The University of Barcelona Social Council has awarded the José Manuel Blecua prize to PhD graduate in Business at the UB Business School Alfonso Hernández Vivanco for his article “Sustainable innovation through management systems integration” published in the ‘Journal of Cleaner Production’. The distinction recognizes the best article derived from a doctoral thesis defended at the UB during the last 5 years.

“The study was born from the need to explore how the way of managing the internal processes of an organization can lead to an improvement of its innovation efforts with the objective of reaching business sustainability”, Dr Hernández said. The article, co-authored by two members of the Business School (Dr Mercè Bernardo and Dr Claudio Cruz-Cázares), is based on the Integration of Management Systems (IMG) as the engine of sustainable innovation, both at the level of processes and products.

“We take as a starting point that IMG focuses on meeting the requirements of various stakeholders” – Dr Hernández explained – “which include customers, the environment and society, among others, and is therefore recognised as a sustainability-focused practice.” The authors conducted an empirical study focusing on European and Latin American candle manufacturers and, after sampling 40 companies, they found that the most integrated companies adopt cleaner production technologies. “Such technologies facilitate the introduction of more sustainable products to the market” – Dr Hernández added – “and the IMG does not seem to play an important role in the innovation of these products”.

According to Dr Hernández, the research carried out “is pioneering in exploring this issue in companies that belong to several countries with diverse economic realities” and opens a field of research that “could have relevant impacts, not only at an academic level, but also at a business level, in terms of the approach for sustainability”.

Recognition of PhD programmes

With this prize, the UB wants to promote and highlight one of its most important assets, its PhD programmes, as well as one of the key elements for assessing the quality of these programmes: the publications resulting from doctoral theses. The training acquired in the PhD programmes should put into practice to improve knowledge of the reality that surrounds us, to initiate and promote high-quality research and to return the knowledge acquired to our society. Another objectives of the José Manuel Blecua to maintain more fluid contact with PhD graduates, strengthening relations of research and transfer of knowledge for mutual benefit.

Alumnus Hernández Vivanco was recently awarded the UB Business School Extraordinary Doctoral Prize for the 2018/19 academic year and he will soon join the Department of Business as a lecturer.