Job Posting: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Warwick Business School

“Management insights for tackling grand challenges: the case of climate-related financial risks in the financial investment industry”

The four-year project is led by Dr. Katharina Dittrich and located within the Organisation and HRM (OHRM) group at Warwick Business School. It involves the principal investigator, two postdoctoral research fellows and a PhD student.

This is an exciting opportunity to

  • Conduct research on a pressing societal concern (climate change)
  • Develop real-world impact
  • Work with a team of highly committed and motivated researchers
  • Be part of a thriving community of organisational researchers working with practice, process and institutional approaches
  • Develop your academic career and network

The project

Despite the importance and significance of climate change for our planet and society, the finance sector for a long time has neglected climate change. In recent years, financial firms have realized that climate change poses a significant material risks to financial assets and the stability of financial markets. Yet, investors are ill-equipped to deal with these risks. There is a dearth of climate-related financial information, risk models do not provide the forward-looking scenario analysis required for climate change, and short-term orientation is still the dominant view amongst many working in financial firms. The challenge of climate risk is that it is complex, multi-dimensional, far-reaching in breadth and magnitude, and nothing like the traditional risks in finance. Tackling climate-related financial risks is beyond the power of any single firm and involves a large ecosystem of organizations, including financial investors, data providers, consultancies, regulators and NGOs.

Of relevance to this challenge is a recent stream of research in management and organisation studies that investigates how organizations tackle these large-scale, complex, enduring problems, referred to as ‘grand challenges’ (Ferraro, Etzion, & Gehman, 2015; George, Howard-Grenville, Joshi, & Tihanyi, 2016). This research has helped to highlight the macro processes of institutional change and to uncover the contributions of single organizations and multi-stakeholder initiatives to solving grand challenges. While much can be learned from this research, it leaves open how organizations change what they do when they are caught in a complex web of interactions with other organizations. How do they overcome the practical challenges that emerge in the interactions with others? How do the local experiments in multiple organizations interact and contribute to emerging collective approaches to the large-scale problem? Drawing on practice theory (Nicolini, 2012) and innovative ethnographic research methods, this four-research project traces in detail the actions of 10-12 organizations in their efforts to address climate-related financial risks, including different kinds of investors (e.g., pension funds, insurance companies, asset managers etc.), data providers and consultancies, investor networks, and NGOs.

The position

This recruitment is for a full-time, three years fixed position. The anticipated starting date is September/ October 2020.

As part of the project you will

1.         Collect ethnographic data on the day-to-day activities of people in different organizations, through the use of observations, formal and informal interviews and the collection of documents. Researchers will spend approximately three days per week in the field to collect data and use the remaining days to elaborate on field notes, read documents, and engage in analysis. Data collection will be conducted in organizations in the UK (primarily London) and, to a lesser extent, in Europe, so some flexibility and willingness to travel is required.

2.         Participate in regular face-to-face or virtual team meetings to share insights from data collection and analysis.

3.         Write or contribute to top academic publications.

4.         Attend and present research findings and papers at academic conferences, and contribute to the external visibility of the team and the department.

5.         Organise and deliver various impact activities aimed at disseminating research findings to project partners and other practitioners, including internal workshops with the organizations studied, targeted talks at practitioner conferences, conversations with policy-makers and practitioner-oriented reports & publications.

Requirements

You will possess a PhD degree in a relevant area of Business and Management, Sociology, Political Sciences or Human Geography (or you will shortly be obtaining it). You should have a strong background in one or more of the following areas:

  • Organization Theory
  • Practice Theory
  • Climate change
  • Financial markets/ investments
  • Risk management
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Ethnography

You should have excellent skills in qualitative data collection and analysis as well as administration and communication.

Application

More information on the position can be found here

The deadline for applications is June 9th.

Candidates should provide their application form, a CV, list of publications and two selected papers, either published or unpublished. Informal enquiries to Katharina.dittrich@wbs.ac.uk are welcome.

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