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Is the Organisational Face-to-Face Meeting Redundant in the Digital Era? (Advert Reference: SF19/BL/MOS/BENNETT)

Project Description

Many International organisations are facing a change to their traditional operational procedures, due to the enhanced change in working practices made available through Digital Technology, thus enhancing the new Digital Business framework. Rapid improvements in Digitization have resulted in International and Global Organisations, especially those with supply chains, modifying and changing their working practices to enable “real time” working with the ability to make real time changes to production demands. Manufacturing and Service organisations are beginning to embrace the digitization of their operations to enable speed of operation to capture the “immediacy” of data interchange across the functions of the operation and out into the wider supply chain and distribution channels.

A key component within the strategies and initiatives that have been introduced and now beginning to be utilised across the Global Supply Chain is the major role that Digital Technology is now beginning to play. Digital Technology could be used across the network to monitor progress via “real time” working and offer the cross-functional work team the opportunity to interact in several ways, where digitalisation could move forward with information and verbal and visual digital contact. Digital Technology could also be used to assist connected organisational interaction through monitoring product movement and location in real time.

This project will investigate how one important area of business incorporating Digital Technologies - namely the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-functional working in the matrix structure - can be applied to real time organisational and operational efficiency through the creation of true synchronous data and worker interface. Digital Technology, through its data collection readiness and very importantly, data sharing immediacy, promises to be a main driver in future organisational efficiency in gaining value advantage via closeness of data utilisation and hence business impact - most likely ensuring the strongest possible value impact to businesses. Thus, new ways of Digital team working efficiency are expected to emerge, as are new and innovative business models. It is unclear at this stage how organisational business models will develop and how future sustainability will be maintained and this research could shed light on these too.

The successful applicant will be part of the ‘Digital Business: Internet of Things’ research group, which is a multi-disciplinary group researching the emerging named Internet of Things. This is a fairly recent terminology emerging within the area of Digital Business, in terms of the supportive consideration to traditional matrix structure working practices and its deployment within the manufacturing and service sectors such as the Automotive and other manufacturing and/or Service industries.

This project is supervised by Dr David Bennett.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Bennett, D., and Klug, F. (2012) Logistics supplier integration in the automotive industry International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol.32 No. 11, 2012 pp 1281-1305

Demirbas, D., Flint, F., and Bennett, D. (2014) Supply Chain interfaces between a port utilizing organisation and port operator Supply Chain Management an International Journal 19/1. 2014 79-97

Dinsdale, E., and Bennett, D. (2015) Benefits; drawbacks and boundaries to deliver JIT. Re-thinking the UK Automotive Industry Operations Supply Strategy Benchmarking an International Journal, Vol. 22 No 6, 2015 pp1081 - 1095

Roca, T., Morton, S., Roula, M. (2015, September) How to increase employees’ engagement in organizational citizenship behaviours within continuous improvement programs in manufacturing. Paper presented at the British Academy of Management (BAM) conference, University of Portsmouth, 7-10 September 2015 (pp. 883).

Demirbas, D., Wilkinson, L and Bennett, D. (2018) ‘Supplier Relations impact within the UK Automotive Industry’ Benchmarking and International Journal (Accepted: Publication 2019)

Demirbas, D., Holleville, L. and Bennett, D. (2018) ‘Evaluation and Comparison of Lean Manufacturing Practices in Britain and France: A Case Study of a Printing Solutions Organisation’ Journal of Economy Culture and Society 2018; 57: 93-150

Morton, S., Michaelides, R., Roca, T., and Wagner, H. (2019) "Increasing Employee Engagement in Organizational Citizenship Behaviors Within Continuous Improvement Programs in Manufacturing: The HR Link," in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Vol 66, No4.

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