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School of Business and Law

The following list provides information on projects currently open to new research students. For more information on each project please contact the nominated supervisor within the project description.

This page will be updated as opportunities become available so please check back regularly.

Project Outline:
Employee theft is a perennial and pertinent issue costing businesses on average $200 billion annually. There is a paucity of studies investigating the motivations behind hotel employee theft especially among Generation Z workers. This targeted sample group is pivotal to the hotel industry as they are the future hotel leaders. Research has also revealed that that employee theft tends to occur among younger demographics. These reasons can be attitudinal such as excitement, influenced by fellow colleagues and perceived ease of committing the theft. There are several research questions to consider in hospitality theft research.

  • Why do hospitality workers steal from their employers?
  • Are there key differences in theft behaviour among employees in different hotel departments (F&B, FO, HK, Administrative)?
  • What is considered theft and what items do employees steal from their employers?
  • What are the managerial solutions to deter and prevent employee theft?
  • What are the theoretical underpinnings which could be used to investigate hospitality theft issues?

Desired Skills: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Project Area: Hospitality, Human Resources

Supervisor(s): Dr. Edmund Goh

Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Hospitality recruiters are fighting for share of young hospitality talent in an industry worth $2.3 trillion globally. In Australia, the Government has forecasted a need of 123,000 hospitality skilled workers by 2020. However, attracting prospective employees in hospitality has been problematic in Australia. The Australia Department of Employment Survey reported 43% of hospitality employers found recruitment difficulties in trying to fill vacancies in their hospitality companies with a 28% recruitment rate (28 vacancies per 100 staff). The reality is that the hospitality industry has been dogged by negative stigmas of low pay, long working hours, sessional work, odd shifts, and limited career prospects.

The hospitality workforce comprises of predominantly young workers where 43% of the hospitality workforce is aged between 15 – 24. A young workforce that is emerging in hospitality is the Generation Z (born between 1995 to 2009) that recruiters know little about. There are several research questions to consider in hospitality workforce research.

  • What are the key motivations and challenges facing hospitality workers?
  • Are there key differences in attitudes towards working in different hotel departments (F&B, FO, HK, Administrative)?
  • What are the managerial solutions to attract and retain hospitality workers?
  • What are the theoretical underpinnings which could be used to investigate hospitality workforce issues?

Desired Skills: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Project Area: Hospitality, Human Resources

Supervisor(s): Dr. Edmund Goh

Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Hotel employees are in the eye of the storm witnessing food wastage on a daily basis. The appetite for more food often results in more leftovers. The hospitality industry generates an enormous amount of food wastage from hotel guests. Despite food wastage being a perennial and pertinent issue, there has been a paucity of studies who have investigated food wastage in the hospitality industry. Understanding this research gap of food wastage is imperative given the social, financial, environmental and morale implications in this dynamic industry. Why do hotel guests waste food? How are hotel employees affected when witnessing food wastage? What are the managerial solutions to prevent food wastage? What are the theoretical underpinnings which could be used to investigate food wastage?

Desired Skills: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Project Area: Hospitality, Supply Chain, Social Marketing

Supervisor(s): Dr. Edmund Goh; A/Professor Ferry Jie

Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Generally, supply chain management is the integration of suppliers, manufacturing, distribution and customers, in which raw materials run from suppliers to manufacturers who assemble them into finished products and organise delivery into the hands of customers. Integrated supply chain management, a complete linking from producers through to consumers, gives many advantages for companies, including improved delivery performance, reduction of lead time, and reduction of inventory, improved flexibility, responsiveness, efficiency and capacity realisation and improved asset usage.

There are five objectives of this project:

  1. To develop a conceptual framework of Australian Agribusiness Supply Chain Sustainability;
  2. To test the conceptual framework of supply chain sustainability and competitive advantage in Australian Agribusiness industry based on an Empirical approach;
  3. To identify the supply chain sustainability which have most influence over the Agribusiness supply chain management performance;
  4. To identify the main concerns of Australian Agribusiness supply chain management recently;
  5. To suggest alternative configurations for these supply chains that enhance performance of the businesses concerned.

Desired Skills: Statistical Analysis

Project Area: Supply Chain and Logistics Management

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Ferry Jie; A/Prof Hadrian Djajadikerta

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Organisational performance has been shown to be affected by human resource management systems and work design as these factors have been shown to affect employee productivity and wellbeing. Little is known on what constitutes a happy workplace. Some potential research questions include: What are the theoretical underpinning of workplace happiness? How do we measure “happiness” at work? What composition of human resource management systems can be used to create a happy workplace? Does a happy workplace and engaged employees lead to innovative performance in knowledge-based firms?

Desired Skills: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Project Area: Human Resource Management and Wellbeing

Supervisor(s): Professor Stephen Teo; Professor Pi-Shen Seet; Professor Maryam Omari

Project level: Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Leadership behaviours have been found to impact on the wellbeing, both psychological and physical, of employees. Poor leadership behaviors (such as destructive leadership and incivility) have been found to impact negatively on employees’ wellbeing. What are the theories used to explain this relationship? What are the variables which could be influenced by contextual factors (e.g. national or sector) on employees’ wellbeing and work performance? Do HR departments play a role in mitigating workplace negative behaviors? Do employees from different countries view negative workplace behaviors different from the conceptualization of negative workplace behaviors scales, which are typically derived from the West? To what extent does psychosocial safety climate and workplace safety impact positively on these negative workplace behaviors? These are some of the potential research questions in this stream of research.

Desired Skills: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Project Area: Human Resource Management and Wellbeing

Supervisor(s): Professor Stephen Teo; Professor Maryam Omari

Project level: Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Passion at work has been found to have both positive and negative consequences on work performance. How can organisations use different strategies to minimize the negative consequences of passion while maximizing the positive consequences of passion? What are the work design variables used to lead to positive workplace productivity? Do self employed individuals and or contractors or entrepreneurs have different types of passion at work? If so, what are they? Would negative workplace experience impact on employees’ passion at work? What are the theoretical underpinnings which could be used to study passion at work?

Desired Skills: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Project Area: Human Resource Management and Wellbeing

Supervisor(s): Professor Stephen Teo

Project level: Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
China is Australia’s most valuable tourist market and in the coming years the market scale of Chinese tourists to Australia will continue to grow. Australia possesses a valuable ecological system with its national parks, pristine beaches and rare wildlife serving as tourism resources and attractions. Understanding and regulating Chinese tourists’ pro-environmental behaviours in Australia from a cultural perspective is important to the sustainable development of Australian tourism economy. This study proposes and tests a tourist behaviour model integrating the pertinent Chinese cultural values identified by Hsu and Huang (2016) in the tourism context into the framework of theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), in predicting Chinese tourists’ pro-environmental behaviour. The study contributes to the application of Chinese values in tourism studies. It also aims to extend the theory of planned behaviour and test the link between values and human behaviour. Targeting environmental behaviour, the study also enhances our understanding of human-environment relationships and interactions in the tourism context. Findings of this study are expected to benefit the tourism-related industries and sectors in Australia and help industry practitioners to develop their cultural understanding and competency toward the Chinese tourist market.

A mixed-method approach will be adopted to guide the implementation of this research. In-depth interviews and focus groups are considered before administering a large scale questionnaire survey. Structural Equation Modelling will be the methodology for the quantitative component of the study.

Desired Skills: Prior research experience and knowledge; good understanding of statistics in social sciences; mastery of quantitative data analysis methods including multiple linear regression, logistic regression, and structural equation modelling.

Project Area: Tourism, marketing, business and management

Supervisor(s): Professor Sam Huang

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Digitalization and Internet of Thing (IoT) is dramatically changing city infrastructures, services and citizens’ lives. Many cities aspire to be a smart city and have embarked on their journey of ‘smart’ transformation. However, research suggests a lack of strategic and integrated approach to the transformation. This project seeks to develop a framework and an instrument for smart cities/communities strategy design and implementation by taking on a design thinking methodology.  The project will help city councilors and urban planners create vibrant, sustainable and resilient global cities of the future.

Desired Skills: Strategy development, Urban Planning, ICT

Project Area: Strategy, Urban Planning, ICT

Supervisor(s): Professor Fang Zhao

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

Project Outline:
Digital technologies are disrupting and reshaping the entrepreneurial process and outcomes. As a result, digital entrepreneurship as an emerging concept and a new form of entrepreneurship is transforming exiting business models, strategies, process and structures.
This project focuses on and explores digital entrepreneurship from a social interaction perspective, examining, in particular, the impacts of social networks, online and offline, on entrepreneurial process and performance and outcomes. For that purpose, the project will conduct extensive research on the social capital generated though (online) social media as well as (offline) co-working spaces. The project aims to develop measures and instruments to conceptualize and model the social interaction process and outcomes. The findings of the project should contribute to a better understanding of the eco-system for growing digital entrepreneurship.

Desired Skills: ICT, Entrepreneurship research

Project Area: Digital Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Supervisor(s): Professor Fang Zhao

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2018

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