Our research activities incorporate several areas of productivity, industrial policy and supply chain productivity.

Industrial Policy

The Centre is concerned to make a sustained contribution to the development of industrial strategy or industrial policy in the UK and elsewhere. We seek to do so in part by examining the linkages between economic insights at policy level, and management insights at organisational level. A recent example of this is a paper in the Journal of Operations Management in February 2017, by Spring, Hughes, Mason and McCaffrey. This examines the development of industrial policy thinking and the potential for greater engagement between operations managers and industrial policy initiatives in changing the institutional architecture in the UK and other developed economies. This builds on previous work by Alan Hughes and Martin Spring for the UK GO-Science Foresight ‘Future of Manufacturing’ project. The final report and two evidence papers are available at the links below.

The Future of Manufacturing

Future Manufacturing Business Models for Emerging Sectors

Future Manufacturing: Industrial Policy


SME and Supply Chain Productivity

There is considerable evidence that aggregate productivity is undermined by the relatively low productivity of a ‘long tail’ of SMEs. The Centre is building on LUMS’ long-standing expertise in working with SMEs in research projects and leadership programmes to develop survey and qualitative research in this area. Some of this work is conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Family Business. A strong theme of this work is the relationship between large firms and the smaller firms in their supply chains, and we work with major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and industry bodies such as the Northwest Aerospace Alliance.

In this work in particular, our research sits alongside Executive and Organisational Development activities such as the Productivity through People programme, supported by BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Siemens. In this regard, Kostas Selviaridis and Martin Spring are working on a funded project on public contracting for innovation, and Chris Ford is conducting collaborative research on inter-organisational performance measurement. 



Our work in the area of efficiency draws on the insights of Gerard Debreu, Michael Farrell, and Harvey Leibenstein,  employing the tools of  Data Envelopment Analysis and Stochastic Frontier Analysis as listed below. Research at Lancaster focuses both on methodological development of these tools and on application, in areas as diverse as education, banking, construction, and manufacturing.

The Coefficient of Resource Utilisation - Gerard Debreu

The Measurement of Productive Efficiency - Michael Farrell

Allocative Efficiency vs "X-Efficiency" - Harvey Leibenstein

Data Envelopment Analysis

Stochastic Frontier Analysis


Human Resource Management

Management practices and such issues as the development of talent play a crucial role in managing and improving productivity. The Centre is working with external collaborating organisations such as the CIPD and the newly-established Productivity Council to examine these aspects of productivity. This work draws upon previous research as part of the Centre for Performance-Led HR, which was one of the world's leading centres of applied research into human resources. This Centre delivered vital research which continues to have significant impact.