Published a year ago, Mat's research on how, when family firms build up marketing resources, these can in fact make them less innovative (Hu, Hughes, and Hughes, 2022).  In fact, these findings corroborate their earlier study that found among B2B forms, too many marketing resource can make managers cling to existing markets rather than innovate with real novelty (Kyriakopoulos, Hughes, and Hughes, 2016). hu et al. (2022) found that family businesses possess a unique antidote through: their family resources.  The subject of our 2022 paper was then turned into a research insights piece for where the takeaways for family business owners, managers and advisors are set out.

What they found:

  1. Scrutinize your marketing resources – your market knowledge, reputation, social capital, and brand – and think about whether they are giving you confidence to take more risks, or whether you are using them as a crutch to reject new innovations. Decide if some of your investments in these resources need to change or whether you need to invest elsewhere.
  2. Ask whether your innovation strategies are too focused on cost, quality or small feature improvements and serve only existing markets and customers. Evidence of this can lie in stagnant sales and revenue figures, weak or modest R&D investment, relatively higher marketing expenditure as a ratio of sales revenue, and the rate of new innovation over the past three years.
  3. Draw strength from family-unique resources including patient capital and family social capital and realize they can be a launchpad for a more radical innovation strategy. Like long-term investments and carefully built relationships, innovation should be seen as a strategy for the future rather than a quick hit.
  4. No matter how secure your resources, the market environment can change radically. As a result, customers may lose interest in your existing products and services, which threatens your very survival. Pay attention to changes in the market no matter how secure you feel and be ready to innovate to ensure your future security.
  5. Invest in your marketing resources but appreciate how to best capitalize on them. Policies that support a long-term outlook and strong social ties will help encourage innovations that ultimately help family firms build on their past success and continue to succeed into the future.

Listen to Mat's podcast accompanying this research


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