London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

EPSRC: Intra-Firm and Inter-Firm Knowledge Transfers And Productivity In The Retailing Sector

Research team

Allan Williams (Co-ordinator)
Sergio Salis (Research Fellow)

This is an inter-disciplinary, multiple-university project which is being jointly co-ordinated with: Loles Anon at the University of Aston, Irena Grugulis from Bradford University and Jeremy Clegg at Leeds University.



Background and aims

While there is considerable policy and academic discussion of the role of knowledge in the economy, and how it shapes the UK’s productivity, this has been highly selective, and empirically thin. As a result, we still know very little about the role of knowledge in driving productivity in many sectors of the economy. ISET member Allan Williams is co-ordinating a multi-university project which addresses these issues.

The central focus of the project is the importance of (different forms of) knowledge transfer as a driver of productivity within the UK economy, particularly in retailing. It aims to provide insights into the nature and sources of the UK’s international productivity gap, taking into account the role of foreign ownership in knowledge transfer.

Research design

The project seeks to link theoretically the analyses of inter- and intra-firm knowledge transfer and labour productivity, and to apply these ideas to a multi-level analysis of UK retailing.

Stage one:
Econometric analysis of ARD and other large national data bases on innovation and production (Aston).

Stage Two:
Quantitative analysis of the Work Employment Relations Survey to examine how HR-related knowledge is managed within and between establishments and firms (ISET, LONDON METROPOLITAN)

Stage Three:
A qualitative study of intra-firm knowledge transfers and skills based on multiple face to face interviews, and observation, in two major supermarket chains.


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