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Business Research Showcase 2019

Panel session abstracts

Tuesday 22 October

Campaigning, organising, innovating: Where next for Australia’s unions?


Through the ‘change the rules’ campaign, the Australian Council of Trade Unions banked heavily on legal change from a Labor Government as the pathway to union recovery after years of membership decline. It wasn’t to be. Unions are now re-examining this strategy, with the National Union of Workers advocating an approach more closely connected with the workplace-level concerns of workers. Innovative approaches like that of the NUW and VTHC Young Workers Centre are showing that unions can succeed in attracting new worker groups through a combination of organising and campaigning strategies.

Panel members

Professor Anthony Forsyth (Chair, Graduate School of Business and Law)
Tim Kennedy (National Union of Workers)
Felicity Sowerbutts (Victorian Trades Hall Council)
Jess Browning (Hospo Voice)

Blockchain and complexity


What are the key implications of blockchain technology for complexities prevalent in our economic, political and social systems? The management of data and related information has become a central feature of economic functioning, and socio-political decision-making. This development has unleashed new opportunities from entrepreneurship and innovation perspectives but is also creating immense complexity challenges owing to a data-rich environment. These challenges include managing and interpreting data flows in efficient and effective ways, as well as securing data integrity and privacy. Blockchain is a decade-old innovation providing a decentralised, peer-to-peer platform for recording, storing and validating data, with numerous applications across the economy, society and politics. Proof of concept developments have indicated that blockchain holds the promise of reducing complexity along several dimensions, including improved security and data-agreement consensus protocols, however the potential for blockchain to reshape coordination and governance possibilities poses new and complex challenges to existing systems. Relevant issues include potential blockchain impacts for education and work, finance, trade logistics, civil societal activity and policy decisions. This Business Research Showcase session will address these and related aspects of blockchain, and how it impacts the complexity of the environment in which we work and live.

Panel members

Dr Mikayla Novak (Chair, Blockchain Innovation Hub)
Dr Chris Berg (Blockchain Innovation Hub)
Steve Vallas (Honey Digital)
Andrea Christie (HDR candidate)

Internet of Things (IoT) – Measurement, reporting and accountability impacts


Internet of Things is a rapidly evolving phenomenon which promotes connectivity between human and non-human elements (objects such as machines and devices) through the Internet. It has a very wide range of measuring, reporting and monitoring implications in various social contexts and with respect to multiple business applications. The aim of this session is to address some of these applications and implications and to discuss the future of measuring, monitoring and reporting through IoT.

Panel members

Dr Tehmina Khan (Chair, School of Accounting)
Dr David Teh (School of Management)
Matthew Boyd (Vollie)
Michael Curtis (Kingfish Solutions)
Ahmed Ibraheem Almgrashi (HDR candidate)

Using big data to improve health care


Health economists and health services researchers increasingly have access to large administrative datasets from the health system. Examples include patient hospital records, internet search data (e.g. Google Flu Trends) and large government-funded surveys linked to Medicare information (e.g. the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children). This session will discuss promising innovative approaches to analysis of such datasets using modern econometrics and ‘big data’ techniques. We will discuss applications to government and industry priorities around improving health outcomes and driving performance in the healthcare system.

Panel members

Associate Professor Peter Sivey (Chair, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)
Professor Babak Abbasi (School of Business IT and Logistics)
Dr Say Yen Teoh (School of Business IT and Logistics)
Andrew Barnes (Bupa)
Sahar Shafiei (HDR candidate)

Wednesday 23 October

Navigating complexity: What can we learn from behavioural decision theory?


Our ability to grapple with complexity has direct implications for our personal wellbeing: whether we are on a good electricity plan, whether we check our credit card bill, or whether we’ve given enough thought to our health insurance policy. There is ample evidence that people struggle with these decisions, and frequently people make decisions that do not appear to be in their own interest. This raises difficult questions for policy-makers: is it the government’s role to help people navigate complexity? If so, should this take the form of defaults, information campaigns, quality assurances, labelling schemes, or incentive schemes? This panel will present and discuss evidence that people systematically struggle with complexity, together with concepts from behavioural decision theory that shed light on the decision-making process. Behavioural decision theory draws on concepts from psychology, economics, and cognitive science, and policy-makers are increasingly interested in using these insights to inform policy. The panel will discuss behavioural policy interventions that have been implemented in Australia and overseas to overcome the costs of complexity.

Panel members

Dr Ingrid Burfurd (Chair, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)
Associate Professor Swee Hoon Chuah (School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)
Ben Martin Hobbs (Consumer Policy Research Centre)
Rochelle Wilson (HDR candidate)

Political upheavals and the global economy


The ability to cope with uncertainties surrounding economic policy decisions has become indispensable, given its disruptive effect on global economic growth, firms investment and their competitive landscape. Uncertainty around healthcare, tax, and environmental policies influences business activities, as does uncertainty relate to non-economic policy matters such as military actions, elections, and national security policies. Concerns about policy uncertainty have intensified in the face of rising political polarization, the increase in populism and nationalism, the changing economic role of the government, and the growing number of uncertainty-increasing events such as the U.K. Brexit vote. Investors and firms adjust their actions when they face significant uncertainty regarding the timing, content, and impact of policy decisions by politicians and regulators. This session will discuss the detrimental impact of policy uncertainty on economic growth and firm economic activities. It further discusses what financial actions/measures the managers could undertake to mitigate the adverse effect of policy uncertainty.

Panel members

Dr My Nguyen (Chair, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)
Associate Professor Huu Nhan Duong (Monash University)
Dr Alvin Tan (HESTA)
Dr Kingsley Jones (Jevons Global)

Unpacking the sharing economy


The complex world of the sharing economy (e.g. Airbnb, Uber, Airtasker) is projected to grow to US$335 billion worldwide by 2025, up from just US$15 billion in 2019. The growing popularity of this form of consumption practice is having an escalating impact on traditional retail channels, acting as a disruptive force in consumer and economic environments. The sharing economy is a multifaceted concept involving different forms of interaction, activity levels and mediums of exchange making it difficult to understand and regulate; it is hard to know where one practice ends and the other creates a complex, wicked problem. The sharing economy challenges current forms of consumption and changes the role of the consumer as buyer, seller and network expander. These changes in the role of the consumer have also impacted upon the growth of sharing economy platforms which seems to be based on micro-networks. It is a consumer revolution that is disrupting traditional consumption choices, creating both opportunities as well as challenges.

Panel members

Dr Kaleel Rahman (Chair, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)
Dr Samuelson Appau (School of Economics, Finance and Marketing)
Dr Darren Sharp (Social Surplus)
Dr Neha Bajaj (recent HDR graduate)

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