From the Dean

From the Dean

Dean Frank Chen

Imagining, innovating, sharing, arguing, supporting, criticising – wherever we look, we are busy at work in our unpredictable ways, more "human" than "resource." Meanwhile, automated processes are ticking away in the background, placing a question mark against our future relationship with technology and work.

In The human resource we put the accent back on "the human." We investigate how people can shape management practice, building a more equitable, innovative, and cooperative world in the process. We kick off with a big-picture view by Professor Jane Lu, Head of the Department of Management, who takes a critical look at the types of business research that we are doing – and how academics may be indirectly contributing to societal inequality.

Innovation is seen as one of the biggest drivers of the economy, and industrial or science parks have often been viewed as a likely catalyst. Here perhaps the "innovation in the air" may translate to achieving "results on the ground." But Do industrial clusters drive innovation? Professor Muammer Ozer examines the track record, and reveals some surprising results.

Strategic partnerships offer another way of fast-forwarding the innovation process, but these alliances come with certain risks. In Attacking your partners, Professor Haibin Yang asks whether high-stakes exploratory alliances may actually increase the likelihood of competition between partner firms?

The founders of family businesses have an altogether different preoccupation – protecting the family succession. In Family first, Professor Jane Lu describes how controllers of family businesses attempt to project their "socioemotional wealth" into the next generation.

The COVID-19 episode has thrown a big question mark over where we will work in the future, with the traditional office looking to take a big hit. But perhaps an intermediate solution will prove popular? Dr Yoojung Ahn looks at Coworking spaces and resource sharing and at how knowledge, resources and even emotional support can flow in unpredictable ways across these shared spaces.

In modern organisations with flat management hierarchies, innovation from below is much in vogue, and employees are encouraged to invest themselves fully in their jobs. Taking a psychological perspective, It's mine! by Dr Melody Zhang, investigates whether there is a potential downside to over-commitment at work.

We humans are sensitive creatures and people are often weary of providing negative feedback for fear of upsetting others. In Delivering critical feedback to your people Dr Chak-fu Lam discusses how managers can do just that. He describes six steps to delivering a difficult conversation directly and respectfully at the same time.

I am delighted to introduce this colourful issue of City Business Magazine – and am especially pleased to see the innovative use of art that is being integrated into the magazine's strategy.

I hope you enjoy this varied exploration into the way in which we – as a human resource in the widest sense – are situated in the contemporary workplace and society.

Frank Chen