Vince Cable praises business research at booklet launch

18 June 2012

Vince Cable at the event

18/6/12: The social sciences are “extremely valuable” in providing evidence to help government decide on policy, Vince Cable told the launch of the Academy of Social Science’s booklet on management.

The Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary said the booklet ‘Making the Case’ was “very interesting stuff and shows the massive contribution that academic community can make to what we do.”

“If the social sciences contribute anything it’s in the introduction of rigorous concepts and evidence,” he said.

Dr Cable was speaking at the launch event at the BIS conference centre in London on June 18, attending by over 80 academics, journalists and representatives of think tanks and learned societies.

The booklet, ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences – Management’, comprises 16 case studies of research carried out in universities which has helped to increase business efficiency, aid small enterprises, encourage environmental efficiency and promote good employee relations. It is the sixth in a series published by the Academy of Social Sciences promoting the work of social scientists. See the booklet

Dr Cable said that research summarised in the booklet showing that private equity buyouts performed more strongly than buyouts using other types of funding was useful. “This is quite an interesting conclusion that goes against the accepted wisdom but is quite relevant in terms of the work of this department in promoting non-bank finances.

He highlighted some of the other case studies set out in the booklet. These included work showing that foreign-owned firms which practised good employee participation did well, and research looking at how to tackle the cash-in-hand economy in Europe.

“There are also a whole lot of studies [in the booklet] not directly related to government polices which are quite important in terms of insights about the way that business functions,” he said.

At the event Rajesh Bhatt, General Manager Tata Quality Management Services (Europe), talked on the use of management research in industry as it relates to his group, one of the largest businesses in the world and now running Tetley Tea and Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, among other companies.

The launch heard a case study of how Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, helped Tata to map out the process of adding value to its businesses through use of innovation, and to create a supportive environment for entrepreneurial behaviour.

It also heard Dr Rebecca Homkes, Project Director of the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, talk on how a team from Cambridge, Harvard, the LSE and Stanford universities measured management processes around the world and documented the factors that drive success. They found that the UK had a larger proportion of small businesses which were not well managed, compared with many other industrialised countries.

The launch also featured a panel discussion chaired by Professor Cary Cooper, Chair of the ACSS Council.

Please note: video of the event has been placed on YouTube.


1. The booklet and event are sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS) and the booklet was produced with the help of the British Academy of Management and the Advanced Institute for Management Research.

2. The Academy of Social Sciences is the senior learned society for the social sciences in the UK. Its members include 750 academicians from both universities and the policy and practice communities and 43 member learned societies. Its mission is to promote social science in the UK for the public benefit. It promotes the Campaign for Social Science. See: and