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ESF SCSS Workshop - The Future of Business Mobilities
Date: 7 June 2011 Time: 10.45am
Venue: Lancaster Environment Centre Training Rooms
ESF SCSS Exploratory Workshop: The Future of Business MobilitiesLancaster University (UK), 7-8 June 2011
Attendance by Invitation Only
The Exploratory Workshops scheme is one of the key instruments of the Science Strategy "pillar". Each year, ESF supports approximately 50 Exploratory Workshops across all scientific domains. The focus of the scheme is on workshops aiming to explore an emerging and/or innovative field of research or research infrastructure, also of interdisciplinary character. Workshops are expected to open up new directions in research or new domains. It is expected that a workshop will conclude with plans for specific follow-up research activities and/or collaborative actions or other specific outputs either within the frame of ESF (e.g. prepare the ground to develop a Forward Look or a Research Networking Programme; publication of a Policy Briefing…) or for submission to the EU 7th Framework Programme or to other European or international funding organisations.
Main Objectives of the Workshop:
The mobilities turn in the social sciences has identified the continued compulsion of proximity in economic activities, manifested in the form of reliance on travel and meetings to secure and conduct business. Current research provides, however, limited understanding of the growing interdependence of embodied business travel and virtual, information communication technology enabled interactions and the way these interdependencies are leading to more and not less business travel. The workshop will develop understanding of theoretical and methodological frameworks that allow future collaborative Europe-wide research to be developed that takes into account this interdependency.
The aim is to develop understanding of the theoretical and methodological frameworks that might allow future research to be developed that takes into account the interdependencies between multiple forms of embodied and virtual business mobility.
Q1. How can we theorize interactions between uses of corporeal (e.g. car, rail and air) and virtual (e.g. email, telephone and videoconference) mobilities and how does engagement in one type of mobility compel engagement in another?
Q2. What are the economic (e.g. profit maximising), political (e.g. career developing), social (e.g. relationship building) and cultural (e.g. norm and expectation fulfilling) roles and drivers of business travel?
Q3. How can mobile methods be developed and deployed to study business mobilities in light of constraints on access?
O1. The bringing together of leading European experts and the development of ways of framing future research into business mobilities using interdisciplinary approaches.
O2. Examination of the context for research of business mobilities from multiple European perspectives in light of the differing forms and roles of business mobility.
O3. Consideration of methodlogical approaches, and the possibilities for multi-method research, to allow business mobilities to be more effectively studied.
O4. The sketching out of an ideal-type project design for a European business mobilities research project. This will act as the basis for the development of a research project proposal involving all or several of the attendees at the workshop.
O5. The development of a Euroean 'business mobilities network' that communicates virtually and meets occasionally for workshops.
European-scale collaboration is needed for this workshop and for future research because of the need to draw on the expertise of a range of individuals, and research centres who will be represented by delegates invited to represent their centre, specialising in different theoretical and methodological approaches to mobilities research. The coming together of European talent will allow a network of researchers to be formed - the 'business mobilities network - with each node in the network acting as a potential partner in future research projects and host of research workshops.
Report publication and dissemination
A report, produced after the workshop, will be circulated to all delegates and act as the basis for the development of follow-on research activities.
Tuesday 7 June:
Session 1: Conceptual Issues
This session will consider the range of theoretical and empirical challenges associated with studying business mobilities and the way existing theoretical understanding can be drawn on and developed.
10:45 Welcome: the future of business mobilities
John Urry, Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University
11:00 Introduction from ESF Rapporteur
11:15 Conceptualising business mobilities: the key challenges
James Faulconbridge, Lancaster University
11:30 Lessons from research: the future of business mobilities
Anthony Elliott, University College Dublin
11:45 Business travel in everyday life: Mobility, presence and absence
Gunilla Bergström, University of Gothenburg
12:15 Question & answer and extended discussion of issues raised in presentations
Session 2: business mobilities and trade
This session will explore the role of business mobilities in forming intra-, inter- and extra-firm communities that can be drawn on as part of projects. The way business mobilities allow the formation of effective communities will be examined and the implications for understandings of the role of different forms of mobility analysed.
14:00 New mobilities regimes. The social costs of mobile work:
Sven Kesslering, TUM Transportation Centre, Technische Universität München
14:30 Question & answer and extended discussion of issues raised in presentation
15:00 Virtual Meetings: from potential to action
Peter Arnfalk, Lund University
15:30 Question & answer and extended discussion of issues raised in presentation
16:00 Refreshment break
Session 3: business mobilities as community formation
This session will explore the role of business mobilities in the sale of products, delivery of services and facilitation of interactions with clients. The different mobility strategies for engaging in such trade will be examined.
16:30 Discussion of papers.
Three discussants will reflect on the issues raised for conceptualizations of business mobilities by three published papers. The rest of the group will then react to these reflections having read the papers before the workshop. Papers to discuss:
Haynes, P. 2010. Information and Communication Technology and International Business Travel: Mobility Allies? Mobilities 5 (4) 547 - 564. Discussant: Lucy Budd, Loughborough University
Kaufmann, V., Bergman, M. M. and Joye, D. 2004. Motility: mobility as capital. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 28 (4) 745-756. Discussant: Per Gustafson, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University
Miller, D. and Salt, J. (2008) 'Portfolios of mobility: the movement of expertise in transnational corporations in two sectors - aerospace and extractive industries', Global Networks 8 (1): 25-50. Discussant: Tom Storme, Social & Economic Geography, Ghent University
17:30 Proximity and work in the contemporary economy
Anca Metiu, ESSEC, Paris
18:00 Question & answer and extended discussion of issues raised in presentation
18:30 Close & Evening Meal
Wednesday 8 June
Session 1: Methods For Studying Business Mobilities
This session will address the challenge of studying business mobilities and the multi-method approaches needed to fully capture the complex interdependencies between embodied and virtual mobility.
09:00 Video recording mobile uses 'on the move': some methodological and research concerns
Christian Licoppe, Ecole National Superior de Télecommuniations
09:30 Question & answer and extended discussion of issues raised in presentation
09:45 Group discussions: small groups will discuss the implications of two papers, read before the workshop, for conceptualizations of business mobilities. Papers to discuss:
Buscher M, Urry J (2009) Mobile Methods and the Empirical. European Journal of Social Theory 12 99 - 116
Brown, B. and Laurier, E. (2005) Maps and Journeys: an Ethnomethodological Investigation, Cartographica 4(3) p.17-33
10:15 Feedback from both groups and discussion of issues raised
10:45 Refreshment break
Session 2: Business Mobilities Research & Future Plans
This session will draw on the learnings from the previous three to develop a set of research project proposals that can be taken forward after the workshop. Small groups will be asked to follow a framework in order to develop an effective conceptual and methodological approach for a research project.
11:00 Introduction to session: conceptual and methodological issues to be addressed
James Faulconbridge, Lancaster University
11:15 Small groups to develop conceptual questions to be addressed by their projects, identify empirical focus for analysis and develop methodological approach
12:30 Lunch with continued discussions about projects
13:00 Groups present projects to all workshop delegates; Feedback on project proposals and debate about issues raised
13:30 Future plans - developing the projects and the business mobilities network
15:00 Meeting closes
Event website: http://www.esf.org/social
Who can attend: Internal
Keywords: Business, Cities, communication, Information society, Information systems, Mobilities
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