The CPA Innovation Centre is currently supporting research into the following projects.
- Embedding Sustainability in Corporate Culture
This project is part of an ongoing program of work that examines how organizations embed sustainability into their organizational culture. The project builds directly on a prior research project that developed a framework based on a portfolio of 59 practices to embed sustainability. The objective of this particular project is to conduct interviews with practitioners about how the sustainability practices undertaken with their organizations map onto the framework. This phase of research will help in the development of a detailed program of work for a SSHRC proposal that will explore how the practices employed by organizations might need to shift as they move along their journey towards sustainability.
- University Research Parks
Many technology-based firms begin in university research parks, and there is a generally held belief among scholars, policy makers, and industry and university leaders that these parks, — by providing appropriate infrastructure, business support and research collaborations — facilitate and enhance the survival and growth of their technology-based firms. However, existing research on the role of parks is mixed, and scholars have called for studies to re-explore how and why parks differ in terms of environmental context, strategies, and in particular practices.Focusing on Canadian, U.S. and U.K. university research parks, this study led by Drs. Ian McCarthy and Tom Lawrenceaims to improve our understanding of how parks vary in terms of their context, strategies and practices; and how these differences affect the performance of their resident technology-based firms. This is a highly significant issue for Canada and its universities, for in August 2007, Canada’s Prime Minister announced the creation of the Canadian Association of University Research Parks (AURP Canada) as an initiative in support of Canada’s quest to become a world leader in the development and commercialization of science and technology.By focusing on how the operations of university research parks vary, this project will provide important case study insights and empirically developed knowledge that will help understand and enhance the development and operations of Canadian university research parks and their firms. The specific research objectives are:
- to develop a typology that explains how variations in a parks’ context and strategy give rise todifferent operational configurations in terms of park management practice
- to conduct twelve case studies to validate the typology and identify park management practices for each of the identified park configurations
- to conduct an event history analysis that explores how different configurations influence park performance (e.g., growth, entry and exit of park firms) and tenant firm performance (e.g., productivity, growth and successful exit).
- Aboriginal Education in the Vancouver School Board
The CMA Innovation Centre is supporting a research project led by Drs. Gervase Bushe, Stephanie Bertels and Tom Lawrence, investigating organizational change in the Vancouver School Board. The focus of the study is the impact of a planned change event – an appreciative inquiry focusing on aboriginal education – on the cultures of the schools involved. The project is utilizing a real-time, longitudinal qualitative methodology in which the focus is on the discourse of stakeholders and participants in the change process.This study will employ standard ethnographic research techniques to assess and qualify the impact of a cultural change intervention in a large-scale organizational context. Our research context includes approximately ten public school sites within the Vancouver School Board (VSB) public school system. We intend on including approximately 100 specific subjects in the study, or approximately 10 per research site.Through the Fall and Spring of 2006/2007, these school sites within the organizational framework of the VSB will be participating in a change initiative – the Aboriginal Learning Inquiry – that aims to improve the experience of aboriginal students in the participating school sites. This initiative makes substantial use of the philosophy and methodology of Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider & Whitney, 1999).This study aims to assess the efficacy of the intervention by pre and post-assessing the discourse field constituted by each participating site. By studying changes in the discourse field, as exemplified by the perceptions of key stakeholders and influencers in the field, we hope to establish qualitative evidence of the effects of the intervention on the system and specifically the cultural change at each site. It is our hypothesis that significant changes in the discourse field will be evident in changes in formal symbols and texts that constitute the formalized discourse at each site (Hardy, Lawrence, & Phillips, 2004).
- Innovation in Public Health
Research in the field of addictions has traditionally been dominated by a focus on medical, biological, epidemiological, psychological and sociological issues, providing significant insight into the causes and effects of drug addiction, the efficacy of treatment strategies, and the structure and culture of addict communities. Overlooked in much addictions research is the importance of organizations and interorganizational relationships in addressing the social and economic impacts of drug addiction. This oversight is common not only to addictions research but to the field of healthcare more generally.This study led by Tom Lawrence, supported by Graham Dover, is intended to help remedy this oversight in addictions research by examining the role of organizations and interorganizational relationships in the field of drug addiction in British Columbia – the emergence of harm reduction strategies in Vancouver and Victoria, and particularly the creation of supervised injection sites (SIS) for intravenous drug users. The project proposed here is part of a multi-year research program examining the social and political processes associated with the creation and diffusion of the SIS as an innovation. The focus of this specific research project is to examine the role of “connector organizations” – organizations the purpose of which is to connect a large number of diverse constituents in order to achieve some common purpose – in the establishment and diffusion of SIS facilities.The first government-sanctioned supervised injection site (SIS) was established in Vancouver in 2003, as a 3 year trial by the federal and provincial governments. The establishment of similar sites is currently on the public agenda in a number of Canadian cities, with Victoria being the furthest along the path toward opening such a site. This situation presents a valuable opportunity to gain insight into the creation and institutionalization of a controversial new practice in the field of drug addiction.”Keeping the Door Open” (KDO) is a connector organization formed in Vancouver as a multi-stakeholder coalition representing a diverse range of groups, institutions and individuals; it had a significant, and as yet undocumented, role in the opening of the Vancouver SIS. Currently, a second KDO organization is being formed in Victoria with a similar structure and set of aims. The research project proposed here would involve a comparative case study of the two organizations, their histories and networks, strategies used, and effects they have had, or are having, on the opening of SIS facilities in their respective cities.Thus, the two primary objectives of this research program are:(1) document the social, political and cultural practices of the Vancouver and Victoria KDO organizations in their attempts to facilitate the establishment of a SIS;(2) develop a theoretical model of the processes through which connector organizations facilitate innovations in the field of drug addiction