Our research projects
The Institute is currently carrying out and planning major research projects that examine contemporary and highly significant political, economic and social themes.
The Trustworthy Organisation
Much research has been conducted on the economic and social benefits of trust - as an intangible asset, as a driver of competitive advantage, and as a driver of sustainability. However, this debate has arguably stultified recently as managerial and regulatory insights have not flowed as readily from the academic research. To make progress, the task now is bring a new operational focus to what has been a theory-led debate. So this project focuses on the research question: “How does trust in organisations work in practice?” Initial findings have highlighted both the need to differentiate trust drivers by economic sector and the recurrence of three trust tropes - supply chain, brand identity, and corporate culture. This project aims to build a comprehensive, robust, and practical approach to building trustworthy organisations in the public and private sectors.
Trust in Public Life
What makes people trust or distrust politicians, public institutions and businesses? What do we mean by trust? Are there different forms of trust that are more relevant to different institutions? Based on key work on political theory, this project seeks to establish empirically whether different institutions require different forms of trust. The answers will help us understand whether public institutions such as the NHS are trusted or distrusted in ways that are similar to or different from private institutions such as supermarkets, as well as helping institutions and businesses to maximise the forms of trust most appropriate and relevant to their mission.
How do people respond to political parties’ messages during elections? How is campaigning developing? What lessons can campaigning organisations learn from election campaigns and vice versa? Building upon a project that began in 1992, this research examines election campaigning at the local level using a combination of surveys and interviews with key party officials. The project shows how party campaigning has progressed from traditional techniques based on voluntary activity to more modern approaches such as personalised direct mail, telephone voter identification and Internet campaigning.
Transparency and Regulation in Public Life
Increased regulation has become a significant aspect of public life. In response to growing calls for openness and transparency, organisations that operate in the public sphere need to ensure that they can demonstrate honesty and integrity at all times. But why are some areas of public life more regulated than others? What prompts greater regulation? Does regulation represent a response to a problem or is it the logical outcome of good governance? This project interrogates these questions but also examines the costs of regulation and whether they outweigh the accrued benefits. Critically, it also reflects on the impact of public opinion.