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Professor Richard Blundel

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Enterprise and Organisation
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise

Professional biography

I studied at the London School of Economics (BSc Econ), Bradford University (MBA) and The University of Birmingham (PhD).  Before embarking on an academic career, I worked for the former Inner London Education Authority, the National Audit Office, a specialist marketing research consultancy and a diversified multinational company. I have been at The Open University since July 2009, having joined from Brunel University. I am also an Honorary Fellow of the ESRC Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey.

Professional memberships:

Higher Education Academy, Senior Fellow (SFHEA)

RSA, Fellow (FRSA)

European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Member

Institute for Small Business and Entreprepreneurship (ISBE), Member (Board Member 2010-13)

Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN), Member

Research interests

I am an organisational researcher with a particular interest in the links between entrepreneurial activity, innovation and environmental sustainability. I have examined the nature and consequences of growth in different organisational contexts, including small artisanal food producers, manufacturing businesses and social enterprises. My work has appeared in journals such as Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Enterprise & Society, Industry & Innovation, The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Business Ethics: A European Review, Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, and the Journal of Small Business Management.

I am working on several research and engagement projects related to SMEs and environmental sustainability: 

- Leading an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account project with the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and communications specialists Climate Outreach to develop new ways of engaging SME owners and managers in the sustainable growth agenda. 

- Collaborating with Prof Fergus Lyon, Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity in the work theme (P)olitical and organisational dimensions of sustainable prosperity.

- Collaborating with a leading bespoke furniture designer-maker, Philip Koomen, on a project that explores the role of apprenticeships in the growth of contemporary craft-based businesses.

- Guest editing a Special Issue of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 'Greening innovation: connecting governance, practices and outcomes', which builds on the outputs of our recent ESRC Seminar Series: 'Green Innovation: Making it Work' (2015-17).

I am an associate of the inter-faculty Centre for Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD) and of the International Development and Citizenship and Governance research areas.

Teaching interests

I was module production chair for B205 Exploring Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a new 60 point module (first presentation October 2016), and a member of the authoring team for B327 Creating Futures: Sustainable Enterprise and Innovation (first presentation: October 2017). I also chaired the OU's MBA elective BB846 Entrepreneurship: Experience and Perspective through its production phase and first five presentations.

I supervise PhD students in the fields of sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship and social enterprise and have examined PhD candidates at several universities, including Middlesex, Warwick and Nottingham. I have served recently as external examiner for MSc courses at Royal Holloway, University of London (2013-16) and Henley Business School, University of Reading (2013-16).

I am co-author of two textbooks: Exploring Entrepreneurship: Practices and Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives, Principles and Practices (4th edition) (Pearson, 2013). The second edition of Exploring Entrepreneurship (Sage, 2017), co-authored with Nigel Lockett and Catherine Wang, will be published in November.

Impact and engagement

I have completed several Open University media projects, including: academic adviser to the OULearn podcast series 'New Ventures' (2015); academic adviser to the BBC Four / OU co-production 'Hidden Histories: Britain's Oldest Family Businesses' (2014); and studio interviewer for OpenLearn podcasts linked to the BBC / OU co-production, The Bottom Line.

In 2014 I edited a special edition of the Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain to mark 30 years of research and presented key findings from the survey at an OU Business Network event. I also collaborated with colleagues from the OU and University of Ulster to produce a policy briefing on enterprise education for the Northern Ireland Assembly Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS).

I have contributed to a number of entrepreneurship competitions including the LiveWIRE 'Grand Ideas' Awards (2013 review panel member),  the OU Entrepreneurship Competition (adviser and judging panel member), and the SME Buckinghamshire Business Awards (2017 judging panel member).

External collaborations

I helped to organise the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills-funded project, ABLE-Ghana (2010-2012), which collaborated with five Ghanaian universities on employability and entrepreneurial learning issues.

I have been involved in several local sustainability initiatives, including the UK's Superhomes project, and presented an OpenLearn podcast with Dr Tina Fawcett (Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford), based on personal experiences of retrofitting a traditional house to achieve 60%+ reductions in energy demand.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Knowledge, Innovation and Entrepreneurship ThemeThemeThe Faculty of Business and Law

Publications

Understanding the Drivers of Sustainable Entrepreneurial Practices in Pakistan’s Leather Industry: A Multi-Level Approach (2018)
Wahga, Aqueel; Blundel, Richard and Schaefer, Anja
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 24(2) (Early Access))
'Imagined Outcomes': Contrasting Patterns of Opportunity, Capability and Innovation in British Musical Instrument Manufacturing, 1930-1985 (2018)
Smith, David and Blundel, Richard
Enterprise & Society ((In press))
Individual Values and SME Environmental Engagement (2018)
Schaefer, Anja; Williams, Sarah and Blundel, Richard
Business & Society ((In Press))
Evaluating enterprise policy interventions in Africa: a critical review of Ghanaian small business support services (2015)
Obeng, Bernard Aquah and Blundel, Richard K.
Journal of Small Business Management, 53(2) (pp. 416-435)
Beyond strategy: a critical review of Penrose’s ‘single argument’ and its implications for economic development (2015)
Blundel, Richard
European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 22(1) (pp. 97-122)
Towards a ‘Long View’: Historical Perspectives on the Scaling and Replication of Social Ventures (2015)
Blundel, Richard K. and Lyon, Fergus
Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 6(1) (pp. 80-102)
Re-imagining the growth process: (co)-evolving metaphorical representations of entrepreneurial growth (2014)
Clarke, Jean; Holt, Robin and Blundel, Richard
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 26(3-4) (pp. 234-256)
Improvisation and entrepreneurial bricolage versus rationalisation: A case-based analysis of contrasting responses to economic instability in the UK brass musical instruments industry (2014)
Smith, David J. and Blundel, Richard
Journal of General Management, 40(1) (pp. 53-78)
SMEs and environmental responsibility: a policy perspective (2013-07)
Blundel, Richard; Monaghan, Adrian and Thomas, Christine
Business Ethics: A European Review, 22(3) (pp. 246-262)
Re-inventing artisanal knowledge and practice: a critical review of innovation in a craft-based industry (2013-02-27)
Blundel, Richard and Smith, David J.
Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, 31(1) (pp. 55-73)
Book review: Strategy without design: the silent efficacy of indirect action (2010)
Blundel, Richard
Business History, 52(6) (pp. 1022-1024)
Book review: Entrepreneurship, growth and public policy: prelude to a knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship (2009)
Blundel, Richard
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 15(3) (pp. 309-312)
Book review: The Oxford handbook of entrepreneurship (2008)
Blundel, Richard
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 20(5) (pp. 485-487)
Book review: three decades of the enterprise culture: entrepreneurship, economic regeneration and public policy (2008)
Blundel, Richard
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, 14(6) (pp. 455-467)
Penrose, critical realism and the evolution of business knowledge: a methodological reappraisal (2007-02)
Clark, Peter and Blundel, Richard
Management & Organizational History, 2(1) (pp. 45-62)
‘Little ships’: the co-evolution of technological capabilities and industrial dynamics in competing innovation networks (2006-09)
Blundel, Richard
Industry and Innovation, 13(3) (pp. 313-334)
From artisans to “factories”: the interpenetration of craft and industry in English cheese-making, c1650-1950 (2006)
Blundel, Richard and Tregear, Angela
Enterprise & Society, 7(4) (pp. 705-739)
Managing ‘collisions’ between entrepreneurial networks and industrial supply chains: a modified Penrosian perspective (2006)
Blundel, Richard
International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2(1) (pp. 82-97)
Book review: Understanding industrial and corporate change (2005)
Blundel, Richard
Business History, 47(4) (pp. 613-614)
Book review: the nature and dynamics of organizational capabilities (2005)
Blundel, Richard
Business History, 47(3) (pp. 487-489)
Contrasting local responses to globalization: the case of volume yacht manufacturing in Europe (2005)
Blundel, Richard and Thatcher, Michael
Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 17(6) (pp. 405-429)
Network evolution and the growth of artisanal firms: a tale of two regional cheesemakers (2002)
Blundel, Richard
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 14(1) (pp. 1-30)
Exploring growth in vertical inter-firm relationships: small-medium firms supplying multiple food retailers (2001)
Blundel, Richard K. and Hingley, Martin K.
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 8(3) (pp. 245-265)
Book review: Knowledge societies: information technology for sustainable development (2000)
Blundel, Richard
Journal of Management Studies, 37(5) (pp. 771-774)
Book review: Mobilizing resources and generating competencies: the remarkable success of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Danish business system (2000)
Blundel, Richard
Journal of Management Studies, 37(8) (pp. 1244-1247)
Exploring Entrepreneurship (2nd edition) (2017-11-01)
Blundel, Richard; Lockett, Nigel and Wang, Catherine
ISBN : 9781473948075 | Publisher : SAGE | Published : London
Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives, principles and practices (4th edition) (2013-01)
Blundel, Richard; Ippolito, Kate and Donnarumma, David
ISBN : 273774867 | Publisher : Pearson | Published : Harlow
Exploring Entrepreneurship: Practices and Perspectives (2011-01-13)
Blundel, Richard and Lockett, Nigel
ISBN : 9780199211555 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives, principles and practices (3rd edition) (2008-05-29)
Blundel, Richard and Ippolito, Kate
Financial Times
ISBN : 9780273713753 | Publisher : Pearson Education Limited | Published : Harlow
Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives, Principles and Practices (2nd edition) (2004-05-06)
Blundel, Richard
ISBN : 978-0273685692 | Publisher : Financial Times / Prentice Hall | Published : Harlow
Effective Business Communication: Principles and Practice for the Information Age (1998)
Blundel, Richard
ISBN : 137427018 | Publisher : Prentice Hall | Published : Hemel Hempstead
Human Capital and Environmental Engagement of SMEs in Pakistan: A Comparative Analysis of the Leather Industry (2018-01)
Wahga, Aqueel; Blundel, Richard and Schaefer, Anja
In: Spence, Laura J.; Frynas, Jedrzej G.; Muthuri, Judy and Navare, Jyoti eds. Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility: Global Perspectives. Edward Elgar Research Handbooks ((In press))
ISBN : 978-1-78471-181-8 | Publisher : Edward Elgar | Published : Cheltenham
Understanding value conflict to engage SME managers with business greening (2017-01-16)
Williams, Sarah; Schaefer, Anja and Blundel, Richard
In: Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl ed. Perspectives on Philosophy of Management and Business Ethics. Ethical Economy: Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosphy (pp. 73-91)
ISBN : 978-3-319-46972-0 | Publisher : Springer
Artisanal (2016-12-01)
Blundel, Richard
In: Donnelly, Catherine ed. The Oxford Companion to Cheese. Oxford Companions (pp. 42-44)
ISBN : 978-0-19933088-1 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : New York
Industrialization (2016-12-01)
Blundel, Richard
In: Donnelly, Catherine ed. The Oxford Companion to Cheese. Oxford Companions (pp. 376-378)
ISBN : 978-0-19-933088-1 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : New York
From artisans to 'factories': the interpenetration of craft and industry in English cheese-making, 1650–1950 (2013-10)
Blundel, Richard and Tregear, Angela
In: Casson, Mark and Casson, Catherine eds. History Of Entrepreneurship: Innovation And Risk-Taking, 1200–2000. The International Library of Entrepreneurship (pp. 587-621)
ISBN : 978-1-78195-523-9 | Publisher : Edward Elgar | Published : Cheltenham
Enterprise education for small artisanal businesses: a case study of Sokoban Wood Village, Ghana (2012-12-26)
Obeng, Bernard A.; Blundel, Richard K. and Agyapong, Ahmed
In: Thi Thanh Thai , Mai and Turkina, Ekaterina eds. Entrepreneurship in the Informal Economy: Models, Approaches and Prospects for Economic Development. Routledge Studies in Entrepreneurship (3) (pp. 192-207)
ISBN : 978-0-415-81382-2 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Introducing social and sustainable enterprise: changing the nature of business (2012-11-30)
Underwood, Sarah; Blundel, Richard; Lyon, Fergus and Schaefer, Anja
In: Underwood, Sarah; Blundel, Richard; Lyon, Fergus and Schaefer, Anja eds. Social and Sustainable Enterprise: Changing the Nature of Business. Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research (xi-xv)
ISBN : 978-1-78190-254-7 | Publisher : Emerald Group Publishing | Published : Bingley
Promoting environmentally sustainable enterprises: some policy options (2012-08)
Blundel, Richard; Monaghan, Adrian and Thomas, Christine
In: Blackburn, Robert and Schaper, Michael T. eds. Government, SMEs and Entrepreneurship Development: Policy, Practice and Challenges (pp. 171-184)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-3035-3 | Publisher : Gower | Published : Farnham
Part 1 New SME curricula (2011)
Obeng, Bernard and Blundel, Richard
In: Paton, Rob ed. ABLE-GHANA: Reports, Resources, Reflections (pp. 14-20)
ISBN : 978-1-84873-987-1 | Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
The metal fabricators: challenges of growth in a small Ghanaian business (2011)
Paton, Rob; Blundel, Richard and Nyathi, Nceku
In: Paton, Rob ed. ABLE-GHANA: Reports, Resources, Reflections (pp. 40-48)
ISBN : 978-1-84873-987-1 | Publisher : The Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Entrepreneurial social responsibility: scoping the territory (2010)
Blundel, Richard K.; Spence, Laura J. and Zerbinati, Stefania
In: Spence, Laura and Painter-Morland, Mollie eds. Ethics in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: a global commentary (pp. 123-145)
ISBN : 978-90-481-9330-1 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht, NL
Critical realism: a suitable vehicle for entrepreneurship research? (2007)
Blundel, Richard
In: Neergaard, Helle and Ulhoi, John Parm eds. Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Entrepreneurship (pp. 49-74)
ISBN : 978-1-84720-959-7 | Publisher : Edward Elgar | Published : Cheltenham
Social and Sustainable Enterprise: Changing the Nature of Business (2012-11-30)
Underwood, Sarah; Blundel, Richard; Lyon, Fergus and Schaefer, Anja eds.
Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research
ISBN : 978-1781902547 | Publisher : Emerald | Published : Bradford
Growing green?: co-creating an evidence-based model of SME engagement (2017-11)
Blundel, Richard; Fawcett, Tina; Shaw, Chris; Hampton, Sam and Westall, Andrea
In : ISBE Annual Conference 2017 (8-9 November 2017, Belfast)
Disruptive Innovation in the Creative Industries: The adoption of the German horn in Britain 1935-75 (2016-05-28)
Smith, David and Blundel, Richard
In : Association of Business Historians (ABH) and Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (GUG) Joint Conference (27-29 May 2016, Humbolt University, Berlin)
Operationalising ethics in entrepreneurship education: experiential and practice-based approaches (2016-05)
Blundel, Richard and Winchester, Nik
In : ECSB 3e conference (11-13 May 2016, University of Leeds)
Is small still beautiful?: Exploring the role of SMEs in emerging visions of a ‘green’ economy (2016-04-27)
Blundel, Richard
In : CEEDR Seminar Series (27 April 2016, Middlesex University, London)
Home based business and economic growth: lifestyle businesses or growth generators? (2015-02)
Syrett, Stephen; Baldock, Rob and Blundel, Richard
In : Thirteenth Interdisciplinary European Conference on Entrepreneurship Research (IECER 2015) (25-27 February 2015, Montpellier, France)
Human Capital and Environmental Engagement of SMEs in Pakistan: A Comparative Analysis of the Leather Industry (2015)
Wahga, Aqueel; Blundel, Richard and Schaefer, Anja
In : ISBE Annual Conference 2015 (11th to 12th November, Glasgow)
‘Circumspect vigilance’: reconsidering the implications of Edith Penrose’s single argument for sustainable economic development (2014-11-14)
Blundel, Richard
In : Edith Penrose Centenary Conference (14-15 November 2014, SOAS, University of London)
Resilience and recovery: SME experiences of extreme weather events and other external threats (2014-11-05)
Blundel, Richard; Baldock, Robert; Dadd, Deneise; Schaefer, Anja and Williams, Sarah
In : Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) 2014 (5-6 November 2014, Manchester)
Emerging models of environmentally sustainable enterprise: a comparative study of low-energy housing retrofit organisations in the UK and France. (2013-11)
Blundel, Richard; Killip, Gavin and Fawcett, Tina
In : Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) 2013 Conference (12-13 Nov 2013, Cardiff)
Engaging SMEs with business greening: the role of manager values (2012-11-08)
Williams, Sarah; Schaefer, Anja and Blundel, Richard
In : Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) 2012 Conference (6-8 Nov 2012, Dublin, Ireland)
Promoting resilience and sustainability amongst informal sector artisans: the case of Sokoban Wood Village (2012-11)
Blundel, Richard; Obeng, Bernard and Agyapong, Ahmed
In : Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference: Social, Environmental and Ethical Enterprise Track (6-8 Nov 2012, Dublin, Ireland)
The long view: applying historically informed approaches to study the growth of social ventures (2012-07)
Lyon, Fergus and Blundel, Richard
In : 2012 Research Colloquium on Social Entrepreneurship (16-19 July 2012, Oxford, UK)
Policies to promote environmental responsibility in SMEs: a case-based review (2012-06)
Monaghan, Adrian; Blundel, Richard and Thomas, Christine
In : 18th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference (24-26 June 2012, University of Hull)
Evaluating the role of enterprise policies in purposive sustainability transitions: a case-based comparison (2011-11)
Blundel, Richard; Monaghan, Adrian and Thomas, Christine
In : Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) 2011 Conference (9th - 10th November 2011, Sheffield, England)
SMEs’ construction of climate change risks: the role of networks and values (2011-10)
Schaefer, Anja; Williams, Sarah and Blundel, Richard
In : SMEs: Moving Towards Sustainable Development, International Conference (20-22 October, 2011, Montreal, Canada)
Analyzing the growth process in social enterprises: an historical perspective (2011-09)
Blundel, Richard; Lyon, Fergus and Spence, Laura J.
In : 3rd EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise: Social Innovation Through Social Entrepreneurship in Civil Society (4-7 July 2011, Roskilde, Denmark)
Teaching tigers to dance?: Evaluating the role of enterprise policies in purposive sustainability transitions (2011)
Blundel, Richard and Monaghan, Adrian
In : 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions: Diversity, Plurality and Change: Breaking New Grounds in Sustainablility Transition Research (13-15 June 2011, Lund University, Sweden)
Historical perspectives on the evolution and growth dynamics of social enterprises: a comparative case analysis (2010-11)
Blundel, Richard K.; Lyon, Fergus and Spence, Laura J.
In : The 33rd Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference (ISBE): Looking to the Future: Economic and Social Regeneration Through Entrepreneurial Activity (3-4 November 2010, London, UK)
Entrepreneurial dynamics and social responsibility: mapping an expanded intellectual territory (2009-11)
Blundel, Richard and Spence, Laura J.
In : Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 32nd International Conference: Social, Environmental and Ethical Enterprise Track (3-6 Nov 2009, Liverpool, UK)
Ships passing in the night?: re-thinking the relationship between entrepreneurial agency and purposive transitions (2009-06)
Blundel, Richard and Monaghan, Adrian
In : First European Conference on Sustainability Transitions: ‘Dynamics & Governance of Transitions to Sustainability’ (4-5 June 2009, Amsterdam)
Will there be blood?: entrepreneurial judgement and strategic choice in Chandlerian and revisionist narratives of industrialisation (2008-07)
Blundel, Richard
In : Association of Business Historians Conference (04-05 Jul 2008, University of Birmingham, UK)
From CSR to ESR?: exploring the entrepreneurial dimensions of corporate social responsibility (2008-07)
Blundel, Richard; Spence, Laura J. and Zerbinati, Stefania
In : The International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics (ISBEE) World Congress (15-18 July 2008, Cape Town, South Africa)
Reproducing artisanal knowledge in the New Economy: a case study of English farmhouse cheese making, 1850-2000 (2002-06)
Blundel, Richard
In : Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics (DRUID) Summer Conference (6-8 June 2002, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain - 30th anniversary issue (2014-12)
Blundel, Richard; Baldock, Rob; Dadd, Deneise; Gray, Colin and Sullivan, Julie
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Delivering effective enterprise education – the role of learning design and technology (2014-01-23)
McGowan, Pauric; Blundel, Richard and Reid, Kristen
Research and Information Service (RaISe), Northern Ireland Assembly
Climate Solidarity: A Review of Methodologies to Monitor and Evaluate Workplace Engagement (2010-06)
Blundel, Richard; Ramirez, Matias and Nye, Sheridan
Defra, London.
The growth of 'connected' firms: a re-appraisal of Penrosian theory and its application to artisanal firms operating in contemporary business networks (2003-07)
Blundel, Richard Kenneth
Richard Blundel
Business networks SMEs and inter-firm collaboration: a review of the research literature with implications for policy (2001-09)
Blundel, Richard and Smith, David
The Small Business Service, Sheffield.