Richard K. Blundel

Richard K. Blundel
The Open University (UK) · Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise

BSc Econ (LSE); MBA (Bradford); PhD (Birmingham)

About

82
Publications
62,623
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880
Citations
Citations since 2017
22 Research Items
552 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
Introduction
Professor of Enterprise and Organisation at The Open University, UK. An organisational researcher and educator with a particular focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and environmental sustainability. Has examined the nature and implications of the growth process in a variety of organisations, including small artisanal food producers, craft-based manufacturing businesses and social enterprises. Co-author of Exploring Entrepreneurship (Sage, 2017). Please refer to my Open University profile for a fuller listing: http://business-school.open.ac.uk/people/rkb7
Additional affiliations
May 2017 - present
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Professor
October 2016 - present
University of Surrey
Position
  • Honorary Fellow
July 2009 - April 2017
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
October 1997 - April 2003
University of Birmingham
Field of study
  • Commerce
October 1987 - September 1988
University of Bradford
Field of study
  • Business management
October 1980 - July 1983

Publications

Publications (82)
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the interplay between innovation and entrepreneurial processes amongst competing firms in the creative industries. It does so through a case study of the introduction and diffusion into Britain of a brass musical instrument, the wide bore German horn, over a period of some 40 years in the middle of the twentieth century. The nar...
Chapter
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This chapter examines some of the more prominent features of the complex and often highly contested relationship between contemporary forms of craft and their earlier incarnations. It responds to a persistent conceptual challenge that also has significant practical implications: ‘This false choice of modern craft, between present and past, complic...
Article
[This article was first published online on 10 January 2018] We study the values on which managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) draw when constructing their personal and organizational-level engagement with environmental issues, particularly climate change. Values play an important mediating role in business environmental engagemen...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The main objective is to analyse the drivers of sustainable entrepreneurial practices in SMEs operating in a developing economy. The secondary objectives are to explore the relationship between these drivers and to draw out the implications for policy and practice. Design/methodology/approach The research is informed by the literature on s...
Article
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We investigate the role and influence of the biological metaphor ‘growth’ in studies of organizations, specifically in entrepreneurial settings. We argue that we need to reconsider metaphorical expressions of growth processes in entrepreneurship studies in order to better understand growth in the light of contemporary challenges, such as environmen...
Article
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Collectively, small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) make a significant contribution to carbon emissions. Transformative changes are needed to achieve Net Zero amongst the SME community, presenting policymakers and practitioners with a complex and largely unresolved set of challenges. In this paper, we investigate the unexploited potential of hu...
Article
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The aim of this paper is to offer an alternative to a priori theorising in research on firm‐level growth and environmental sustainability. We outline an approach that combines John Shotter's phenomenology with post‐hoc application of the Bourdieusian concepts of habitus, practices and social capital. This is illustrated empirically through a study...
Article
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This paper explores a radically different way of facilitating energy and environmental initiatives in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In terms of energy policy, smaller firms in Europe are exempted from most of the major fiscal and regulatory mechanisms that are applied to larger organisations. Policies to reduce energy demand and associ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper explores a radically different way of facilitating energy and environmental initiatives in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In terms of energy policy, smaller firms in Europe are exempted from most of the major fiscal and regulatory mechanisms that are applied to larger organisations. Policies to reduce energy demand and associ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we examine the options open to organisational researchers who seek to apply social scientific methods to study the work practices of contemporary craft practitioners. We begin by considering two historical precursors to contemporary research on craft practice, whose work serves to illustrate the range of approaches available, and some...
Data
Cover of Enterprise & Society Vol 19, Iss 3 - reflecting the topic of our article on craft and innovation in brass musical instrument making.
Article
Full-text available
This article forms part of a larger study examining how contemporary designer-makers are helping to develop the next generation, through apprenticeships, shorter internships and other forms of engagement. It is a collaborative project, involving an established furniture designer-craftsman and an academic researcher and educator with interests in cr...
Article
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his Special Issue of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (‘Green innovation’ – connecting governance, practices and outcomes) brings together a set of papers that focus on social and technological innovations designed to address the environmental sustainability challenges that we face today. Several contributions were first...
Book
Full-text available
A detailed and critical analysis of the multiple types of entrepreneurship, helping students to understand the practical skills and theoretical concepts needed to create their very own entrepreneurial venture. Split into two parts, the book provides an even balance between theory and practice. Part 1 covers the practical activities involved in new...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objectives: This paper examines emerging models that are being adopted by organisations engaged in the low carbon transition, with a particular focus on the role played by social enterprises. It presents a case-based comparison of recent efforts by industry actors in the housing retrofit supply chain to deliver low-energy retrofits (or refurbishmen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Topic: This paper reports on our experiences in running a pilot ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) project that addresses the issue of ‘sustainable growth’ by engaging SME owners and managers in facilitated workshop discussions on this important, yet highly contested topic. If the UK and other countries are to meet their carbon reduction obliga...
Data
A detailed and critical analysis of the multiple types of entrepreneurship, helping students to understand the practical skills and theoretical concepts needed to create their very own entrepreneurial venture. Split into two parts, the book provides an even balance between theory and practice. Part 1 covers the practical activities involved in new...
Presentation
Full-text available
This is an early presentation of a collaborative research project involving the furniture designer-maker Philip Koomen and Richard Blundel, an academic researcher specialising in alternative approaches to enterprise and innovation
Chapter
Full-text available
The objective of this chapter is to contribute to the understanding of why SME managers engage with business greening. Ethical tensions are understood through use of the Schwartz Value System. The starting assumption is that the business framing of the environment, to save money and save the planet (win-win), is not value free but instead draws on...
Chapter
Full-text available
Industrialization, the historical development that saw cheesemaking transformed from a largely craft-based or artisanal activity, often located on a dairy farm, to a production process that, for the most part, takes place in large ‘cheese factories’ or creameries [See ARTISANAL]. The principal features of modern industrialized cheesemaking, which s...
Chapter
Full-text available
Artisanal, a term used to describe production systems that are relatively small-scale and where hand-working and the skilled, intuitive judgment of the maker takes precedence over mechanized and automated methods. Common synonyms include: ‘craft’, ‘handmade’, and ‘traditional’. Artisanal cheese is often made on-farm with milk from the farmer’s own...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Responding to environmental threats, such as climate change, air pollution and loss of biodiversity, while also meeting economic needs, represents a major challenge for businesses, governments and society as a whole. International policy makers have presented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as 'drivers' of sustainable development, playing...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objectives: To examine how human capital influences the environmental engagement of SMEs in Pakistan’s leather industry. Another objective is to explore the different motivations of SME owners and managers for adopting the pro-environmental behaviour in this industry sector. Prior Work: The research is informed by literature on SMEs and environme...
Article
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Enterprise policies play a central role in economic development across Africa, but more effective, evidence-based policy evaluation is required to inform future interventions. The paper makes two contributions: (1) to filling this gap in our understanding and (2) to developing more rigorous and appropriate evaluation methodologies. The issues are e...
Article
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This paper offers a critical review of the ‘single argument’ that underpins Penrose’s (1959) study, The Theory of the Growth of the Firm (TGF) It aims to complement and counter-point recent examinations of Penrose’s influence on strategic management, and on the resource-based view (RBV) in particular, including Jacobsen’s (2011) study. The paper ex...
Article
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Social ventures are now widely regarded as playing an essential role in addressing persistent and pervasive societal challenges. This insight has prompted an active search for readily-scaleable and replicable business models. However, relatively little consideration has been given to the longer-term growth and performance of these hybrid organizati...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This special issue marks a particular milestone: it is now three decades since the Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain began the task of monitoring emerging trends and examining the experiences and opinions of business owners and managers. In this report, we have assembled contributions from a variety of sources with the following aims: t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This special issue marks a particular milestone: it is now three decades since the Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain began the task of monitoring emerging trends and examining the experiences and opinions of business owners and managers. In this report, we have assembled contributions from a variety of sources with the following aims: t...
Article
Full-text available
In periods of economic crisis and instability, the response of many business organisations is to try and adapt to prevailing market conditions. This typically results in a pattern of retrenchment and rationalisation designed to cut costs. Responses of this kind may be justifiable and, to varying degrees, effective at a firm-level. However, their wi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The paper conducts a critical review of the ‘single argument’ that underpins Penrose’s (1959) study, The Theory of the Growth of the Firm (TGF). It summarises six components of the argument, tracing their inter-connected journey towards TGF’s two relatively neglected concluding chapters. In doing so, it highlights Penrose’s broader concern with the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objectives: To examine how small and medium-sized firms deal with external shocks of various kinds, with particular reference to extreme weather events. The research asks how business owners and managers prepare themselves for these inherently uncertain events and how they deal with immediate impact on the business when it faced with an external cr...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Public policy statements on enterprise and entrepreneurship education have emphasised its importance in relation to the promotion of economic growth, community development and resilience. However, there is continuing debate over the nature, scope and effectiveness of existing approaches. For example, a recent United Kingdom government study found t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objectives: This paper examines emerging models that are being adopted by organisations engaged in the low carbon transition, with a particular focus on the role played by social enterprises. It presents a case-based comparison of recent efforts by industry actors in the housing retrofit supply chain to deliver low-energy retrofits (or refurbishmen...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental policies to promote environmentally sustainable economic activity have often concentrated on larger firms. However, increasing attention is being paid to the role of small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurial actors. In this paper, we examine how policy tools are being used to improve the environmental performance...
Article
Full-text available
Strategy Without Design: The Silent Efficacy of Indirect Action ROBERT C.H. CHIA AND ROBIN HOLT Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009 xii + 248 pp., h/back ISBN 978 0 521 89550 7 (£55.00) The title of this extraordinary book encapsulates the authors’ central argument. Robert Chia and Robin Holt are asking us to reconsider orthodox views of s...
Data
This is a sample chapter from the first edition of R. Blundel and N. Lockett, Exploring Entrepreneurship (OUP, 2011). The substantially updated and extended second edition of this textbook (Sage, 2017) is now available and sample chapter can be found on ResearchGate or at the publisher's website: https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/exploring-entrepren...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a critical review of the ways in which the specialised knowledge and working practices of craft-based industries have been transformed in the context of broader processes of industrialisation and global competition. The opening section makes the case for artisanal knowledge as a ‘Cinderella’ subject that remains important yet la...
Book
Full-text available
Effective Organisational Communication gives students from all backgrounds the tools to communicate both within and between organisations of all kinds. Its two-part structure enables readers to explore important theoretical perspectives and key communication challenges, while also helping them to develop their own communication skills – such as lis...
Book
Full-text available
This second volume in the series, Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research, which is edited by Sarah Underwood, Richard Blundel, Fergus Lyon and Anja Schaefer, draws together research contributions that seek to critically explore a range of issues in the specific context of social enterprise, sustainable entrepreneurship and social responsib...
Chapter
Full-text available
Governments around the world are taking an increasing interest in promoting environmentally-sustainable economic activity. They have developed a variety of policy approaches in an effort to address environmental issues that range from localised pollution incidents to global climate change. This chapter examines the kinds of intervention tools that...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter reports on a recent educational initiative involving academics from Ghanaian universities and members of an informal sector community of woodworking artisans. This pilot project examined how social and technological innovations, including open educational resources (OERs) might be used to create new learning experiences that were capab...
Book
Full-text available
PLEASE SEE THE UPDATED 2ND EDITION OF THIS TEXTBOOK, PUBLISHED IN NOVEMBER 2017 - SAMPLE CHAPTER AVAILABLE ON RESEARCHGATE. This is an advanced undergraduate/postgraduate text, which combines a practical focus on the challenges of new venture creation with a focused review of the latest research evidence. Exploring Entrepreneurship examines the n...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This was a report for the Defra Greener Living Fund. It was commissioned by Defra as part of an additional work package; two of the co-authors (Blundel and Ramirez) were members of the monitoring and evaluation team for the GLF project, Climate Solidarity, which involved members of four trades unions in a pro-environmental behaviour change initiati...
Chapter
Full-text available
One of the main issues arising from our discussions is the challenge of developing learning experiences that are capable of meeting the needs of smaller enterprises. How can educational programmes help to address challenges such as translating informal sector enterprises on to a more formal basis, making smaller low-growth enterprises in the formal...
Chapter
Full-text available
This case has been written in order to provide a basis for class discussion. It is presented in three parts and could be run over several class meetings. In keeping with the OER [Open Educational Resources] approach, it could easily be re-versioned – for example, to provide the basis for an assignment.
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter scope the relationship between entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Both entrepreneurship and CSR have attracted increased interest in the early 21st century and been positioned as offering solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges. Previous attempts to determine causal influence between the t...
Data
This working paper was produced as part of a Defra-funded project for the 'Greener Living Fund'. It is a literature review that examines potential methodogies for monitoring and evaluating workplace engagement initiatives, with a particular focus on reducing carbon emissions. Note: a draft version of the report was circulated to the COIN project te...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: (1) To provide a constructive critique of the interface between the entrepreneurial growth dynamics research and social responsibility literatures; (2) to explore opportunities for making new connections between these literatures in order to address substantive ‘gaps’ in research and policy-making ; (3) to map the broader intellectual t...
Article
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In this paper, we examine the ways in which the phenomenon of entrepreneurial agency has been represented in the transitions literature with particular reference to purposive sustainability transitions. The aim of the paper is to encourage critical reflection on the relationship between transitions and entrepreneurship research. We present provisio...
Article
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Zoltan J. Acs is a Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, USA, and a Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany. His name will be familiar to many readers of this journal. Acs has been a leading figure in entrepreneurship research in recent years, producing work that has spanned discipli...
Article
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This is a book review of: Zoltan J. Acs (2008) 'Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy: Prelude to a Knowledge Spillover Theory of Entrepreneurship'. Cheltenham and Northampton MA: Edward Elgar. ISBN: 978-1-84720116-4 Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Economic growth, Enterprise culture, Public policy
Article
Full-text available
Francis Greene and his colleagues have provided a very timely contribution to the debate on what is sometimes termed the enterprise culture “project”. After more than 30 years of institutional restructuring and cultural change, entrepreneurship as a social phenomenon has achieved considerable prominence in public policy arenas (e.g. health, educati...
Book
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PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST (4TH) EDITION OF THIS TEXT FOR MORE INFORMATION - BLUNDEL, IPPOLITO AND DONNARUMMA (2013).
Article
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This article examines the challenge of modifying orthodox ‘case study’ approaches to the growth of firms and inter-organizational networks in the light of recent work on the evolution of business knowledge. We suggest that a modified Penrosian framework, combined with a qualified application of critical realist practices, could contribute to more c...
Chapter
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This chapter provides an outline of the origins and principal features of critical realist social theory, followed by a focused review of the methodological implications of this philosophical perspective. The primary purpose of the chapter is to consider why critical realism might offer a suitable ‘vehicle’ for qualitative research in the field of...
Article
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This article traces the uneven development of English cheese-making from its early commercialization to the eventual triumph of the “cheese factory.” The narrative shows how contemporary actors initiated and adapted to changes in technology, distribution, consumption, and regulation. It indicates that artisanal practices have both borrowed from and...
Article
Full-text available
This article traces the uneven development of English cheese-making from its early commercialization to the eventual triumph of the "cheese factory." The narrative shows how contemporary actors initiated and adapted to changes in technology, distribution, consumption, and regulation. It indicates that artisanal practices have both borrowed from and...
Article
Full-text available
Recent agenda-setting exercises in the national innovation systems and industrial dynamics literatures have highlighted the unresolved methodological challenges faced by those seeking to explore the innovation process in a co-evolutionary perspective. The paper seeks to contribute to this debate by drawing upon the research methods and presentation...
Article
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The paper explores contrasting ways in which the 'focal firm' network most commonly associated with smaller, entrepreneurial ventures engages with the characteristically vertical network morphology associated with established industrial supply chains. The central argument, which builds on the extensive literature relating to inter-organisational ne...
Article
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This paper is concerned with contrasting the impact of globalization pressures on industrial development in particular localities, with specific reference to the relative performance of regional clusters. A multiple case study approach is adopted in order to examine the decline of volume yacht manufacturing in a long-established English cluster and...
Thesis
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The thesis is concerned with the growth of ‘connected’ firms, characterised as small firms that are engaged in stable spatial and vertical network relationships, involving a variety of actors, including larger firms. It locates these firms within the landscape of the ‘New Competition’, (Best 1990, 2001), highlighting the relatively unexplored regio...
Article
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This paper explores the growth trajectories of two specialist food producers and the business networks in which they are embedded. The context is provided by a brief overview of today' s complex and dynamic food industry supply chain, seen from the perspective of a small, craft-based ® rm. The sector chosen for this study, English regional cheese m...
Article
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This paper presents new insights into the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in vertical inter-firm relationships. It adopts a processual and resource-based perspective and focuses on the experiences of fresh produce businesses which have achieved high rates of growth while supplying the UK’s large multiple food retailers....
Technical Report
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This literature review, which was commissioned by the UK's Small Business Service is concerned with business networks, and their importance for the small business community. Business networks are sometimes defined as comprising only inter-firm relationships (e.g. those that exist between component supplier and a manufacturer). However, it soon beco...
Article
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The paper examines the different ways that globalization pressures have been experienced in four European clusters, and their consequences at the local level. It presents an empirical study of volume yacht manufacturing, an under-researched industry sector, which has undergone a number of transitions over the last three decades. The study begins by...
Article
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This paper traces the changing dynamics of artisanal knowledge production from the pre-industrial era to the inception of the digital economy. It integrates resource-based and institutional concepts within a broadly Penrosian framework. Results are presented in two overlapping phases. The first is a broad historical analysis, periodised on the basi...
Article
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NOTE: See Blundel and Lyon's (2015) article in the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, which develops the themes identified in this earlier working paper: Blundel, Richard K. and Lyon, Fergus (2015). Towards a ‘Long View’: Historical Perspectives on the Scaling and Replication of Social Ventures. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 6(1) pp. 80–102...
Article
Full-text available
Entrepreneurial actors occupy a prominent role in popular narratives of industrial and corporate change, both historical and contemporary. Whether they be triumphant heroes or tragic anti-heroes, ‘robber barons’ or ‘great statesmen’, these representations have given rise to a persistent and often deeply-held perception of entrepreneurs as powerful...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
As part of a long-term exploration of craft-based organisations, I have worked with several colleagues including Prof David Smith and Prof Angela Tregear, often incorporating an historical dimension (e.g. in relation to the co-development of artisan and industrial cheese-making, and of product innovation in the world of brass musical instrument makers). I am currently collaborating with the leading furniture designer-maker, Philip Koomen, on a project that examines how skills, knowledge and values are shared and reproduced in contemporary craft-based businesses, including the role of formal apprenticeships and other workshop-based interactions.
Project
An ESRC Impact Acceleration Account project This project combines leading-edge research on SME growth processes and environmental behaviours with practitioner expertise in SME engagement and climate change communication. Its primary aim is to help SMEs and intermediaries gain a better understanding of sustainable growth and its implications for their businesses.
Project
I was a guest editor for this SI, published in the International Journal of Entrepreneneurship and Innovation in February 2018. SAGE Journals - ISSN: 14657503; eISSN: 20436882 (published quarterly) The SI is building on the themes of the ESRC seminar series, 'Green Innovation: Making it Work' (2015-17). The guest editors are Richard Blundel, David Smith, Rob Ackrill and Anja Schaefer.