The Management of Social Capital in family owned SMEs'
Having navigated an unusual academic path from an MA (Hons) in English Literature at the University of Dundee, to an MSc in Human Resource Management at Strathclyde Business School, Ian developed a keen interest in the facet of behaviour within relationships at the organisational level. This continued throughout his career as he worked in a variety of HRM roles within industry. Ian's industry experience ranges from organisations that are both large and small, as well as across the public, private and third sectors. Ian is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Ian chose UU to embark on his PhD studentship for a number of reasons, not only the fact that he was working as a Research Assistant here prior to enrolment. Of particular importance to him are the strong links the Ulster Business School was within industry and he feels that the University possesses a great blend between research, teaching and enterprise.
Given Ian's background (the only sibling not to join the family business) it is perhaps unsurprising that when it came to developing an idea for further academic research, the construct of the family firm would be prevalent. In Northern Ireland alone, family firms form the backbone of the economy and one of the greatest challenges facing these firms is ensuring that competent family leadership is sustained across the generations.
Given Ian's perpetual interest in the 'why' behind every relationship in an organisational context, Ian is particularly interested in the impact that Social Capital can have on the succession process, namely the qualities and competencies necessary in both the preceding and succeeding generations and whether or not the ability to obtain and leverage this capital is an inherent or learned activity. This all combined to form Ian's research area.
Ian has only just begun his PhD, but already feels that it is stretching and informing his thinking and understanding. Ian believes that support from fellow PhD students and other members of Faculty staff, has been helpful and the training provided by the Graduate Research Centre a vital source of development. Ian is particularly grateful to his supervisors, Dr. Martin McCracken and Dr. Emma Fleck for their support, guidance and input.