Essential micro-foundations for contemporary business operations: Top management tangible competencies, relationship-based business networks and environmental sustainability

This is a Centre for Operations and Supply Chain Research (COSCR) Seminar taking place at Leeds University Business School on Wednesday 8 November 2017

Dr Pervaiz Akhtar, University of Hull Business School, will be discussing his recent research as part of the 2017/18 COSCR seminar series.

Although various studies have emphasised linkages between firm competencies, networks and sustainability at organisational level, the links between top management tangible competencies (e.g. contemporary relevant quantitative-focused education such as big data analytics and data-driven applications linked with the Internet of Things, relevant experience and analytical business applications), relationship-based business networks (RBNs) and environmental sustainability have not been well established at micro-level.

This study examines the links based on the data collected from 175 chief executive officers and managing directors, working in food import and export firms headquartered in the UK and New Zealand. The results from structural equation modelling indicate that top management tangible competencies (TMTCs) are the key determinants for building RBNs, mediating the correlation between TMTCs and environmental sustainability. Directly, the competencies also play a vital role towards environmental practices. The interaction effects further substantiate that relationship-oriented firms perform better compared to those which focus less on such networks.

Consequently, these findings provide a deeper understanding of the micro-foundations of environmental sustainability based on TMTCs rooted in the resource-based view and RBNs entrenched in the social network theory. Threefold implications for academics and practitioners are rooted in:

1) analytics and big data science affecting business and management curriculum

2) business schools and relevant industrial skills

3) suggestions for future research.

A link to the full, open-access study can be found here.

For further information, please contact the Research Office at

About the speaker

Dr Pervaiz Akhtar

Dr Pervaiz Akhtar is currently Reader and Programme Director of BSc Logistics & SCM at University of Hull Business School, UK and has served as Director of MSc Analytics/Data Science. He is also an External/Visiting Professor in Big Data and Analytics, IESEG School of Management (France).

Capitalising on over 15 years of academic and industrial experience, Dr Akhtar has integrated informatics, analytics and big data applications in business and management programmes — bridging the gap between academic practices and industrial requirements. His expertise encompasses a vast range of specialised domains from Business Analytics, Research Methods, and Data Science to Supply Chain Planning and Control. His research has appeared in journals such as British Journal of Management, International Journal of Production Economics, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, R&D Management, among others. His professional interests are in supply chains, operations management, information systems, network analysis, machine learning applications, big data analytics, optimization, simulation, ANP applications and innovative research methods.

Dr Akhtar has also worked as operations (logistics/project) manager for (and with) public, private and non-profit-making organizations (UNICEF, JCCP, Oxfam, MSF, Islamic Relief, Red Cross, high government officials, dairy industry and FMCG companies like Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser).

Further information is available through the following links: