Purpose and Scope
To create research connections and collaborations within the Business School and University as well as increase engagement with external stakeholder groups in Government, Community to promote research solutions for the wellbeing of the Community.
To increase collaborative research towards finding solutions to health issues of Australians.
Key areas of Research Interest
Much research undertaken in the Business School has relevance for a better understanding in lowering the risk of the lifestyle-based diseases of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease which are identified as leading causes of death, disability and reduced quality of life in Australia. As the Charles Perkins Centre website identifies, over 60 percent of adults and one in four children are currently overweight or obese and by 2025, 6.9 million Australians will be obese.
Key issues that are central to the Business School portfolio include:
- Leadership issues in Public Health. Whilst much research is undertaken in this important area there is, in Australia, a significant gap between the knowledge that has been generated and its transformation through leadership into policy and actions to make a difference.
- Consumer behaviour and regulation. Businesses will not easily forgo profits in order to be more ethical and the way forward is to find ways in which there is a win-win for both businesses and the community. Food advertising and the way in which consumers react is a key area for improvements in dietary health. Marketers have long been seen as purveyors of unhealthy food that is attractive to young children, developing their malleable tastes for addictive sugared, and high fat content products. Although these marketing and advertising strategies of corporations have been studied quite widely in the largely self-regulated Australian marketplace, further research , into the role of regulation and the evaluation of the benefits and costs of campaigns where business motivations to increase market share are at the expense of public health (such as in the tobacco industry).is a key area of concern for the Network.
- Travel behaviour. Whilst accessibility to activities which promote well being in society is paramount to social inclusion, the way in which travel is undertaken has significant bearings on the health of the individual. Private car travel has been shown to increase the risk of lifestyle disease through its sedentary nature and greater exposure to emissions and public transport users have been identified as being more likely to meet daily activity targets than car drivers. Research in the areas of active transport and the physical activity aspects of public transport use are areas of current research by members of the Network.
- Role of the Digital Economy. This generation of children in particular are extremely comfortable with the proliferation of technology and familiar with constant connectivity. Subsequently, they have also become one of the most savvy and brand conscious demographics, making them the most attractive market for marketers and food marketers in particular. This raises serious ethical concerns which is an area of research covered by the Network.
These key issues interact both directly and indirectly with other disciplines outside the Business School and this is reflected in the membership and interest in the Network. Sociologists work with Business School academics offering an understanding of the cultural patterns of consumption and Psychologists for an understanding of cognitive behaviour. Links with Architecture and Planning provide design solutions following a better understanding of the impact of the built environment and land use planning on the propensity to travel by public transport. More obvious and more direct links are with public health and with health sciences. Academics from throughout the University are members of the Network.